Photo by Laura Wenus

The Wash Club and the parking lot next to it at 2918-2924 Mission Street might be razed and replaced with a six-story apartment building with ground-floor commercial space, according to a preliminary assessment letter by the San Francisco Planning Department.

The proposal submitted by Lawrence Badiner of Badiner Urban Planning envisions 18 two-bedroom units, 18 one-bedroom units and two studios. The second and third floors would have private terraces and the fifth floor would have a common open space terrace. Some of the units would also have private balconies.

Badiner said that the application and the assessment were all part of the owners’ decision-making process. “The owners are considering their next steps and there is no timeline for a decision to be made,” he wrote in an email. “They may hold the property as is, sell it or develop it themselves. This analysis is part of that decision-making process.”

The property on the west side of Mission Street between 25th and 26th streets sold in 2005 for $750,000 and again in 2006 for $1 million, according to public records. The application estimates the cost of construction at $15 million.

Dagoberto Segobia, who works at the store adjacent to the laundromat, knew nothing about plans for a new building but shook his head at the idea, saying it would be way too high and wouldn’t fit in on the block.

Aaron Doleson, who owns the Fizzary Soda Shop across the street and is a 15-year Mission resident, said he had not heard about the proposal. “A six-story building, unless it’s meant for low income people, is just adding to the gentrification of the street. Adding housing is probably a good thing but I’m really curious about the intentions,” he said. “It’s a quandary. There’s not enough housing and you want to take care of that. But you don’t want to push people out.”

Doleson also thinks that developers should be required to keep to a certain style in the architecture of their new buildings. “If it’s another ugly cubist-style condo, those things are god-awful…they just look like they’re meant for wealthy people, not for low-income people.”

Ingrid Zimmerman, the clinic manager at the Instituto Familiar de la Raza, a social service agency directly across the street, stressed that she did not speak for the institute. However, as a Mission employee, she was dismayed at the idea of a new residential building for a variety of reasons. Her biggest concern is that the addition of trendy, expensive condos would worsen displacement of the community. “People come here because they feel they have a place where they belong, where their culture and community is reflected, and that will change,” she said.

Parking in the area is already terrible, Zimmerman added, and a new residential building would only add to the problem. “I could go on a trip to Europe with what I pay for parking tickets,” she said.

Badiner said no decision has been made on whether the units would be for rent or for sale or on how the owner would handle the affordable housing requirement.

If on-site, 12 percent of the units or five affordable housing units would be required. If off-site, 20 percent would have to be affordable housing.

The plan also includes 16 off-street parking spaces, “with some in stackers on the ground floor.” The entry to the garage would be from Osage Alley at the rear of the site.

Preliminary Assessment Letter for 2918-2924 Mission Street

Mission Street Application

Lydia Chávez

I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born...

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  1. If no developers put housing in, there is not going to be any money for affordable housing. I agree the architecture should reflect the area, but this project is going to create 5 more affordable units if onsite and 8 or so if offsite. There has to be a compromise to encourage this building to be approved and get community support.

    Hopefully they build the affordable housing onsite as it’s better to have mixed housing units as opposed to rich complexes and poor complexes. When it’s mixed, no one really knows who is paying the lower cost. There isn’t one large project that everyone points at saying “that’s where all the poor people live”. This helps diminish any stigma attached to living in affordable housing. It also forces people to live among different income levels which helps bring the community together.

      1. The compromise is that they are building 5 BMR units where there were none.

        That is five below market units that did not exist.

        If you want more BMR units in the Mission work to get funding to build it, but don’t stop people because they aren’t building enough for your taste.

        1. That’s not a compromise. That’s the law, and it is a mandated minimum standard.

          Yes, we need more funding. However, if a new development escalates property values in the surrounding area so that owners have more incentive to evict, sell and convert or sell, evict and convert (pick your order) more apartments that house lower income people than the number of BMR units built in the new development, that is a net loss of affordable units in the area and we’d be better off with a park or the laundromat.

          marcos may talk too much, but his personal experience with his condo’s appreciation while living close to new developments like Vara and the 15th/SVN office building cum condo development is instructive of the falsehood of the “build more market units to lower rents/prices” argument.

          1. Half of all new housing should be BMR. THAT would be a compromise. Asking for half of everything over existing built land use patterns to be BMR is a compromise of a compromise.

            That the developers and their boosters resist even that shows the extent to which the developers run the table at the Planning Department.

  2. We have a housing crisis. Don’t build housing. Discuss. I also find it interesting that a shop that sells $2 specialty sodas is worried about gentrification.

  3. “A six story building, unless it’s meant for low income people, is just adding to the gentrification of the street. Adding housing is probably a good thing but I’m really curious about the intentions,”

    … says the dude running a goddam artisanal soda shop! Oh the irony!

    Build this thing already. We need more housing. PERIOD.

      1. This project will give the region 5 units of affordable housing, PERIOD.

        1. 5 units is rounding error. It would take tens of thousand of such projects to begin to make a dent in affordability. PERIOD.

