Final Appeal Near for Foes of 1050 Valencia

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Opponents of a Valencia Street condominium and restaurant development in the planning stages since 2007 are gearing up for a final chance to block the project or persuade city officials to scale it back.

Two separate people have filed appeals with the San Francisco Board of Appeals questioning whether plans for 1050 Valencia Street jibe with the city’s general plan.

They will ask the board on Dec. 11 to reverse approval of the development — an approval already granted by the Planning Department, Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission and most recently, six of the city’s 11 Board of Supervisors members.

Five supervisors, however, voted against the project this month and although they failed to halt the project, the close vote gave the opposition confidence.

Stephanie Weisman, founder and artistic director of The Marsh Theater, a 12,000-square-foot theater next door to the project site, says in her appeal brief that “As a nonprofit theater, our financial resources are limited; any interruption of our performances, classes, or services due to construction issues will be devastating.”

Alicia Gamez, a Missionite who was active in the recent fight against Jack Spade, has also filed an appeal. Her lawyer, Stephen Williams, writes in the appeal that while more than 400 neighbors and Valencia corridor merchants signed a petition opposing this particular project, they nevertheless support the “concept of the project and the development of the…site into housing and retail under the Mission Area Plan.”

The problem, Williams writes, is that, “The neighbors object to the size, density and design of the proposed building.”

Should the appeals fail, the opposing neighbors said it’s likely a lawsuit will be the next step in their efforts to forestall developer Shizuo Holdings’ bulldozers and jackhammers from breaking ground on the proposed 16,182-gross-square-foot building.

“This is another piece of gentrification,” said Williams, who also represented the Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association at a Nov. 5 hearing before the Board of Supervisors opposing the project. “This is in-your-face gentrification, luxury condos, 12 of them on a very, very small parcel.”

The Dec. 11 hearing comes at a time when city leaders are searching for ways to slow the diminishing stock of affordable housing — a key component of the general plan. Any project over 10 units must set aside 12 percent of the units for on-site affordable housing, build it elsewhere, or pay a fee to the city’s affordable housing fund.

“As of now, we will be providing two on-site affordable units…one two-bedroom and one one-bedroom,” said developer Mark Rutherford. “[Below market rates] requirements for new developments are part of the quid pro quo of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, wherein developers are allowed greater density and height in exchange for providing BMRs at cost.”

Rutherford said he won’t know if and when demolition and construction might begin until after the December hearing “where the same issues will be heard for what will now be the sixth time,” Rutherford wrote in an email.

On Nov. 5, the Board of Supervisors narrowly upheld the Planning Department’s 2012 approval of the project. Supervisors rejected the neighborhood association’s appeal that argued environmental documents approved in 2010 were flawed and inadequate.

The decision came after a lengthy public comment period during which 50 residents, local business owners and supporters of the neighboring Marsh Theater voiced their opposition.

“This development needs to be scaled down. If it was smaller, if it wasn’t five stories, if it wasn’t 12 units, if it wasn’t filling the lot within three inches of either neighbor and having its outdoor spaces right up against those two neighbors,” there would be more support for the project, said Liberty Hill association member and former president Risa Teitelbaum outside the packed chamber.

Scaled back since the original design was submitted to the city for approval, the project calls for the demolition of an existing 1970 building, currently home to Sugoi Sushi. For years a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise held the spot, followed by Spork Restaurant and the Rice Broker.

The developer plans to build a five-story-with-basement structure on the 3,315 square-foot lot, according to the latest planning documents. Ten market-rate residential units will go up over a street-level restaurant and there are no parking spaces for cars, a major bone of contention with opponents. Instead, the proposed building features 24 bicycle parking spaces.

Although the zoning requires no parking spaces, neighbors argue that future tenants will apply for residential parking permits, leading to another 12 to 24 cars vying with existing residents for limited street parking.

“People who are affluent, paying these kinds of prices will own cars,” said Teitlebaum, referring to the expected selling price of the 1050 Valencia condos.

Teitlebaum added that the project was originally billed as rental units.

In addition, neighbors oppose the size of the proposed building.

Business owner and Valencia Street resident Fran Cavanaugh, told supervisors in November, “We believe that having a very large structure that doesn’t give courtesy to its neighbors in its massing and height will change [the street's current] character and make it more difficult for business owners to survive.”

In response, Rutherford told the Appeals Board that after he met with the Planning Department’s Urban Design Team in June 2011, the city “issued a list of recommendations on massing, site design, street frontage and architecture.” A redesign of the project “adopted all” of  those recommendations, he said.

The developer added, “There are at least 10 four and five-story buildings within a two-block radius of the project site.”

Many of the public comments during the Nov. 5 hearing came from staff or patrons of The Marsh Theater. Their concerns revolve around construction disrupting daytime classes and nighttime productions.

