Business owners who arrived at the Mission Language and Vocational School Thursday evening to attend a social event organized by the developer of 1979 Mission St. were met by a group of about 30 chanting protesters who reiterated demands that the site be dedicated to affordable housing.

“No more monster in the Mission,” sang the protesters from the Plaza 16 Coalition, referring to the nickname activists long ago gave the project that promises to bring 331 units to 16th and Mission streets.  At present, 41 of those are slated for affordable housing, with an additional 49 units to be built at a different site later. The developer, Maximus, is also considering setting aside some units for teachers.

Supporters of the project and members of the developer’s advocacy group, Mission for All, wore stickers with the text, “I am not a monster.”  

Reporters were barred from attending the event, and it’s unclear which businesses attended. One nearby business group, the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association, has decided to remain neutral on the project, while Mission Merchant Association President Phil Lesser has voiced his enthusiastic support.  

Four police officers guarded the Florida Street entrance to the building as protesters chanted and sang on the sidewalk, carrying signs that read, “We don’t negotiate with economic terrorists,” and “Monstruo fuera de mi comunidad” (“Monster out of my community”).

Joe Arellano, a spokesperson for the developer Maximus, said Mission for All advocates and staff had been gathering the support of thousands of people who have signed a petition backing the project.

At the business social, he said, Mission for All hoped to begin a conversation with merchants about their input, as well as some of the proposed changes to the project — like a market space on the plaza, and designating some units for teacher housing.

“We want to work with the city to find a solution for the community that works,” he said. “We recognize it’s a need here in the city.”

Because the building would be constructed directly adjacent to Marshall Elementary School (long a point of contention for opponents, who dislike the idea of a tall building casting a shadow over the school), Arellano said teacher housing would make sense.

Though merchants who attended the social declined to comment, one business owner at the protest opposed the project.

“Where are our workers going to live without affordable housing?” said Amparo Vigil, whose family operates Puerto Alegre. “If we don’t have workers who have a place to live, then we don’t have a business. Puerto Alegre disappears.”

Plaza 16 has long held that the project would send a shockwave of gentrification through the already increasingly unaffordable immediate vicinity. The increase in nearby property values brought on by the development, said Marilyn Duran of the group PODER, would incentivize landlords to evict long-term tenants paying low rents in favor of higher-income tenants attracted to the newly “cleaned up” area.

“I’ve been doing this since high school,” said Duran (now 27). “I haven’t seen less evictions because of market-rate development.”

As for the demands of the Plaza 16 coalition, which organized the protest and has long demanded that any development at 16th and Mission be entirely below-market-rate, Arellano said, “We want to talk to the community that is interested in meaningful dialogue. The people here have made their demands clear.”   

The Planning Commission is expected to consider the project later this year, though no hearing date has been set.

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  1. What about all the people that work in the shops that this will replace? What about all the people that shop at these places? This is housing for well off people that don’t already live in The Mission.

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  2. If cleaning up the plaza will bring gentrification, won’t this happen whether the building has all below market rate housing or not? If it’s a new building, it will clean up the area regardless of the tenants. Unless they plan on filling it with junkies which I don’t think is the plan..

    The developer mentions he has thousands of signatures supporting this project. Would be a cool thing if Mission Local would do surveys to see how the readership feels. Could be a cool weekly feature asking about many topics. Many local residents read this website. It may help get a pulse of the neighborhood. It’s hard to see what the non-activists think. Most people for or against this project have busy lives and don’t have time to attend all these neighborhood meetings.

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  3. I am really surprised that the developer barred reporters from the meeting. It is hard to imagine a legitimate justification for doing that

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  4. Where do I sign up for Mission for All?? We need housing and we need it fast. Enough of the delay tactics. Lets get teachers housed. Lets make the area safer. Lets bring union jobs to the area.

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  5. The “Mission For All” name for that group of developers is a joke. That’s like a bunch of pilgrims recruiting settlers.

