Far from burying the hatchet, a developer and various neighborhood organizations are rekindling a years-long feud over a 380-unit housing project planned for 16th and Mission streets that had been stalled, but is again moving forward.
On Tuesday, some 60 activists had a rally at the 16th Street BART Plaza and voiced a new grievance: The Plaza 16 Coalition, a metagroup of local organizations, is now incensed that the developer paid outreach workers to canvas the neighborhood and garner support for the project.
“When they say Mission for All, is that for you? No, it’s not for us, it’s for wealthy tech people who are just going to save an empty spot for vacation,” said Marilyn Duran, who works with PODER and is part of of Plaza 16.
“[Mission for All is] scamming our parents with lies,” said Bianca Gutierrez, who has a child attending Marshall and voiced concern about the shadow a new, 10-story building would cast over the school playground. Maximus offered in 2014 to raise the school’s playground in order to mitigate the shadow effect, but opponents say they would rather see a shorter building.
Maximus Real Estate Partners spokesperson Joe Arellano confirmed that Maximus has hired outreach workers but characterized them differently.
“The vast majority of the team is comprised of young, hardworking Mission District residents,” he wrote in an email.
The building at 1979 Mission Street has been in the works since 2013. After years of paperwork, hearings, and public meetings, the developer brought a lawsuit against the family that owns the land, claiming bad faith in the sale. That suit was settled in June of last year, the original sale to Maximus for $42 million stands, and now, the project must again seek approval from the Planning Commission. It is likely to go in front of the commission the in summer.
Plaza 16, meanwhile, has been working on an alternative proposal for the site, one that is completely below-market-rate. It’s unclear how exactly funding would be allocated for the idea, but the activists are steadfastly uncompromising.
“It’s 100 percent affordable or nothing,” said one.
As proposed, the project comes in at about 24 percent below market rate, surpassing both the 12 percent required at the time. Other projects in the neighborhood, however, have agreed to 25 percent, and in one project of similar size, even to 41 percent.
“Plaza 16 and its allies are using lies, harassment and intimidation to stifle any meaningful discussion about the future of 16th and Mission. Their claims are false and baseless,” wrote Arellano.
The organizers demanded that Rosania meet with them to hear neighbors’ concerns that the proposal would bring an influx of wealthy residents and a rash of rent hikes and evictions in the area.
Arellano said the developer didn’t have any meetings with the group currently planned, aside from ongoing meetings with neighborhood stakeholders to explain the details of the plans.
In the meantime, Plaza 16 activists are planning to go next to the School Board to muster support there.