10-Story, $175m Condo Development Proposed for 16th and Mission BART Plaza

Rendering via Mission Local

According to SF Business Times, a proposal was “quietly submitted” to San Francisco's Planning Commission last week profiling the build out of a 10-story, 351-unit housing development abutting the 16th and Mission BART Plaza. The project would stretch from Mission to Capp Streets, replacing Walgreens, Burger King, City Club, Hwa Lei Market, and the parking lot that sits along Capp.

The proposal calls for airy plate glass storefronts, with 14-foot floor-to-ceiling heights, which would wrap around the BART plaza and continue along Mission and 16th streets. The group says the blank facades currently ringing the BART Plaza on Mission and Capp streets represent “a significant contributing factor to the high crime rate at the intersection of 16th and Mission.”

The retail spaces will feature welcoming high ceilings and a large expanse of display glass to spark pedestrian interest and provide a safe and engaging revitalization of the BART plaza,” the proposal states. […]

The developer has not yet determined how it will meet the city’s affordable housing requirement. It could build 12 percent on site, 20 percent off site, or pay a fee that is the equivalent of 20 percent of the total project cost. It could also carve out a piece of the land and give it to the Mayor’s Office of Affordable Housing, which would then pick an affordable housing developer to build it.

“What an opportunity for an amazing transformation of a corner,” said Chris Foley, a partner with Polaris Pacific, which markets new condos across the city.

It's unclear if this development has anything to do with the nebulous “Clean Up the Plaza” astroturfing campaign that sprang up this summer, but the timing is particularly curious.  And the goals?  One wants to make it safe and appealing for 'commuters', while the other needs it to be safe and appealing for sales.

But make no mistake, this development has nothing to do with the “transformation of a corner,” even if that is its inevitable outcome.  Former Jack Spade lobbyist Phil Lessor said it best:

There is only one neighborhood in the Bay Area that has two BART stations and that’s the Mission. That is absolute gold. It doesn’t get any better than that. What you are seeing on Valencia Street and 24th Street — those are sideshows compared with Mission Street. Basically what you are starting to see is what Mission Street will look like in the 21st century.

According to the Biz Times, the property is already in contract for $25 million awaiting city approval.

Welcome to the “neighborhood.”

[SF Biz Times]

Comments (45)

Not to nitpick, but mid-market has two BART stations, too.

Anyway, 10 stories seems a bit high for the Mission, but something more reasonable (6 stories, say) would be great for there.

Thank Rose Pak for helping elect Ed Lee.

Newsom couldn’t have paved the way for this gentrification in a dozen years.

Bless here heart.

Go Pak go.

OH NO WE MUST AT ALL COSTS PRESERVE OUR HISTORIC NEEDLE-STREWN PARKING LOTS AND THE WORLD’S DINGIEST DRUGSTORE.

HEY GUYS LET’S ALL COMPLAIN BITTERLY ABOUT HOUSING PRICES IN THE MISSION ARE TOO HIGH AND THEN THROW A FIT WHEN SOMEONE TRIES TO BUILD SOME MORE.

If the multimillionaires who’ll be moving into these condos are the ones doing the complaining, then point you. But they’re not, so shut the fuck up.

multi-millionaires can usually afford to do a bit better than a $750k 1br condo

We don’t care

Save our Burger King!

Yes!!!!

Yes!!!! Amen.

We can all agree that there are better things than a parking lot and crappy burger king and walgreens. But can’t we do better than huge buildings full of housing for the rich? Yes, we can. We can do better. Let’s work together as a city to meet the demand for affordable housing and keep our neighborhoods from being overrun by rich folks.

But, this IS affordable. You are ruining everything!!!

The baseball park is a good example. We voters rejected three proposals, until they came up with a good one. This proposal for 16th and Mission should be the same. This first sketch looks like Soviet housing pre Berlin wall. We are San Francisco, we can do better than ugly affordable housing. A better deal will result that can activate and beautify a critical corner if we negotiate hard, rather than settling for “its better than Burger King that’s there now”.

the name Maximus real estate partners goes with the look, as in push the walls out to the max and don’t care about aesthetics.

Build it, and leave it at 10 stories. The more housing the better, especially when it’s so close to public transit. Hopefully they opt to build the affordable housing options on site.

Yes, all millionaires and Chicken John ejaculating on them.

Build it and he will cum.

I’m all for adding more housing, but what’s really troubling is learning that the builder can “pay a fee that is the equivalent of 20 percent of the total project cost” to get out of having to provide affordable housing. Does that apply to every new housing development? Why on earth would we permit this? With the prices at all the “luxury” housing developments I’ve seen so far, developers should easily turn enough of a profit to cover that payoff (and it’s probably more lucrative for them to choose that option and then keep all the units at luxury prices), with the result that city hall gets a bunch of money and we don’t get the required affordable units. Am I misunderstanding this requirement?

