The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors voted to approve the City’s next step in moving forward the Potrero Yard Modernization Project, an innovative initiative to restore the obsolete 107-year-old Potrero Bus Yard with a state-of-the-art bus storage facility and up to 575 affordable rental units for low- and moderate-income tenants.
The SFMTA Board of Directors authorized the Agency to execute the initial predevelopment agreement (PDA) with the Potrero Neighborhood Collective (PNC), the developer awarded to lead the project. The PNC team is led by Plenary, an investor and developer of public infrastructure, and features veteran San Francisco affordable housing and housing developers Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), Young Community Developers (YCD), Tabernacle Community Development Corporation (TCDC), and Presidio Development Partners.
“Transit and housing should go together, whether that’s building dense housing on transit lines or recognizing opportunities like this to not only modernize a bus facility, but also how we think about building more housing while we do,” said Mayor London Breed. “San Francisco is a dense city, and we have to be deliberate in how we approach solutions to our housing shortage.”
In 2017, the SFMTA launched the Building Progress Program, a $2.3 billion multi-year effort to repair, renovate, and modernize the Agency’s aging facilities to keep the City moving. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 100,000 Muni customers relied on six bus routes (5 Fulton, 5 Fulton Rapid, 6 Haight/Parnassus, 14 Mission, 22 Fillmore, and 30 Stockton) that ran out of Potrero Yard. The project, located at Bryant and Mariposa streets in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, is the City’s first site to modernize and renovate transit infrastructure while also including affordable housing.
Approximately half of the residential units, which will occupy seven floors above the bus facility, are planned for low-income seniors, families and single-occupant households earning
80% or below of the Area Median Income (AMI), building on the City’s affordable housing goal. The remaining units will be available to moderate-income housing for households earning between 80% and 120% of the AMI. Planning for the housing elements included community input and is consistent with City policies on anti-displacement, inclusive communities and creating stable housing for vulnerable populations.
“This project is unique in that we can maximize affordable housing for San Franciscans while dramatically improving working conditions for the staff who operate and repair Muni buses,” said Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton. “I am excited to reach this milestone for our community.”
“This is an exciting milestone for a project that not only brings urgently needed improvements to our aging transportation infrastructure, but also shows how we can work outside the box to create desperately needed housing,” said District 9 Supervisor Hilary Ronen. “Affordable housing is critically needed in San Francisco, and I’m thrilled that this project seeks to place a significant number of affordable units in District 9.”
Potrero Yard in its current form does not meet up-to-date seismic safety standards and the structure can’t support modern maintenance and cleaning. A modern facility will allow staff to repair buses faster and improve Muni’s reliability, while leveraging an opportunity to maximize environmental upgrades. Strong and efficient public transit is a critical component to addressing climate change; the new facility would make possible Muni’s transition to a battery-electric bus fleet while also increasing capacity to service the fleet as it grows by about 50%.
Other enhancements include improving working environments for SFMTA frontline operations and maintenance staff who currently work in outdated facilities, and providing adequate space and operational flow for bus maintenance, parking, and circulation of the bus fleet. Improving maintenance speeds up repairs, returning buses to service faster for more reliable Muni service.
“The Potrero Yard Modernization Project is an example of the SFMTA’s national leadership in delivering sustainable transit,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, Director of Transportation of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. “I am extremely proud of the creative work done by SFMTA and City staff who envisioned a unique use of public resources to address affordable housing needs as we improve Muni’s infrastructure.”
The Potrero Yard Modernization Project is currently in early design stages. This period of time will serve to further develop the design of architectural and commercial elements such as massing and housing unit count and unit mix. Finalizing materials selection, lighting, and curated art are ongoing.
Plenary Americas US Holdings Inc. (Plenary) has a long track record of delivering complex infrastructure, project finance and public-private partnership (P3) projects. The affordable housing partners MEDA, YCD, TCDC and Presidio Development Partners bring vast experience developing affordable housing in San Francisco and leading community stabilization efforts.
This next phase will enable thorough due diligence, risk analysis, housing feasibility, and early contractor procurement to integrate innovations in design, engineering, construction approach, financing, and facility maintenance. At the conclusion of the PDA phase, once the project and housing agreements with all final terms are completed and approved, it is expected that the Plenary-led team will build, operate, and maintain various components of the project.
For more information and updates on the Potrero Yard Modernization Project, visit our website: https://www.sfmta.com/projects/potrero-yard-modernization-project.