Rotary Terrace

Architecture firm: HKIT Architects

Owner: Beacon Development Group

Location: Pleasanton, California

Category: Merit

Located just 10 miles from downtown San Francisco, the Rotary Terrace Senior Housing project formally opened its doors in May of 2019. The new apartments provide 80 residential units of much needed affordable housing for senior citizens (over 55 years of age) and one unit for the manager. The five-story residential building comprised of 81 residential units (20 percent of the units are reserved for seniors with disabilities) above a parking garage. The building is four stories of wood frame over one-story concrete podium. The first floor accommodates the parking area, bicycle storage, a generous lobby for the apartments, office, utility spaces, and a 2,000-square-foot community assembly space. The second through fifth floors consists of 80 one-bedroom affordable senior apartments and one two-bedroom manager apartment, 7,500 square feet of open space in the form of a fifth-floor roof terrace, two courtyards, and resident amenities such as laundry and lounge areas.

"This is a simple design that is well executed and creates a dignified setting for an affordable project." - Jury comment

Project goal

The goal of this new senior community was to provide much needed affordable senior housing to the city South San Francisco. The project achieved this by providing housing to qualified applicants, those over 55 with incomes between $27,660 and $46,100 for a single person household and incomes between $31,590 and $52,650 for a two-person household. The lower income values are for 30 percdent AMI (area median incomes) and the higher values are for 50 percent AMI. The Rotary Terrace community transformed an under developed downtown South San Francisco.

Part of a new zoning ordinance, the .56 acre property was identified as an ideal location for higher density, transit friendly development. The 91,607 square foot community, includes many amenities for the residents such as bicycle storage, a generous lobby, a fitness room, a computer room, a TV room/lounge, a community room and associated kitchen, laundry facilities, a roof top terrace and two interior courtyards. All of these features in combination result in a rich environment both inside and out. Design quality serves the residents and the community and addresses the social goals of client, resident, housing authority and city.

Although affordable and built within a budget of affordability, this community achieves elegance, inspires its residents and symbolizes the importance of design supporting social improvement. This project is an excellent example of design quality that serves a socially responsible agenda. Each of the key design strategies addresses important social goals.

Unique features

The high-density design (145 units/acre) makes efficient use of the limited site acreage by wrapping the building around lushly landscaped courtyards, thus maximizing light and air to units and common spaces as well as providing a protected interior courtyard for the residents. The new community provides increased cohesiveness and clarity while also adding a focus and needed highlight to the neighborhood.

The street front composition is one of carefully modulated rhythms and shapes, with changes in material, colors and depth providing a rich interplay and visually interesting composition. Private apartments and public spaces are differentiated with exterior elements which respond to the spaces within. This elegant exterior treatment has become the signature of Rotary Terrace and a symbol of the transformation from decrepit urban centers to a healthy, safe and high quality multi-generational neighborhood. A true sense of home is greatly dependent on the design quality of the interior spaces and we therefore paid careful attention to spatial qualities, natural light, materials and details. Apartments are efficiently planned to maximize every square foot and windows are larger than normal to maximize natural light.

Additional information

Project attributes

Project site context/setting: Urban

Is this project a LifePlan Community? No

Provider type: Non-sectarian non-profit

Target market: Low income/subsidized

Project area - GSF of new construction: n/a

Project area - GSF of additions: 88,287

Project area - GSF of renovations: n/a

Project team

Engineer - Civil: Luk & Associates

Engineer - Electrical: BWF Consulting Engineers

Engineer - Mechanical: Tommy Siu & Associates

Engineer - Structural/Concrete: FBA Inc.

Engineer - Structural/Wood Framing: Peoples Associates Structural Engineers  

General Contractor: James E. Roberts-Obayashi Corp.

Landscape Architect: Van Dorn Abed Landscape Architects


Quinn deMenna, AIA, Chair, City Invincible, Camden, New Jersey

Steve Leone, AIA, Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc., New York, NY

Steve Lindsey, Garden Spot Village, New Holland, Pennsylvania

Dean Maddalena, Studio Six5, Austin, TX

Rhonda Spector, 2Life Communities, Brighton, Massachusetts

Image credits

Rotary Terrace-06

Abraham & Paulin Photography

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Abraham & Paulin Photography

Rotary Terrace-04

Abraham & Paulin Photography

Rotary Terrace-07

Abraham & Paulin Photography

Rotary Terrace-03

Abraham & Paulin Photography