Bernal Dwellings

San Francisco, CA

The Bernal Dwellings HOPE VI community was built in the late 1990s in what is now one of San Francisco’s most expensive neighborhoods, Bernal Heights. The low-rise 4-block community was built by the San Francisco Housing Authority in 1999-2001 to replace a high-rise public housing tower of the same name. With homes directly addressing the street and secure, private backyard areas, the three-story site was a dramatic change from the dense, crime-ridden tower. The architecture of the new buildings was contextually-appropriate, with the bright colors and gabled elevations mimicking surrounding Victorians. A mid-block street was introduced to further open the community to the surrounding area.

In the course of twenty years of operations, cracks began to be revealed in the original HOPE VI financing assumptions and budget shortfalls resulted in deferred maintenance, needed capital improvements and a growing realization that the development needed to be financially stablized. The Housing Authority turned to McCormack Baron Salazar in 2019 to structure the financing and manage the rehabilitation and preservation of the 160-unit property (one unit is reserved for a property manager).

The phased renovation of the site will modernize the apartments and bring the community up to current code and standards. The renovation includes replacing roofs, repairing storm drainage systems, and addressing ADA site accessibility requirements. Apartment renovations include replacing kitchen appliances and cabinets; installing new bathroom fixtures, flooring, windows and doors; and new paint and finishes. The management office, resident services offices, and community space will also updated.

The $114 million renovation was financed through 4% low-income housing tax credits, city and state government soft loans and project-based vouchers and RAD subsidies.

Now, low-income families are benefiting from these investments with updated, stable, attractive and affordable housing in the heart of one of the most expensive cities in America.