Curran House Opens

by Rita Mandelenis on March 22, 2006

The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) celebrated their grand opening of the Curran House yesterday. Mayor Gavin Newsom was on hand amongst TNDC employees, residents and community supporters. The 67-unit development is just the second recent Tenderloin family housing project in the last ten years.

“I’m at a loss for words,” said TNDC Executive Director Don Falk. “Its wonderful to celebrate a big accomplishment, but it takes a long time, a lot of effort and a lot of people to make it happen.”

The nine-story structure is comprised of a mixture of 14 studios, 15 one-bedroom units, 14 two-bedroom units, and 24 three-bedroom units. 145 Taylor has become the home for over 80 low-income families.

Resident Seri Djedje lives in a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment with his family and is very happy. He and his in family enjoy benefits like the great lighting inside the units.

“We moved here four months ago and enjoy it very much,” said Djedje.

This building is not a stereotypical “affordable housing” structure. Tenants can enjoy a rooftop garden with many benches and tables and a great view of the city. There is also a courtyard with a calf-high waterfall sending soothing sounds throughout the area. And, the Curran House has on-site access to supportive services, such as an after school program and a social worker.

“Nothing here appears to be affordable,” said Mayor Newsom during his speech. “This is the work of an entire community.”

Mayor Newsom also pledged his dedication to help create affordable housing for families in the SRO and studio dominated Tenderloin.

The Curran House was named after the late Sister Patrick Curran, past Executive Director of St. Anthony’s Foundation, who dedicated her life to helping those in need. Many of her family members were there to take the tour of site and express their support and joy.

David Baker and Partners designed the Curran House, and won the Grand Award in a national competition for the design. The architects won in the affordable housing category. The company is a green business and strives to help the environment as well.

Andre Mandel, a new architect at the company, enjoys designing structures with a bigger purpose.

“I like helping the environment,” said Mandel. “I chose to work for a green business—its more fulfilling.”

Curran House also includes a Feng Shui-friendly decompression garden at the entrance, as well as no parking spaces. At the Curran House they wanted to conserve space to create more housing and basement TNDC offices, and encourage the use of public transportation.

The San Francisco Housing Authority, San Francisco Human Services Agency, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing financed the project. Bank of America, HUD and many more helped financially to make the Curran House possible.

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