Grand Opening for Vera Haile Senior Housing, a new 90-unit Apartment Building for Low-income Seniors in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District

Mercy Housing California hosted a grand opening / dedication event for Vera Haile Senior Housing on Wednesday, March 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 129 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94102.

Completed earlier this year and recently fully occupied, Vera Haile Senior Housing is targeted to very low-income persons 62 years or older. It is comprised of forty-three studio and forty-six one-bedroom apartments; one two-bedroom unit is for property management staff. Mercy Housing California named the property after Vera Haile (1934 – 2014), a long-time San Francisco leader and spokesperson on elder economic security and independence.

The number of senior citizens in the United States is increasing at the fastest rate ever seen in our country’s history. As one of the nation’s largest developers and owners of affordable senior housing, Mercy Housing is addressing this growing need by providing affordable housing with services that seek to improve and maintain the status of older adults in terms of their personal economic development, health, and community engagement. Our senior properties result in older adults having a sense that they are aging well with a higher quality of life.

Vera Haile Senior Housing came about after St. Anthony Foundation embarked on redeveloping their St. Anthony’s Dining Room at 121 Golden Gate Avenue; an integral safety net for the Tenderloin’s underserved for 65 years. Several years ago, St. Anthony Foundation realized that they could no longer continue to adequately serve the community in its old space. After considering seismically reinforcing the old building, instead in 2005 they decided to redevelop it into a mixed-use facility. Though St. Anthony Foundation previously had developed senior housing, as its core mission is the Dining Room they aligned with Mercy Housing as the housing development partner.

The partnership purchased the air rights above St. Anthony’s Dining Room and created a plan that would satisfy the City Planning Department’s 100-foot suggested maximum height. They crafted mutually beneficial air rights for the separately owned parcels at 121 – 129 Golden Gate Avenue, as well as individual building systems for maximum control, autonomy and utility. Together they selected the architect and contractor, decided how to divide the costs, obtained required building permits, negotiated a Reciprocal Easement Agreement for the shared-use spaces, and coordinated timing of the financing and construction loan closing to jointly build the $69 million development for maximum community impact and efficient delivery of multiple community services within a small site. Vera Haile Senior Housing’s portion of that development cost was close to $42 million.

The partnership culminated in the ten-story building at 121- 129 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood: Vera Haile Senior Housing, (floors three through ten), and the rebuilt St. Anthony’s Dining Room, new Social Work Center and Free Clothing Program (lower level through second floors).

HUD and funding from the City’s Department of Public Health allow residents to pay just 30% of their income for rent and utilities, and eighteen units to serve formerly homeless seniors. St. Anthony Foundation’s Dining Room and Social Work Center, which are separately owned, were developed by St. Anthony Foundation with financing through New Markets Tax Credits and Private Donations.

Vera Haile Senior Housing PROPERTY AMENITIES:

  • 24-hour front desk coverage
  • Prewired for Internet, cable and telephone
  • Full kitchen with refrigerator, electric range and hood in each unit
  • Laundry rooms on 5th and 7th floors
  • Large community room with kitchen
  • Computer room
  • Non-smoking community


  • U.S. Department of HUD’s Section 202 program for Housing the Elderly
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credits
  • Federal Home Loan Bank AHP
  • City of San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development funds
  • Citibank Community Development
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • National Equity Fund
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation – Kandeda Grant
  • California Tax Credit Allocation Committee
  • California Debt Limit Allocation committee

Vera Haile Senior Housing DEVELOPMENT TEAM: 

  • Developer: Mercy Housing California
  • General Contractor: Nibbi Brothers General Contractors
  • Architect: HKIT Architects
  • Structural Engineers: Structural Design Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers: Tommy Sui & Associates
  • Electrical Engineers: Bhatia & Associates
  • Civil Engineers: Luk and Associates
  • Property Management: Mercy Housing Management Group
  • Resident Services: Mercy Housing California
  • Energy Consultant: Guttman and Blaevoet

Vera Haile Senior HousingEnergy Efficiency and Sustainable Measures:

  • Solar thermal system
  • Hydronic space heating
  • Cool roofing and high-reflectivity paving
  • Low-E windows
  • Domestic Hot Water (DHW) system with high recovery efficiency, low standby loss, and time and temperature controls
  • DHW Storage Tank insulation
  • In-unit lighting controls
  • Building commissioning
  • LEED for Homes Silver certified

According to the California Multi-Family New Homes (CMFNH) Newsletter – this development is the ‘Project of the Quarter.’ Mercy Housing completed construction 52% above 2008 Title 24 (California Energy Commission), Pacific West Communities following behind at 43%.

Vera Haile Senior Housing’s commercial construction loan was provided by Citi Community Capital with a 49% participation from Silicon Valley Bank. Both Lenders have generously sponsored the March 18 Vera Haile Grand Opening / Dedication event.