Why on earth would we permit this? With the prices at all the “luxury” housing developments I’ve seen so far, developers should easily turn enough of a profit to cover that payoff

Originally, new developments had to offer 15% of their units to affordable housing. However, the law was amended in 2010 to bolster construction post-crash–now they can pay fee to get out of the requirement and pay the city build the housing “elsewhere.”

Of course, this has failed miserably and made affordable housing worse. In January 2012, SF released a study of the problem, which noted before the amendment, 75% of construction had affordable housing. As of the that study, 55% of developments opted out of the affordable housing requirement and were able to lobby the city into getting their fee deferred until after the building was completed and sold, allowing them to recoup their investment, make a profit, and then, finally, pay the city to take care of the affordable housing problem for them.

The worst part about it is the law doesn’t dictate where the housing has to be build (certainly doesn’t mandate it has to be in the Mission). Most tragically, it generally just isn’t being built at all.

I totally understand people’s “build more housing!!! don’t question it!!! housing!!!” take. At a simplistic glance, it would seem this might alleviate our housing problems. But if you bother to take a look at the actual legislation that have gotten us into this fever pitch of luxury-only construction, you’d see a snake’s nest of fucked development policies that have been spurring the “hyper gentrification” that we’re falling victim to. Poors be damned.

Great comment, Kevin. All too often it seems that the conversation goes between two extremes. I suppose that isn’t surprising for Internet comments sections. What does surprises me though is that the tenants advocacy organizations seem to be taking an obstructionist tack, whereas communities in other cities (like New York) have worked together with developers while avoiding displacement. Clearly both evictions and and rent are sky-rocketing. I imagine there’s some history that I’m missing out on (perhaps the way the Fillmore was redeveloped), but it saddens me that a city like San Francisco cannot come up with more creative solutions that involve making room for both newcomers and people who have lived here for years.

There’s two ways of adding affordable housing – there’s the “projects” approach, and there’s the “scattered-site” approach. At least in theory scattered-site housing is better for everyone, since wealthier people don’t like living next to projects and poor folks are typically better off themselves when they’re not relegated to a poor-only ghetto.

Seems to me it would be better for all housing developers to add a few below-market units themselves rather than pony up a bunch of money that could lead to a big housing project being built right next door (and tanking their land value.)

I’m just an aged lawyer, prone to simplistic glances, but in my infirm opinion, additional housing can only help. Where the money that we extort (pardon the editorializing) from developers goes is something we, presumably, get to control through our votes for folks like Wiener and Campos. They could take the X% from this, from Nema, from Linea (the building, not the coffeeshop), 3500 19th, etc., and probably build something nice for … well hell, I’m not sure *who* we should give those apartments to. Somebody awesome who really manifests everything that’s important about the neighborhood? Hey, maybe that’s me!

Some background on who we “give” those units to.

In short, it’s a lottery, and there are income requirements on how to get them. Also, they ultimately have to pay for them. Below Market Rate ≠ free.

I’m not even going to debate the merits of Affordable Housing requirements–or, as you put it, “extortion”–considering the City of San Francisco discusses the critical need for a diverse community in our neighborhood Master Plan (as adopted by the Board of Supervisors):

In addition to providing more than 23,000 jobs for the city of San Francisco, the Mission also provides a place for almost 60,000 residents to live, many in households substantially larger and poorer than those found elsewhere in the City. There are about 17,000 units of housing in the Mission mixed with commercial, industrial, retail and other uses. This mix of uses makes it possible for many residents to live and work in the same general area. […]

To ensure the Mission remains a center for immigrants, artists, and innovation, the established land use pattern should be reinforced. This means protecting established areas of residential, commercial and [Production Distribution and Repair], and ensuring that areas that have become mixed-use over time develop in such a way that they contribute positively to the neighborhood. A place for living and working also means a place where affordably priced housing is made available, a diverse array of jobs is protected, and where goods and services are oriented to serve the needs of the community. For the Mission to continue to function in this way, land must be designated for such uses and controlled in a more careful fashion.

My inflammatory word choice may have obscured my point, which is captured by this Homer Simpson interior monologue:

(Homer finds $20 under the couch) “Twenty dollars? I wanted a peanut!” Brain: “Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts.” Homer: “Explain how!” Brain: “Money can be exchanged for goods and services” Homer: “Woohoo!”

There’s not a lot of difference (imo, always imo) between setting aside units in the building, and having our elected officials go out and build units with the money they derive (neutral word choice) from the project. That can be done nearby. The Tower Theater is still empty, for example, and it’s not alone.

