SAN FRANCISCO—When the old Central Freeway was demolished several years ago after being battered by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, it created a unique opportunity to build something new.

One of the results is Parkview Terraces, a sleek new 101-unit housing development that is home to Antoinette Dunn and other low-income seniors.

“It's meant independence, freedom,” says Dunn, a former home caregiver. “It's a blessing. That's what it is—a blessing.”

She enjoys a sense of community at the development. On Fridays, a group breakfast is held so residents can meet one another. Dunn also has access to other programs and services, including a bus that takes her and her neighbors to do their grocery shopping, and a nurse practitioner who has an on-site office. “It makes you feel like a big family,” Dunn says.

Developed by the nonprofit Chinatown Community Development Center and the for-profit AF Evans Development, Inc., Parkview Terraces is the first residential development to be built on one of the former freeway sites.

It has also tied as the best seniors development in the AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE 2008 Readers' Choice Awards.

“Parkview Terraces represents the best of San Francisco,” says Doug Shoemaker, director of the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Housing. “In place of a freeway, we have taken chronically homeless seniors out of the shelters and into a light-filled community with tremendous access to all of the amenities that make living in San Francisco wonderful.”

The project required the collaboration of many agencies and organizations, says Bre Jones, project manager at Oakland, Calif.-based AF Evans. The effort started with the land, which is leased from the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, so there was no acquisition fee.

The $33 million development features 59 studios and 42 one-bedroom units. Twenty apartments are reserved for seniors earning no more than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI). These units are targeted to homeless seniors and received federal Shelter Plus Care program support in the form of rental subsidies. The city Department of Public Health provides operating subsidies for these units as well. Sixty units are for residents earning no more than 40 percent of the AMI, and the rest are reserved for those at 50 percent of the AMI. The average resident income is about 33 percent of the AMI, according to the developers.

Residents have access to a variety of services and an on-site service coordinator. The ground floor houses the office of RSVP, a retired and seniors volunteer program sponsored by Northern California Presbyterian Homes & Services, which is providing resident services.

The project was financed with about $16 million in low-income housing tax credit equity syndicated by the National Equity Fund, Inc. The credits were allocated by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. The redevelopment agency provided a $13.6 million loan, and Union Bank of California provided an $838,000 loan. The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco provided $500,000 from its Affordable Housing Program through member Silicon Valley Bank.