“We are concerned that the developer, although encouraged to address our concerns, faces no consequences if they do not address pertinent issues,” Weisman said in her appeal. “Their actions thus far do not lead us to believe that the developer can be trusted to act in good faith…”

In an email on Thursday, Rutherford wrote, “The Marsh and its supporters are justifiably apprehensive about construction next door, but we are confident that with common sense construction practices and the safeguards put in place by the Planning Commission, this project will come off with a minimum of disruption…”

But trust among the residents appeared lacking. Mission resident Diana Rathbone wrote to the Planning Commission in Aug. 2012 that she has lived in the neighborhood for more than 25 years but “never, in all that time, to my memory, has a developer or entrepreneur thumbed its nose at us in this way or built something so totally out of touch with our character.”

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129 Comments

  1. Mission1

    This is why we have a housing shortage.

    The City rightfully designated the Mission and Valencia corridors for high density housing. BART, buses and bikes provide excellent access to the area.

    The project complies with the height and bulk rules the City has set up. If we can’t replace a squat KFC building with housing, we will never be able to keep up with demand.

    • Robert

      I agree. High density housing must be built –and yes, if you’re in a neighborhood that’s zoned for that type of construction, it just may be in your back yard. Don’t like it — move.

      • Save 16th Street BART

        On the contrary, it’s YOU who should move to an unregulated state like Texas.

        • bp

          Your username is hilarious. Please, do save 16th from the curse of cleanliness, reduced theft, and fewer assaults.

    • john levin

      The question is not whether to replace the Kentucky Fried chicken building with housing but the type of housing.
      The structure proposed by the builder is an ugly box that will tower over the neighborhood and threaten the existence of the world class theater (The Marsh) next to it. We (the neighbors) want a building compatible with the landmark buildings on Valencia and the historic neighborhood it abuts. I wonder why this defender of the 1050 box is so self-righteous but anonymous?

      • Mark

        What would be more compatible with the neighborhood? An elegant 3 story / 3 unit building costing $3 million + per unit?

        • john levin

          Mark: How about a four story instead of a five story building, one floor of which is open for affordable housing i.e. housing that someone making school teacher or fireman’s wages could afford?

          John

          • bp

            They’re providing 2 BMR units. Best you find another excuse, sorry.

          • john levin

            Sorry back. Below market rate is not affordable. It is a way your builder friends avoid building affordable housing.

          • John

            Fellow John, the word “affordable” isn’t too helpful here because it is highly subjective. A five million dollar home is affordable to some people, while a flat going for 100K (if such a thing existed) would still be unaffordable to many.

            The term “BMR” simply means a unit that sells for less than the market, due to a subsidy from somewhere, either from taxes or from a developer.

            But that BMR unit isn’t much if any cheaper to build than a market-rate home. So it will always cost too much for a lot of people. That’s just the reality in SF – not everyone can afford to live in the world’s favorite city.

            For those, there is Oakland.

          • Valenchia

            @bp: note that the developer says “as of how” there will be two below market units. The neighbors have every reason to believe that the developer will decide to pay the fee to move those elsewhere.

        • Valenchia

          @Mark: The neighbors are proposing an 11 unit building that will be somewhat shorter on Valencia Street and Hill Street than the developer is insisting on.
          Because these units will have 8 foot ceilings rather than the more luxurious 9 foot ceilings proposed by the developer they will be more affordable.
          Really, the neighbors are asking for some rather modest changes to make the development fit into the area better and to ensure that there really is affordable housing built on the site.

          • Mission1

            Its a bad idea to create an ad hoc building process. The City has thousands of pages of planning and building codes. And many are specific to a street–e.g., the Valencia Street Neighborhood Commercial Transit District.

            If a developer is going to build housing, s/he has to rely on these codes to figure out what s/he can build. If neighbors can then block projects because, for instance, they think 8′ ceilings are more appropriate, everything gets gummed up. And this ultimately means less housing.

          • Valenchia

            @Mission1: Well the Eastern Neighborhoods plan says that historic districts should be protected, the character of small streets should be protected and the buildings should be appropriate for their site etc. etc. There are many ways in which this building is not consistent with City policy.

          • GPD

            The neighbors demands are endless and ever changing. The developer has already changed the design once. If they change it again, some other picyune request will be made. And then again. And again. That is how NIMBYs wear out developers.

          • Chris

            I am sorry, but the level of absurdity in your comments is too much too bear. Do you really think a foot one way or another makes a unit materially more affordable. I have never heard anyone say, “Oh, I was going to pay $1 million for this unit, but now that it only has 8 foot-high ceiling, I guess I’ll just pay $950,000.”

            If you want the building to be shorter for aesthetic reasons or because of concerns about shading, fine. Be honest. Don’t thrown out this complete B.S. that somehow lower each floor by one foot will magically make the units “affordable.” No one is stupid enough to believe that is your motivation. You want the building shorter for other reasons, so just be honest about it.

      • Brad

        You are going to be fighting for a long time if you think for one second that there will ever be a design that everyone is happy with. It’s just an excuse. This is a classic case of San Francisco residents who have theirs and don’t want ot let anyone else in.

        • john levin

          No I don’t think there is a design everyone will be comfortable with. That is simply a straw man that you have conveniently set-up.
          I do think it is possible to come up with a design and bulk that is compatible with our neighborhood or for that matter any neighborhood. Most urban planners would agree.

