How to not build in San Francisco: Maximus and the so-called ‘Monster in the Mission’

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

After several aggravating years and little progress, the aspirational developers of the so-called Monster in the Mission may be putting the ball in your court, city voters.

Late last year, after many moons of strife and harsh invective and dueling rallies and community mobilizations, a major development was erected on the 16th Street BART Plaza.

And there was much rejoicing. For it was a ping-pong table.

People do play. But it’s been raining something fierce of late. Perhaps a few men or women could take shelter beneath this sturdy table. This city is, after all, so lacking in places to stay.

Maximus Real Estate Partners — Rob Rosania, founder and “lead visionary” — would like to build housing on the plaza, an errant smash away from the ping pong table. Quite a lot of housing. But, after dropping some $42 million for this land, and investing years — and plenty more money — wrangling with any and all comers, the 1979 Mission St. project remains an ethereal watercolor… (more)

La Victoria bakery tenants told to clear out

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Long-time employees and commercial tenants of La Victoria Bakery at 2937 24th St. have been told that they will have to vacate the more than half-century old Mission District establishment next month.

Beginning last week, a handful of merchants who currently sublease space inside of the the bakery were served with 30-day notices of “termination of tenancy” by Jaime Maldonado, son of La Victoria’s proprietor, Gabriel Maldonado.

The eviction notices followed an announcement in March that the two-story building, in which the bakery has operated for the better part of 67 years as one of three commercial tenants, had been put on the market for $3.4 million.

Maldonado has been running the family bakery for decades, but gradually began subleasing the commercial kitchen space to a rotation of merchants to strengthen his business and support local merchants…(more)


Hundreds march in solidarity to avoid gentrification in Mission District

On Thursday afternoon, Mission Street was shut down for a few hours for a March to peacefully protest gentrification. The “March for Mission” which started at 20th and Mission Streets brought together local volunteers and organizations to send a message to City Hall that their voice needs to be heard.

Protesters ended the march at city hall, demanding funding to establish a Latino Cultural Corridor, affordable housing and transit equity. They aim to stop the massive influx of high-end businesses, projects, and luxurious housing. Protesters said that gentrification is driving out their neighborhood shops and threatening to turn Mission Street into another Valencia Street…(more)

Maybe it is time to take back Valencia. The posh restaurants have already topped out. Many are reputed to be closing already. What has gone up, is coming down, except for the rents, that is.

SF property manager atones for greed, Boogaloos slated to reopen

By : missionlocal – excerpt

In life, Boogaloos served as a microcosm of Mission trends every bit as well as it served as a brunch spot. There were the tattooed, toddler-toting hipsters wiping vegetarian herb-cream gravy off their hoodies, and tucking into a “Temple O’ Spuds,” an Edmund Hillary-worthy mountain of potatoes, cheese, salsa, sour cream and green onions — a monument to the power of hangover food.

In death, like Ben Kenobi, Boogaloos became even more powerful, as a symbol of the Malthusian currents drowning all too many people and places in the Mission. In 2015, the restaurant was rocked by a proposed increase of its rent from $4,200 to a parodic $17,500. Then, while essentially on life support, Boogaloo’s was hit with a fire in March of last year, and has since been down for the count…

Venerable, quotidian businesses being served with mind-blowing rent spikes — making way for places that won’t serve the Temple O’ Spuds or the sort of people who’d order that — is a boilerplate script element these days in the Mission. As are ill-timed fires.

Boogaloos, however, has gone off-script. And it looks like this Mission story may yet have a Hollywood ending.

“We’re going to open it again!” crows co-owner Carolyn Blair Brandeis, who co-founded Boogaloos in 1994 with Philip Bellber. While Brandeis had bandied about the notion of relocating the restaurant elsewhere, that won’t be necessary. Boogaloos is slated to reopen in the very same 1927-vintage building on the corner of Valencia and 22nd, a handsome, low-slung structure advertising its long-ago occupants in unsettling terms on the marquee: “Cut-rate druggists.”… (more)

Monster in the Mission spends $300K on signatures

By Tim Redmond :48hills – excerpt


Mission activists showed up outside the meeting to voice their opposition and let the public know the meeting is not open to the public or the press. Photo by zrants

Developer pays for ‘grassroots’ effort to build support for a project that many Mission community groups strongly oppose

I was out of town when the latest chapter of the Monster in the Mission fight took place. As Mission Local reports, the developer (Maximus, which also owns Park Merced), tried to hold a meeting with local merchants. It was closed to the press — maybe because the last time Maximus tried to hold a community meeting, it didn’t go so well.

