Chris Goode (left), Bob Baum, and Marilyn Goode.

Around 100 community members were in agreement Wednesday night: A seven-story, 205-unit market-rate development at 1458 San Bruno Ave. would not be good for the neighborhood, and they displayed a willingness to resist the development unless the plans change dramatically. 

“I’m having nightmares about what’s going to happen here,” said Becky Jenkins, who has lived in the area of 25th and San Bruno for decades. 

Many of the community members, packed into a room at the Potrero Neighborhood House at 953 De Haro St., agreed.  

The first-time housing developer, Christopher Goode, whose family has owned the property for decades, submitted preliminary plans for the project in September. “We settled on housing because we thought it was important,” Goode said Wednesday night at the meeting he hosted. He explained that his family had been looking into doing something different with the property for five years.

The project would be built on a portion of the property that used to house The Farm, a popular artist community and club that closed in 1987. Goode said 11 commercial tenants and no residential tenants occupy the site. The commercial tenants, largely creative enterprises, would be displaced by the project. 

The proposed development would include 122 studios and 83 two-bedroom units. Twenty-three of those units would be affordable — that’s 11 percent. 

The project would sit southeast of Potrero Del Sol Park and its community garden, and neighbor the Meadows Livingston School. 

Concerns around affordability, shadows on the garden, gentrification, and the loss of artist space dominated the two-hour meeting, as Goode and his architect, Bob Baum of Gould Evans, had to practically beg community members to even hear out their proposal. They hardly got the chance, as the audience seemed to have already made up its collective mind. 

“People like you come in and move us out — it’s not right,” said Deadre Puertolas, who has lived in the area of 25th and Potrero for decades. “Our culture is moving out of the Mission.” 

Goode, who lives in New York, suggested the market-rate development was his only option. The city would not buy the property for a Navigation Center, he said, and affordable housing developers were also not interested in buying the site for development. Goode added that he’s tried to meet with Recreation and Parks Department officials about turning it into a park — but they kept flaking on him, he said.

“I don’t want to go through the process,” Goode said of developing his property, which he acknowledged would be long and arduous. “I want to unload the property.” And that was clear: Goode was on the defensive for the entire two hours. 

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Defending his decision-making, Goode also revealed that he has a “half” ownership stake in the property, and the other half is divided among 12 “siblings and extended family” members, who he said are not interested in plans other than the development. He said the situation was “messy,” but he nevertheless had a “fiduciary responsibility” to the family members.  

To that end, Goode said he wants to “build cheap and rent cheap” — though still at market prices. “I have no intention of this being luxury housing,” he continued to say. But community members didn’t buy it: The project is, after all, primarily market-rate. (The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is currently $4,750 per month.

Early sketch of the project at 1458 San Bruno Courtesy of Goulde Evans.

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“For me, what this comes down to is money,” said Erick Arguello, an anti-gentrification activist, referencing Goode’s decision to invoke the California Density Bonus Program, which allows developers to add units without increasing the percentage that are affordable. “Let’s get real — that’s the bottom line.” 

(Goode said he would still have to pay a $3 million in-lieu fee in addition to providing the onsite affordable units if the state program was utilized.) 

Arguello advised Goode to drop the project and sell the land. “It’s not gonna work and I think you’re gonna lose money in the end,” he said. “The tenants who are gonna live there … are gonna be calling the cops on the low riders [and] the skateboarders; they’re gonna get tired; they’re gonna leave; they’re gonna be complaining to you.” 

Mary Beth Pudup, a coordinating volunteer at the Potrero Del Sol community garden, worried about shadows. “This development will destroy the garden — it will destroy this very precious place,” she said. “It’s not just about the light. The sun heats the soil — that’s how plants germinate.” 

And some in the room worried about the existing tenants of the property, who use its warehouses as artist space, such as the recording studio Tiny Telephone, which has been there for more than two decades. Sarah Kennedy, an artist, pointed out that Goode himself is an artist and likes gardening, a statement Goode agreed with.  

“What you’re doing right now is proposing to evict one of the oldest artist communities in San Francisco, and wipe out one of the oldest community gardens,” she said. “The irony is immense.”

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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23 Comments

  1. In a nutshell, this sort of NIMBYism from so-called “progressives,” along with a completely dysfunctional planning department, is why San Francisco has a severe housing shortage.

  2. Mr. Arguello cracks me up. Who’s he kidding? Look, this is not a great project, either in location or design. But we need housing. And we need housing with sufficient off-street parking for vehicles, bikes, car share, etc. A previous article indicated that there was what, almost no off-street parking for this project? Let’s not kid ourselves about that.