          • Old Mission Neighbor

            The urban planners already approved the design as is…3 times.

            You and your neighbors are NIMBYs, not urban planners.

    • GentrifySF

      Exactly. The city needs more housing, but the main roadblock are those who scream “Not in my backyard!”. Who cares how The Marsh manager feels? People in other neighborhoods don’t like the noise of construction, either, but they also know it’s good for growth and revitalizing neighborhoods. I hope the ones against this project fail in their appeal and lawsuit.

  2. community

    I really hope that these stupid NIMBY’s fail. If we want affordable housing, we need to build more homes, and this is the perfect place to do it.

    And yes, even expensive luxury condo’s help with housing affordability, because the folks buying them would otherwise be trying to buy older condo’s nearby in the neighborhood. Basic economics. I’m so sick and tired of fools who dont understand this simple aspect of reality trying to block any new development, yet also demanding affordable housing. You cannot get cheaper housing without building more houses. In many respects, it doesn’t matter how expensive the new houses are — they still help meet demand and thus balance the supply/demand equation, which helps everyone.

    • Valenchia

      There are no NIMBY’s here, just neighbors who want a responsible development.
      Under the neighbors’ proposal, there would still be 11 new units built on a very small parcel of land.
      Two of the units would be REQUIRED to be BMI (Note how the developer says “as of now” there will be two — one can guess that in the end he will decide against putting them in).
      The neighbors have also asked that there be two car share spots and ineligibility for residential parking. That should make the the project more affordable and more consistent with Transit First.
      The real issue with this project is that, unlike most projects, the developer has never been willing to sit down with the neighbors and work something out. This thing could have been built by now if the developer had made any effort to address the neighbors concerns. But he has refused to do that, so this drags on and on and on.

      • Jym

        @Valenchia – No way is “two car share spots” a small request for a design that has no parking whatsoever.

        • John

          Jym, it is a big ask to tell residents they cannot park their cars there and then say that folks who do not live there can park there.

      • John Murphy

        Using up that piece of land to build something smaller than proposed is an irresponsible use of the land. If anything, the project should be bigger.

      • John Murphy

        The neighbors have also asked that there be two car share spots and ineligibility for residential parking. That should make the the project more affordable and more consistent with Transit First.

        If those neighbors are so Transit First – I suggest this. All of those neighbors sell their cars in support of Transit First.

        • John

          The neighbors just don’t want more demand for their free street parking.

          They couldn’t give a flying crap about transit-first.

          I do not see how RPP’s can be withheld on discriminatory grounds.

  3. ThatGuy

    Pathetic NIMBYs!

  4. ThatGuy

    How about we turn it back into a KFC!?!?

    • john levin

      Well, at list it would be “finger lickin’ good” instead of pig-ugly

      • ThatGuy

        I think the building looks just fine.

        Put you big-boy pants on, John, you can’t please everyone.

        • john levin

          Big boy pants on? Like Big Bens? The point isn’t to please everyone,. T he point is to fight for buildings that are compatible to the neighborhoods and don’t simply line the already bulging pockets of the developers and their advocates

    • Ric west

      At least the KFC had six parking stalls plus handicap parking

  5. Old Mission Neighbor

    I’m not sure I understand what the Marsh theater folks are saying. Are they opposed to any development near them, because it’ll be too loud? Is this serious?

    If I’m misunderstanding their position, and that it’s actually to just build responsibly and with minimal noise, then that’s another matter. But to oppose any project next to you because you’re scared of noise is a preposterous position to hold – you’re in a city!

    • John

      Yes, surely the construction will be during the day, while performances at the Marsh are at night?

      This is just more SF NIMBY’ism and the result, as always, is higher housing costs. Build the damn thing tomorrow!

    • Valenchia

      The Marsh is opposing the project because the developer has refused to implement a sound proofing system. In addition, he has refused to work with them on a construction plan that won’t disrupt their performances. Everything that the Marsh is asking for could be easily dealt with by a responsible developer, but this developer refuses to work with the community. So an appeal is the only route. Note that neither the Marsh nor the neighbors are asking that the project be stopped, they are just asking for certain modifications to make it fit into the neighborhood.

    • GentrifySF

      Precisely. Most construction noise would be over by 6PM, anyway. If anything, the new construction would house people that just might patronize their shows.

  6. Bob

    Good grief. Pathetic, self-serving NIMBYs are opposed to all new businesses and housing in the Mission. This is why there is a housing crisis.

    • Valenchia

      Not true. The neighbors agree that this lot should be developed. If the developer had worked with the neighbors it would have been built years ago. But he has repeatedly refused to sit down and talk with the neighbors.
      As I indicated above, the neighbors are fine with an 11 unit building on that very small lot.

  7. Pamela

    Everything has been approved long ago. The owners of the property have spent 6+ years going through all the proper channels within City Hall. So now some NIMBYs want to block it. No wonder nothing gets done! Hopefully common sense prevails, that the developers get the ok, & a judge drops the 2 lawsuits as frivolous as that is what they are. The people who filed the lawsuits must have money to spare. The NIMBYs must have liked the smell of KFC better than any upgrades in the neighborhood that have been made!

