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Sunnydale Food Security: Food Retail Feasibility Analysis and Programmatic Recommendations

Sunnydale is a vibrant, diverse, and welcoming San Francisco community with a rich history, located in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, and is known as the City’s largest public housing complex at almost 50 acres. Could this long awaited and vast public/private transformation of Sunnydale create an inclusive and welcoming neighborhood grocer that will offer culturally competent, affordable, fresh produce, and other essentials to all Visitacion Valley residents?


Urbane led the creation of a food retail strategy to collaboratively create effective, resident-centered programs and systems that promote food security and access to quality, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food options.


Mercy Housing California



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Sunnydale, a historically isolated public housing community in San Francisco, is undergoing a transformation into a mixed-income community through a private/public partnership led by the City and County of San Francisco Housing Authority, community organizations, and developers Mercy Housing California and Related California. The community planning process engaged Sunnydale residents and surrounding neighborhoods to align with their goals and address their concerns. This revitalization effort, part of the HOPE SF Initiative, is San Francisco's largest anti-poverty collaboration aimed at creating a healthy, dynamic, and diverse community for its residents. Sunnydale HOPE SF will replace 775 poorly maintained apartments with a new, mixed-income neighborhood of 1,700 homes that includes a one-for-one replacement of public housing, new affordable rental housing, and affordable home ownership housing options. 

In support of the above, Urbane, as part of a project team led by Onside Partners, was contracted by Mercy Housing to collaboratively create effective, resident-centered programs and systems that promote food security and access to quality, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food options. The Team designed a mixed-methods participatory approach that focused primarily on gathering residents’ perspectives, priorities, and information about current behavior. Led by resident input, the Team developed a three-prong strategy that addressed food security primarily through food retail, emergency food services, and a community garden.   

Sunnydale’s revitalization is occurring in phased construction of new housing and neighborhood amenities over time. With 1,000 new affordable apartments and 700 new homes, a Boys and Girls Club, a neighborhood Hub, new parks and gardens, new retail offerings, and more, there's always new happenings and you can find the latest informaton on this development below!

Follow the Sunnydale Community Journey here!

Urbane led the creation of a food retail strategy that sought to create an inclusive and welcoming Neighborhood Grocer that will offer culturally competent, affordable, and fresh produce and other essentials to all Visitacion Valley residents. Key components of this strategy included: 

  • An overview of existing conditions and determination of retail trade area boundaries; 
  • Both a demand side and supply side analysis inclusive of market potential, inventory of existing grocers, and determination of preliminary feasibility;  
  • An analysis of resident food retail preferences and recommendations on culturally competent food programming ​​options; 
  • An overview of existing comparable stores and market opportunities;
  • A set of programmatic recommendations and considerations for the future operator and; 
  • An operator cash flow analysis and recommendations towards supporting a long-term food operator.   

Additionally, Urbane was able to develop a plan outlining the necessary steps for the client to support the desired operator through the first three years of operation and provide recommendations on an ownership model that would best support local wealth generation while meeting community needs.