Balboa Upper Yard housing complex inches closer to reality


The Upper Yard near the Balboa BART Station is the newest proposed location for affordable housing.

John McQuaid '22, Opinion Editor

A city-funded project to build a new housing complex in the Upper Yard adjacent to Balboa Park Station is currently underway, though it has been delayed by the ongoing pandemic.

Until now, the Upper Yard has been serving as a temporary homeless shelter for those living in vehicles. The housing development will take over that area to provide what is presumed to be affordable housing for the area.

Social Sciences Department Chair Cory Nelson, who comes from outside the Bay Area, noted that “Rent prices are so high in this city and there are so many homeless people, I think that it is a human right to have a respectable place to live. So… I absolutely believe that the city should invest more in affordable housing.”

The housing project’s funding has survived through the massive city budget deficits caused by the pandemic, and is planned to commence sometime in 2021, with hopes of completion being set for 2022, though no specific dates have been provided. These basic guesses will likely change as time goes on, so the time of completion may come closer or go farther away.

Nelson does hope that the new housing helps people find a place to live, but until the complex is completed, no one can be totally sure that those who really need access will receive it. 

Meanwhile, Ellis Spinuzza ’23 wonders about the location, stating that “it’s not the best place to put housing,  as the highway is quite close by, and the constant screeching of Bart would probably make it irritating to listen to during the night.”

He also questions the chosen location, noting the proximity to a relatively large homeless encampment. There is no official statement regarding the encampment, so any planning around it cannot currently be confirmed.

What is known is that the complex will be large, will include a significant number of new living units, and will be opened along with a public, tiered plaza adjacent to the station itself. The plans for the plaza have been put up on the Balboa Park Upper Yard website (, as are plans for the housing development.

That same website will be updated as the project continues, and will include important updates for those who wish to follow the process.