          1. Your opposition to 50% affordable > 45′ means that as many more families will not get housing. How can you sleep?

          2. Because the profits for building luxury condos in SF dwarf the returns that could be realized elsewhere even with the BMR requirements at 50% for all height increases. They can always build lower if they wish to avoid that hit.

          3. Median PSF in San Francisco is $845 while in Fremont, for example, is $466. If developers threaten to build elsewhere due to exactions in SF, then we can clearly afford to up the exaction to consume that delta.

        2. Housing is housing. Build it.

          Food for thought: if its high-end, I assume these rich folks would rather buy a new turnkey property than buy an old property (perhaps with the owner evicting tenants) than rebuild

    1. Unless the argument is that nice housing will raise surrounding rents in the area.

      …But that’s a really ridiculous argument for the owner of a boutique soda shop to be making.

    2. You realize every square inch of this city is mostly accounted for. As long as whatever is built is high(er) density, its goodness.

  4. How about trying to do some unbiased reporting, Mission Local? Just tell us the facts, without the strong slant. Let us all make up our own minds about how we should feel about the issues effecting our neighborhood.

    Amusingly enough, this story sums up the problem with the current anti-gentrification bias washing over this city: “I don’t want new housing, unless it’s for me.” This is just NIMBYism under another name. And the whole “it just looks like it’s meant for rich people” argument is ridiculous! New buildings in this city ALL look the same, including the ones that include and/or are entirely comprised of low-income housing. The architectural style of an era has less to do with wealth and more to do with what passes city planning departments. Now, interior elements are another thing completely…but none of that is mentioned in this article.

    Seriously, it’s time for the people in this city who spend all their time complaining about displacement and railing against change to come to terms with two facts: 1) Nothing ever stays the same forever, and 2) You can’t overcome a housing shortage if you don’t build new housing!

    If it bothers you that there aren’t enough new units being built for low-income individuals, don’t yell at tech workers trying to go to their jobs, go yell at city hall! Go rail at your supervisor to support a law that would require new buildings to include at least 20% affordable housing units built ON-site only (no buyouts, no building them elsewhere).

    1. There is plenty of new housing being built and coming online yet for the past two months, zillow has had our condo appreciating on paper based on comps by > $40K in the past 30 days.

      Please illustrate the market mathematics of how much more housing we’d need to build to arrest the appreciation of housing and to begin to drive down the price.

      Also, you’ll need to track how the infrastructure to service all of this new housing will be financed.

      1. Hey Lydia, isn’t Marcos in violation of your “one post, one response” per thread policy? Or maybe you are letting him slide because he echos your views?

      2. Marcos, why don’t YOU present the market information you want? The most immediate way to increase housing in the city is for they city to make substantial changes to rent control to give small time landlords more flexibility in getting rid of troublesome tenants while still keeping rates below market.
        There are lots of tweaks that could be made to make rent control more palatable to landlords that are holding an estimated 30K+* units off the market.
        If that many units were being held off the market in 2011 you can imagine how many more haven’t been rented out since.

        *an estimate from a 2011 article. I have had several conversations with progressive candidate Tony Kelly where he believes this number came from a study from around 2000 and undercounts the # of units off market. Where I live in the Mission there are six units off market and four more in the building next door.

        1. You are making claims that producing housing will lower prices. I contest that and I call upon you to substantiate your claims with numbers. The City economist has and says that SF will need to build 100K units to see any meaningful impact on price. Those densities are not zoned for, there is no infrastructure for that many more people. You run out of runway trying to build to affordability.

          1. Marcos,

            Getting a good number of the 30K units off the market back on the market would be a huge step in the right direction.

            As a former landlord I would like to see rent control changed in these ways:

            All currently inhabited units would remain the same.

            Any unit freed up in a rent controlled building could either be rented as a rent controlled unit OR as a BMR unit charging 60% of market rate to those that would qualify to purchase or rent BMR housing. The lease on these units would last one year and then go month to month. After the initial year the landlord could end the lease at any time.

            This would allow landlords flexibility to do repairs, get rid of tenants that bother other residents, stop renting, move a family member in, etc. Instead of the lease being for life.

          2. So you support building the Mission out in higher density luxury condos so that these new residents can repeal rent control, thanks.

    2. 1M$ lot + 15M$ construction cost / 38 units = on average 500K$ per unit

      This is rough, so let’s be generous and say that 8 of the units (BMR) will sell for 500K$, so effectively at cost.

      But the rest of the units will be PRICED at 1M$++. That gives 30M$++ In sales, so about 14M$ in profit or about 88% profit.

      It’s clear that the minimal BMR requirements are no burden and need no subsidies from developers (unless 88% profit is in some edtemely perverted way too low).

      Clesrly greed and speculation. What other economic activities generate such levels of profit? Robber baron is an appropriate term.

      The city needs to step in and oversee development costs and cap profits or tax apprortiately. The current situation is absurd, generating huge private profits for miniscule amounts of luxury housing and it’s clear this is deepening the housing crisis.

      1. Both the land and property values are increasing at a rate >> 11% per year. So at the current rate if the project took 8 years to complete, the asking price would not be 1M$++ but 2M$++. And we have already seen this, only a few years ago new condos were to be had easily at the 600K$ mark.

