Sketch of a glass building.
A sketch of the proposed redevelopment of 16th and Mission from the Preliminary Project Assessment.

The grit of the crime-ridden 16th and Mission BART plaza, could one day shine with $82 million worth of glass.

A developer submitted preliminary plans for 351 new condos with the San Francisco Planning Department on October 18.

To make room for the new buildings, which are described as between five and ten stories in the Preliminary Project Assessment, the developer plans to raze several businesses, including Walgreens, Burger King and Hwa Lei Market. A nightclub and a vacant Dollar Store on the site would also go.

The owner of Hwa Lei Market, Cung Duong, said he has known about the re-development plans for almost a year. “All my family’s money is here, I don’t know what I’d do,” said Duong about the possible closure of his shop. “We like this area, it’d be hard to do a new business.”

The communications coordinator at the SF Planning Department, Candace SooHoo, said that the project was in the very preliminary stages and the documents filed last week will likely undergo revisions.

Issuing a Preliminary Project Assessment Letter “is not a development approval or denial from the department,” SooHoo explained via email. “This is very early on in the stage and this is not the development application.”

The architectural firm leading the project, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, has completed hundreds of projects internationally, including Lincoln Center in New York, the New York Stock Exchange, the World Trade Center, the Bank of America World Headquarters in San Francisco, the International Terminal at SFO and the Oakland Museum.

The developers also plan to work with the city to improve the BART plaza.

“One major issue with the current buildings on the Project Site is the blank facades facing the BART Plaza,” reads the Assessment. “The lack of interaction between the current buildings and the neighborhood is a significant contributing factor to the high crime rate at the intersection of 16th and Mission Streets, which in turn deters and limits the public’s use of the BART Plaza open space.”

Part of the plan to improve the corner’s safety is through more retail. Glass-paned stores, cafes and restaurants will wrap around the BART plaza in an effort to provide additional eyes on the street.

The Assessment continues, “Retail spaces will feature welcoming high ceilings and a large expanse of display glass to spark pedestrian interest and provide a safe, engaging revitalization of the BART Plaza.”

At this point it is unclear how the project intends to comply with the affordable housing requirement, though the plan states that no residents will be displaced by the project. The 16th Street and Mission area has the highest concentration of Single Room Occupancy Hotels in the Mission.

Peter Vaovasa, from Walgreens, said he likes the neighborhood he lives and works in, but doesn’t think much of the project. “It’d be nice if they clean up the BART,” he said. “We need to fix more of the community.”

When asked what he would do if he lost his job over the project, he shrugged and said matter-of-factly, “Find more work.”

The project still needs to file development applications and make its way through the approval process.

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  1. The resounding defeat of 8 Washington demonstrates the distressing lack of vision and leadership of the Planning Dept and shows how out of touch the Planning Director is with the needs of the City and shows the ineffectiveness of oversight and planning for the northeast portion of the City. For a Director who unabashedly claims credit for projects currently under construction which were approved and awards received for programs authored prior to his tenure, the overwhelming mandate against a major project which was approved under his tenure obviates any claim that competent and understanding stewardship exists at the Planning Department. The Mayor should take note. Time for change

  2. I dont think that people are really arguing that we dont need more housing. The argument is really about the type of people the buildings are being build for.

    We dont need more rich people here. Its obvious from many of their comments that they are exactly the type of rich, callous, shallow and narrow minded people that many fear will soon be the face of San Francisco.

    There’s already many cities in the country run by rich people. Where everything is dull and expensive.

    Does America really need more conservative, boring, racist, sexist and homophobic places?

      1. Hey Johnny,

        I dont measure success by the amount of money or things I possess. That’s the difference between us. And why wealthy people in general are all those things I pointed out.

        Because no one with a million dollars in America is ever looked at as a loser or a failure. And that’s a lie and a shame. Because if most of them were worth their bank statements the planet would be a much more amazing place.

        The human thing to do would be to look beyond yourself.
        But losers dont often find time for other people. They actually get a rush from being dicks.

        And yes America can do without more dicks.

        1. OK, Matt, so your view that rich people are somehow bad and bigoted is based on your own personal world view and not on any substance, statistics or evidence?

          That’s interesting because my perception is quite different i.e. that wealthy people tend to give a lot more than they take, and are extremely generous of their resources to help others.

          But that isn’t a good ideological fit for anyone who wishes to engage in class warfare, so perhaps that’s the real problem here. An inconvenient truth, evidently.

          1. Hey Im not about to start a war over rich kids wasting their parents money to live in a soulless hotel.

            I just don’t believe the fallacy that $=good.

            We are on the same planet but live in different worlds. And you see the world the way you want to. You can afford to.

            But what you seem to not want to understand is that some people don’t want to live in a glass hotel or go to expensive restaurants or wait a half hour in a line for ice cream or a bad cup of coffee. To some people (myself included) that seems like a tiny version of hell.

            What people without money are feeling right now is that they are being deprived of a choice. That the choices of a few are affecting the many and that is not why we all live in San Francisco.

            P.S. I know you know that those generous resources of yours are tax deductible.

          2. The great myth that the poor use to comfort themselves is that their poverty is all the fault of others and, in particular, those who are not poor.

            It never occurs to them that the rich become rich through making better decisions, while the poor become or remain poor by making bad decisions (and that includes the kids of rich people who f*** up).

            If you choose to be poor because you want to pursue art rather than, say, go into finance or tech or the professions, then take responsibility for that decision. You cannot blame the successful for failing economically. Rather, they provide you with the opportunities that, for whatever reason, you declined to take.

            Oh, and a 40% tax deduction on $10K still costs me 6K.

          3. The last comment you made below makes all my points.

            Success is relative and the fact that you have to make a case that you are a winner only shows how shallow and unsatisfying your lifestyle is.

            You have failed to understand what I am saying because it goes against all the fallacy your life is built around. Your a failure not because you will never actually hear or understand what I am saying, but because you wont even try.

            Only a loser would believe the things you are saying. And Im not saying this to be cruel, but because I feel sorry for people like you.

            Keep it up. Have a horrible life.


          4. LOL, Matt, so your best riposte is that “only a loser would disagree with Matt”?

            That’s it?

            “Have a horrible life”?

            Why the hate? Can you not debate economics without losing control and your temper?

  3. Here’s what a properly educated real estate con man sounds like when he gets a little steamed 😉 I’ve copied down a few of my favorite “John” quotes. Enjoy!
    “We cannot afford not to build out.”

    “…jobs will be created”

    “That store is an eyesore, a magnet for crime, a waste of valuable air rights and it needs to move elsewhere.”

    “…they want the Mission frozen in time like it is some low-end theme park”

    “…higher rents often mean more eclectic and interesting stores”

    “The evidence that the poor do better in wealthier places is everywhere you look”

    “Sadly, there is a small sub-section of the far left that idolize criminals and any one who fails.”

    “Never under-estimate the power of envy.”

    “I would suggest to you that you haven’t even seen the beginning of the real (re)development.”

    “The city moved on and left you behind. Accept it with some grace and dignity.”

    “The tenant mob need to stop trying to punish those of us who take risks to provide housing, and start talking about how much we need not to Ellis their asses.”

  4. I teach at the elementary school just around the corner. Improvements at that corner would be great, but a ten story building? Please, no! Our postage stamp-sized playground would be sunk in shadows all day long. Our greening project plants would probably wither away. Build something, yes–we do need housing in the Mission. But build small!

  5. I teach at the nearby elementary school. I’d love to see some improvements in the area, but a ten-story building? Please, no! I’d hate to see our postage stamp-sized playground sunk in perpetual shadows. Without sunlight, our greening project would probably be doomed, too. Develop, yes; we need housing. But build small.

  6. This is a horrible proposal. It’s way out of proportion for the area. It would create a precedent for other high rises to be built in the mission. Look what’s happening now near Market and the Castro. Several (luxury) high rises are going up, blocking views, light and forever, negatively changing the landscape of the Castro. Who benefits? The developers who pay off politicians and wealthy future residents. That’s why it’s important to stop projects like the one at Mission and 16th. Don’t be fooled — It will totally destroy the vibe of the Mission. It will not help those displaced or provide housing for the poor. That’s also why you should vote no on B&C.

    1. Word.

      There’s going to be an avalanche of justifications for this project made by paid commenters (the sanitized term for this kind of deception is “media relations”).

      People who care about this city need to stay focused on the simple truth: development benefits developers, period.

        1. But they did not infest the commons with their propagandists like you do here and the SFBG. You all own the political process, but like the Christians at 16th BART, you all never just shut the fuck up and leave us alone in our communities, real or virtual.

          1. The majority in SF generally support the development of new homes, business and jobs.

            You are free to object to anything and, it seems, everything. But as John Lennon might have said: “Development is what happens while you’re busy protesting”

          2. I’ve no idea, but you will not billionaire neighbors to spend hundreds of thousands in the Mission like there is in Telegraph Hill.

  7. This WILL effect residents here even if no residents are evicted. Five to ten stories at The Bart Station will block the sun and turn my sunny apartment into a cave. Also, I hate to think about the increase in pedestrian and car traffic in the area with 351 new units. Not to mention that this building is ugly and completely clashes with the character of the neighborhood. Sorry, but I prefer the homeless folks and addicts who populate these corners.

