Developments in Development: Community wins

Photo by Lola M. Chavez

Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.

Sure, they’re controversial to some, but activists in the Mission have achieved a lot in recent years, and several of those wins are becoming tangible.

For one, Alex Nieto’s family is crowdfunding for a memorial to their son, the man shot by police in Bernal Heights Park in 2014. While the fundraiser is only about a tenth of the way to its goal, the fact that the memorial will exist was a major victory when the Board of Supervisors approved a mandate to the Recreation and Parks department to install it. With plenty of help offered up by neighbors and supporters in all areas of its production, it’s safe to say it’s only a matter of time before your strolls through Bernal Heights Park will take you past a monument to Nieto.

Affordable housing at 1950 Mission Street is closer to breaking ground by being granted a streamlined environmental review, according to Socketsite reports. The land, formerly an abandoned school, has been a symbol of the city’s ongoing efforts to figure out how to fight homelessness. It has been serving as the city’s first Navigation Center, a transitional shelter with intensive focus on ending clients’ homelessness, for more than two years. When plans for the building were first announced, 1950 Mission was the first entirely-affordable housing to be built in the Mission in nearly a decade.

Sometimes local groups develop an exceptionally broad recognition. Calle 24, a cultural corridor and advocacy group that has scored several preservationist victories for the street and often been a thorn in the side of potential developers, is now recognized as a state cultural district. It will join several other organizations around California in peer-to-peer exchanges and receive $5,000 for branding, technical, and promotional support through the program.

While this has little to do with advocacy, it is a matter of community rebuilding: A reader asked us recently what’s going on with 2999 Harrison Street, a fire-damaged building where she reported squatters may have been living. That’s a concern because squatters have been known to cause repeat fires in burned out buildings, as they allegedly did at 22nd Street. I’m happy to report that building permits appear to have been filed for repairs on Harrison Street and these could add one dwelling unit to the existing one on site.

Meanwhile, depending on how Planning responds, a crackdown may be coming to 2150 Folsom Street. Artists evicted from that space have recently been expressing concern that their former spaces would be taken over by the offices of an online clothing retailer, Everlane (the company denies having plans to do so). Now, someone has filed a complaint with the Planning Department alleging that the commercial spaces previously occupied by Workspace Limited are being converted into an unauthorized office space. The complaint is under review.

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