  3. How many of the folks opposing this are community members and how many are “community members?”

    The project is a mess, don’t get me wrong. But is the resistance to it organic, arising from the grassroots or is it the usual, synthetic like astroturf?

  4. Did anyone address the traffic issues regarding the school, traffic and parking if there are suddenly 300+ more people living on that dead end street? MTA needs to be aware and the developer needs to schedule an impact study.

    We need housing, but not this type in this area. A mixed use base 3 story building would be reasonable and depending on the number of units could fit in the neighborhood with much less disruption.

    1. A few of us did bring up the parking issue. We also mentioned how these extra units will add to the already horrible traffic problem we have here every day around 5pm. He was informed that around that time it can take 10-15 mins. to get from 25th and San Bruno to 25th and Potrero. He replied that we should all step away from our vehicles and take public transportation. He doesn’t care about the neighborhood, the people living here, the children that this project is going to disrupt during school hours, he isn’t trying to help make affordable housing… All this guy and his family is concerned with is making more money for themselves. I personally don’t want to see the Mission change anymore than it already has. The problem this city has isn’t lack of housing available. There are plenty of places to rent here in SF, the problem is nobody can afford the price people are charging for rent.

    2. This is the most common response to new housing.

      “We do need new housing, but I don’t want it where I live, so I’m going to delay it (impact reports) and fight it until the developer gives up.”

      So hard to understand why we have a housing shortage here!

  5. Why was Erick Arguello described as an “an anti-gentrification activist” and not as the President of Calle 24?

    1. 200+ units without a single parking! That’s a great idea!
      Also it’s good to read the definition of “affordable housing”, whoever lives in those tents can’t afford these “affordable” units.
      They want to build a 7-story building in a 4-story zone and for love of humanity added those 23 “affordable” units.
      I know, you’re pro-development people care a lot about those 23 poor families!

      1. You’re dating yourself.. Why would you own your own car in San Francisco? Public transit and ride share is much cheaper and better for the environment and our society.

  6. 11 commercial tenants > “122 studios and 83 two-bedroom units. Twenty-three, or 11 percent, of those units would be affordable”
    “People like you come in and move us out — it’s not right,” …………….. “Christopher Goode, whose family has owned the property since 1973, submitted preliminary plans for the project in September” This city is a joke. The hypocrisy of said community members knows no bounds.

  7. >referencing Goode’s decision to invoke the California Density Bonus Program, which allows developers to add units without increasing the affordable percentage.

    Maybe you wouldn’t take this statement at face value if you bothered to look up the text and name of the California State Density Bonus Law. Takes a bit more work than stenography though.

  8. Erick Arguello is doing Mr. Goode a favor.
    You got to be nuts to try and build market rate in the Mission.

    Or a beggar for years of punishment – see: Tillman, Robert
    And he never ended up building anything.

    On the flip side – Mr. Arguello – this site is outside the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District but I suppose your fiefdom knows no boundaries.

  9. Eric Arguello probably has single handedly done more to increase rent in the Mission than any other single person

    1. Funny how these “activists” do the bidding of millionaire homeowners in exchange for donations to their cause.

    2. 100% correct. You couldn’t design a strategy that was more favorable to owners & landlords, and more damaging to everyone else, than what he has promoted.

  10. I drifted into the Mission some 40 Years ago. It reminded me of the North End and East Boston of my youth. Fruit and vegetable stands. It has both its problems and a sense of community. It gave comfort and shelter to te vulnerable. She also nourishes the young at the dawn of their adventure before them and supports its seniors in the waning days of the journey called life.

    Over the last few years, outsiders have swamped our City with humongous monstrosities that Manhatinize our neighborhoods. Their dream for San Francisco is to homogenize, sanitize, and sterilize our neighborhoods. To make it all look the same.

    If you don’t believe my assertions just go to the Mission Bay area South of the ballpark. Nobody is walking around except the dog walkers and those rushing to Starbuck’s before they rush off to their cubicles.

    All is homogenized, sanitized and sterilized. That is their view of San Francisco. Huge ugly buildings that will create concrete canyons where life and nature becomes a commodity.

  11. Opposition to housing is making it so only millionaires can afford to buy in San Francisco. Everyone was a newcomer to San Francisco at some time in the past.

  12. I’m all about more housing but I imagine a Minnesota Street Project sort of thing doing really well here—even with some live/work artist studio integrated into the plan.

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