600 South Van Ness Site

Over the objections of the Plaza 16 Coalition, San Francisco’s Planning Commission has approved the plans for a five-story, 27-unit apartment building to rise on the southwest corner of South Van Ness and 17th Street in the Mission.

600 South Van Ness Rendering

The Coalition had demanded that The Toboni Group, the developer of the project, hold a bi-lingual community meeting with the Coalition and Calle 24, “which have been active and very vocal in opposing displacement during this affordable housing crisis in the Mission,” and would like to see a moratorium on all market rate residential construction in the Mission, starting with this development.

At the same time, the Coalition can claim a victory as The Toboni Group agreed to include four (4) Below Market Rate (BMR) units on-site rather than pay an in-lieu fee of $1.95 million, which was at the heart of the Coalition’s objections.

89 thoughts on “Mission Development Approved, Below Market Rate Units Added”
      1. There is the same reason all on-site BMR units are a bad idea: Owners get no break of HOA fees but do not have the same ability to pay them that market rate buyers do. Since the initial fees set by developers are often unrealistically low, when reality sets in BMR buyer may find themselves hit with a monthly tab they can’t afford. Down the road, should special assessments be necessary, this is especially true. It makes a lot more sense to pool BMR fees and group the units in separate buildings where the BMR owners themselves can set fees.

    1. Is this true? Then the Coalition won as all they were asking was onsite BMRs. Why is that such an issue to the developer?

      1. I’m quite sure that was not “all they were asking for.” That was just for starters. And they also wanted that ridiculous bilingual meeting with all these nut job coalitions, etc. all the proper protocols were followed by the developer when they went through the planning process. If these guys wanted a bilingual meeting, THEY should have planned for it, and brought their own interpreters during the planning process. Such an entitled attitude these [people] have!

        So the developer did the smart thing- offer the BMRs on site to nip this in the bud. The planners obviously agreed and wanted to move on. I’m sure the wackos against this are livid for getting played. You think they are satisfied? Not at all! They want all affordable housing or nothing at all. And they lost!

  1. Good news…yet better news would be most of mission coalition being ELLIS ACT evict out of their cushy rent controlled apts. aaahhh…perhaps by 2020!

    1. “Cushy” rent controlled apartments? What have you been smoking? And getting excited at the thought of evicting people just because they’re not wealthy and are trying to preserve the neighborhood’s lower classes, which make up the majority of the mission (and city, for that matter) and are constantly getting pushed out? You sound like a nice guy with strong moral fiber. There are ways to deal with this housing situation that don’t involve mass eviction (or some dumb housing moratorium), though based on the things you constantly post, I have a feeling anything less than total gentrification of SF will not please you. Money above all else!

      1. Cities change. Why should we “preserve the neighborhood’s lower classes” and what does that mean? I don’t think anyone advocates evicting people because they are not wealthy. But the reality is that housing costs increase those that cannot afford to live in a certain place will need to make adjustments.

        I want to live in Pac Heights, but I can’t afford it. I’m not expecting the city, or developers, or anyone else to make that possible for me. I’m sorry, but no one has a “right” to live anywhere they want, even if they we’re born and raised there. Sad but true.

  2. The commission vote was unanimous.

    The developer did decide to do on-site BMR at the last minute. I believe these are ownership BMR units, which means they can go up to 120% AMI. Off-site BMR would have allowed housing for the truly poor … On-site BMR also means that the BMR occupants are stuck paying whatever HOA fees the market-rate majority votes for.

    There were a handful of people who showed up to speak against it. No fireworks, though the guy in the Plaza 16 shirt did go off about how capitalism was not going to save us.

    1. We should crowd fund some anti-psychotic drugs for the nuts. Good job w/ moving ahead.

      On-site BMR sounds better. HOAs probably $400-$500 a month?

    2. Nothing is going to “save us”. Humanity’s ten billion people will eventually crash the climate, we will go through a mass extinction event, and then things will eventually readjust.

      That’s the way the universe works…no matter what “activists” think they are going to be doing.

      1. Even without a near-future mass extinction event, in 5 billion years, and the sun enters the last phase of its life, it will first expand out to near the orbit of Mars – and I have no doubt that when this starts happening, the like-minded kin of today’s “activists” will stand before it, protesting loudly, making demands, and telling everyone within earshot that they “deserve something better”.

  3. You don’t like what’s going on? Get very active in your district elections. Time to move to a more moderate city.

    1. Agreed.
      And from my perspective, I think the pendulum is already moving in a towards a more moderate (but still liberal) political center.
      The current SF Planning Commission appears to be approving more projects and not allowing Discretionary Review than in the previous twenty years.