    1. We can thank Eric Quezada for throwing our corner of the North Mission under the bus for the affordable housing and poverty nonprofits.

    2. Sorry, but your hyperbole is ridiculous. This proposal is directly over the fastest and most efficient subway service in SF. BART was put through the mission with the intention of upzoning the area to take advantage of the rapid transit.
      Its embarrassing that its taken 40+ years to even start that process.

      1. Except that BART does not go anywhere where there are many jobs in a way that is cost comparable and not already served by Muni.

        Scattered job sites poorly served by regional transit cannot be basis for TOD.

        1. That’s why the development needs parking, although you were arguing the opposite before.

          Get your story straight. Either the transit is an issue, in which case we can have higher density.

          Or it needs parking.

          1. I’m saying we don’t need the development if it needs parking because transit sucks and it was upzoned predicated upon transit replacing auto use. TOD is a crock.

          2. No, the transit means that we can build higher and denser there, and should.

            The parking is needed because units will probably not sell without parking. And because the proximity to 101 and 280 is also significant.

          3. That’s the scam, we built a train line therefore we can lard its entirety up with development only where profitable–note there is no 10 story TOD at Newark BART. It takes 90 min by transit to get to most work sites outside of San Francisco, transit is not a viable option for most. It should be, but that would require significant investment that is not forthcoming nor imagined. TOD is a crock.

  8. I think most people that are supporting this development are those that pass through into bart and out. I saw folks petitioning in the castro to clean up 16th street plaza

    NIMBY=People who live and are vested in the community. Connected through history, family and community.

    I say careful what you ask for. You may be next to be thrown out. You could be a business or resident. Some of the businesses
    that are supporting to clean up the plaza think they will get more business. These are mostly minority owned mom and pop shops. Mark my word they will be the next to be thrown out if that development comes in. Rents will skyrocket in the area for commercial space. Property owners will see this as a gold mine and will want to get in on the money making. They’ll want to rent to high end restaurants who could pay more rent and such that will serve the richer folks that come in.

    I know people don’t give a crap about hurting people or businesses as long as they feel safe
    in the 5 minutes they walk in and out of the plaza.

    Renters in the area will be next.

    This development will not clean up the plaza.
    With all the condos coming into the mission and folks being thrown out crime is up in the Mission.

    If you really want to clean up the plaza instead of throwing inocent hard working people out. You should engage those that live there and work with them. Team up with the non-profits that provide services. The local shool in the area had a campaign for a drug free zone. Not everyone you see there is a criminal. It should come from the inside out not outside in. Mission Neighborhood Centers is a great model. They worked with the homeless they serve and the neighbors to work together and they did. You don’t see problems there anymore.

    Work with people who have history here. Everyone wants a clean, healthy and safe neighborhood.

    This is the wrong way of doing this and will hurt those that have nothing to do with the crime. The businesses that will be closed for the development are real families with kids and
    and bills. Two restaurants will be displaced that serve the local community and will lose thier complete investment. They are humans.
    Animals get treated better.

      1. Because it threatens to displace community serving businesses like the Walgreens that has been there since long before the chain stores began to eat communities for lunch.

        1. Nonsense, there are other Walgreens close by, and they will probably take over another property anyway.

          A single floor structure there is inappropriate.

          1. You are so invested in heights, probably to compensate for other anatomical shortcomings, that you equate not displacing Walgreens with demands for a single story structure. The issues of height and displacement are orthogonal. Go look that word up.

          2. I notice you always use long or obscure words when losing a debate.

            The city’s zoning calls for higher densities near BART and other transit routes. What part of that don’t you understand?

          3. I’ve noticed you always claim that other people are losing the debate when you’re losing the debate.

          4. If you haven’t won the debate here after posting non-stop all week-end about this, the chances are that you will not.

            Go out and get some fresh air. Oh wait, it’s 16th and Mission.

          5. I’ve lured you all from the SFBG over here, in that sense I’ve won because I am commanding your pathetic attentions. The contest will be won via an organized community.

          6. I’d say that I’ve gotten your attention because you insist on replying to every one of my posts here, obsessionally.

          7. This project effects our community, that I will defend against developer propaganda as espoused by corrupt voices like yours.

          8. You are not defending anyone or anything. You are merely clogging up a website because that is all have got left, now that the progressive community has ostracized you.

            Most people want the 350 new homes more than they want the Mission frozen in time like it is some low-end theme park.

          9. You all swarm on any website where community folks discuss development issues to clog the discussion with developer propaganda.

          10. Bit I am a “community folk” (sic) discussing development issues.

            You appear to assume that everyone in our community opposes every new development. But that is a minority view.

            The silent majority opposes the attempts of a noisy minority to try and impose their will.

            Ask your self why you almost always lose this battle? It’s because the community are not NIMBY obstructionists like you.

          11. What’s inappropriate is the jobs that will be lost because six businesses will be displaced. It means that people will lose their jobs.

          12. Far more jobs will be created, including all those construction jobs.

            Development projects create incredible revenues. 8-Wash is estimated to contribute 350 million in extra tax revenues, if built.

            We cannot afford not to build out.

      2. Its not just Walgreens the project will extend further down 16th and displace two restaurants and a local bar. The increase in rent that will come if they build for the area will skyrocket. Its nothing new and has been happening in the mission and San Francisco. How many jobs will be lost at Walgreens?

        1. But presumably there will be stores in the new complex.

          And higher rents often mean more eclectic and interesting stores. It’s not like Mission Street needs one more bar, taco joint or drug store.

          While 500 new residents means that local businesses will do better.

          1. The businesses will also be priced out and get evicted. So its ok to dump people for more wealthier ones? Thats very wrong.

    1. You guys keep saying “talk to the community, talk to the community”, well I’ve spoken to plenty of people in the mish about it, inc. many Latinos. News flash: Latinos don’t like getting mugged or dealing with skanky drug dealers as much as anyone else living in the mission. What a revelation.

      I mean I know it’s a tough call, but so far the consensus is: tech/google bus peeps > drug dealers and miscreants.

      1. Sadly, there is a small sub-section of the far left that idolize criminals and any one who fails. At the same time they express hatred for the successful and those who create prosperity.

        It’s a form of inverted snobbery.

        The rest of us want to see the neighborhood improving and large-scale capital investment is the best proven way to achieve that.

        1. Are you saying that working class and lower income people are failures? Because that is how I interpret your attacking comment.

          Also, you might want to define “far left” or else acknowledge your statement as red-baiting, which is as indefensible as the rising tide, wealth creators, poor are better off here narrative you (and others) keep pushing.

          Let me guess. You equate neighborhood improvement with rising property values and rising rents because you are part of the minority that owns property in the Mission. Your vision of improvement is the replacement of one class of people with a richer one.

          1. That’s all they’ve got, ad hominem, race baiting and baiting anyone who is to the left of tea party libertarian right as a leftist. Who needs to be accurate when the goal is to thread the needle and cash the check?

          2. Not at all. the point was more that an ideology that worships criminals, druggies, the homeless, insane and unemployed is not going to bring the prosperity that the Mission needs to solve it’s severe social problems.

            But yes, inbound investment is the best hope for those who are failing

          3. You are almost definitely the same guy who comments incessently on with ad-hominem and other baiting attacks and is clueless about the proper use of apostrophes.

          4. landline, it will probably profit you and help you develop credibility if you avoid making speculative attacks on anyone here who takes a different viewpoint.

            And instead focus on the topic and the issues.

            As such I do not intend to grace your accusation with a response.

          5. Your strawman arguments that say we’d better do whatever the boosters say or else we want everything that you find offensive don’t play.

          6. No, Marcos, my remarks are restricted to this project, which is an eyesore with no architectural merit, and the space can be much more productively utilized with a new development.

            Maybe the new building could have, you know, windows?

          7. Whatever, John, anon, Guest or whatever else you want to call yourself.

            Keep up the labeling of people you don’t like as “failures” and “far-left.” That ought to win you friends and influence.

            I look forward (actually I don’t) to your next non-response response.

          8. I really think that you need to seek out professional help, medical or psychological if looking at a low slung building that meets residents’ needs makes your eyes sore.

          9. No, anyone whose eyes hurt when they see poor people, mentally ill people, homeless people, drug addicts or a low slung building needs help to stop the pain, a pain that is pathological, neither normal nor natural, and is not shared by most other observers. Get the help you need.

          10. Seriously, get your eyes fixed, the neighborhood looks just fine to most of us right now, nothing sore about it.

          11. If you think 16th and Mission has nothing wrong with it, you have no credibility. As others have said here, it’s somewhere between skanky and dangerous.

          12. With an estimated 200,000 people moving to SF in the next 30 years, and up to 2 million more to the Bay Area, I would suggest to you that you haven’t even seen the beginning of the real (re)development.

          13. You’ve lost dozens of battles for every one where you might have prevailed. Otherwise why I have seen hundreds of projects go ahead in the Mission, SOMA and elsewhere?

