Midtown: Broken Promises and The Ghosts of Redevelopment

By Tyler Walicek : medium – excerpt

On the evening of October 18th, citizens and activists packed the cafeteria of Gateway High School, intent on speaking out against certain injustices that have been visited upon the residents of the Midtown Park Apartments. Addressing the crowd were a somber set of officials. Some spoke for the Mayor’s Office of Housing, while others were representing Mercy Housing, the massive, development-oriented nonprofit…

Conspicuously absent from the high school meeting was Supervisor London Breed, a supporter of Mercy’s new designs for Midtown…

A Brief History of Midtown[1]

Shortly after Midtown opened, its original developer went belly-up and defaulted on the loan. The lenders soon came calling; in order to keep the property afloat, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stepped in and negotiated for the City to take over the property. Shortly thereafter, in 1968, the City gave a 40-year lease for the property to the Midtown Park Corporation, a nonprofit established by tenants to oversee the upkeep of the grounds

To recap: the City claimed to own Midtown. The City promised Midtown residents rent control. Midtown tenants struggled to meet the rising costs of maintenance. The City vetoed proposed rent increases, citing rent control protections for Midtown. Without increased revenue or support from its owner, the City, the complex fell into disrepair. Now that a backroom deal has granted control of the property to Mercy Housing, the City is looking the other way as rent control protections are destroyed. Midtown’s tenants are facing an injustice in triplicate: the City’s failure to help them maintain the buildings, the revocation of rent control, and, if the City gets its way, the complete demolition of their homes…

[1] For more detailed history, check out Natalia Kresich’s article on 48 Hills and the Save Midtown website (more)

 

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