    • Valenchia

      The developer has not gone through proper channels. At every meeting, the various agencies have instructed the developer to work with the neighborhood, but the developer has refused to do so. The developer has held the minimum number of meetings required by statute and refused to make any changes in response to neighbors comments.
      This project has dragged on because the developer has not listed to the planning commission and actually worked with the neighbors.
      Before berating the neighbors, you should learn the facts. You obviously have not been paying attention to this or are just a shill for the developer.

  8. Brad

    How many hundreds of thousands of PUBLIC dollars are being spent on the complaints from TWO people?!?! Anyone who pays taxes in this city should be outraged.

    • john levin

      Brad, You are a silly fellow. If you had been at any of the hearing regarding 1050 Valencia you would know that there are more than two people opposing this building.

      • ThatGuy

        John, we’ve all seen these games before. You’re nitpicking isn’t to come up with a better idea but to stall the process and hope the developer gives up.

        If I had the money I’d turn that place into a nice dive bar just to piss you off.

        • john levin

          Oh no, I love dive bars. I miss Bajones, the Dovre Club and a host of others.

          • John

            With your nostalgia for places long-gone, and your opposition to new development, you come across as someone who wishes time to be frozen, as if to recapture some long-lost youth, perhaps?

            I have news for you. The good ol’ days weren’t that great. When I really think about things, the city is much better now than it was 20-30 years ago.

        • Valenchia

          @That Guy: You are just wrong. The neighbors have prepared a clear proposal to the Board of Appeal — 11 units, 50 feet tall, 2 Below market, no RPP, protect the Marsh etc. — These are all reasonable things to ask for and the developer can still make lots of money.
          The neighbors agree that the lot should be developed but it is reasonable to ask the the developer build something that is appropriate for the space.

          • Jym

            @Valenchia – The “no RPP” part suggests that the neighbors’ stated concern for Transit-First is insincere, except for other people.

  9. bp

    So how did the site of a former KFC with a series of failed restaurants to its name become fundamental to the neighborhood’s character, exactly?

    NIMBYism and the endless roadblocks to development in SF have done more to damage the city than anything else. Displacement of existing populations in the Mission by the affluent is just a symptom of that. The people who would be buying these condos will now just have more reason to bid on older homes (and sometimes displacing previous tenants) in the area instead.

    • Valenchia

      @bp: Ummm, no one is trying to preserve the KFC and you know that. Dishonest argument like yours don’t help the discussion.
      The neighbors are rightly concerned that an excessively large, poorly designed building will hurt the character of the neighborhood.

      • slogoings

        Every day you live with the small ugly building on the corner that was KFC you are not exactly improving things by keeping them the way they are. Cities have tall buildings folks- that’s what keeps them vibrant and exciting as opposed to my boring suburban life. The sidewalk improvement project drove me mad, I wasn’t happy to see Valencia street have only one lane, the bicycle lanes- all of these inconveniences have turned out to be progress- even though I agreed with none of them. Hopefully the building gets built and everybody goes back to being happy. As I recall, KFC really stunk up the hood around 4 pm daily, and none of the rest of the hood looks much like it used to- maybe the horse has left the barn?

  10. Missioner

    I hope the active NIMBY’s keep in mind that there can be consequences for their behaviors. For instance, if I learned that someone was engaging in this kind of unending obstructionism, I would decline to do business with them. There are plenty of businesses I can patronize, and I’ll choose one that is promoting the sensible development of my neighborhood rather than inhibiting it.

    And objections to the appearance of the building are obviously disingenuous. Nothing would be good enough, and when basing objection on the purely subjective, it is spectacularly easy to say “no” indefinitely – “still don’t like it. nope, not that either.”

    • Valenchia

      Nice. You can’t tolerate people who have different opinions than yours. Really open-minded of you.

      • John

        The idea that San Franciscans are tolerant and liberal and receptive to diversity is largely a myth.

        I’ve lived in quite a few places and I find folks in San Francisco to be about as intolerant as people anywhere. In SF, many people like to self-identify into tribes for the purpose of hating on other tribes.

        What should be a rational debate about whether a building meets the code (it does) ends up as a massive battle for the heart and soul of, well, not very much at all.

        NIMBY’ism is just one minor aspect of the intolerance that permeates this town.

        • two beers

          so, do us a favor, and leave already.

          • John

            LOL, Two Beers, isn’t that the argument always used against SF progressives i.e. either love America or leave it?

            I have my own reasons for being here, but my presence here doesn’t not disqualify me from observing the more ridiculous aspects of some people here, notably NIMBY’s and those who try and freeze SF in time like it is some kind of hippie theme park.

          • bp

            Nope. I’m here. Deal.

        • J.K.

          I, too, have been very surprised by how intolerant and cliquish many San Franciscans are.

