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Del Carlo Court — an abandoned Mission District site becomes an award-winning infill housing complex


3330 Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Residential Population

Number of Units
25; 2 one-bedroom, 14 two-bedroom, 5 three-bedroom, and 4 four-bedroom apartments

Property Management

Caritas Property Management


Del Carlo Court is a 100-percent affordable apartment community in the Mission District of San Francisco, California. Del Carlo Court is owned and operated by Mission Housing Development Corporation. The transit-oriented development is two blocks from the 24th and Mission Street BART station, and many MUNI bus stops are close-by.


In 1987, the owner of the former Kerry’s Lounge and Restaurant donated the vacant .39 acre site to the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The SF SPCA put the property on the market as a fundraiser. In response to a grassroots effort in the Mission to stop high-rise development on the site, Mission Housing purchased the parcel in 1988 for $650,000.

Design features

The 37,166 sq. ft., four-story wood and steel frame structure contains 25 rental units, a 25-space enclosed garage, a laundry room, and a recreation room. The rental units have entrances off of the secured interior courtyard, which encourages familiarity and inclusiveness within the complex.

Architects Daniel Solomon and Phil Rossington of Solomon, Inc. (a firm which became Daniel Solomon Design Partners, and then Mithun | Solomon in 2013) maximized the irregularly-shaped lot so Del Carlo Court provides secure places for residents to gather. Amenities include a sunny, intimate courtyard, a community room and laundry facilities. The design blends Del Carlo Court with adjacent building styles and materials. Del Carlo Court unifies the surrounding neighborhood by linking the major transit artery, Cesar Chavez Street, with the quieter interior street, Capp Street, while preserving neighborhood character.

The design received the 1993 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects, and the 1995 Honor Award from the San Francisco Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Built at a cost of $5.2 million, the general contractor was Nibbi-Lowe Joint Venture.

An important namesake

Joseph “Joe” Del Carlo, a native San Franciscan, made his home in the Mission District in 1946, after serving as a sergeant in the United States Army during World War II. He became a community advocate, and chair of the Maintenance Committee of the Mission Coalition Organization. When the MCO formed Mission Housing Development Corporation, Mayor Joseph Alioto appointed Del Carlo to sit on the Mission Housing board. In March 1972, the board elected him to serve as chair.

Under Del Carlo’s 18 years of leadership, Mission Housing acquired six construction sites, completed 232 units of new housing, acquired and rehabilitated 14 vacant or substandard properties to house 118 seniors and families, and provided rehabilitation assistance to 900 privately-owned low-income housing units.

Funding programs

The SF Mayor’s Office of Housing-Affordable Housing Production Program financed the site acquisition. Wells Fargo Bank provided construction financing; Mission First Financial was a limited partner with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

Construction and permanent financing also came from the California Rental Housing Construction Program. Mission Housing was the first San Francisco-based nonprofit to receive this construction financing made available by the passage of Proposition 84, the “Housing and Homeless Bond Act of 1988.”

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