Wound Irrigation: Gentrification Protesters Reignite Resentments at 16th and Mission

A resentment festival sponsored by the Plaza 16 Coalition was conducted last Saturday at the corner of Mission and 16th Street. Free food was provided and speeches were delivered for approximately one hour in the glorious February sunshine. There was a decent turn out.

What was the occasion?

Good question.

The “Wall of Glass” proposed for 16th and Mission.

There is a development in the planning stages proposed for the corner diagonal to where the rally was held. If this plan goes forward, the plot of land housing Walgreens, Burger King and a number of other businesses will be completely transformed. The proposal offered by Maximus Real Estate Partners includes the building of two 10-story towers at 1979 Mission Street that will house 351 market rate apartments.

Depending on your source, market rate apartments in San Francisco can range from $3k - $5k per month. At this time there is no mention on-site affordable housing included.

Most of the people in attendance on Saturday were neighborhood activists and concerned community members that couldn’t possibly afford to live in the proposed twin towers. Every speech given was spoken in English and Spanish. The event couldn’t have been more of a grassroots effort.  The crowd senses the development will completely change the character of the neighborhood.

So why weren’t there more action items on the agenda?

The speeches given were fierce and heartfelt and inspiring, but don’t we already know what is happening all around us? Sure, it’s been a few months since there were boisterous gatherings in the Mission surrounding the Jack Spade push back and the subsequent march down 24th Street. Maybe we needed a moment in the new year to remind us all of where we left off and introduce the latest egregious encroachment upon the not-quite-middle-class citizens of Mission District.

If that’s the case, mission accomplished! But I have the feeling that many of us continue to pay close attention even if we haven’t had a moment to gather and chant a response to the question “Whose city?” in the past two months.
People need to know what they can do now, next week, or next month about the changes happening around them. Those opportunities (if any) comprised a fraction of the time spent reigniting the resentments.

There was a passing mention of the San Francisco Citywide Tenant Convention scheduled for noon on Saturday, February 8 at the Tenderloin Elementary School at Turk and Van Ness. Although that doesn’t directly address the gentrification of the Mission District, it does serve to build coalitions and affordable housing is very much part of the agenda at the convention.

What are the next steps in the approval process of the Maximus Partners proposal? What is the time frame? Where can we get more information? How can we be connected to the Plaza 16 Coalition to be kept abreast? Are there any scheduled hearings at City Hall?

There was great awareness and sympathy expressed for the struggles of working class neighbors. Maybe there should also be awareness of the difficulty some working class families might have in remaining informed and connected to movements that are the ONLY opportunity to have a say in how our neighborhoods are being stolen. Give us something to walk away with next time, please. We all need to know there is something we can do besides squint into the sun and shout out “OUR CITY” while it’s being taken away from us.

Comments (43)

Putting some below market rate units on the site, 10% of the total or whatever the number is, will have zero effect on affordability for the area. I could care less whether the bmr units are placed there or not, why would anyone?

The reality is that this is similar to the lower east side of Manhattan in the late 80s, early 90s. Higher priced condos started popping up, protests happened, but ultimately that area got whipped into shape and from the 2000 onwards (probably more like late 90s) that area basically turned into the Marina here. Honestly its probably worse than the Marina now.

The only way to stop it here is if we build enough fancy housing in soma. Soma must be sacrificed, and turned into effectively Hong Kong, for rents to lower. This way we can remove the wealthy element from the housing market.

Or we can all hope for another economic downturn in the tech sector. Or just prance around a plaza and make irrelevant speeches.

This is the kind of well-thought-out, constructive kind of comment I like to read. Want to save the Mission from being taken over by rich people? Build high-end luxury housing some where else. Soma is a good idea, but don’t forget Mission Bay and the Central Waterfront. Why there aren’t more bay-facing luxury housing projects there is beyond me.

This is exactly the kind of project this corner needs.

That means 351 existing apartments that can continue to be occupied by current Mission residents. The only thing that is lost is a Burger King and an abandoned dollar store. Seems like a net win for everyone (except Burger King).

It means 351 new units for speculators: hedge funds, private equity funds, and Chinese capital flight, which will have the effect of driving up average and median property prices and rents, causing even more evictions, until the finance bubble collapses, when price escalation will finally recalibrate abate.

We need to fast-track projects like this if we’re serious about dealing with the out of control rents. And sure, the design is ugly, but then again the Walgreens, Burger King, and the current plaza aren’t exactly beautiful either.

100% agree!
Also, kinda off topic but did anyone else notice Pollo Campero open up shop last year on Mission? Their website says they have more than 50 stores in the US alone. How did this chain store sneak by without anyone noticing?

