We may be losing the McRoskey Mattress store at Market and Gough streets, but we’d be getting about 100 affordable housing units for artists in a slick new building, thanks to a cool $100 million from an anonymous benefactor.

It’s a sign of the times that the fancy, market-rate, condo-type housing in SF is being stalled because the projects are drowning in red ink, while it’s full-speed ahead on affordable housing projects sponsored by nonprofits. But none of those nonprofits has been lucky enough for some wealthy anonymous donor to just come forward and say “Here’s $100 million, go ahead and build this thing.”

Yet that exceedingly unlikely scenario actually just happened, and in the beleaguered mid-Market area to boot. The Chronicle broke the news Friday morning that two nonprofits were just awarded $100 million from an anonymous benefactor to build roughly 100 units of affordable housing, all set aside for artists. The nonprofits are Mercy Housing of California and a newer organization called Artists Hub on Market, the property in question is 1687 Market Street (at Gough Street), currently the home of the McRoskey Mattress store.

Image: Google Street View

The McRoskey Mattress store would be torn down. But the Chronicle has a rendering of what would become some 100 housing units, a 99-seat theater, studios, rehearsal spaces, a community center, and a street-level cafe.

It may all sound pie-in-the-sky, but the project is being helmed by an arts figure who’s done similar large-scale projects before. SFJazz founder Randall Kline started that institution as a two-day music festival, and it grew into a $64 million year-round brick-and-mortar facility.

“SFJazz was built to serve the local artist community,” Kline said. “Over the past 40 years, as I saw more and more artists leaving the city, I talked with potential funders about this idea to see if we could provide affordable housing. One donor stepped forward.”

Yeah, yeah, any discussion of affordable housing will inevitably bring out some cynics who ask “Affordable for who?” In this case, it’s people making 80% or less of the SF Area Median Income (AMI). As of 2024, that’s $83,900 or less for one person, $95,900 for a couple, and $107,900 for a household of three to qualify.

But obviously, the prices on these units are not yet listed, as the plans have not been approved by City Hall. According to the Chronicle, these plans are being submitted today (Friday).

Though yes, this would be the end of the McRoskey Mattress storefront and its charmingly vintage facade. But the mattresses are no longer made there anyway, and they’re still available at its showrooms in Palo Alto and San Rafael, as well as at Williams-Sonoma stores.  

Related: Long-Stalled Plan to Build Affordable Housing on Top of Chinatown’s New Asia Restaurant Back in the Works [SFNews]

Image: Google Street View