      2. Your right but we all know that we are the first to be thrown out with “The Trash”
        Why have two extremes? The middle working class are the ones being thrown out. Wake up!

  9. I’ve lived behind this “cesspool” for 11 years, and yeah, it is a cesspool. Not just the plaza, of course, but the surrounding blocks and the “support staff” that feeds the pool. People lurking in doorways and shadows, doin their own thing, or waiting for the next idiot to walk down the street chatting away on their iphone and jump them.

    It definitely sucks to come out of bart and witness any of the wonderful things that one might come across – but that is city living. Deal with it or move elsewhere.

    Sorry those of you that may have had your perfect night out in the mission ruined by some fucked up person demanding spare change from you or busted your car window because you left your laptop in there while you were at Tacolicious.

    There are some pretty awful pockets in the mission, and it’s always going to be that way, no matter how many ivory towers are built.

    If developers continue to put up blockades between the haves and have-nots, shit is going to hit the fan. It was fairly easy to push out the latinos, then to boot the artists and eclectics out, but the drug fueled dispossessed are not going to go out without a fight…

    And yeah, the people that work at walgreens are pretty amazing. They have to deal with a lot of shit there, but they put on a smiling face and greet the next customer warmly. It would be sad to see them go.

    1. Latinos are not out. 48 percent in the mission still.
      We are tax payers, voters, renters and property owners and will continue to be here in the Mission. We are immigrants, chicanos, professionals, working class and we are a market.

      The Latino population is up in San Francisco.

      1. Better to not think in race terms at all.

        What does it matter what race the residents of any neighborhood are? It’s borderline racist to even consider such a factor.

        1. No one talked about the blacks pushed out the city. Only 2 percent city wide left. Why hide what it happening and to who.

          1. Unless you are suggesting that we should adopt a quota system for who lives where, then the percentage of different races in any locality is not interesting or important.

            Many Bay Area blacks prefer to live in places like Oakland and Richmond where there is a larger contingent of blacks, and I see nothing wrong with that. Nor do I complain that there aren’t enough whites in those places. It’s a non issue.

            Nobody pushes anyone out of anywhere. But people do make informed decisions about which city and neighborhood most suits them.

        1. Marcos,
          Are you Latino? Marilyn Morales is a Latina correct?
          A latino woman owned your condo at one point
          $435,000 Resale 04/12/2002 B: Marc Salomon, George Aluska BA: N/A
          S: Richard Bargetto SA: N/A
          N/A Resale 04/07/2000 B: Richard Bargetto BA: N/A
          S: Richard Ruvalcaba, Richard Bargetto, Marilyn Morales

  10. I will prob die in the Mission so just get used to me. I am 29 and lovin life. Ain’t nobody can take away my happiness but God . I will read these comments another day but for now God bless.

  11. I still live in da Mission , I know that makes a lot of people upset. Why? I do not know … Only their own hearts can answer that question . I’m just living and you want to hate me for living every year of my life here, IN THE MISSION… Intimidation tactics are everywhere in the Mission trying to push and squeeze people out. I’m just minding my own living my own , I was born in St. Luke’s and live a few blocks away which is awesome. God is good.

  12. Article puts cost of project at $82 million.

    Developer will sell 351 condos for at AT LEAST an average of $1/2 million apiece… Comes out to sales revenue = $175 million.

    Profit = $93 million.

    $93 million profit is enough to grease every politician and community group in the Mission and in SF city government. Plus, there’s plenty in the project budget to spread around to connected contractors, PR firms, law firms, unions, etc.

    Every powerful person in the SF government / real estate industrial complex is going to bank something off this.

    This project Is not about “smart growth” or solving housing shortages. As usual, it’s about powerful people harvesting money from chumps.

    This project will not solve housing cost hyperinflation. On the contrary, it will add fuel to the fire and make it worse.

    1. You have provided a good economic and political analysis. I think your estimate of $500,000 sales price per condo is too low, which means even more profit for the developer.

      Meanwhile, the publically owned land across Mission Street sits idle, screaming out for a large scale housing development affordable to the poorest residents of San Francisco. How loud would the voices of opposition be from “pro-development” folks if the SFHA put 351 units in the spot of the closed school? Real NIMBYism.

      I’ve lived here long enough to remember the outcry about the subsidised development at 21st and S. Van Ness, which turned out really nice and fits in with the architectural style of the neighborhood unlike these hideous condo developments that don’t even pretend to be for people who live here or to fit in with the physical character of the neighborhood.

      A five-story deeply affordable housing development with additional community amenities like a playground, other open space, and commercial space would be a great addition on the public land (and on the site of the proposed condo development if the existing building must be replaced).

    2. This is why any coalition that fights this project has to exclude any nonprofit community group that gets any money from the City or developers. Our community has been screwed too many times by these nonprofiteer operators.

  13. I also live in the Mission and walk through the 16th and MIssion area dozens of times per week. I don’t think anyone on here is really “pro-crime” and I think people need to be cognizant of the fact that there’s a lot more people who walk/live/whatever in that area than the people who hang out on the corner. Every day I see people shopping, Latina moms with their kids, all sorts of people living their lives, going about their business, etc. What about them? Too often this conversation devolves into perceived blight OR shit for rich(er) people….is it really that black and white? Just something to ponder…

    1. I’ll rather have poor, disabled, mentally ill drug users hanging out at the plaza than the incessant weekend bleatings of the Latino proselytizing Christians.

  14. Excellent news!

    Finally a developer willing/able to take on a major condo project in The Mission! This would bring about a huge improvement to that section of District 9.

    Mission St between 16th & 24th is the worst section of SF. There is no community. Just the many empty storefronts, rundown tenements, blighted SROS, vacant buildings; drug dealers/users, pimps, hookers, gang members, vagrants, & other criminal elements; plus filth all over the place.

    The market is pretty good though. Maybe they can move into the new building.

    City Hall – Keep the eye on the prize. This certainly would be a win to the neighborhood. It definitely would upgrade the area. Think of South Beach, Hayes Valley, the Embarcadero before/after the freeways came down. Now all thriving, walking, tree-lined, safe, safe neighborhoods!

    1. also hard working Latinos, Asians and Whites, Great neighborhood serving businesses. Lots of working class families, non-profits that serve the community.

      1. Blacks don’t work hard? Why consider race at all?

        Why are non-profits more desirable than for-profits? They are all jobs.

        Working class is good but so are all the other classes.

        1. There is a class war and only one class is fighting it and winning says no less of a capitalist than Warren Buffet himself. The unrich are dwindling in San Francisco, we need housing for them not for ephemeral, itinerant techies.

    2. South Beach is unlivable, a sterile uninviting neighborhood that should stand as a warning for all other neighborhoods as to what kind of places today’s professional planners plan for. If you want to live in the suburbs, why not move there? Most of us are in the Mission because we want to live in a City, not a suburb.

  15. That Marcos character really cracks me up, I luv the hypocrisy! Basically a tech dude, who owns a home in the mish, and a NIMBY. It would be funny if the hypocrisy was ironic, but no, the blinders are clearly on.

    Just how do you propose low density, affordable housing will be built in SF? The city doesn’t seem to have too many parcels to create this. Private developers already have to comply with affordable units/in lieu for any new developments. If you increase that number then developers will only build luxury condos to mitigate their costs.

    All over Europe you see high density housing near transit corridors (I was just in Vienna yesterday and experienced this; and it works great.) that approach will certainly help. SF will always be expensive, but adding a lot more units will retard the exploit ion in prices.

    There clearly is no obvious solution that will: preserve existing low density character and create a lot of affordable units, unless the government actively super imposes public housing. And we all know how successful that was: people don’t integrate and eventually the run down bldgs get raised, like what happened with Valencia gardens and the Cesar Chavez projects.

    So outside of a few token solutions for poor people, yes, many will need to go outside of SF in the future. The divide between the new SF and the existing poor is just incredible, and no social engineering will resolve that.

    I sympathize with those lamenting change in the hood, but cities are entities that change. No group is entitled to own a neighborhood. This notion that the mission is “Latino” is just a straw man that further divides. An Irish contractor (and there are lots in the city) can claim that they are reasserting their heritage in the mish by buying and remodeling low rent buildings.

    However everything plays out, the mission certainly isn’t getting boring anytime soon. $5 lattes side by side with $2.50 papusas…and the battle continues.

    1. You’re right. Everyone should just chillax and let the developers turn a diverse vibrant city into a food court for rich techies.

      1. Marcos is a white tech worker who used his money to outbid locals and hispanics to buy a condo in the Mission.

        And now he complains about white tech workers gentrifying the Mission?

        1. He owns a condo just slightly under a million in an area where the median income is 26k. How is that not the very definition of gentrification?

          1. Gods forbid anyone live in a neighborhood for almost 25 years, work hard, save up and buy a house with eviction relocation compensation before prices exploded.

          2. I think bob’s point is that it behooves you to affirmatively declare your conflict of interest.

            350 new condos very close to where you own a condo will depress the value of your unit.