  11. nfs

    The developer is required to provide 12% of units at below market rates if they build over 10 units. The developer is building 12 units, 2 of which will be below market. Any addition of housing stock is going to have an impact, no matter how small by lowering the cost of rent. As another poster noted, construction must be done during daytime, whereas the Theater will be involved in primarily night time endeavours, thus the argument of the Theater manager is largely w/o merit. Even without subtracting the square footage for the restaurant space (which would significantly lower the average unit size), the average unit size would be approximately 1,348.5 sq. feet. Subtracting a full footprint ground floor restaurant would probably put the average unit size below 1,000 sq. feet. Nice space for the Mission, but not obscene. For f#$k’s sake build more stock or STFU about rent and gentrification.

    • Valenchia

      Actually most of the units will be in the range of 500 to 700 square feet, but that is not really the issue.

      • GPD

        Hahaha, you can seriously call a 500 square foot unit “luxury”?

        How large is your house? You are a pathetic wealthy meddling bizybody.

  12. pam

    We do need affordable housing, but “affordable” housing within a luxury condo project makes no sense, since HOA fees tend to be astronomical making those units still unaffordable for the people they are intended for. Also this hit-and-miss approach to affordable housing has got to stop. This city does nothing but approve luxury projects, then wonders why its working and middle classes can’t afford to live here. (In the meantime, how many of these condos are actually bought as main residences and how many as pied a terres for wealthy out-of-towners?) Building a luxury project without car parking shouldn’t even be legal, since what are the odd that those people don’t own cars? Parking in the Mission is already painful. Each new project makes it that much worse. The height of the project doesn’t bother me. We have to build up and that’s all there is to it, but we should build smartly and we haven’t been anywhere, not just with this particular project. And for the love of God, can some of these developers please hire architects with some talent. The buildings going up now are so incredibly ugly. Maybe the people rich enough to live in them don’t care what their surroundings are like, but the rest of us have to look at these monstrosities. By the time, all these developments are done no one is going to call this place the Paris of the West anymore. The city will be too anonymous and ugly.

    • John

      Pam,

      I agree with you that on-site BMR units are undesirable. There’s the HOA issue you mention, but also the fact that if someone is springing a million on a home, he probably doesn’t want to live next-door to someone who paid one quarter of that. You’ve also got the issue of throwing different social classes into the same mix.

      As for building more “affordable housing”, everyone says that but not so many people are willing to step up and bear the considerable cost of subsidizing a unit just so somebody they don’t know or care about can get a cheaper home.

      We will never be able to build enough homes so that anyone who wants to live in SF can live here. That’s why God invented Oakland.

      As for “ugly” buildings, well, nobody likes them but they are cheaper to build than architectural gems. People want cheaper homes and that often means ugly homes.

      The best way to avoid looking at the ugliest building on your block is to live in the ugliest building in your block.

    • Christine

      For every new luxury building that is built, a 10 year old unit is no longer considered luxury in comparison, and becomes more affordable. Building isn’t cheap, and the developers have to make a profit at the end of the day. You can’t sell units for <$500k and expect to make money. But building more is the only way we can get out of this housing crisis.

    • cd

      What are the odds that those people don’t own cars? Pretty fucking high. Not a single one of my overpaid tech worker social circle wants to deal with owning a car in this city.

      • John

        Having a car in SF is no big deal, as long as you either have a garage or live further out.

        In fact, SF is a good town to get around by car – I can be in most places in about 15 minutes.

        • cd

          *shrug* All I can say is that pretty much my whole social circle is overpaid techies in SF and not one of them has or wants their own car. A lot of them bike; some take the bus; some take taxis a lot; some rent Zipcars now and then. But none of them wants to own a car.

          • Ray

            What happens when they grow up? Cars become more of a necessity when you have children. Of course, these small units aren’t really designed for families.

          • cd

            I think what happens then is they move to the suburbs for better schools/lower crime/a big yard. Though a good fraction also claim they don’t plan to have kids.

  13. I hate techies

    Ugly and cheap. Why?

  14. Pete

    These idiots have no idea that they’re the ones causing the housing problems in the city. Build it already.

    • two beers

      Yes, because building million dollar luxury condos really mitigates against skyrocketing rents.

      Oh, wait, but the evidence (and logic) shows that building million dollar luxury condos actually exacerbates skyrocketing rents.

      1. Adding million dollar condos to the market mix raises the average cost per sq foot; the new, higher rate becomes the new, higher market rate;

      2. The only way that building more housing makes housing more affordable, is if that new housing consists of plentiful affordable housing.

      Building expensive housing only makes all housing more expensive.

      • John

        No, TwoBeers, a million dollar condo is only 25% above the price of the average SF home, and so isn’t that excessive at all.

        And if they soak up demand at that price level, then those buyers will not be pushing up the prices of the existing housing stock, nor getting tempted by TIC’s created out of Ellis eviction.

        ALL new construction has the effect of reducing housing costs, even at the top end.

        • two beers

          That’s like saying building a new Ferrari lowers the cost of a Ford Fiesta. They’re not fungible. Building a lot of new Ferrari’s lowers the cost of new Ferrari’s and fungible luxury vehicles, but it doesn’t keep the cost of the Fiesta down.

