City celebrates grand opening of new affordable housing at 490 South Van Ness

Avanza 490 opens its doors to 80 families and provides 100% affordable housing for San Franciscans
July 08, 2021

The City celebrated the grand opening of a 100% affordable housing project in the Mission at Avanza 490 at 490 South Van Ness Avenue. Located between 15th and 16th Streets, a block from the 16th Street BART station, the building consists of 80 permanently affordable apartments, 24 of which are set aside for Mission District residents, or residents who reside within a half-mile of the project per the City’s Neighborhood Resident Housing Preference. The new apartments are affordable to households with incomes up to 30-60% AMI. Twenty units are set aside for public housing relocates from HOPE SF developments who have voluntarily relocated to the Mission.

“I am excited to celebrate the opening of 80 new 100% affordable housing units in the heart of the historic Mission District today,” said Mayor Breed. “It’s projects like this one that will help us reach our housing goals and make San Francisco a more affordable place to live. If we want our city to continue being the diverse place it is today, we must do a better job building housing for working families.”

Avanza 490 is the third of seven new 100% affordable housing developments in the Mission that are either already open, under construction, or will open in the next 18 months, following over a decade in which no new affordable housing was built in the neighborhood.

“Every successful affordable housing development in the Mission comes with a back-story of community advocacy,” said District Nine Supervisor, Hillary Ronen. “When this parcel was proposed for luxury development back in 2015, the community put its foot down and demanded that the City purchase it instead. My predecessor, David Campos, and I pushed for the funding that made that possible. As a result of that fruitful partnership between community and City Hall, we get to welcome low-income and working families into their new, forever-affordable homes. Congratulations to Mission Housing and BRIDGE for another great project and to the Mission community that never says no to affordable housing.”

Built with families in mind, amenities at Avanza 490 include a second-floor children's playground, a spacious community room, and a communal laundry room. Located near BART and several Muni lines, this transit-oriented housing development will help advance the City’s climate goals by promoting the use of public transportation.

The development’s ground floor features a 636 square-foot commercial space, which will be programmed by a number of local non-profits on a rotating basis. A use agreement is currently being finalized with Associacion Mayab, who will provide initial programming in the space to serve the Maya-speaking community.  

“Avanza 490 is a symbol of forward progress and hope for the Mission community,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “Its history shows what happens when a neighborhood comes together and demands affordable housing. We're extremely proud to play a part in bringing the community's vision to life.”

“We’re honored to be part of the team that’s bringing transit-oriented, affordable homes for families and community services to a neighborhood that has seen so much displacement,” said Brad Wiblin, Executive Vice President of BRIDGE Housing.

The parcel at 490 South Van Ness Avenue once held a gas station. Following a community advocacy campaign, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) purchased the fully entitled and environmentally remediated site at 490 South Van Ness from the market rate developers and owners in late 2015 after former Mayor Ed Lee conducted a community walk along the South Van Ness corridor where City and community leaders identified the Avanza 490 property as an opportunity site.    

In October 2016, MOHCD selected Mission Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) and BRIDGE Housing to develop, own, and operate the affordable housing development proposed for the site.

Major financing for Avanza 490 was provided by a $27.7 million investment for building construction from MOHCD that enabled the $60.4 million project to move forward. In addition to the City’s investment, the development was made possible by financing from the San Francisco Housing Authority (Project-Based Section 8 vouchers), Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barings, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

“Avanza 490 is a testament to the strong partnership between the City, Mayor Breed, and the Mission Community,” said Eric Shaw, MOHCD Director. “Investing in and creating high-quality, well-designed affordable homes for families with our partners is the model the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is proud of, and will continue to prioritize.”

The 7-story building, designed by local architects, Ankrom Moisan Architects and G7A, includes studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. Construction started in October 2018 and was completed in February 2021.