Some 100 people crowded the 16th St. BART plaza at noon today to support 100 percent affordable housing at the 16th Street market rate project that became embroiled in litigation last week after the developer sued the owner for acting in bad faith.
Supervisor David Campos also made an appearance to “come and hear what the community has to say.”
“If it is the case that this project is not moving forward, if there is this litigation, I think the city needs to explore [an affordable housing] possibility,” Campos said, staying on the sideline and speaking to individual crowd members. “We do have money in the budget. We set it aside with the idea that there will be land [for purchase].”
Joseph Smooke, a Campos aide, said there’s $25 million in the budget for affordable housing in the Mission that could be used for the purchase, but that “it’s just a matter of seeing if there’s an ability, while the suit is pending, to see if the city can negotiate that.”
“The community has told us that they want affordable housing there,” Smooke continued, “it seems like a perfect type for 100% affordable housing.”
He added that the supervisor hadn’t decided on a particular strategy for the request because of the ongoing litigation.
Campos and the mayor announced in July that a market rate project at 490 South Van Ness would become 100 percent affordable housing, and speakers said that project created precedence for the city to act on this one.
Litigation Pushed Plaza 16 to Organize Today’s Rally
“As you know, we’re here because we got some encouraging news this week,” said Bianca Gutierrez, a parent at nearby Marshall Elementary, speaking about the recent lawsuit between the developer of the project and its property owners. The developer, Maximus Real Estate Partners, is suing the Jang family for violating their purchase agreement by delaying city approvals and secretly seeking out other buyers.
Organizers said they could now “breathe a sigh of relief.”
“It’s not a total celebration,” said Andy Blue of the Plaza 16 Coalition, the group behind the event. “But it’s certainly a victory, and we’re here to claim that.”
Blue said they planned to continue putting pressure on the mayor’s office and various politicians to “put the message out” that “this is the ideal property for affordable housing.”
Gabriel Medina, policy manager at the Mission Economic Development Agency, spoke on the gentrification of the neighborhood and in support of Proposition I, the 18-month moratorium for market-rate development in the Mission.
“I love San Francisco so much, I want affordable housing, not luxury condos,” he said, adding that it was unacceptable that the Latino community in the Mission is facing 20.8% unemployment while “6,000 new residents that make over $100,000 a year” have moved into the neighborhood.
Other speakers rallied against the market-rate development at 2000-2070 Bryant Street that recently ran into resistance from tenants protesting their eviction.
“We are finding more and more, hundreds of arts spaces are disappearing already,” said speaker Liza Vincenti. “And more are to come.”
“If you need a cheat sheet, we’re saying no on everything,” joked Gutierrez, before introducing mayoral candidate Francisco Herrera, who sang an anti-displacement song to close out the event.
“No more monsters in the Mission,” he began, with the crowd chanting along. “We need homes we can afford…”
Blue from Plaza 16 ended the event with a call to go to City Hall on September 10 for the “big, big day” when activists are planning another “take over” of the building.
“We’ve taken City Hall two times already,” Blue said, referring to its storming earlier this year, “and we’re gonna do it bigger and better than we have [before]. We’re calling it ‘The City Takes City Hall.'”