            If you were a politician, you would recuse yourself from the issue, not advocate against it 24/7

          3. I have no direct conflict of interest. Housing prices will rise in San Francisco, macro conditions being equal, irrespective of local changes to supply and demand because demand is inelastic relative to supply. We cannot build our way out of San Francisco’s housing/jobs structural imbalance, but developers can build their way to the bank.

          4. Of course there are other factors that affect the value of your RE investment.

            But suppressing supply in your own immediate area is one of them.

    2. Tim Colen from the HAC is in the house, a real developer lobbyist whose job it is to attack anyone who has his number. Almost everything that the nicer neighborhoods of the City don’t want is already in our north mission back yards. Tim Colen lives in a single family home with a two car garage in the heights near Forest Hill and has the audacity to call long term urban dwellers NIMBYs.

    3. “An Irish contractor (and there are lots in the city) can claim that they are reasserting their heritage in the mish by buying and remodeling low rent buildings. ”

      Sorry as someone with both Irish and Mexican background from the Mission I call BS on this comment. What does the above mean?

    1. For those who don’t have time to read the article, I’ll summarize: Letting the rich do whatever the hell they want will benefit the poor. We promise!

      1. Generally speaking, the poor in wealthy places are better off than the poor in poor places.

        So all this emphasis on “inequality” really misses the bigger point, and in fact is usually just envy dressed up as concern.

        1. I recognize you from with the same concern trolling about poor people, rising tide, bake a bigger pizza etc., etc.

          No matter how many websites you post comments on, empirical evidence does not support your narrative.

          And the charge of envy towards those that seek equity and fairness is baseless name calling.

          1. Because only one person could possibly hold an opinion that disagrees with you?

            The evidence that the poor do better in wealthier places is everywhere you look. The poor in the west are far richer than the poor in the rest of the wiorld.

  16. Fifty years ago, when blacks moved into white neighborhoods, it was called integration. And it was depicted by progressives as a good thing. Now, when whites move into a Hispanic neighborhood, it’s also integration, yet progressives depict it as a bad thing.

    Perhaps the amenities that come with gentrification, such as lower crime rates, cleaner streets, higher property values, improved public services, better schools, proliferating retail and entertainment offerings, and more attentive politicians come at too high a price for those who are displaced. But to perpetuate squalor, in order to protect an economic diversity, is morally questionable at best.

      1. San Francisco’s wealth provides substantially greater public benefits to the poor than they’ll find in a place like Bakersfield. But that wealth needs to be generated somehow and usually in a manner not to everyone’s liking.

        1. Yes, this incessant focus on inequality really distracts from the much bigger point – that increased prosperity percolates down to all sectors of society.

          With Detroit, Stockton and Vallejo in bankruptcy, and Oakland quite possibly following them, it is refreshing to note that San Francisco is nowhere close to being in default, and that is attributable to the generators of prosperity here in IT, finance, real estate and biotech.

          Having Zuckerberg in the Mission increases inequality, but in a good way.

        2. If that was only true. In bad times we blame the poor and cut programs in good times you get rid of them that is the realty we are dealing with. I’ve lived long enough to learn.

  17. My son walks through this area every day on his way to school– I would love to see this become a safer place!

    1. How many cars will spill out onto Capp Street, 15th, Mission and the freeway as many of these workers get into their cars for commutes to points south? How much safer will that make the Marshall scholars?

      1. I trust my son to be as responsible as he can when he crosses streets and I still always worry, but what really REALLY scares me is the violence and drug dealing in this area.

  18. These are more likely to be rentals than condos. And 12-20% affordable units mean that some people who otherwise couldn’t afford it will be able to live in the Mission. It looks like from the drawings that the 10 story building won’t abut the school. This looks like a good way to house a few hundred people right at a BART station, and perhaps make the BART plaza a safer place. To anyone who is worried that this project will gentrify the Mission, that horse has left the barn.

  19. Decades of NIMBY-ism has created the current (and irreversible) lack of affordable housing.

    At this point, the only things that can alleviate San Francisco’s housing crunch is a massive building boom, which will change the character of the city, or a massive, massive economic calamity, which would destroy the wealth that is currently driving the high demand for housing – and would also destroy the character of the city.

    This is not a rich vs poor issue really. Rather, an entrenched, inflexible population is imposing an entry cost to San Francisco’s new residents that only the rich can afford.

  20. The heartful, interesting and authentically diverse SF has been dead since the late 1990s. You need only drive or ride along Mission from 7th to Chavez to see what’s ALREADY being done to this area. I used to live near there until quite recently, got fed up with the overcrowding and filth and moved on. Glad I did. Mission St and Valencia St (and soon SVan Ness etc) are ALL going to look the same in 10-15 years, and will be filled with ageing techies. Sad … but perhaps no worse than how SoMa and Mission were before.

    1. Dead since the 90’s…and yet the city continues to be an attractive place to live.

      I wish people weren’t so afraid of change.

  21. This increase of housing supply is like adding a new lane on an LA freeway: conventional wisdom holds that it MUST reduce congestion. But it never does.

    No matter how many more lanes they build, LA freeways are still congested.

    The somewhat counterintuitive reason is that in such scenarios, increased supply causes increased demand, which quickly outstrips the supply.

    Ecologically, it’s similar to an algal bloom or a locust swarm: a positive feedback loop resulting in rapid destructive change followed by collapse.

    The solution is to build attractive new cities where there is nothing but trees. The Sierra foothills have millions of acres available… Start fresh and create something beautiful, instead of destroying existing city fabric.

    For the first time in recent history, there are companies like Google and Facebook with the cash to make it happen.

    City-building has been the most noble of human endeavours for thousands of years. The time to act is now, billionaires. Do you want to be remembered for selling ads and autoclaving the Mission District, or for CREATING great cities?

        1. I’m doing fine and philanthropic to boot–I know the truth hurts, but denial is worse than confronting reality. You can;t have change for the better until you accept that the status quo is truly flawed–16th and Mission is truly flawed on many levels, human, community, safety, sanitation. Certainly there are people in distress there that need compassion and help, but acting like that location is not a magnet for dangerous and anti-social behavior is like telling a sick or dying man that nothing is wrong and she just wait things out.

          You confusion directness, honesty and crirticism with the absence of compassion–who’s making the bigger mistake? CLealry you like the staus quo–I’m honest enough to say its awful at 16th and Mission.

          1. No, you are saying that insects and microorganisms are superior to people that make you uncomfortable. Not philanthropic at all, just mean spirited.

          1. The more you concentrate more suburban transplants near a BART station near poor folks, the more crimes of opportunity will happen. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

        2. you know what, you’re right. I am not cool with being around a dude:

          1. with a gun or knife in my face;
          2. that has not bathed in 6 months, who clearly would be better off (for everybody concerned) if he was in an institution getting treatment;
          3.using a public place as his toilet;
          4. driving up and down the street spraying the sidewalk and folks walking by with bullets;
          5. who menace others going about their daily lives, riding BART, going to work or just passing by.

          If you are so comfortable with those folks, you should invite them over and offer them “services.”. I’m comfortable dealing with anybody, but when people act like lower life forms, telling yourself something isn’t wrong, isn’t compassion or being nice–it’s arrogant foolishness feed by denial. I prefer to live in the real world, acting like there isn’t a human problem at 16th and Mission driven by anti-social humans is like saying the sun won’t rise toomorrow.

          Face facts, don’t think in clever sound bites, there’s more to the world than that.

          1. I spend a lot of time at the 16th and Mission BART plaza and have never faced any of the problems you list.

            Oh if everyone could have no problems, who wouldn’t enjoy that utopia. I deal with reality every day, and while I might not want to trade places with some of my less fortunate neighbors, I’m not going to label them “lower life forms” or hope they get forced out of the neighborhood.

            I’m good at facing facts and also at recognizing bigots. And the fact is that you are a bigot, regardless of what worthy causes receive your “philanthropy.”

            May you enjoy the rest of your day without some “dude” bothering you.

          2. It’s real easy to call someone a bigot.

            But I’ve been at Mission and 16th when gunfire broke out with masses of innocent bystanders present and also seen a gun battle at 16th a Capp, just blocks away. These people are acting like lower life forms–I’m no bigot, far from it, but if you think not wanting to be around life threatening crime, profoundly unsanitary fellow humans or people who are in serious need of psychiatric help or detoxing is being bigoted, well, you’re entitled to your opinion for sure, but ask yourself, who’s being being naive? who’s seeing the world through PC rose colored glasses–forcing these kinds of folks into an appropriate institution, regardless of whether its a jail for criminals, a detox facility for the addicted or a mental health institution for the mentally ill, is the right call for them and for a broader swath of society in many cases–forcing all of society to live at some level of utopian mediocrity imposed by the inability of people unable to cope with or otherwise live peacefully in socety is not the solution.

            It’s easy to call someone a bigot, but much harder to face the fact that things are way wrong and in need of a real, serious fix, let alone get behind a real solution.

            Sometimes that fix requires curbing the liberty of individuals who, for whatever reason, refuse to meet even the most basic societal norms.

          3. You chose the words to describe fellow humans as “lower life forms,” inferior to locusts and algae, behavior of a bigot.