I’d argue the biggest difference is the where question. The law doesn’t mandate where the officials decide to build the housing, and it often comes down to what they can afford. The fear is this money may end up being dumped into Mission Bay or Bayview and not the Mission, where developers will willingly plop down $25m for land to convert into ~$350m worth of condos. This goes against the Mission’s Master Plan, which aims to keep a economically diverse population in the neighborhood itself.

If we require that developers include the BMR units in their developments, it prevents only the wealthy from benefiting from the Mission’s building boom.

Hear, Hear. Well said, kev. The current system is seriously, seriously broken.

“Most tragedy, it generally just isn’t being built at all.”

You’re being a bit cute here Kevin..

It “wants” to be built but because of a very particular history - Amos & Willie Brown decided (in a bizarre 60s way) that a certain percentage of the workforce had to come from particular neighborhoods and be of a particular race. An ethnic and racial demographic that literally changed overnight.

The poors be damned indeed.

In the only way out of the ghetto is if you take a job to construct your way out of that ghetto.

Heavens forfend that you might not want to do that or not want to live there the rest of your life. Shocker!

You say that people should be allowed to stay in a given area just because they like it/were from there/etc, and not based on ability to pay. Would you make the same statement for someone who grew up in Pac Heights but decided they didn’t want to be an investment banker/lawyer/doctor like their parents? Do they get to stay in a multi-million mansion because they are from there even though they chose to work as a barista. If that is an extreme example in one direction where is the cutoff for being considered to be “from there” where you don’t have to keep up with economic growth?

One really needs to take only a “simpl[e] glance” at this project to know it should happen–even if the affordable housing legislation has been amended in not the best way. Supply and demand is simple. Housing prices are especially high in SF right now because supply is low relative to demand. One way to relieve the high cost, then, is to increase supply (the other is to decrease demand, which for SF means, kill the Internet). This project helps to increase supply. And even if the project includes no “affordable” units, it *still* helps ALL folks since it relieves some pressure off people in all sectors of the housing market. For instance, a high-income renter can get one of these places, instead of some old flat on Shotwell–which can then instead go to a medium-income earner. This pattern repeats as you go down the ladder. It really is that simple.

Not building housing is a really terrible way to protest one’s dislike for the current affordable housing legislation. It speaks more to one’s sense of ideological purity than to a reality based housing policy that recognizes that the most urgent thing SF needs right now is more housing.

Sometimes it actually makes sense to build affordable housing off site. In a large, upscale condo building, all tenants will pay the same HOA fees which could be $500 and up per month - the more upscale the building, the higher the fees. The unit price may be affordable but HOA’s never go away and usually go up over time. That money can be better spent either providing funds for low cost loans for poorer families or building affordable housing elsewhere and offering them at below market rates.

The developers are following the rules in these cases - it’s the City that needs to do something constructive with the money.

There’s no turning back the clock but if the City can help people purchase homes there’s no evicting them in 20 years if those areas become desirable and the people being helped might actually be better off!

GG,
I completely sympathize with your views about the City’s extreme affordability crisis, but, yes, you’re perhaps not aware of an important public policy. The Inclusionary Housing Ordinance has been City law since 2002. It’s been modified a couple of times, but it basically says that private housing developers have to pay very large fees to subsidize affordable housing in SF. If they choose to pay a 20% in lieu fee, it goes to the Mayor’s Office of Housing that does a TERRIFIC job of putting it to use for building housing opportunities for folks that would NEVER otherwise have them. The Inclusionary fees charged in SF are, by a considerable margin, the highest in the US. I agree that it’s not solving our problem, but it’s NOT possible to say that it doesn’t go to folks who badly need more housing solutions. The problem with the IHO is that it’s become a VERY expensive solution for a small number of VERY lucky folks, kinda like a lotto. It’s not scaling!

As I see it, the only argument against is “will bring more yuppies*.” But the yuppies are coming anyway, aren’t they? isn’t it better to build a new place for them than to put them in apartments in which people already live? Less motivation to Ellis Act your building if there won’t be buyers, because they have a shiny new building to move into instead.

*A word that has magically persisted for 30 years.

well, At least one other argument is does a 10 story building fit. Will it appear to be ugly. too much ugly as shit that was consumed at expensive restaurants is being built.

I’d say build it if it also looks nice, and covers the recreational, school district and other impacts that its going to cause.

I think just about anything will be less ugly than the abandoned dollar store, Walgreens, Burger King, and drug-ridden plaza we have right now.

False dichotomy. Those are not the only two options.

I bet the tenants would love a Jack Spade around the corner… :(

they should put all the affordable housing funds into this development! why condos, that is insane…

Just thinking that the traffic is going to be insane for bikes and busses (cars too).

Where is Avalos on some of these things?

Over my dead body, you fuckwads.

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