The Natoma Family Apartments, a just-completed affordable-housing complex, is in a particularly rough part of San Francisco's rapidly evolving South of Market neighborhood. It sits right next to Sixth Street, the city's skid row, with its dilapidated single resident occupancy hotels (SROs). During construction, residents of an adjacent SRO pelted workers with hypodermic needles and other trash. Soon after the project was completed, a photographer documenting the exterior was punched in the face. But the new apartment building, designed by local firm Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (LMS), offers a vision of another world. Its colorful street presence, tranquil outdoor areas, and warm common spaces support a community on a lot that had been empty since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
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