            I’m not denying there are people with problems, but running them out of the neighborhood won’t solve them. The money spent on this condo monstrosity could fund a lot of mental health services, feed a lot of hungry people, increase substance abuse treatment.

            Where are our 351 units of deeply affordable housing?

          4. “I spend a lot of time at the 16th and Mission BART plaza and have never faced any of the problems you list.”

            A man was shot on that corner 4 days ago. Three weeks earlier, a man was stabbed there.

            16th and Mission is an absolute disaster.

    1. This is the most wrong comment I have ever read on this blog.

      You’re advocating for suburban sprawl, something that has failed miserably in this country.

      1. No maam, I agree with you that suburban sprawl and car-centric design has been a disaster, in this and other countries..

        I’m advocating new CITIES, not suburbs. Nice ones, built from the ground up with transit and pedestrian-only zones as key design elements.

        In an ideal city, you wouldn’t even see a motor vehicle. Every need would be an enjoyable walk away, or maybe a quick subway hop. Cars would be stored underneath (a stairway or elevator away) for when you want to drive out of the city.

        This isn’t rocket science or science fiction. It’s a straightforward design and engineering problem..

      2. Either we do what the boosters say or we support exurban sprawl? Do you really think that anyone would choose between 16th and Mission on one hand and Tracy or Brentwood on the other?

    2. I dont understand, so we should add 0 new units to the city? Are you implying that no one else can move here? I just don’t follow the reasoning people like you are using.

        1. Ummm, maybe you should use your pet phrase on yourself. I like your straw man “either or” argument. Not really….

  22. Whether you like this proposed building and how it looks is one thing, that’s largely a matter of taste. But the side discussion in this article and comments string about affordable housing and reatining the character of the Mission is almost laughable. Let’s review the facts:
    1. 16th and Mission is about as crummy a place in SF that you can find: its full of filth, crime, homeless, alcoholic and drug addicted people and the occasional shoot out. If that’s the kind of “diverse” neighborhood you want, you’ve lost all manner of common sense, whatever your politics or cultural background.
    2. All of the talk about affordable housing requirements, letting people stay at their “current rents” or blocking housing development, is craziness. Whatever the good intentions of these policies, there can be no doubt that the net result of such govenrment intervention is that: less housing gets built, housing that is in place in poor areas deteriorates further along with the generla neighborhood and the housing that is already in place gets more expensive. Why does that happen? Duh, becaue these polciies restrict the supply of housing–scarcity drives up prices, regardless of whether your buying gas, drugs or housing–less to go around means higher prices–its not rockets science. Anybody that wants to 350 units in the middle of 16th and Mission should be welcomed as a hero for risking a fortune in a sketchy area, not pilloried as a “bleacher” of the community or obscene gentrifier.
    3. Finally, new construction and new tenants will demand better services in a lousy area, better businesses, including markets, pharmacies, service businesses and entertaqinment will salivate to serve poeple who will spend their money near their new homes and in a transit convenient location.
    This can’t be anything except a huge plus for SF and one its most difficult areas–let’s just hope the fools running the City don’t plan it to death or setroy the incentives for a really top notch developer to build.

    1. Or the shorter version: this condo development, twice as tall as almost any other building in the neighborhood, will serve as a giant carpet under which we can sweep difficult social problems like homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse and violence.

      Good that it is a big carpet because it will most assuredly add to the numbers of homeless people as it feeds the flames of rapid real estate speculation and housing costs.

      Does anyone really believe that once this thing is built and all these very wealthy people move to 16th and Mission, that those newcomers will tolerate the continued existence of SRO’s, some of the last housing options available to our very poor neighbors?

      1. You know that the nonprofits will take popular resistance to this crap project, leverage it as chits to get more money for themselves while agreeing to support the project while trashing the neighbors. Happens every time.

      2. And not building it will fix homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, and violence??? How about offering some of your own solutions instead of just objections.

        1. Displacement is not a solution, try again. Either we do what the boosters say or we oppose all solutions. Doesn’t this ever get tiring for you all?

          1. Displacing the Walgreens is my primary concern, bringing in a higher income crowd will displace existing community serving businesses with businesses catering to a more upscale clientele.

  23. God knows, we need more housing in this city, but if this is built, will it be real housing or just more high-priced pied-a-terres for wealthy out-of-towners? Also, why do all these condo projects have to be so ugly???? That corner is homely now, but I’m not sure this design is any better.

  24. OK, here’s what’s going to happen:

    #1) A few connected rich real estate sleazebags are going to get much richer. Some of the profit will benefit local prostitutes and cocaine dealers, but the vast majority will go into stocks, thus inflating the bubble further.

    #2) A few hundred programmers will buy overpriced low quality sheetrock cubicles. This will require several more white busses on the 101. Local bars will sell more $12 cocktails.

    the end

    1. I mean if you can’t build high density housing in and around heavy rail stations we are ridiculous

      We should just now allow any parking at all. This would make them a bit more affordable by design.

        1. Perhaps the Planning Commission could not approve these unless they have no parking and are designed without luxury features. The developer could get the hint then that these should be modest by design and this will keep them from being 1000 sq/ft places.

          After that though the market will have to decide how to allocate these and yes the buyers are going to be richer than average Mission renters just like the buyers of units all around this area that are being built.

          The more people who can buy units here the more likely they will stop spilling over into Mission Terrace and Sunnyside where I would like to buy a house but no longer can

          What is clear is the policies we have had for the last 20 years are a failure in SF

          1. Counterintuitively, it turns out that smaller units go for higher prices per square foot than moderate and larger units. The amenities, parking and luxury, are not as important as what the units will fetch on the market. There can be no parking with this project as it is surrounded by transit on two sides and an elementary school with an alley that serves it on the east.

          1. Yes, of course there will be parking. Just because it is next to a BART station doesn’t mean that people won;t need cars. BART really only has one line in SF and if you do not work close to that, BART is useless, especially as it doesn’t interchange well with Muni.

            And of course people need cars for their leisure activities as well.

            However, it is reasonable to assume that people living in this building will probably drive less than the average. You do not buy at 16th and Mission because you want a suburban lifestyle.

            But parking is a must have for new build. And access will be from Mission Street, I’d imagine, not the narrow street at the back.

          2. The NCT zoning prohibits curb cuts on Mission Street. At least Planning got that right. Egress probably won’t be on 16th either because of the 22/33 and congrestion. That puts it on Capp, right next to the elementary school. Nice work. This project needs to only be allowed to replace the existing parking footprint as maximum.

    2. actually, increasingly the jobs are moving to downtown — especially the mid-market area, which this housing project is well placed to support. While the Tech boom started with folks commuting south, more and more of it is happening in the city.

      1. Correct– a lot of it is moving to downtown to the areas that are beginning to be called (unfortunately) “Cloud Corridor.”

        1. I work in tech downtown, there are more of us there than ever before, but most tech jobs are still down south on the Peninsula and in the valley.

          1. Then we don’t build high density housing in a low density neighborhood where transit is already saturated.

            The south-East Bay along the Fremont BART line between Fremont and Hayward would be a good place to build out many more units to SF’s 45′ than you could with infill in SF. But the profits are not so high there, so you don’t see developers buying the Union City council and mayor’s races to ram through their get-rich-quick fly-by-night schemes that are ruining our neighborhoods and destabilizing our communities.

            Again, the boosters say do what we say or you don’t want to do anything anywhere.

          2. Wrong, it is city policy to build higher densities around transit centers, and if there is anywhere in SF that can absorb more density it is the surprisingly low density area at 16th and Mission right next to the most effective transit we have – BART.

            This development is exactly what the And if it negatively impacts the value of your Adair St. condo, then so be it.

          3. If it was just me, there would be no objection. But this development screws almost everyone, especially the students at Marshall Elementary. Why do you hate school children so?

          4. Marcos, my son goes to that school and I’m scared to death by the shooting that happened in this area. I don’t think you speak for the children or their parents.

    1. This will be the highest building between the Bayview Bank and Van Ness and Market. Section 101.1 of the Planning Code requires the preservation of neighborhood character and that implies hewing to scale.

      1. If that was followed through out the history of San Francisco we would still have “preserved” farms inside the city limits as there were when my grandfather was a kid.

        regardless I know there is not a precise definition but using the term “high rise” seems misleading in such a big city

          1. No it is a specific example in the same city literally two generations ago about 3 miles from this site

            Really relevant.

          2. The economics of two generations ago is wholly distinct from today’s finance economy. Reductio ad absurdum.

        1. I think you nailed it Zig! The point is that cities and neighborhoods change and adapt to the times. Nothing stays the same forever regardless of how hard we might try to hold on. Sad for some and happy for others. Quite frankly, that’s life!

      2. According to the article in the SF Business Times “The plans is in keeping with the Eastern Neighborhoods rezoning, which called for a 105-foot building along Mission and 16th streets.” I’m guessing that the rezoning effort was reviewed by the Planning Department?

        1. EN rezoning was conducted by Planning with consultations by developer lobbyists like SPUR and HAC. Chris Daly, who represented the North Mission was conflicted out when the boundary lines for the rezoning area were drawn close to his condo. No North Mission residents were allowed at the EN table. This is what “democracy” looks like in San Francisco.

