At 17th and Mission, a “gentrification bomb”

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Planning Commission sets terrible precedent, allows tech office space to displace artists in the Mission

SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 – There was a lot of discussion and obfuscation around a plan to retrofit and restructure the space of a large building at 17th and Mission, but the bottom line was clear:

The owners of the building, where Thrift Town occupies the lower floor and artist studios dominate the upper stories, want to replace art space with tech offices.

It would be the first time that the city allowed tech offices to move into space in the Mission where that type of office use has always been illegal. And it would (be) business space and an influx of high-rent office space that would radically transform the business mix in that part of town.

The same issues are coming up in Chinatown, and if the city decides that tech offices, which typically pay much higher rent than many other traditional uses, can move into neighborhood commercial districts, no part of the city will be safe.

As one person put it, “what happens if you fill the building with people who make more than $100,000 a year? You will be dropping a gentrification bomb. People in the neighborhood are scared as hell.”…

Commissioner Dennis Richards asked Rick Holman the central question: Didn’t you know when you bought the place that it had all these problems, that it needed seismic work?

Holman said that he didn’t know all the problems. He said that if he had known how problematic the place was, he wouldn’t have bought it. But he said he’s not going to sue the owner who sold it to him “for what happened before.”… (more)

Sort of shocking and also terrifying at the same time. Being in the room where these things are happening is an experience in itself. If there was any doubt as to why we need the moratorium in the Mission, there is none now.

San Francisco is no longer a destination for artists because the can’t afford to be here. The only hope for us is to pass Prop I and “save the Mission” and then save the rest of the city that is left, by re-writing the laws to give them more teeth. We must turn this gentrification thing around.

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