Democratic lawmakers break ground on new complex in the Bayview

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy
Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee helped break ground Wednesday in San
Francisco’s Bayview District on modern mixed-income and mixed-use apartment
buildings that will replace the barrack-style structures that have made up
the Alice Griffith public housing complex since 1963.
Currently, Alice Griffith’s 256 units are contained in 33
two-story buildings located on isolated cul-de-sacs and non-through streets.
While the streets were initially designed to slow down traffic and
protect children, Lavelle Shaw, president of the Alice Griffith Tenants
Association, said today that the design made residents feel isolated. It cut
the residents off from private businesses, public transit, and was easily
avoided by the rest of the city’s residents.
“We was always forgotten, we was always left out,” said Shaw, 48,
describing the complex as a “lost city”.
Shaw, who has lived in Alice Griffith for 35 years, said he wants
to see the neighborhood, known as Double Rock, and the people who live there,
take advantage of the opportunities that will come from the development and
finally integrate with the rest of the city.
Pelosi, city leaders and developers today said the five phases of
the new development, which is backed by a $30.5 million federal Choice
Neighborhood grant, will accommodate residents of every income level and be a
model for the city and the nation.
The program aims to not only create housing, but sustainable
neighborhoods, with accessible grocery stores, jobs and schools.
Shaw said he is excited that he and other Alice Griffith residents
will be able to live somewhere that others will want to live, a place with a
strong and healthy community.
Pelosi expressed her excitement for the development and explained
that it wouldn’t be possible without President Barack Obama’s commitment to
public housing.
She said his administration has supported low-income tax credits
for developers, which provide incentives for the use of private equity in the
development of affordable housing for low-income Americans.
“We’re not only working together in community for the good of
people here, we are setting an example for the nation so that we can say it
works, you can do this other places,” Pelosi said.
“Take pride in what it means for housing policy in our country,”
she said.
Tiffany Bohee, executive director of the Office of Community
Investment and Infrastructure, the successor to the San Francisco
Redevelopment Agency, said that residents will begin moving into the new
units next year.
Sandra Moore, president of Urban Strategies Inc., who has led
teams across the country in helping residents and community stakeholders
transform distressed urban communities into vibrant and safe neighborhoods,
said that the entire project has gone slower than she had hoped but that they
have finally reached a milestone and will now be able to pick up speed.
She said there will be a lot of green spaces and that the public
housing will be architecturally indistinguishable from market-rate housing.
The goal of the project, Moore said, is “protecting the rights of
the people who have been here all this time but then creating an inviting
community” for new residents.
San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the Bayview
District and the rest of District 10, said today that this development shows
that the Bayview is more than the guns, violence and drugs that have plagued
it.
Cohen said this investment in the Double Rock residents will allow
them to prove that, “we are more like a phoenix and that we will rise up and
continue to claim our victory.”

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