          1. Yes, the East Mission Improvement Association kept their zonings reasonable. Planning did allow the non profiteers to the table, but they managed to organize the rest of the neighborhood against them which gave a free pass to Planning, SPUR, HAC and their developer patrons. Our lower income less white corner of the neighborhood was deemed the sacrifice zone.

    2. A ten story building can certainly be considered a high rise by some widely-used definitions (one of which states anything of 35+ meters/115+ feet to be a highrise)…but there is no single agreed-upon definition of what constitutes a highrise. Wikipedia says that in Hyderabad India, anything over just 4 stories is considered a highrise, and that in the US, the National Fire Protection Association considers anything over 75 feet to be highrise. And dictionaries pretty much invariably define highrises as buildings with “many floors”, but never specifying a number or height.

      But yeah, in the US at least, anyone who knows anything about construction/architecture/development, would probably not consider a 5 story building to be a high rise.

  25. Build more housing now. This is what we’re up against, folks:

    High density development immediately adjacent to major transit hubs is exactly what we need – more housing in locations where going without a car is a viable option.

    If you want somebody to blame for the outrageous rents we have today, blame the NIMBYs. Blame those who block development that doesn’t include parking. Blame those who won’t allow anything taller than three stories to be built. Blame those who think that if they can stall long enough, gentrification will somehow be reversed.

    This current approach where we provide subsidized housing for a handful (and there isn’t enough money for more than a handful) and leave everyone else to fend for themselves is obviously not working.

    1. Housing supply in San Francisco is inelastic relative to demand. No amount of new housing will measurably lower housing prices unless entitlement of that housing is conditioned on deep affordability, both in numbers of units and of range of income.

          1. Since most current San Franciscans will never be the high bidder for housing in this market, then they’r probably support allocating housing through another method.

      1. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.. can you provide support for your claim that no amount of new housing will impact housing prices? Something like this can’t be accepted at face value. Keep in mind I can’t claim with complete confidence that more housing is going to fix the problem either, but it’s something that the city hasn’t done in decades and it’s not up for debate that the amount of new housing added per year has been paltry at best.

        Given that the public subsidy on a single BMR unit (and it sounds like you’re calling for further subsidy) costs around $250k, can you explain how your proposal can realistically be scaled up to provide for those in need? Subsidizing 10,000 families carries a price tag of $2.5b. I just don’t see how this approach is feasible, given political and economic realities.

        1. You are making the claim that expanding the supply in San Francisco will arrest the increase in or possibly lower the price of housing in SF. Kindly substantiate your claim with back-of-the envelope figures on how many units we’d need to entitle over what time to put what amount of downward pressure for how long, what the city would look like and what would we do once that supply was absorbed. Back of the envelope, crayon rough models will suffice.

          1. It’s obvious and Econ-101 that price is the equalizer between supply and demand.

            More supply will, ceteris paribus, reduce prices.

          2. Right, it’s not an easy number to come up with. It’s why I donate to progressive urban policy organizations like SPUR that exist in significant part to study these sort of questions. It’s a worse problem for us than many cities, but it’s not a unique problem and it’s foolish to think there’s nothing to be learned by studying the effectiveness what other cities have tried.

            They’re a progressive organization that focuses on realistic solutions that can be achieved within political realities, and yes that means working *with the market* to find viable solutions so that developers can still make a buck while serving the public good. To me, that’s tremendously more valuable than SF’s tribe of idealists who have contributed to this mess ever since the 70s.

            They suggest that in order for the city to be affordable to the middle class, we need to add around 5000 units of housing per year for a sustained period of several years. For the past 20 years, we’ve built an average of around 1500 per year. Their director recently published an article in the Atlantic Cities tying together many of these points:

          3. Drawing a picture of yourself arguing via the waving of the hands on the back of a napkin in crayon does not cut it. Please provide an economic model based on your theory and current conditions that proves your assertion.

          4. Dwindling tribe of idealists… You’d think the manifest failure of their housing policies would quiet down the few that remain.

          5. San Francisco has built more housing in the past 10 years than it had in the past 50 years yet housing prices have risen along with the production of new housing. Absent causality, one could conclude that when SF did not build housing, prices did not rise as much. But there are greater forces in play such as Federal Reserve greater than loose monetary policy and the business cycles, that pay no attention to supply of housing.

          6. @marcos- Can you give us numbers on how much housing (housing units I guess?) has been built in the last ten years vs the last fifty, as well as the numbers of new jobs being created in the city/region and number of new people moving in?

          7. “In the pipeline headed towards completion” isn’t what you previously said. Sorry marcos, but it seems you can’t back up your claims/lies.

          8. Correct, puhlease, marcos is drawing a picture of himself arguing via the waving of the hands on the back of a napkin in crayon, and it does not cut it.

        2. @marcos
          please look at the SPUR article the ben linked to. These really are super smart and progressive folks who are seriously studying how to improve the city. They are not developers, they are not profiting from their work (they are a non-profit) — their Bias is clearly “what works” — and to that end they navigate past the emotionally-pleasing but unrealistic and unworkable approaches that are often advocated. The world is complex and simple answers rarely work (like “no new developments” — which has led us to the absurd prices we are seeing).

          And not everyone is greedy — as an example, I’m a homeowner — I will benefit if no new housing is built and prices continue to skyrocket. But I would rather see a healthy city — and that means more affordable units — and thus more high density development is required, which is not really in my best interest.

          solving tough problems like this requires stepping back from the emotions and being rational. The SPUR folks are the most rational thinkers on this topic that I have found to date. most other people are just knee-jerking — and being jerks in the process.

          1. SPUR are developer lobbyists, there is nothing progressive about them.

            SPUR is a neoliberal organization whose main technique is to get favorable laws passed to guarantee their funding base greater profits.

            SPUR is a nonprofit that lobbies to increase developer profits.

            SPUR was at the table in rezoning the North Mission as was the Housing Action Coalition. Existing neighbors were excluded. The lines drawn for the rezoning came close enough to Chris Daly’s home so that we had no political representation in the rezoning. Hence our neighborhood was the free-fire zone for craptacular new condos that look like they could be anywhere.

            I own a home within spitting distance of this project. There are some 500 units of new housing either built, in the pipeline or proposed within 500′ of our home. None of this plays well with the existing neighborhood.. The price and rental equivalence of our unit will rise irrespective of what is built. What I want to see is affordable housing built that respects the successful scale of a 107 year old neighborhood.

            SPUR just wants to make developers wealthy via the scam of transit oriented development, ensuring that no developers will be on the hook for the transit required to get people out of their cars.

          2. “solving tough problems like this requires stepping back from the emotions”

            it doesn’t sound like “marcos” is ready to do this. Really? Transit oriented development is a “scam?” Perhaps we should go back to building suburbs then.

            It’s sad that such a great organization like SPUR is being scapegoated by anti-development NIMBY groups in the city– the ones who live in denial and stubbornly try to block any sort of change or progress while screaming about preserving San Francisco of yesteryear, or who try to use public interest as an excuse to prevent any new housing that is too close to their property.

          3. We should start by defending Muni runtimes against hits taken from discretionary public entitlements. We should then plot out a plan to bring Muni up to the level where it competes favorably with private autos as well as upgrade the regional transit network to compete with long haul auto commutes. Until this happens, and we’re talking tens of billions of dollars in transit investment and billions in higher developer exactions, TOD is a joke. There are plenty of brown fields, think East Bay between Fremont and Hayward that are transit equidistant from most employers as the Mission is which could be built out to San Francisco’s 45′ and could address regional housing demand. Why is that not done? For the same reasons why developers avoid paying full freight for the impacts of their projects–not as profitable as possible.

          4. This notion that we do whatever the boosters say or we support everything that is wrong with the world is insulting.

          5. What about BART? It’s in SF and the rest of the Bay. I thought muni was only in SF? Aren’t a lot of housing developments happening near BART stations in the east bay? Are those TOD s?

          6. The justification for density around transit is TOD, but if the transit is not there to serve existing residents, how can we expect new residents to take the transit that will be slower and/or more overcrowded with more people trying to use it? Can’t TOD without the “T.”

  26. The Planning code REQUIRES the project to provide active uses fronting on the BART plaza, there is no option.

    This 110′ building would cast shadows on the Marshall Elementary hardtop excuse for a play space year round.

    1. Wow, marcos, you are actually being honest for once. Kudos to you for stating your conflict of interest.

      1. My conflicts, if any, are indirect. The difference between doing what you say, doing nothing, and doing what I’d want are minimal to our interests.

        Now that that’s out there, why would residents allow developers to purchase the political system and wrest entitlements out of it that ruin our communities?

        1. Because most people want to see investment in our community for new homes and businesses, and development that will reduce crime and blight.

          Your way is to change nothing, and that is no policy at all. It’s inertia.

          1. Most people want housing, jobs, transportation and clean streets. The politicos who are forcing this housing on us are the ones who are taking our tax dollars and not delivering housing, jobs for existing Mission residents, transportation and clean streets.

            Residents are fed up with poor quality city services due to political corruption.

