SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - It's no secret that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in which to live in America.
According to the Kiplinger report, the median home value is currently about $800,000. The only place that tops that number is Manhattan in New York City at $848,700.
Today, San Francisco took a small edge off its affordable housing crisis with the unveiling of a new apartment building in the city's Mission Bay neighborhood near UCSF.
About 200 families have already moved into 588 Mission Bay Boulevard North.
Hatem Dridi is one them. Just two months ago he and his wife, immigrants from Tunisia, were living in the Tenderloin neighborhood, paying roughly $1,200 for a one bedroom apartment.
"She didn't like the place there," said Dridi. "It's so noisy and you know it's not safe... lots of drug dealers."
Dridi, who works at an Amazon warehouse while his wife works at McDonalds, wanted to move out but was limited in options as the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco runs $3,370.
The couple decided to enter an online affordable housing lottery to live in the trendy Mission Bay District and won.
"Wow, I said, 'Mission Bay?' I was dreaming before," smiled Dridi, who now pays about $1500 for a two bedroom apartment.
This morning, city leaders cut the proverbial ribbon at 588's grand opening. The 200 unit building comes complete with two vast courtyards, a barbecue, shared onsite laundry, a fitness center and 10,000 square feet of retail space.
"I'm just really proud that we were able to accomplish the largest affordable housing project in the city in the last decade," said Supervisor Jane Kim, who explained that most of the units are for families of four with a combined income of less than $50,000.
"Unless there's something wrong in your DNA, you have to feel good about that when you see kids and families who you know have struggled to be in this city at all," said Bill Witte, CEO of Related, the company that co-developed the nearly 75 million dollar project, along with the CCDC or the Chinese Community Development Corporation.
Funding was provided by the city of San Francisco and UCSF, which will give some units to the families of
seriously ill children being treated at the nearby UCSF Beniofff Children's Hospital.
"As a kid growing up in San Francisco myself, I went through an eviction with my family," explained Reverend Norman Fong, with CCDC. 588 was a project close to Fong's heart.
"Isn't it beautiful?" said Fong, gesturing with his hands. "My gosh! The need for affordable housing is huge and once in a while San Francisco gets to celebrate! I went into the unit and the bathroom was bigger than a Chinatown SRO!"
Dridi agrees as he gives KTVU a tour of his bathroom, which has a bathtub and plenty of storage space.
More than 4,300 people applied to live in Five-88, but only 198 families made the cut, including two on-site apartment managers.
Dridi said winning the housing lottery, literally gave him a new lease on life.
"It changed my life! Especially clean air!" he said, grinning widely.
Dridi is now studying computer science and hopes to someday start a family with his wife and own his own home.