Developers pause ‘Beast on Bryant’ project indefinitely

By Laura Dudnick : sfexaminer – excerpt

A major Mission district development dubbed by housing rights activists as the “Beast on Bryant” has been put on hold indefinitely by developers to give the battle over housing in the neighborhood a chance to cool down, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

The Nick Podell Company was scheduled to seek approval from the Planning Commission on Sept. 10 for the project, which would include 274 apartment units, 47 of which would be below market rate, in much of the 2000 block of Bryant Street. The Planning Commission had previously voted to postpone a hearing on the project in June.

But in a letter obtained by the Examiner on Monday from Steve Vettel, an attorney for the project sponsor, to Planning Director John Rahaim, developers emphasize an intent to amend the project.

“In response to comments and concerns we have heard from members of the community, the project sponsor is considering certain revisions to address those concerns, including the mix of uses and the project design,” Vettel wrote in the letter.

The project had gained notoriety among housing rights activists who claimed a small group of artists would be evicted in place of luxury units.

By many accounts, opposition to the Bryant Street project — considered to be the second-largest proposed mixed-use development in the neighborhood after 1979 Mission St., also known as the “Monster in the Mission” — reflects an overall discontent with building any market-rate housing in the Mission.

The Bryant Street development received some unusual hostility as well. Earlier this year, the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council passed a resolution opposing the project.

The rare move by the group of 28 construction unions marked a symbolic sign of the housing crisis felt particularly in the Mission, a traditionally working-class neighborhood where some 8,000 Latino residents have reportedly been displaced since 2000.

There is also a looming ballot initiative in November that would temporarily halt market-rate development in the Mission like the Bryant Street project. But Evette Davis, a spokeswoman for the project, said that a possible moratorium was not the reason for the pause.

“This is really meant to be positive,” Davis said. “It’s meant to be able to take a look at some of these great suggestions [from the community].”

In Monday’s letter, Vettel also withdrew the developer’s notice to invoke the California Permit Streamlining Act, which would have required the Planning Commission to approve or disapprove the project by Sept. 30. Had the commission not taken action by then, the project would have been deemed approved… (more)

WOW! This is the second big win in the Mission in the last week or two. Let’s keep going folks. Someone is listening. One more to go. Let’s put the Studio17 on hold too while the voters decide on Prop I.

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