          But there’s no practical limit to how many cars a concern could make. Housing is limited for obvious reasons. When the marketing mix overwhelmingly on the high end of the market, then there are fewer new affordable units being built, plus the average price per square foot for an area skyrockets, and existing non-rent-controlled units rise towards that new benchmark when they become vacant.

          As a reductio ad absurdum to illustrate the point, building a mansion in Beverly Hills doesn’t help housing in Watts.

          • bp

            If people are buying property in Watts because they can no longer afford to live in Beverly Hills, then yes, building mansions in Beverly Hills does help affordable housing in Watts.

          • John

            But building a mansion in Beverly Hills doesn’t harm housing in Watts either. The two markets are segmented.

            That said, even something like 8-Washington would have helped with the affordability of housing, and not just because of the 11 million in BMR funds we have now lost.

            Those buyers will now be chasing down all of the 2-3 million homes in SOMA etc., which in turn will outbid folks who may now look in the Mission, raising prices there.

            There is a trickle-down effect. Either new luxury homes reduce demand at all levels or they make no difference. Either way, why oppose them?

            The real point is that SF will never be affordable to many people, just like many other affluent towns around the world. Not everyone can afford to live here, and BMR housing is very, very expensive to build, and will only ever make a marginal difference to a lucky few.

            Why is it so important that all these poorer folks live here anyway, when there are cheaper alternatives a few miles and minutes away?

          • two beers

            pardon my punctuation

          • two beers

            Why is it so important for rich, transient coder kidz, Marin pied a terrorists, and Chinese national speculators to gobble up SF? Why don’t _they_ look five minutes away?

            Your elitism is telling.

          • John

            It’s not “important” that any one class of people live in the Mission.

            It is important that self-opiniated NIMBY’s do not decide for others who lives here.

            There is no correct or optimal mix in the Mission.,At any one point of time, it merely is what it is, and trying to micromanage it won’t work, never works.

          • bp

            “Why is it so important for rich, transient coder kidz, Marin pied a terrorists, and Chinese national speculators to gobble up SF?”

            The real question is: what makes you more important? The city doesn’t exist solely to satisfy the whims of people like you.

          • John

            Agree, bp, so much of this NIMBY’ism, envy and whining about building high-end homes appears to boil down to a stunning sense of entitlement among some that they have some divine right to live in a place they cannot afford forever.

            Peter Pan was just a story, but there are some real life examples around.

      • bp

        two beers, supply does not create demand. Developers create high-end condos because there are people who want to buy them. Those people want to live in SF, and if they can’t buy those condos, they’ll be buying out something else instead – like, say, an older house in the Mission currently occupied by rent-controlled tenants. Yes, you _are_ hurting the cause of affordable housing by not accommodating the wealthier population that wants a place in the city.

        Developers tend to focus on “luxury” condos because there’s more profit in it. When you let that market get saturated, they start building middle-class housing – or at least they do if you let them and don’t endlessly mire them in quarrels over parking and height limits.

        And come on, this is a total waste of a lot. Tell me that ex-KFC is so important to you.

        • two beers

          What does KFC have to do with it? Nice strawman, there, fella.

          Housing is probably the only market in which supply _does_ create demand. Suddenly, rich Marinites are considering pied a terres in the Mission (ooh, how your realtor’s black heart must be going pitter-pat)., because it’s now an expensive, trendy neighborhood, with the “bad elements” getting pushed out.

          Without all the condos, the Mission doesn’t become Brooklyn West. The luxury lofts have transformed the neighborhood, creating a demand which did not previously exist.

          • John

            So is your point that neighborhoods change? Just like when the Italians and Irish left and the Hispanics moved in?

            Isn’t that the essence of America? Cities and areas transition, some become more affluent, some become less affluent, but there is always somewhere for everyone?

            I do not see the merit in trying to freeze the Mission in time.

          • bp

            If you think supply creates demand in housing, I encourage you to go try building 100 fancy condos in the middle of a rocky portion of South Dakota, and wait for the profits to roll in.

            The demand exists already. You can’t wish it away.

          • two beers

            John,

            The Irish, Italians, and Germans left because they didn’t want to live near Latinos, whom they despised and feared. They were contemptuous of the Latinos because they thought the Latinos were bringing their (the Irish, Italians, and Germans) property values down! They left voluntarily, not because they couldn’t afford the neighborhood, not because they were pushed out.

            There is no comparison.

          • John

            two beers, how can you possibly claim to know the motivations of people who left the Mission decades ago?

            The fact is that all across America, neighborhoods change their character over time, and foten that involves one race moving out and another moving in. Or a combination as in the Mission.

            People like to self-segregate and, once Hispanics achieved a critical mass, that defined the neighborhood for a while, attracting more Hispanics here.

            If that is now changing a little, allowing the Mission to become more diverse again, then that is surely a good thing.

  15. ThatGuy

    All of these NIMBYs are a bunch of “armchair city planners” convinced they are somehow “making things better”.

  16. lalique

    One issue that comes up with some of these buildings is that they block sunlight even when they are not super high due to the direction that Valencia St. runs.