Because it was approved, much like McDonald’s, BK, Walgreen’s. If you’re comparing that to the Kate Spade shit, it’s apples/oranges. Neighboring businesses made sure Spade didn’t get a seat. Also, Pollo Campero is tasty, so please sit back down.

It’s just so hypocritical. People are always saying how we need to maintain the feel of the neighborhood and to keep out big chains. Now we hav a big ol’ chain chicken store on Mission.

No, not really.

Pollo Campero is a big chain with deep pockets to pay the jacked up rent. It’s going to trickle down and raise the rent of the mom and pop places.

Man, you’re trying really, really hard to cram that square peg into a round hole, huh?

You can have chain restos galore if they are on Mission. There is no Pollo Campero on Valencia.

Don’t fast track it. Do it the right way. Its going to be here for a long time and if it is ugly, its going to be tall and ugly for a long time. There will be enough money out of the project for them to pay fees for the impact on the neighborhood, and still make good profit for the investors Don’t stop it, just use some wisdom, get a fair deal for the city.

Too tall. Scale it back to five stories or so, and I’d definitely be on board, though.

there are buildings in the mission over 10 stories tall already. i think it’s about right. we need to make up for all the years jobs were being added w/o new housing:



That article from a Real Estate blog is just as biased now as it was half an hour ago when the other guy posted it.

The article may of been reposted onto Curbed but that doesn’t change that it’s a well written article grounded in facts. that’s more than I can say for your subjective argument for 5 stories.

What do you mean? Do you have some reason to doubt the fact that I believe that five-story buildings would be more appropriate for this location?

Transit hubs should have dense development. The proposal is in-line with how that area is zoned. I am sure it will be scaled back, but it shouldn’t have to be.

Are we all looking forward to the trickle down effect from 351 market rate units??

Has there been a good trickle since Ronnie Raygun’s administration that birthed the movement?

If there’s one thing we should have learned from the abject failure of Friedman-ian/Austrian-School economics over the past few decades, it’s that “trickle down” is an absurdly ineffective and inefficient method for helping the economy.

Just urine.

“Resentment” is not an accurate word. Neither is “envy.” The attendees understand that building new housing that costs more than existing housing will create greater incentives to current landlords to evict, sell, and convert. The concern is economic, not emotional.

There is not an infinite quantity of rich people looking to buy condos in SF. It just doesn’t work that way.

That Burger King has been a cornerstone of the community and a lynchpin in the Mission’s characters since I arrived in SF. The Walgreens to a lesser extent, but certainly Burger King.

If Burger King can’t survive the greed, what’s next?

Not sure if serious…


Earthquake. That’ll drive those techies out of town, lower rental costs and create some new workforce/housing opportunities for us gritty old lokesters. Let the earthquake dance begin.

Many of these poorly maintained buildings will collapse and burn. It will take years for them to be rebuilt. And will the new buildings be under rent control? Probably not, as California law forbids rent control on new construction.

The lower income residents will bear most of the burden. Be careful what you wish for.

I love this “earthquake theory”… You realize people with wealth will be able to survive these kinds of catastrophes right?

Careful what you wish for.

Interesting. Do their huge piles of cash somehow cushion the crushing weight of concrete slabs and marble countertops?

This is the same shit people were talking about in the 80’s; that SF needed a big earthquake to flush whomever they deemed undesirable out of the city. Well we got the quake but they still just kept coming. An economic crash, a pandemic maybe but earthquakes have never stopped SF before.

The Mission is a desirable place to live because it’s sunny and has great access to transportation. Unfortunately, because current these Mission residents refuse to share the neighborhood with newcomers by blocking incremental housing to be built, they are unwittingly driving up demand for their units and increasing their chances of displacement.

Right… transportation and daytime weather are NOT the selling points of the mission anymore. It’s culture and nightlife. Two things that will be strangled out by the people moving here for it.

Yup. Well said.

But the culture and nightlife has gotten so much better in the last couple years… I haven’t see it being “strangled out”, just the opposite. Culture and nightlife don’t happen for free; someone has to pay for it. The more customers, the more there will be.

What? Are you kidding? Fewer venues, many of the better bars and restaurants disappearing or getting “refurbished” beyond recognition? Prices are higher and options are fewer. Not an improvement.

Why do you say that weather and transportation are no longer selling points of the Mission?
And if by culture you mean drug selling and nightlife you mean stabbings, 16th and Mission exemplifies both and would certainly be diminished by a project like this.

Haha, I see what you did there with your username and you not having much reason. You can’t just annoint yourself that!