We don’t know how well this one went, either. We do know that Joe Arellano, a spokesperson for the project, told Mission Local that “advocates and staff had been gathering the support of thousands of people who have signed a petition backing the project.”…

The recent event — and the lobbying effort — has been paid for by Mission For All, which is not a nonprofit or a political organization. It’s a Limited Liability Company, chartered in 2016 in California. Documents at the Secretary of State’s Office show its address as the offices of Nielsen, Merksamer, a San Rafael-based law firm that specializes in campaign finance.

Mission For All is entirely owned and funded by Maximus, the documents show… (more)

Business social for new development met with protest

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt

Business owners who arrived at the Mission Language and Vocational School Thursday evening to attend a social event organized by the developer of 1979 Mission St. were met by a group of about 30 chanting protesters who reiterated demands that the site be dedicated to affordable housing.

“No more monster in the Mission,” sang the protesters from the Plaza 16 Coalition, referring to the nickname activists long ago gave the project that promises to bring 331 units to 16th and Mission streets.  At present, 41 of those are slated for affordable housing, with an additional 49 units to be built at a different site later. The developer, Maximus, is also considering setting aside some units for teachers

Reporters were barred from attending the event, and it’s unclear which businesses attended. One nearby business group, the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association, has decided to remain neutral on the project, while Mission Merchant Association President Phil Lesser has voiced his enthusiastic support…

As for the demands of the Plaza 16 coalition, which organized the protest and has long demanded that any development at 16th and Mission be entirely below-market-rate, Arellano said, “We want to talk to the community that is interested in meaningful dialogue. The people here have made their demands clear.”

The Planning Commission is expected to consider the project later this year, though no hearing date has been set…(more)


Homeless people have found safety in a library – but locals want them gone

by theguardian – excerpt

San Francisco branch considers defensive architecture to make it a harder place to spend time as people seek shelter in libraries across the western US

The architect presented the landscaping plans for the library at a meeting in December. “It’s really going to be a defensive type of landscape,” she said to community members gathered at the library in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.

She enumerated the features that would make the outside of the library a harder place to spend time: railings on walls to prevent sitting, undulating rock formations to prevent encampments, benches with armrests to prevent people from lying down.

A local resident, addressing the room, said tough measures were crucial, complaining that the library is the “destination of choice for the transients that are causing so much trouble in our neighborhood”…(more)

More proof that San Francisco has lost its heart. We know that many elerdl and physically challenged homeless people are evicted out of SROs and other affordable housing facilities to make room for the new luxury housing units being built for the future homes for future citizens. We also know that the steady stream of immigrants is being closed off, including the wealthy ones who have been a part of this made rush to build. Where is the need to  punish people who have already been punished by the system?

See links below an alternative program being put in place in Berkeley. :

Berkeley moves forward on building micro-units for the homeless

Where others cities will not venture, Berkeley dares to go. That’s how city councilman Ben Bartlett views City Council’s unanimous vote Tuesday night to move ahead and explore the possibility of building tiny housing units aimed at the homeless and those on very low incomes…

San Francisco recently rejected Panoramic Interests’ micro-unit proposal. The fact the units are made overseas, in China, and not by U.S. unionized labor, was a deal breaker. The city also said there were already too many demands being made on scarce public property… (more )

Some times it may be necessary to check your political correctness at the door. This could be one of those times. Are you listening San Francisco?

An Opportunity to Capitalize on a Bernal Heights Blaze

socketsite – excerpt

The fire that consumed the former Cole Hardware at 3312 Mission Street and badly damaged the adjacent buildings – including the Graywood Hotel at 3308 Mission, a single-room-occupancy (SRO) hotel with 28 rooms – left 58 people homeless and the 3300 Club on the corner out of business.

While the former tenants of the Graywood technically have a right to return, unlike the operators of the 3300 Club or El Taco Loco, the hotel has since been gutted… (more)

Many comments on this one…

“The City must buy this building! It must have a non-profit owner or operator to ensure full-right of return for the displaced fire victims. This building is not a “cash cow” as described by the realtor. It’s a valuable anchor for working families and single adults. Is it any wonder we see so many more people experiencing homelessness on our streets when San Francisco has allowed the market to plunder 11,000 rooms from our SRO housing stock?”… Gabriel Medina


Fire-Torn SRO Gutted and Up for Sale, 3300 Club Ousted

By Laura Wenus and Laura Waxmann : missionlocal – excerpt

The owner of the Graywood Hotel, a single-room occupancy hotel damaged by a June 2016 blaze that displaced more than 50 people, has put the building up for sale amidst extensive renovations. The commercial leases in the building are now terminated, while advocates for the residential tenants are working to ensure they exercise their right to return.

