Affordable Bill Sorro Community Opens in San Francisco
By Mary Salmonsen
The Journal Of The American Institute Of Architects
Originally published in Multifamily Executive
16 January 2018
Photo courtesy of Bruce Damonte
A new affordable housing development has opened in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood to serve low-income individuals with developmental disabilities. The development was designed by Kennerly Architects, founded by CED alumni Owen Kennerly (M.Arch ‘95) and Sarina Bowen Kennerly (B.A. Arch ‘92, M.Arch ‘98).
The housing development, called the Bill Sorro Community, is named after the late Bill Sorro, a social and economic justice activist who died in 2007. The multi-use structure is composed of 66-units and will replaces the Hugo Hotel, which stood unoccupied on the corner of Sixth Street for nearly 30 years due to a fire that scorched the interior.
The first level will be designated for a ground-floor retail space. The residential space will be divided into “two masonry towers designed to reflect the neighborhood’s character.” The first tower, which faces the intersection, is nine stories and features a rooftop terrace. The second, slightly shorter tower faces Sixth Street.
The development is composed of eight studio units, 24 one-bedroom apartments, 24 two-bedroom apartments, and 10 three-bedroom apartments. “Fifty-three of the units are designated for households earning 40 percent to 50 percent of the area median income, and the remaining 14 are reserved for low-income adults with developmental disabilities. The latter units were financed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.”
“By integrating developmentally disabled adults living within a larger multifamily community, the Bill Sorro Community represents a new model for supportive housing for adults with developmental disabilities,” said Barbara Gualco, director of real estate development at Mercy Housing California, in a statement.
To provide further assistance to residence, South of Market Child Care will offer parenting classes and family case-management services through the community’s resource center. Additionally, the Arc of San Francisco will provide disabled residents with supportive services to encourage development.