Closeup of rendering of 1979 Mission, courtesy of Maximus Real Estate Partners.

The developers behind the much-maligned 16th and Mission Street development — regularly referred to by some as the “Monster in the Mission” — will try and earn more community support tonight by offering to create 90 units affordable housing, compared to the roughly 40 required by the city’s inclusionary housing mandates. The plans include both low-income rentals built off-site and middle class housing to purchase in the building.

In a statement released in advance of tonight’s meeting, Maximus Real Estate Partners shared the enticements as part of  the community benefits package required for a project of its size.

According to the statement, Maximus’ 345-unit, ten-story apartment building at 1979 Mission Street will comply with affordable housing law by dedicating funding to construct affordable housing units off-site. However, it will also make some below market rate units available to buyers.

“Maximus wants to identify new ways and new approaches to build housing in San Francisco, specifically workforce housing that is helping at all income levels,” said Joe Arellano a spokesperson for the project.

The 1979 Mission project will include 41 homes for sale costing between $280,000 to $350,000. The units, which will include a mix of studios, one and two bedrooms, are set to be priced as affordable to households making between 60 percent and 150 percent of the area median income (AMI)—a section of the population that state data says is deeply lacking available housing.

Maximus says that funds raised from the market rate housing will finance the below market rate apartments to be built elsewhere in the Mission. Arellano called this a “new paradigm in building housing in San Francisco.”

The below market rental apartments, 49 in all, will consist of studios priced at $510 a month and three bedrooms priced at $1,335 a months.  For a point of comparison, studios in the Mission now go for $1800 to $2,000 a month and three bedrooms go for upwards of $5,000 a month. According to the Mayor’s Office of Housing guidelines, Maximus’s below market units are considered affordable to households making between $20,400 to $57,650, or 30 to 55 percent of the AMI.

With the combination of apartment and housing for purchase, about a fifth of all the units created in the 1979 Mission’s construction and benefits package will be below market. Given the vehemence which many in the neighborhood oppose the project, activists are likely to be unmoved by the gesture when Maximus presents it to the public at tonight’s meeting.

In a statement released Tuesday by the Plaza 16 Coalition, a group of non-profits and community organizations who have organized against 1979 Mission, they make clear that their protest isn’t just about bumping up the percentage of affordable housing. They’re concerned about the overall neighborhood impact of such a large project. Despite its 90 below market units, if approved by the Planning Department, it will still bring 294 market-rate apartments to a historically low-income corner of the Mission.

“With units projected to rent for $3.5–5K/month,” Plaza 16’s statement reads, “The Coalition believes the project would result in increased property values and residential/commercial rents in the traditionally working class neighborhood, exacerbating an already severe displacement crisis by giving incentive to speculators to buy rent controlled buildings and force out tenants through buyouts and evictions.”

At a protest earlier this week, activists cited the eviction of the community space Station 40 as a direct result of a large-scale, market-rate development at 1979 Mission.

Arellano said that it was erroneous to think 1979 Mission would cause evictions.  “We’re not tearing down any existing housing,” said Arellano. If approved, 1979 Mission would mean the demolition of buildings that contain a Walgreens, a Burger King, a dollar store, a bar, and a small grocery store, but no residential units.

In addition to the affordable housing, 1979 Mission’s community benefit package includes a promise of raising the playground of Marshall Elementary to mitigate the shadow cast by the building, which Maximus calculates to be a “50% increase in total school size.”

In its ground-floor retail space, the builder would also replace the removed Walgreens with a similar sized pharmacy and include a marketplace where “local neighborhood serving businesses and artists will have new opportunities to sell their food and products.” The project also says it will increase the size of the BART and create more lighting and various street features there and on Capp Street.

“We’re proposing something that is going to activate 16th and Mission,” said Arellano. “We’re doing things in the Plaza and on Capp Street to alleviate some of public safety concerns that are there.”

Maximus will present its community benefit package in more detail tonight in front of what is sure to be a packed house at Laborers Local 261 Union Hall on 18th Street, but given the fierceness of the opposition, it’s unlikely to win over everyone.

As Tommi Avicolli Mecca, of the Housing Rights Committee and Plaza 16, said at Monday’s protest: “There’s no community benefits that will make us support this project, all we want is 100 percent affordable housing.”

The meeting takes place tonight at Laborers Local 261 Union Hall, 3271 18th Street 18th Street at 6:30 p.m. You can find  more details about 1979 Mission on its website here

There will also be a protest before the meeting sponsored by Plaza 16 Coalition at 6 p.m. outside the location above. You can read more about Plaza 16 on its website.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly said that the 49 below market rental units would be on-site. That was incorrect and has been modified in the story above.

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Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

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  1. In order to be sure these or other affordable or below market units get built, the supervisors should pass and the mayor sign very straightforward legislation requiring that the Certificate of Occupancy for the below market rate units must be issued before the affiliated market rate units can have their Certificate of Occupancy issued. Otherwise, the current situation will continue: the below market units languish in bureaucratic limbo while the big money units zip through.
    SIMPLE STRAIGHTFORWARD legislation can fix this.

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  2. Calling this development “Monster in the Mission” in the headline is incredibly biased. The real story here is “90 New Units of Affordable Housing Proposed for SF”. It’s easy to protest the former, but not so easy to object to the latter.

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  3. While cowardly David Campos has said he can’t take a stand on the project because it most likely will come before the Board of Supes, where it is highly unlikely he could muster 8 votes to change the project in any significant way, he still should be at the meeting tonight. He can keep his mouth shut and just listen to what everyone has to say. Just imagine. A San Francisco elected official showing up at a community meeting, not to hog the limelight or mike time, but to take notes and keep his ears open!

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  4. As Tommi Avicolli Mecca, of the Housing Rights Committee and Plaza 16, said at Monday’s protest: “There’s no community benefits that will make us support this project, all we want is 100 percent affordable housing.”

    This is one of the dumbest comments ever until you realize that Tommi Avicolli Mecca is probably getting money under the table from landlords so that nothing ever gets built in this city. Knowing that 100% affordable housing is literally impossible, he says these things so that they NEVER get built keeping inventory low and rents really high. You should be ashamed of yourself. 100 affordable units would give many working folks a home and Tommi wants to deny them of this.

    This is the best deal you could ever hope for and the housing Rights Committee should be celebrating this as a victory as it’s a logical compromise. Again, 100% affordable housing is IMPOSSIBLE. Literally, IMPOSSIBLE.

    Tommi, get your head out of you arse and stop hurting working families. Let them get a place to live!

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