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    1. If the Mission Activists want a new site for 100% affordable housing, they should purchase my project, as I have repeatedly offered.

      I am the owner of the parking lot and laundromat at 2918 Mission St. For the past four years, I have worked to build at 75-unit rental project on this site. My project will be heard by San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday, September 14, 2017.

      If you agree that San Francisco needs more housing and that this project should be built, I would greatly appreciate you sending a letter or email of support to:

      Linda Ajello-Hoagland
      San Francisco Planning Department
      1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
      San Francisco, CA 94103

      You can download from Dropbox complete project plans here.

      You can review complete project due diligence files here.

      Key facts:

      1. The site measures 11,653 square feet, consisting of a 6,453 square-foot parking lot and a 5,200 square-foot single-story building used as a laundromat. I have owned the laundromat since 1998 and the property since 2005.

      2. The existing building has no historical value per the San Francisco Planning Department’s South Mission Historic Resource Survey Map.

      3. The new building height will be 8 floors, containing 6,954 retail square feet on the first floor, and 75 rental units on the top seven floors (18 studios, 27 one-bedrooms, and 30 two-bedrooms).

      4. Seven of these rental units will be Very Low Income (50% Area Median Income) and one of these rental units will be Low Income (55% Area Median Income), thus fully complying with both the State Density Bonus Law
      and with the inclusionary legislation passed by the Francisco Board of Supervisors on July 18, 2017.

      5. The units average 360 square feet for studios, 613 square feet for one-bedrooms and 833 square feet for two-bedrooms. This smaller square footage per unit helps make both affordable and market rate rents “affordable by design”.

      6. The project design provides for no automobile parking, as requested by the neighboring Zaida T. Rodrigues Early Education School and strongly encouraged by the San Francisco Planning Department. Thus, there is no traffic increase on Osage Alley and, with the removal of the current parking lot, a traffic reduction on Mission Street. The project is one block from the 24th and Mission BART station, on major bus routes, and targeted toward renters who live and work in San Francisco. It has a 99 Walk Score and a 99 Bike Score.

      7. The project displaces no existing housing or Production, Distribution or Repair (PDR) space. It displaces no business except my own laundromat. There are numerous other laundromats nearby, including three competitors within 300 feet.

      8. I have reached out extensively to the Mission community, including meeting on many occasions with Mission activists, community groups and neighbors, posting my project plans and complete project files on Dropbox for anyone to download, and sending out multiple project updates to the almost 23,000 Nextdoor users in the Mission.

      9. I have numerous times both publicly and privately offered to sell the project at fair market value to San Francisco for use as 100% affordable housing. See: With land offer for affordable housing on the table, no buyer steps up

      10. San Francisco is experiencing the worst housing crisis in the United States. This project adds 75 units of new housing on a major transit corridor one block from a BART station without displacing anyone. If new housing cannot be built in San Francisco on such a site, then where can it be built?

      Thank you in advance for your letter of support to the Planning Department.

      Please contact me via email or telephone if you have questions.

      Robert R. Tillman
      415-332-9242 Telephone
      415-332-2639 FAX
      415-297-9242 Mobile

      P.S. Below is a sample letter of support:

      Dear Ms. Ajello-Hoagland,

      I live at _____________________ and am writing to support building the proposed 75-unit rental project at 2918 Mission St. San Francisco is experiencing the worst housing crisis in the United States. This project adds 75 units of new housing on a major transit corridor one block from a BART station without displacing anyone. If new housing cannot be built in San Francisco on such a site, then where can it be built? Please approve this project as proposed.

      Further, I urge San Francisco to purchase this project at fair market value for 100% affordable housing, as has been offered by its owner.


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  6. Thanks for the article! I am firmly on the side of the developer though it would be great to have the teacher’s housing included in the plan. How do I contact the developer and “Mission for All” to announce my support of the project?

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