    When we have less sunlight reaching the sidewalks, those places are less pleasant places to be in the morning and the afternoon when it is a nice time to be walking or biking down the street.

    It’s just an observation and I wish there was a better solution for this…

    • John

      That cuts both ways. The Mission is one of the hotter, sunnier parts of the city and, personally, I usually walk on the shadier side of the street.

      Cooler, easier on the eyes, and no need to squint when trying to see stuff.

      It also means cars don’t have the sun in their eyes when you’re crossing the street.

      In any event, that’s only an issue for part of the day, and only for part of the year.

  17. Julia Dyett

    I am a homeowner in the Mission and I work at SFGH. I oppose this new project. The mission has been inundated with new housing and commercial development. Not only are many businesses and tenants being pushed out, but the unique and diverse character of the neighborhood is changing rapidly. There needs to be balance and some control over this. It is almost every day that i notice a new Boujee business, ugly modern deluxe condo, an eviction notice, etc. I love the Mission. And I am aware that modernization and change is part of every neighborhood; however, the pendulum has swung too far in the mission. We need balance, and for the voices of our residents and current business owners to be considered. The insurgence must stop!

    • Christine

      “The mission has been inundated with new housing [...] many businesses and tenants being pushed out”

      Yes, more people living in the neighborhood is terrible for businesses. And absolutely, limiting the development of one 11 unit building will stop high-income people from wanting to live here. This opposition totally makes sense.

    • bp

      Well, yes. As a homeowner in the area, killing off new development keeps your property values higher, while other people are denied a chance at a place to live here.

      It shouldn’t be surprising you’re opposed to it, but that doesn’t mean you get your way at everyone else’s expense.

      • John

        True, bp, I often learn that somebody opposed to building new homes is an existing homeowner who seeks to suppress new supply to help boost the value of his existing investment.

        He will dress that up in language about environmental concerns or gentrification, but in the end it just comes down to old-fashioned American greed.

        • nutrisystem

          Well, which is it? Does gentrification increase her property value, or does restriction of gentrification increase her property value?

          You seem to pick the one that suits your latest simplistic, condescending comment.. I think you have a bright future as a liar-for-hire politician!

          • John

            You overlook the fact that SF RE prices will inflate over time anyway, regardless of whether NIMBY’s have any success or not.

            The more interesting thing is that a home-owning NIMBY can claim to oppose new homes for ideological reasons but, if the project gets built anyway, he effectively makes a profit on it.

            So it’s “heads I win; tails you lose” for the self-serving NIMBY crowd.

            The main outcome of gentrification is a lowering of crime and upgrading of the housing stock. It’s not just about money but about quality of life. That said, people will pay more for a better quality of life.

    • GentrifySF

      So you don’t like change?

    • ThatGuy

      As a homeowner in the Mission, I oppose YOU.

      Its not YOUR Mission and its certainly not MINE.

      Get over yourself, lady.

  18. Pamela

    Maybe the developers can buy The Marsh building; that will bring the height down by at least 2 stories. Win-win for all. Personally, it is great new condos are being built, blighted buildings upgraded, & to see thriving businesses on Valencia St & slowly but surely along the Mission corridor. Property values go up as the area becomes more desirable. Plus crime goes down.

    • John

      Pam, it seems inconceivable to me that the Marsh can make enough money to wash its own face.

      So there would appear to be an opportunity there for some enterprising entrepreneur and risk taker.

      • nutrisystem

        If you aren’t making any money off your kids, perhaps that presents an opportunity for some enterprising entrepreneur and risk taker.

        Worship money!!

        • John

          Nutrisystem, if you do not like the pursuit of money, why do you live in a nation that worships at the alter of money more than any place else?

          Seems like an odd choice to me.

          • nutrisystem

            So does that mean you’re going to rent out your kids to make some money?

            If not, why not? I’m serious.

          • John

            I’m guessing that you don’t have kids.

            I will help them invest and succeed. Things lie private schools, help with college tuition, and giving them down payments to buy their own home, will all help them succeed.

            Who wouldn’t do that, at least if they could? but my point was more that America is a very money-centric nation, so it always surprises me that people with your outlook stay here. It must be hell for you, kinda like me living in Cuba or North Korea.

          • nutrisystem

            Wait, so you’re saying that you’re SPENDING money on your kids instead of renting them out? That seems like a contradiction. I was under the impression that everything with you was about making money.

            This is very curious.

            So correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re saying that there are some aspects of life that are outside of pure market relationships? Things that are positive which not only don’t earn money, but actually COST money ????

          • John

            Nutrisystem, you are being obtuse. Anyone who seeks money does so in order that that money can then be employed in some way.

            Money in and of itself is just bills and figures, but the reason we all seek money is because it buys the products and services and lifestyle that we want.

            So money is not an end in itself but rather a means to many ends. The more money you have, the bigger and better the stuff you can buy, whether it is your kids’ futures or a Bugatti Veyron.

            That’s the way America works. The question is how you fit into all that.

            Personally I fully intend to die broke, but it’s how I get there that matters.

