Broadway Housing Project Wins CNU Charter Award

Date Posted: 06.15.2016

A pair of our affordable housing developments – Broadway Family Apartments and Sansome and Broadway Family Housing – were honored with a 2016 Charter Award in the category of Block, Street, and Building. Administered annually by the Congress for a New Urbanism (CNU) since 2001, the Charter Awards celebrate the best work in neighborhood development and placemaking.

Rebuilding a Community

In 1989 the Loma Prieta Earthquake damaged San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway beyond repair. Subsequent demolition transformed its footprints into highly desirable development sites at the confluence of the Northeast Waterfront Historic District and the Jackson Square Historic District. The City designated one, and later a second, of these coveted sites for badly needed affordable housing. Both phases were developed by the Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) and designed by our Mithun Solomon office.

Broadway Family Housing was completed 2009, and features 81 units of low-income family housing, childcare, and retail. That effort included an extensive community outreach process and was such a resounding success that the same project team was awarded the second freeway site across the street in 2012 to develop Sansome and Broadway Family Housing. This building contains 75 units of affordable housing, many for families moving out of crowded Chinatown SRO’s or previously homeless, along with community room, social service offices, retail, courtyard and roof terraces.

“They are timeless, graceful buildings that provide low-income residents, many of whom came from very unstable living conditions, with stable and beautiful homes in the heart of the city,” notes Kim Piechota, Development Manager for CCDC.

For many urban poor suffering from economic hardship, isolation and the stigma of squalid housing, these buildings offer a pride of place. “It is a most wonderful example of good design applied to housing for people of modest means—demonstrating that thoughtful, not necessarily expensive, design, can uplift people’s everyday lives,” says the former chair of the CCDC.

Read more about 2016 CNU Charter Award program and winners.