      1. There is liberal politics and there is letting the loonies run the asylum. We’ve pandered to the illegal community in this city so much that they demand more and more ridiculous concessions from the productive members of this city every year. These people are takers and they will never be satisfied.

          1. Yeah, I’ll now concede. It is “about race” and it’s clear on which side the racists line up.

          2. The tumbrels are too good for a number of folks ranting about “if you can’t afford to live here get out!”

          3. Not only Hispanics, there are plenty of Asians who come here immediately looking to be on the government dole before even trying to find work. Many spend to go on those nearby casino bus day trips. The poor wasting and gambling away their future. Is this fair? And then you wonder why Chinatown is so low income.

          4. To Amewsed – It’s not just Hispanic, and not just Asians – an awful lot of White folks do the same – have you noticed that most of the “homeless” who wander into SF from elsewhere are predominantly White folks?

            At least the Hispanics and Asians aren’t heading over here with a nasty addiction to heroin or meth.

          5. Yes, you are right about that. I guess better to be greedy and opportunist than being drug addicted. Although gambling addiction is a serious problem in the Asian community.

        1. And by “productive members” you of course mean dweebs designing software aps and banking criminals laundering drugs, etc. etc.

          Who is doing the real hard work in this community, Stop Bigoting? The “illegals”. Go find a Tea Party site to post at.

          1. Nice to see the socket site consensus stomping down the more overt racists here occasionally. It still skeezes me out seeing all the Ayn Rand/Koch Bros buzzword casually popping out of various real estate brokers’ mouths here. “Takers” etc. But when the rants head off into racism I am tempted to just stop reading the site.

          2. @Jack I’m with you. What rocks do these cretins take cover under while negotiating SF society?

  4. Perhaps this is a harbinger for the future of the proposed moratorium? In other words, the opponents of market rate housing can be appeased with tweaking the BMR’s? I would consider that a the best possible outcome.

    1. Developers can low ball initial BMRs then reluctantly “increase” number if there is great push back. Better yet, I want to see an alternative off-site BMR offered in Antioch.

      1. Antioch is not in SF, smart guy. Or are you implying that working and middle class people don’t deserve to live in SF?

        1. Lots of working and middle class people find ways to live in SF, though we often have to make sacrifices such as smaller units, having roommates, or renting instead of owning at first. But that doesn’t mean we “deserve” to live here in one of the most expensive areas in the U.S. More affordable housing outside SF is just fine. And anyone who considers themselves too good to live there doesn’t have to take it.

          1. Whatever bar talk BS you and so many other assholes here want to spout but any city’s chosen policy should be to mitigate forces leading to the wholesale displacement of its current citizens.

  5. I would argue that there’s no conceivable right to live in a city where you can’t afford the housing costs. Living in SF is a privilege, not a right.

    1. Spoken like a privileged person. I was born and raised here, but because I’m not wealthy I don’t deserve it? But of course you do, right? The thing is, these people COULD afford it until very recently. Greedy property owners are pushing them out at an alarming pace.

      1. What does anybody deserve? I moved here 20 years ago. If I can’t afford the expense of living here I will move. Isn’t that what people do? I can speak from experience in the Mission – a lot of people are getting ‘pushed’ out by families that are selling their buildings when the parents that owned it pass away. They have six kids to split the estate amongst and don’t want to deal with the rent controlled apartments anymore.

      2. Like yourself, I also am not wealthy. Twenty-six years ago, I bought a small condo in a bad neighborhood (at the time) and struggled to pay my mortgage. Other friends continued to live in their rent controlled apartments thought I was a sap for doing so.

        Now, those who did not purchase housing are worried about being displaced from below-market rate apartments. Simply, the option to purchase has passed for blue collar and middle class families in San Francisco and even Oakland is quickly passing by.

        That’s the thing about trying to restrict rental price increases and capitalism in housing. Like sausage, you squeeze in one area and you have a messy result in another.

        I don’t envy those getting evicted through Ellis Act displacement, but over the years they should have invested the rent savings into a large down-payment.

        1. I agree whole heartedly with you. I too saved and worked hard almost 30 years ago to save up for a down payment to buy a run down fixer in a yet undiscovered neighborhood. Some friends followed with me to buy, others chose to stay in their rent controlled apartments. We each make our own personal choices and I have no disdain for those who did not follow in my footsteps.

          And no, I do not speak with any sort of “white privilege” as some imply I or we do. Their comments alone are distasteful and irrelevant.

      3. “I was born and raised here, but because I’m not wealthy I don’t deserve it?”

        Basically, yes. If you can’t afford to live there you either need to make more money, buy a place, or move. It’s actually pretty simple.