    • ThatGuy

      Fuck the Marsh.

    • Pachuco

      One of the many things left out of Greta’s piece is an explanation of what the Marsh wants, and why the developer won’t just give it to them and get on with it?
      Here’s a partial list of the Marsh’s “Demands” lifted from its website.
      1. The Marsh demands no “entertainment uses” in the new building. Smart thinking, eliminate the competition right off the bat.
      2. Future residents must maintain quiet hours after 4 PM to allow “theatrical performances to occur without disturbance.” Shhhh, Geniuses at Work.”
      3. Builder must provide Marsh with new ventilation system. Suck on that!
      4. Developer must design and install sound proofing throughout Marsh building. Tax payers have already paid for that with grants, but nothing like a double dip.
      5. Builder shall paint Marsh building. I swear, I’m not making this up!
      On the flip side, the Marsh insists that residents accept that “the theater will emit the sounds including live music and applause during its performances louder than typical.” On and get used to the double parking-residents must accept that: “Marsh patrons will queue along Valencia St at the beginning of shows and leave en masse at the end, producing parking, traffic and noise impacts.”
      And David Campos was on board for this? This has all the makings of a precedent-setting shakedown. Stay tuned!

  19. Jose

    Williams: “This is in-your-face gentrification, luxury condos, 12 of them on very, very small parcel.”

    Cry gentrification – San Francisco’s “last refugee of a scoundrel.” Of course what else is he going to say after that shellacking he took from Supe. Scott Weiner at the hearing? Josh Korbulth, one of The Marsh’s testifying D-listers, took a weak stab at a comedic bail-out, but the damage was done. Weiner basically tore his “building too tall” blag a new one.
    You have to give Williams credit however. He has stones. His clients personify gentrification. Anti-death penalty dilatant Liz Zitrin, republican, big-pharm corporate attorney Peter Heinecke, and all around poison ditz Risa Teitelbaum have all opened their checkbooks to turn Hill St into their personal gated community. And it’s pretty cush up there; Zitrin rattling around her 5,000 sf. pad, Peter with his multi-million dollar digs, (bought after the project had started) and Teitebaum’s with a pied-a terre she pops down to from her Wine Country home, the better to harass her neighbors. The one thing that could spoil it is for us little brown people to blast our boom boxes and hang our laundry from our affordable housing balconies. Enter Alicia Gamez-house beaner for hire. She’s got the requisite melanin count and it doesn’t hurt she went to Stanford with David “El Tranza” Campos: The fix is most definitely in. To date, Gamez’s claim to fame has been to testify in favor of convicted wife-beater Ross Mirkarimi. Awkward, since she sits on the San Francisco Commission for the Status of Women, but a good warm-up for selling out Mission working folks on behalf of the Hill St Haters. Hey…at least she’s not mopping Zitrin’s floor!

  20. John

    Jose, seriously, you should do stand-up. You’re that good.

    Just not at the Marsh which someone laughingly referred to as being “world class” somewhere here.

    I laughed so much I wet my pants.

  21. Heidi-Jane Schwabe

    The Marsh is such a wonderful theater, with so much to offer the neighborhood – really one of few places really where you can consistently see quality performance. Standing on Valencia Street for more than 20 years, it is a neighborhood treasure for *all* – and in my opinion, should be protected with everything we’ve got. Any threat to the Marsh is a threat to the heart and soul of this community. As their neighbor and patron, I will be horribly sad – and pissed as hell – if this building project, so seemingly without any architectural ‘sense of place’ whatsoever – disrupts their operations. I register my opposition here.

    • pachuco

      If the marsh is so wonderful, why don’t you and all those other goobers who showed up at the hearing get together and soundproof the building? Hold a bakesale to put up some egg cartons or something. “Offering so much to the neighborhood”???; I don’t know one person who’s gone to a show there. It’s a dump!

  22. Jose

    No one’s saying the Marsh is not wonderful, they’re just wondering why it’s misusing its taxpayer subsidized resources and political clout to stop a neighbor from building housing and providing the jobs, tax revenue and affordable units that come with it. The Marsh’s excuse that construction is noisy and that moderate income residents will make a racket, is a lousy excuse for the vendetta it’s waging. Construction happens during the day, performances happen at night; and people have the right to hang in their backyards without some la-di-da theater complaining. There is a growing awareness that The Marsh has a massive impact on the neighborhood –and it’s not good. It hogs the limited parking that could go to other business and residents. It condones double parking after performances. The building is an eyesore and a dead tooth during the day. Worst of all, as an established out-of-town theater franchise, it grabs a lot of City grant money that should be going to local talent for whom it is intended. It passes itself off as a community resource, when in reality it just parachuted in and started making money-it has no permanent ties in the community. (It’s been here 17 years, a drop in the bucket on the Mission geological timeline.) It’s a venue for affluent, mid-lifers to prance around and pretend they’re actors. It’s a Berkeley outfit that leveraged San Francisco grants to secure an extremely lucrative position in Valencia St real estate, and now expects everyone else to be quiet while it rings the cash register.

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