Activists Fire Shot Across Bow of “Titanic Mess on South Van Ness”

By missionlocal – excerpt

The next battle over market-rate housing in the Mission District took shape Thursday morning as activists met on the corner of South Van Ness Avenue and 26th Street to denounce a five-story housing project they have dubbed the “Titanic Mess on South Van Ness.”

Opponents demanded that its developer — Lennar Multifamily Communities, a subsidiary of the development giant Lennar Corporation — gift the land to the city for fully affordable housing. They also called on the city to delay its consideration of the project.

“Today we’re calling on Lennar to gift this site to the city for 100 percent affordable housing,” said Erick Arguello, a member of the merchants association Calle 24 and a principal opponent of the project.

Arguello said the market-rate building would fuel gentrification and displacement in the neighborhood. He pointed specifically to higher rents for commercial Mission businesses, saying a new clientele would bring upscale shops to a historically lower-income, culturally Latino district.

“When you get more luxury housing, you get people with a lot more money moving into the neighborhood, which creates a different demand for products,” he said.

The project at 1515 South Van Ness Ave. would bring 138 market-rate units and 19 below-market-rate units — fulfilling the city requirement that 12 percent of units on the site be affordable — to the Mission District, as well as six ground-floor retail shops.

The complex would raze and replace the McMillan Electrical building and abut a planned 96-unit fully affordable senior complex to be built by the Mission Economic Development Agency — a point of contention at a February community meeting where audience members wanted a merger of the two sites.

On Thursday, some 25 people gathered at the project site and vowed to fight the project to its death. Roberto Hernandez, founder of Our Mission No Eviction, said the project was out of place in the Mission District.

“It’s a titanic luxury development for the rich people,” he said through a bullhorn…

Just like the Monster, all the little actions [help] delay, delay, delay,” Hernandez said. “That’s why we’re here today, because we’re going to delay, delay, delay until we kill it.”

Delayed it they have. The Lennar project is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission next Thursday, April 21, but will likely be delayed to June 16, according to a spokesperson for the Planning Department.

Dozens of emails written in opposition to the project — as well as a phone call by Supervisor David Campos — were behind the delay, according to Arguello…(more)

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