San Francisco—The Curran House feels like it is a world away from the gritty neighborhood outside its doors.

Stepping across the building’s threshold, the busy streets are left behind for the calm of a landscaped courtyard and water fountain, the to-die-for views from a rooftop garden, and, most important, 67 units of new affordable housing.

The project was developed by the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. (TNDC), a 25-year-old nonprofit organization that knows the turf well.

Most people don’t think of the hard-scrabble Tenderloin as a neighborhood for families, but TNDC leaders, who understand that it is home to more than 3,500 children, designed the Curran House with these families in mind. It is only the second new affordable family housing development built in the Tenderloin in the last 10 years.

By eliminating a requirement to include parking and maximizing the use of a tight infill site, TNDC was able to create a unique project.

“Curran House is special because it provides home for families previously living in cramped Tenderloin single-room occupancy [hotels] or studios and for families who want to move to the Tenderloin because of its affordability, cultural ties, and accessibility to services and public transportation,” said Diep Do, TNDC director of housing development.

TNDC created a project with 14 studios, 15 one-bedroom, 14 two-bedroom, and 24 three-bedroom apartments. The units target families earning no more than 45 percent of the area median income (AMI), but the income levels of the current families average closer to 35 percent of the AMI. Some formerly homeless families also live at the Curran House. Twenty-six of the units are subsidized through Sec. 8 or Shelter Plus Care programs. Monthly rents range from $740 to $1,153.

Designed by David Baker + Partners, Curran House met a design challenge by replacing a longtime parking lot that was wedged between five aging residential buildings on three sides. “We used every square inch of the lot—building to the property lines and building as high as possible without overshadowing adjacent buildings or the neighborhood park,” Do said.

The approximately $24 million, nine-story development is near public transit lines. Few residents in the Tenderloin have cars, so developers worked with city officials to waive parking requirements. Without having to build an underground garage, the project could use the basement to house TNDC office space.

Services are important at the Curran. The TNDC After-School Program (TASP) is located just around the corner from the building. TASP offers a free, academically enriched environment for children to go to after school, on Saturdays, and during the summer. The development also has an on-site social worker who provides case management and other services.

The project, which has won two awards, is named after the late Sister Patrick Curran, who served the city’s poor for many years as executive director of the St. Anthony Foundation.

Financing included more than $10 million in low-income housing tax credits allocated by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. The tax credits were syndicated by the National Equity Fund, Inc. The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing provided a $10.2 million deferred loan. Bank of America (BofA) and Impact Community Capital provided more than $10 million in construction and permanent loans. The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco through BofA provided $335,000 in Affordable Housing Program funds. Office space was financed separately.