“We just don’t have the bandwidth to put it back together,” said Dipak Patel, who owns the property at 3300-3308 Mission Street near 29th Street. Patel purchased the building in 2004 some for some $1.5 million, and is now asking $3.5 million…

The building is currently without a roof, and the interior is has been gutted to the studs. Patel said that the building’s water damage has been “cleaned up,” and that some of the building’s layout has been changed, but “the envelope of the building will be there,” he said…

Concerns over the state of the building, Patel said, led him to offer a month-to-month lease to the owners of the 3300 Club, a bar that has operated in the building for 60 years. In the end, those negotiations fell through, and the bar’s lease was terminated. A taqueria that was in the building prior to the fire had already moved on.

“Our hope was to come back into that location because we had been there for 60 years,” said Theresa Keane, whose family owns the 3300 Club, upon learning that the lease would not be renewed and that she would need to find a new location to reopen. “The fact that nothing has been done to that building, they gutted the inside, but the fact they haven’t done anything made me think they weren’t trying to rebuild.”

Keane said she will likely look for another location to reopen. In the meantime, she said, her bartenders have found shifts elsewhere and her “customers are still wandering around, a bit lost.”

Keane’s father opened the family business in 1956, and it operated year-round, closing only on election days and for her father’s funeral.

“My entire life, that’s been what our family has done,” she said. Still, she sympathizes more with her displaced neighbors. “We lost a business, that sucks, they lost their homes.”… (more)

Developments in Development: Decisions and Limbo

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt

The nuns have won! It only took 20,000 signatures and three hours of testimony from 20 or so people, but the Sisters of the Fraternite Notre Dame will open a soup kitchen on Mission Street near 16th Street. This has been a drama unfolding over the course of a year or so, which you can follow via Mission Local stories starting from a self-help mogul buying their space for them to the first rumblings of opposition to fears of blight.

More advances in feeding people (though in this case not for free): A reader reports construction is advancing swiftly at the Grocery Outlet planned for the former DeLano’s market on South Van Ness Avenue between 23rd and 24th streets. This was approved ages ago, but it seems things are getting underway.

On the other hand, the city seems to be going through a bit of indecision…

the city is considering the impact of big housing projects on their surroundings, and two of those big projects now have to wait for the city to do so…(more)

Dramatic vote could slow Mission development

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supes signal the end of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan — and denounce Trumpist rhetoric from market-rate housing advocates

A remarkable, stunning vote happened at the Board of Supes Tuesday: By a 9-0 margin, the members agreed that a big market-rate housing project in the Mission needs a full environmental review.

That spells the end of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, puts every other developer in the area on notice, and sends a signal to the Planning Department that displacement and gentrification have to be a central concern for all project approvals.

And it happened in part because a representative of SFBARF made comments in favor of the project that the supes found so totally offensive that one of them wanted anything to do with it.

The project, at 1515 South Van Ness just off 26th, is on the edge of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. The appellants say that the project needs a full environmental impact report, because the general EIR on the Eastern Neighborhoods is way, way out of date(more)

Sanctuary City has taken on a new meaning that may shift the political climate in a surprising way. We have sensed a negativity that is finally being exposed for what it is. Now city hall has chosen to close ranks to protect its own. For that we are grateful.

Mission Street Blocked as Protesters March Against Housing Props

By missionlocal – excerpt (video included)

More than 150 people marched down Mission Street on Thursday night blocking traffic for two hours from 24th Street to 21st Street as they protested against a slew of November ballot measures that they call anti-housing.

“We are five days from the election, and unfortunately on the ballot this year are anti-housing measures like P, U, Q, and R,” said Maria Zamudio, an organizer with Causa Justa, referring to measures that change bidding requirements for affordable housing (P), open up affordable housing to a higher income level (U), ban tent encampments (Q), and establish neighborhood crime units (R).

“Halloween just happened but in my opinion these are the scariest things out there,” she said.

The march began at the 24th Street BART Station, where a little over 80 people gathered at 6 p.m. with signs, banners, and tents like those used by the encampment residents… (more)