          2. marcos, you spend a lot of time and energy claiming that the residents want this and are fed up with that but, to my knowledge, you do not go around actually asking them. Rather you make claims based on assumptions of yours that are self serving.

            You certainly have not asked me and, if you had, you would know that I want major capital investment including new homes, stores, businesses and places of entertainment. I want higher, denser developments and a general upgrade in facilities and amenities.

            And the simple fact is that almost everyone wants projects like this. The investors make money, the city gains tax revenues, the people get more homes, and everyone wins. Except for the ageing hippie NIMBY’s who are forever clinging to a false memory of what they think were better times.

            If your NIMBY faux policies had any traction, I would not be able to see a forest of skyscrapers from my penthouse windows, nor the twin towers of Rincom Hill condos.

            Elsewhere I see you admitting that you have lost the development battle, and of course blame everyone else for that. And yet here, oddly and bizarrely, you cling to some weird vestige that you are a winner.

            The city moved on and left you behind. Accept it with some grace and dignity.

    1. Why, so that 5,265 more assholes can buy box-shaped condos for $1M/ea? More luxury condo developments do nothing for the overall rental market or housing demand. This is idiot economics brought to you by supply-side greed.

      1. Political corruption that has the politicized nonprofits cutting deals for their own cash flow that sacrifice the neighborhood on behalf of the developers is what we’re seeing here. Our progressive allies often aren’t.

      2. Would you rather that 5,265 more people compete for the existing housing stock with their $1m buying/renting capabilities?

          1. The market is segmented, just as sprawl does not compete with SF housing, there is no evidence that craptacular new condos compete with real San Francisco housing.

          2. Nonsense, Marcos. Demand for RE trickles down one segment at a time. Any realtor will tell you that. If I cannot buy here, I will buy there.

          3. It is beyond comprehension that anyone would choose between 8 Washington and a TIC or that anyone would choose between exurban sprawl in Tracy or Brentwood or the Mission. Preposterous!

        1. exactly! adding supply really does work.
          I know it is nice and comforting to be angry about change
          but you cannot change the reality of how markets work.
          price controls, subsidized housing, etc all cause slight distortions to the market, which often have surprising unintended consequences. Balancing supply and demand the the only effective way to bring prices under control

          1. Substantiate your claims with empirical numbers instead of the waving of the hands in deference to the deities of theoclassical economics. SF has built more housing in the past 10 years than in the previous 40 yet prices have skyrocketed. At what scale of new construction would that change and what would the City look like afterwards and how long would that last?

          2. Dear Marcos, you realize that asking people to do all this without backing up any of your own claims in as thorough a fashion just looks iffy and condescending.

            Maybe ask for this sort of empirical support of the professional planners and economists who have been trained to do provide it(hough it seemss like you may be distrustful of them)? If anything there simply isn’t a way to provide the thoroughness you demand in this type of a forum (unless I’m missing the “upload super-long report button).

            Throw around your fancy words all you want, you’re just alienating your audience and coming off as a know-it-all.

          3. I have been asking SPUR, of HAC of Planning for a decade now to substantiate their claims with the flimsiest wire frame back of the cocktail napkin numbers and they simply don’t have answers. All we get is more argument by “the waving of the hands” and appeals to the authoritative scriptures of theoclassical economics. Developer booster hacks coming down on residents for being condescending, that really takes the cake.

  27. This isn’t “cleaning up” BART plaza. This is just pushing the “problems” away into the next neighborhood.
    SF has really started catering to middle/upper class than ever…..I mean, more retail in the Mission??
    No wonder a lot of people are moving away….making this city a thing of the past…

    1. Yes, everyone is moving away. That’s why the rents are sky-high, stores are clamoring to move in, and you can barely walk down the street due to the crowds.


      1. Yep, everyone who made the city fun in the 90’s and earlier. The new folks are basically turning the Mission into Palo Alto.

      2. Tons of people in the middle class and lower class are moving away, due to the insane rents in this city these days. Even some upper class people are starting to leave, to get more bang for their buck elsewhere…the city is turning into nothing more than an urban playground for the wealthy. There are still more middle class and low income SF residents than wealthy ones, but the way things are going, that may not last much longer.

        That said, more housing is always good, because SF obviously needs tons of it. Nothing short of redeveloping entire neighborhoods with hundreds of highrise apartments, and/or annexing neighboring cities will let SF build all the housing it needs, resulting in significantly lower prices, but the current building boom will at least keep prices from increasing quite as fast as they would otherwise. There still are a couple neighborhoods where we could add a tons of new apartments without destroying historic buildings and such and pushing out a bunch of poorer residents (much of SOMA and Mission Bay comes to mind)…but there are always NIMBY types ready to complain about “neighborhood character” even in those places, and concerned about losing their views, or parking, or whatever (as if a big city is the suburbs or something), who get height limits reduced, resulting in fewer housing units built…that’s one of the main reasons housing in SF is so expensive. Historic preservation is good, and historic buildings are one of the things that makes SF so desirable. But people have been going overboard and preserving the city too much, at the expense of the housing supply and affordability.

        On the other hand, it’s sad to see yet another low-income part of SF get increasingly gentrified. There’s no way in hell this building will be affordable to the middle or lower classes (AKA the majority of the Mission’s residents) if it does get built. Hopefully something can change with the mentality of a lot of SF residents and, and height limit increases will be allowed, resulting in enough new housing to bring housing prices back from ultra crazy-land. I’m not talking highrises covering the sunset, or mission or Noe Valley, or whatever…even just building a ton of them in SOMA and Mission Bay would a help a lot.

        It’s hard to think that I can now barely afford to live in the city I was born and raised in, and that hundreds of thousands of other residents are feeling the same pressure from housing prices…i might be gone from SF soon too.

        1. It is impossible for San Francisco to zone for and entitle sufficient housing to absorb the speculative dollars that QE is dumping into the economy to keep prices from rising or lower prices.

    2. Sounds kind of like a lot of critics would prefer to keep outsiders out… hmmmm… maybe we should build a wall instead of building more housing!

        1. This revelation only strengthens Marcos’ arguments.

          His condo would certainly gain value by the “upscaling” of the area.

          So his opposition would seem to be based on principles rather than greed – an unusual and refreshing phenomenon!

        2. No, nurtisystem. anyone who owns real estate in a particular neighborhood will generally oppose new developments in that area, and for 2 reasons:

          1) The NIMBY thing. I’ve got mine and I do not want others do have what I have.

          2) The less supply of homes in my neighborhood, the greater the value of those homes that are here.

        3. I “win” economically either way. I’d rather everyone respect the neighborhood I moved into before the quake like I think that I’ve respected what was here before me during my time here. Our community is not YOUR opportunity site.

        4. We do not build the future by never changing the past. The Mission has been changing in all that time and will continue to do so in the future.

          If you have fought all those other developments as well, then you have clearly lost and not won.

        5. Put up 10 story luxury condos next to Tim Colen’s home or anywhere west of Divisadero and we’ll talk about NIMBYs.

        6. Nonsaense, Tim Colen is right on top of Forest Hill Muni Station that he could take to BART and on his commute. Oh, yeah, Tim Colen drives to work most days.

    1. Yeah, we should just make income requirements mandatory to live in SF. “Yo must make this much to live within the city limits.”

      If you think it’s a “cesspool” DON’T LIVE THERE! It’s one of the last places in the city the working-poor live. Stop trying to bleach SF to fit your cultural values and maybe if you really are just advocating for “improvements” why not ask the existing community what THEY want…novel, I know.

      1. I’ve lived within a block or less of 16th BART for 24 years now.

        Kindly refrain from disparaging our neighborhood based on your prejudices.

        1. I had two drug addicts exhale crack smoke right in my face at that corner. Don’t kid yourself, that corner is pretty nasty.

        1. Needing a solution implies first that you define the problem.

          A neighborhood changing isn’t necessarily a problem at all.

          That said, 16th and Mission is a high crime area and ideas that change that are surely welcome. Development and a general upgrading of the neighborhood seem reasonable in that context.

          I would worry much more if developers were NOT willing to invest here.

          1. Yes, a NIMBY who owns RE in this district would say that.

            I prefer to assess the project on its merits and, unlike you, I want to see more housing as well as an end to the eyesore.

          2. You really need to seek professional help for your oh, so sensitive peepers. This development will shift the “eyesores” from 16th BART to in front of Marshall elementary.

          3. The Marshall School will benefit from the reduction in criminal behavior at that location, and by the general uplifting of that block.

            You should seek medical help for your NIMBY obsession.

  28. I’m so excited about this! This could really help clean up the BART plaza, and is exactly the kind of high-density *right* at public transit that our city needs. It is large developments like this which will help keep housing costs down by brining many many new units onto the market. Those of us who want to see more affordable housing are very supportive of high density construction like this, as it is the only way to combat rising prices!

        1. Not overbuilding San Francisco for demand, for maintaining a diverse population for a diverse economy, for keeping the unique character that attracts people here and not shrouding an elementary school playground in perpetual shade in order to make a developer a raft of cash only to house itinerant highly paid tech workers.