        1. Exactly yes. Last time I checked SF is not a communist collective where housing is provided by the state for ALL. This is a free market society and should always remain so.

          Can’t afford to live here. Then stop complaining: get a better job, or two jobs or 3 jobs, make more money, or find a city you can afford.

          It really is that simple.

          1. In all of my viewings this blog over the years, I have never heard Futurist refer to his/her self as white.
            So your incrimination against Futurist would imply other races are not able to plan for their housing or financial futures?
            You do know that in its self is racist, right?

          2. Then, in all fairness, explain to us your opinion as to how and why those who cannot “afford” to live here should be given the “privilege” of living here. I think you agree that it does take a solid income to live here and all of the residents here working hard to live here, without government assistance, should be applauded.

      4. You deserve results from the effort you put in to stay in the city in which you were born and raised.

      5. I deserve Heidi Klum, doesn’t mean I am going to get her. On second thought, I can if I want it enough.

      6. No you don’t deserve to live here. In fact, you want to talk about who built this city? The Irish, the Chinese, the Italians, the Swedes. Later, African-Americans came in to build ships in ww2. Either start earning or get out. Loads of people get displaced, see my previous sentences.

      7. You are describing yourself as someone who feels entitled. We are no longer in the Middle Ages protecting our birthrights

  6. I’d rather have seen the $1.95MM go to the City’s housing fund than get four measly on-site BMR units. Given the typical City capital subsidy put into affordable rental, that $2MM would leverage about a dozen affordable rental units as income target levels below that of what the income target levels are for on-site BMR.

    So, yes, the 16th Street Temper Tantrum got its four on-site units to preserve the cultural hegemony of the Mission or whatever such nonsense, and the City lost out on generating a lot more low income units somewhere else in the City. (that somewhere else quite possibly being still in the Mission, on one of the several land sites the City owns and is planning developing into affordable housing).

    Thanks crazy “activists”!

    1. Hopefully it will get built with the developer’s agreement to provide 33% on site BMR rentals supplementing their ingenious proposal to make avaliable condo sales affordable to SF middle income earners.

      1. Orland, what have you ever done for San Francisco? Ever, any giving back? other than attempting to shout down people on websites? have you ever lifted a finger for the fabric of this city?

        1. Better you slither back under whatever rock it is you choose to disguise your true nature to avoid being ostracized out of this town. “anon” indeed.

          How is this at all appropriate or even relevant to the details of a proposed building?

          1. oh, you’re clairvoyant now, are you? again with the “under a rock” thing? to multiple other posters? That wasn’t exactly an answer now, was it? no. you’re clearly only a crank on the internet and nothing more.

          2. I honestly think “anon” should temper is comments somewhat, because he has said here before that he only lives here “part time” the other time being Tokyo, according to him. I think living here full time is important to rant on and on about everything.

  7. Part of the problem is that some people believe that living in San Francisco is heaven and everywhere else is hell. I had occasion to go to San Leandro (in my admittedly privileged life) for the first time. It is full of charming houses, almost picture perfect Americana. I am sure they are much less expensive than comparable houses in SF, Marin or the Peninsula. Instead of living in a tiny SF studio, some people might choose to live comfortably in San Leandro if they knew about it.
    One part of the problem is that some activists do not understand that we live in a large metropolis that does not end at the borders of the county of San Francisco.

  8. The funniest part is that none of the people protesting this will be able to afford those 4 BMR units. Anyone stuggling to get by in a rent controlled apartment in the Mission isn’t going to be able to buy these, so they still lose.

  9. All of the above comments remind me of “Hunger Games”. If you can destroy all of your competitors (the others — rent control; trustarfarians, landlords, public housing) you too will bask in glory (nice living unit).

    I am still very please to have gone on.

  10. As always the discussion here devolves into a pissing match about what individuals “deserve” or “are entitled to”. On an individual level, of course no one person has the “right” to live in SF. But on a policy level there are many compelling reasons to try and retain a mix of incomes, ages, housing types, etc. throughout the City. Most people who agree with the principles of urban planning see benefits in having lower income workers live near their jobs, having places artists can afford to live, keeping the elderly on fixed income in the mix, etc. It provides a richer economic and cultural fabric for residents and visitors. It also makes some sense to spread the affordable housing around so you don’t get pockets of poverty (like Sunnydale projects). Right now the Mission has some of the better opportunities, as there are underused lots ripe for affordable development (unlike the Marina or Pacific Heights). So it is totally appropriate to have the conversation about how much and where that housing should go. But the moratorium is a stupid idea that needs to be replaced by a more sophisticate conversation of how to increase affordable housing.

