The dollar store at 2100 Mission Street. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

A 27-unit housing development at 17th and Mission streets may finally break ground more than a decade after it was originally proposed, though a new developer, the Toboni Group, is now carrying the baton.

Joe Toboni, the elder of the company’s father-son leadership team, quietly purchased the entitled land at 2100 Mission St. — currently the site of the One $ Store — from developer Timothy Muller in August last year. The price tag was $4.8 million. 

That wasn’t a terrible price, Toboni said. But with astronomically high construction costs and Toboni’s commitment to a community benefits package, he said making the project pencil out might be a squeeze. 

You have to be smart in how you build it in order to make it work,” Toboni said, noting that his development company is its own builder, which keeps costs lower. 

The project will likely break ground in a year or so, he said.  

The development will include four-below-market-rate units, which is around 15 percent — one more unit than was required for this project, he said. Toboni added that he’s also committed to renting the 3,000 square-foot ground-floor retail space to a low-price retailer selected by the Mission Economic Development Agency for the next 50 years. For the first 15 years, that retailer will be Goodwill at $3 per square foot. The thrift store has two five-year options. 

Toboni will also fund a mural on the building that he pegs at around $100,000. 

When Muller, the previous developer, inked this deal in July 2018, the Mission Economic Development Agency withdrew a “discretionary review” on the project, which would have prompted a hearing in front of the Planning Commission. Otherwise, the project was “as-of-right” and needed no Planning Commission vote to move forward, according to Gina Simi, a Planning Department spokeswoman. 

Peter Papdapoulous, a MEDA policy analyst who filed the discretionary review, declined to comment on Toboni taking over.  

And it remains unclear why, after a decade, Muller threw in the towel. He did not respond to requests for comment, nor did principals at Harrigan Weidenmuller, his development company. 

Toboni had his guesses. “The Toboni Group feels that with the rising cost of building, the [previous] owner decided to sell because the owner is not a builder.”

The Toboni Group, led by Toboni and his son Joey, is also beginning construction on a 75-unit project at 19th and South Van Ness Avenue. It recently completed 20 units at 606 Capp St., and finished 27 units at 600 South Van Ness in 2017. 

But the project at 2100 Mission St. could be Toboni’s last market-rate project, he said. After it finishes up in the next several years, “we’ve decided to build affordable housing in San Francisco and specifically middle-income housing.” 

Toboni, a city native, said that the focus has largely been on two extremes: market-rate and low-income housing. “We feel the middle in San Francisco is being left out,” he said. “We’re going to lose our emergency responders and teachers. When San Francisco loses that middle, it’s really gonna be a problem.” 

Building that middle-income housing will be done through the nonprofit business he and his son, Joey, are currently formulating. As Mission Local reported last week, the Toboni Group plans to use income from its on-site affordable units to build affordable developments, with matching grants from the tech industry and other benefactors. 

The developments may not be 100 percent affordable, unlike eight projects currently being developed by nonprofits in the Mission. Yet the ratio, for example, could look more like 75 percent below-market-rate, with 25 percent market-rate units “to help pay for it,” Toboni said, noting a high-revenue-generating commercial tenant could also cover costs. 

As low-income projects come online, all revenue will be used to generate more housing, Toboni said — ”to where we could fund these projects so that they could generate income and pay for the next project.”

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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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14 Comments

  1. That’s the worst of the skid row part of the mission. Very troubled area with deteriorating conditions. It will take a lot to improve it. Maybe this is a first step.

    1. Where did you move here from? I walk there all the time and your description is wrong from my point of view.

  2. “New developer takes on 17th and Mission development — says it may be company’s ‘last market-rate project’”.

    This title makes it seem like the developer said “last market-rate project”, vs the person writing the article. Isn’t this a misquote?

    A market rate project can only be “Market Rate”, if you charge market rate for all units. If the price includes subsidizing affordable units, aren’t you then paying above market rate? Maybe I don’t understand the law, but in English, this is what I read.

  3. Toboni sounds like he wants to turn his construction business into an affordable housing industrial complex. Ah, there’s nothing like charging the govt $800k+ per studio. How bout just a simple cost plus contract?

    1. There will be subsidies forthcoming. Why is tech banking on affordable?

      Toboni is rising quicky if you follow signage in town. It’s not like they were anybody ten years ago. They are still creating image, so it’s interesting to see their aim.

    1. It might be new to you, but Murals have been a part of classical Greece, Rome, China, Meso America, etc… You are witnessing the artistic expression of ancient cultures now melting together to form positive energy.

      Do some research on murals before you cast derogatory statements and learn some civility. The De young Museum is my flave but Murals have there place here in the OLD MISSION Steve.

      Dan the Man

    2. Steve, I suggest you rethink about living in SF. We LOVE our murals and they are great at deterring graffiti.

  4. John,

    Please tell me that this isn’t the spot where Dance Mission was scheduled?

    REally, please tell me they did not get dropped.

    h.

    1. The Dance Mission project is scheduled for construction at the dilapidated Galaxy Theater on 18th and Mission, across from Duc Loi Supermarket. The redevelopment project in this article is one block north on Mission at 17th.

      Not sure what the heck is going on with that Galaxy site but it has stuck in limbo for the past few years. Very sad…

  5. Speaking of shakedown “nice plans you have filed with the city, a pity if something were to happen to them” artists Mission Economic Development Agency, who we read here get to pick and choose who gets to “[rent] the 3,000 square-foot ground-floor retail space […] for the next 50 years”, what’s up with the renovation of the Jelly Donut building at the corner of Van Ness and 24th that MEDA owns?

    Zero sign of any work in months (advertised completion date was this February), and one would imagine the Jelly Donut and the nail and eyebrow joints occupying the ground floor were surely “community” enough for MEDA (but who knows how these things are decided?), but MEDA’s property just sits there, gutted and boarded up.

    But hey, business is business. Filing “discretionary reviews” has got to be a great deal more profitable than donut shop landlording.

  6. Dan,

    Money’s the problem.

    Always is and art’s mostly a paper sword.

    How can we get Tom Steyer this project and …

    Buy the Redstone Labor Building too?

    Go Giants!

    h.

  7. Why is the tenancy of the ground floor retail not decided by a public process?

    Who vested within MEDA, the operation that could not stabilize Mission resident-serving businesses for decades, the power to speak for the neighborhood as pertains to commercial tenancies? How do we contest this delegation of policy making to an unaccountable, private nonprofit corporation?

    Public benefits such as BMR commercial rental dedications should be allocated under sunshine in a public process, not privatized by politically connected and often corrupt patronage operations.

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