        If you have more exact numbers I challenge you to present them for discussion. Studies by the cities a few years ago (bf this boom) put these profits at upwards of 30% which is already very generous. You should also factor in the risk, as an investment SF developments are pretty much guaranteed profit as long as certain permitting and community requirements are met. At this level of profit that can’t be said for any other type of investment. This is another strong reason to cap/tax the profits.

        And even if 88% profit is an overestimate, it’s not by much and furthermore clear that these profits for a basic human and community need are extremely high. This would not be happening in a civilized and humanist society, see Europe, Japan, Australia, South America and so on, were its more important for working citizens to be housed and happy rather than a select few robbing the bank while uprooting a world class city.

        1. We should care if the extreme profits are extracting culture and soul from communities … And displacing long time residents. It’s amazing that so many are able to take living people out of the equation.

          Constant appreciation is a fair assumption, as everyone knows even during the last downturn prices did not drop here.

          Show me a developer that has lost money on a competed project, or made less than 30% profit, in recent years in SF.

          In addition to true BMR units (since the current ones are still unaffordable for the target population), we should be also building mostly Below Maximum Profit (BMP) units. There is already plenty of high end housing in the city, The economic impact of an apartment building with say 20 units is incomparable to the 8 br mansion on 8000 sq ft of land, where the owners probably don’t even reside for most of the year. This is extreme and there are many other examples, of say apartment buildings where many units are joined into a small number of luxury pads. That is the missing piece in all of this broken logic. That and the NIMBY destructiveness, everywhere except for the Mission and SOMA which are seeing many developments going to completion (although at luxury prices).

        2. You are basically arguing for a socialist takeover of land and property. I don’t think you find much support for that in this nation, not even in a fairly liberal place like SF.

          It’s interesting that the people who are claiming that RE development is a risk-free guaranteed profit are the same people who claim we are in a “bubble” and that it is only QE that is preventing massive failures in tech, RE, banking etc.

          So which is it? A free lunch or a bubble?

          You can express personal dislike of profits but I know of no laws that limit profits although some regulated utilities are a little like that.

          I maintain that as long as people are buying these new homes, it is clear that the demand is there. You are not harmed if a home you cannot afford is built for someone who can afford it, nor if there is a profit on that which acts as an incentive to commit capital and take the risk.

          The left always say they want more and more subsidized housing but that is very expensive to do except for on a small scale.

          Rather than trying to extort the money from individuals and developers, why not float a bond to build thousands of BMR homes? If the voters support that, you get your BMR homes. If the voters don’t support it, then history and the political will are clearly not on your side anyway.

        3. You can call it Inaccurately whatever you like. The fact is that this country has a plethora of subsidies at the federal state, and local levels, amounting to hundreds of billions of $ if not more. So perhaps it’s time to open eyes and realize that many elements of what you would call ‘socialism’ have been in place here for a long time. Frankly for the most part these are counterproductive, flowing into the wrong hands and often preventing positive change, e.g. fuel subsidies.

          The bubble has to do with the subsidized demand, the price appreciation here has been going on with and without that for quite a while. As you have argued, the market here is determined by scarcity and very slow addition of new housing. And now with a steady influx of high earners. It’s not a bad location either, apparently recognized around the world. These market forces are beyond the scope of a working or middle citizens in SF.

          They are plenty of profitable endeavors which do not affect baic needs of citizens. Luxury brands are good examples. But if the basic needs of the people running the machinery of society are not able to be met things go bad. You can argue for people to move and commute from afar as you like, but the truth is that this leads to lower quality of life and class stratification which breeds deep discontent. I can point you again to the many accounts of riots in this country … Not to mention cultural desertification.

          At this stage it will take an extreme outcome, say many evicted large buildings turned into massive TICs joined from multiple units, for local officials to act. Otherwise the measured bloodletting will just run its course and reappear in historical accounts …

        4. Arguing for government action to “make housing affordable” is ironic because I would argue that it is government policy that is behind the housing shortage and any other shortage.

          When you have polices that hinder the provision of homes whether for sale or rent, and policies that pander to NIMBY’s, then you are going to have shortages and high prices. We see that everywhere from housing in SF to lines for food and fuel in communist nations.

          How can you ask me to support government action on housing when it is government action that has caused the problem in the first place? Why would I have any faith in the bozo’s that gave us this mess to fix this mess?

          The good news is that much of the problem goes away if you look at the city being the Bay Area and not just SF. But of course people don’t just want affordable homes. They want an affordable home in a cool, hip neighborhood with eclectic restaurants and bijou boutiques.

          Shelter may be a basic human need but a cheap home in a fancy or expensive neighborhood most certainly is not.

    3. You must be new here.

      Also, they hate buses but academy of arts, delivery trucks, taxis, Muni buses, etc blocking lanes and traffic are totes cool.

      1. new, because I have views that you disagree with?
        not that new, 20 years … but perhaps you are one of these new owners benefitting from 20% property appreciation?

        I’m all about the merits of discussion: what are your cost and profit estimates for building say a 10 unit building on a lot bought a few years ago in SF?

  5. It sounds great, though I wish it was a little taller. We need more housing ASAP– please build it!

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