    1. So true. It is not to simply allow market forces to work their nefarious misery but to direct a reasonable slope of planned change and growth representing the interests of the entire community.

      However, if (as so many here appear intent) it’s market forces vs political power (renters vastly outweigh owners), we’re going to have the same usual stalemate with little positive accomplishment. Time to start building bridges and improving our already wonderful city. And, that certainly is not by turning it into a gated enclave upon the basis of “deserving” to live here due to wealth. There is so much to be had if we would simply stop insisting to work at cross purposes.

      1. nice platitudes from one as guilty of name calling and bomb throwing as any on this site (all be it from the opposite direction of most poison pens). market forces = nefarious misery? market forces are amoral, not immoral. I somehow doubt you will be building any bridges (or much housing for that matter).

        there is already a lot of affordable housing in the mission – its just older stock and rent controlled and not government owned and thus will not STAY affordable in any societal sense for future occupants. people in affordable units are geographically stuck and feel justly stressed and at risk. a lot of people are fighting for them but it seems a sisphean task.

        when we bought our vacant 2 unit building, we counted on our ability to generate a high rent from the second unit (after remodeling) to pay our mortgage so we could stay in the city. it was either that or move. a real world decision based on budget with no thought about entitlement. each 2-4 unit lost to middle class renters or TIC’d from lower cost housing to middle-class housing is pretty much the same. since we bought, 7 “luxury units” -if and only if defined by price- have been developed on our block in 5 years. the current “stalemate” is not a stalemate at all.

        2 generations of inept planning and political pandering ( attempts at “a reasonable slope of planned change and growth”? ) has run into a generation’s desire to repopulate cities and a global economic and cultural lottery which has chosen san francisco as on of it’s current “it” cities. some of theses forces will wain and move on but for now affordability is lost.

        unfortunately most calling for a mix of housing are really just insisting on poor peoples’ housing. development in this city is U shaped with nothing in the middle – even the mayor’s housing proposal which attempts to rally support by including so called middle class housing has little for anyone who teaches or fights fire or does social work.

        it costs somewhere from $550K to $800K to build a single unit of housing in this city- even mercy housing spent $690K/unit to develop- and too many cannot afford the mortgage (or the effective rent) on this price/unit even before adding in taxes and HOAs.

        the only real government solution is to streamline the regulatory and approval process (thereby lowering development cost), increase density (also lowering cost), address housing and transportation REGIONALLY (this is not sf’s problem), and to attack the sacred cows of prop 13 and rent control (both of which drastically restrict supply). good luck with any of these. the first solutions aren’t sexy on banners or likely to be on the supervisors’ agendas; the last two seem to be third rail issues for to many.

        1. You (and many others here) have been reading too many John Birch rags extolling the sacred cow of the holy market while forgetting we do still have a modicum of democracy and voters aren’t constrained by your contrived formulae.

          So, “repopulate the cities ” is today’s code word for ethnic cleansing. Kind of reverse white flight.

          1. and more basely name calling; so i’m clearly right about you and bridges.

            i also didn’t realize that millennial, and younger genXers, were white. sorry, my bad… guess all those articles on their ethnic diversity and open-mindedness are propaganda…so all my friends at John Birch (does that organization even still exist? what are you 70? early barry goldwater still haunt you?) have nothing to worry about.

            look around you. the new faces in SF are not just white; they are a rainbow of pigments and nationalities. I counted 13 different languages from at least 20 different nationalities (i cannot sort central american accents and idioms well) one morning on my walk along Valencia Street. the new arrivals are just trying to live their lives (and likely paying off massive student loans) ; i very much doubt they are an organized movement to cleanse anything. i certainly haven’t noticed less litter or graffiti.

            they are also politically more liberal and tolerant then their parents, though clearly not liberal enough for you. but they do have higher paying jobs, and they are willing to pay more for group housing then i was after i graduated from grad school.

            they are also not going to leave; so you better get used to them.

    2. If it were not for the proposed moratorium we would probably not be engaged in this discussion. I think Plaza 16 deserves credit for getting our attention.

      1. They’ve certainly gotten my attention and opened my mind to considering some alternative thoughts.

  11. They wanted a bilingual meeting for new immigrants to America to talk about how they don’t like being displaced by outsiders. Anybody else see the irony here???

    1. Groups like these are just fanning the flames. If you think about the immigrant mentality, they came here for a better life for their children. How do you achieve that? By surrounding the child with people much greater than themselves so the child can aspire to that higher next level. No one wants to put their child in endless squalor or make them worst off.

  12. Glad to see sense and capitalism prevail. Otherwise let me know where to sign up for my BMR Presidio Heights home.

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