          1. And heeeere come the “perpetual shade onto children” claims. Next up, “this project will kill puppies.”

            Tech workers are coming to SF whether we build for them or not. If we don’t then they’ll just bring their dollars to the fight for our existing housing stock (aka, higher rents).

          2. I think that schools and plays areas in poorer neighborhoods of color should have plenty of light and air just like in the whiter, better off neighborhood that I grew up in.

          3. @marcos, “perpetual shade” is a lot better than the prostitution, filth, drug use and violence that currently surround the school. I have lived a block from the school for 7 years and have witnessed some pretty horrific things in broad daylight, while school is in session. Cleaning up the BART plaza and eliminating the formula retail giants (Walkgreens, BK & Dollar Store) is the absolute best thing that can be done to foster community in that part of the neighborhood. That being said, (I know this isn’t popular opinion) I think that 10 stories is totally out of line with the surrounding buildings and should be modified.

          4. Will a Capp Street frontage with just a 105′ wall with a parking egress be the safest thing for kids? This idea that building new housing will magically clean up the BART plaza is pure fantasy. Most likely, it will just push the problem around the corner and into Marshalls’ lap.

          5. marocs, the project usually goes underground with projects like this.

            Example: The old Falettis had an outdoor parking lot but tis replacement has the parking underground, also giving more space for stores and homes.


          6. The parking egress, .25:1 max which is 87 for the residential plus the 40 or so existing for retail, cannot go on transit lines per NCT zoning. Any additional parking will snarl transit and will add car trips adjacent to an elementary school. When the kids get killed and injured, it will be on your head. Too bad the parents can’t sue you and the developers for creating dangerous conditions next to a primary school.

          7. I feel sure you will understand why I am not going to believe your word on any of this. And I am sure the parking will comply with all city rules, as part of the approval process.

          8. Parking egress onto transit is not permitted in NCT zones, on Mission, at least. You’re supporting a plan that calls for a hundred or more death machines near a primary school. Why do you hate children? Oh, yeah, you only hate the poor brown ones who live here.

          9. OK, if you’re going to call cars “death machines” then it is clear that you do not want a serious discussion about the best way to incorporate the parking into the new building.

          10. Marcos,
            Can you explain why you haven’t sold your condo to a local “brown” family in need?
            You’re sitting on 800k in a neighborhood where the median income is less than 30k.
            Dont you think there are needier families?

          11. Good question, Bob. I think Marcos’s answer would be “do as i say, not as I do”.

            Having helped gentrify the Mission, he now tries to argue that it should not be gentrified.

          12. I am not a nonprofiteer poverty pimp who thinks that the only constituents that count are “the most vulnerable.” That would be the lapsed Catholic guilt crowd.

            I’m opposed to rampant corruption of real estate developers over local government spearheaded by developer lobbyists at SPUR and HAC.

  29. Make it happen only if you give current residents priority rooming at their current costs . I know that area very well and some of those people can’t lose their houseing … And while the project happens provide rooms for all the residents whom you plan to displace TEMORARILY … Then they are the first to move in… Enough houseing bully’s in the Mission.

        1. Personally I’d be comfortable with 200 feet around there.

          I am surprised that consideration has been given to developing the air rights over BART stations. Seems like a missed opportunity.

          1. It’s not your community. You are part of the invasion of white tech workers who are gentrifying the Mission.

        2. The 300+ comments in this thread perfectly encapsulates why we have a housing shortage in San Francisco.

          1. Mark, I’d put it more that there being 300 plus comments shows there is a depth of felling on the issue. Mostly a battle between those who advocate for housing and those who advocate on NIMBY and environmental grounds.

            It is sad to see so many people who are seemingly opposed to the construction of new homes though, particularly near transit. And while a lot of new housing is currently being built, it’s not enough, hence the shortage that you observe.

      1. Kevin Smith, are you kidding me? What makes you think it’s alright to impose the shiny glass face of gentrification on powerless people who have done nothing to you? The Mission has a lot of history, culture and is one of the last few places in SF to be gentrified. This “cesspool” of an area is a neighborhood that you have obviously only passed through. White folks will always try to colonize. You’re always welcome in Sonoma!! Try a gated community…

        1. quickly to the ramparts Comrade Smith!

          Give me a break. Nothing is being imposed on anybody, so far as I can tell the developer has started the process to develop the site in accordance with the law. You apparently prefer some kind of extra-legal process that gives you and others (presumably in government) to block the use of property by fiat in accordance with some personal preference or naive idealistic view of what a town or place should “look like.”

          Fortunately, we don’t have such a system (at least not entirely, although its sometimes close to that in SF) that caters to such narrowmindeness.

          1. The zoning was imposed on this neighborhood when Planning drew the boundaries of the planning area close enough to Chris Daly’s condo as to deny District 6 residents any political representation at the table. The entirety of gentrified rezoning was imposed on our northern corner of the Mission.

        2. Scott, what would you do without powerless non-white victims to protect? That white man’s burden of yours is a heavy load.

      2. Kevin Smith — technically, renters are owners of the entire interest in a property unit, minus the reversionary interest that goes back to the landlord after the lease is up. So actually, you are way off here.

        Also, I’m guessing you have never been evicted. You’re probably a property owner (guessing by your entitled way of speaking) and don’t know what it’s like to lose your home. But don’t worry, I’m seeing about what types of projects we could muster up in your neck of the woods for a just cause “eminent domain” eviction. *WINK*

        1. dude, the interest is reversionary as in it expires at the end of the term. Not to be confused with a “life interest” which exists for the life of the holder. When you rent you get to exclude others for the term, but what you don’t get is life intereset. Even colonizers like the British found that out when they handed back Hong Kong to the communists who run China who do not recognize private property after the British 99 year lease ran out.

          Eminent domain is equally a dead end unless you want to pay market, but that is clearly what you don’t want to do.

          This whole private property thing you are so hung up on, that issue was kind of settled long ago in the USA, get over it, you are not entitled to live off other people’s money indefinitely in life.

    1. I am not sure there are any current residents here but “Walgreens, Burger King and Hwa Lei Market. A nightclub and a vacant Dollar Store”

    2. The article specifically says no residents would be displaced. They’ll be getting rid of the businesses there, though.

          1. Walgreens serves the existing neighborhood quite well. I know my pharmacists, know the check out people and the photo team.

            In neoliberal San Francisco, any semblance of community must be eradicated.

          2. No, Walgreens can take another storefront in that area. There are usually plenty of vacancies because the rents there are going up.

            Or they may anchor the new project or another one. It’s a nasty store and a lot of bad stuff goes on in their car park out back as well.

          3. Because the wallgreens cant be incorporated into the new building? Being against this development because a wallgreens might close is a new low, even for this “against everything anywhere” little town

          4. Exactly, Bob. And moreover the same people who opposed the Jack spade store on 16th because it was a “chain” is now trying to tell us that they care about another chain?

          5. Walgreens has been here since long before chains were unleashed to homogenize communities, it serves precisely the opposite clientele as Jack Spade. Why do housing boosters oppose job creating land uses that benefit existing residents? Because they hate San Franciscans, that’s why.

          6. LOL, so a chain store is OK as long as it is a chain store that you personally approve of.

            That store is an eyesore, a magnet for crime, a waste of valuable air rights and it needs to move elsewhere.

          7. The store has been around since before I was here, since before Walgreens went totally national and swallowed CVS. It employs locals, serves local residents quite well, an example of what it was like before it was a massive chain. I can make an exception when evidence proves my presumptions wrong. Can you?

        1. Walgreens is a multi-billion dollar chain corporation. They can and will afford to open another store nearby if they think there’s money in it. Meanwhile there is another walgreens at 22nd St and several non-chain drugstores on Mission south of 16th.

          1. There are other Walgreens at 1580 Valencia, 3400 Cesar Chavez, 2690 and 3398 Mission, and 1189 Potrero.

            And of course they may be part of the new project or take other store space nearby.

            Marcos’s “non starter” already finished and is enjoying a victory lap.

          2. But since you said it was a non-starter, even a preliminary hearing proves you wrong.

            Stores routinely change around with new development. Non issue.

          3. Well if it is just a preliminary hearing with no real consequence, then why have you now made over 50 posts on the plan?

          4. You said the removal of a WalGreens makes this project a “non starter”.

            That is not true, and the project is starting the process.

    3. As a resident of the neighborhood I welcome the idea. A large infusion of capital can only improve the neighborhood-in all respects. Granted the quality of life and the atmosphere of the neighborhood may change but isn’t that going to happen anyway? After all, the Mission District doesn’t exist in a vacuum and change, after all, is the only constant.

      1. True, Mike, and in fact infill development of the Mission has been going on for the last 15 years, with brief interruptions for the dotcom and subprime wobbles.

        And anyone who remembers what the Mission was like 15 years ago can attest to the improvement.

        16th and Mission remains a problem though, and a Times Square approach may be the only way to fix the mess.

        1. no, there’s a third choice. We preserve what is worth preserving, which isn’t a scuzzy one-floor eyesore with no windows.

          And we invest in the future, building new homes and business, while bringing vital capital into the neighborhood.