Plans to level the former N&S Auto Body Shop at 1924 Mission Street and construct a new 80-foot-tall building, with 11 apartments over a ground floor retail space fronting Mission, are being challenged by “Our Mission No Eviction” which has requested a formal Discretionary Review (DR) of the development as designed Lejarraga Studio.

From the formal filing and request:

“This project is in direct conflict with elements of the City’s General Plan and most notably, Planning Code Priority Policy 2: That existing housing and neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhoods.

This 80-ft tall project will be comprised of 11 units with floor-to-ceiling glass that will be occupied by high-income residents, and does not maintain the family housing character of this working-class neighborhood. The project will indirectly contribute to the gentrification and displacement impacts on the block and threaten the cultural and economic diversity of this community.

At a recent Discretionary Review of 1900 Mission Street, a very similar project in size and use of large-scale glass windows, the Planning Commission ruled that the similar project should be brought further into alignment with the character of this family corridor. During the review process, several commissioners expressed concerns that these large windows and unusual highly glassy appearance were a statement of class and privilege.

This high-end project proposed for 1924 Mission St will most likely command rents of somewhere in the $3,000 to $4,000 range for a 1 bedroom unit. These rents, along with its accompanying gentrification-inducing design, intended to target higher-end tenants, will create local upward price pressure on surrounding tenants.

A recent survey from the Mission Promise Neighborhood program revealed that 30% of the Mission families served by this program were living in poverty. Therefore, this project will most likely result in additional changes to the character of the neighborhood through evictions and the pricing out of small businesses as the differing tastes of the new, high-income tenants dictate higher rents and different retail product lines, as research has indicated.”

And the group’s stated demand: “The Planning Commission should exercise its discretion and demand this project alter its appearance in order that it comes into line with neighboring buildings on the Mission corridor in a way that better helps “preserve the cultural and economic diversity” of the corridor and the Mission District.”

Building permits for the development as proposed are in the works.

65 thoughts on “Development Challenged for Looking Too Upscale”
  1. Plans to Gentrify Ji… Mission Street. Kidding aside, “unusual highly glassy appearance were a statement of class and privilege” -what an asinine argument.

    1. should the developer create housing with pre-applied graffitti and boarded up windows? Is that what this group wants. Keep the mission junky!

      1. Plenty of tagging space on those open-sided upper stories, plus convenient access from neighboring roofs.

  2. Politics aside, what’s the word on BMR units in this development? Shouldn’t there be a 12% requirement or in lieu fee as per the Inclusionary Housing Program?

  3. “these large windows and unusual highly glassy appearance were a statement of class and privilege.”

    HUH? So desiring a home which captures sunlight indicates class and privilege? And the only way allow sunlight is window glass, unless the “ethnicity purists” of the Mission show differently.

  4. Glass windows have apparently been common since the 17th century. Only in SF would they be considered a sign of privilege and class.

    But now that I am aware of this, based on my large front window I am going to start looking for a butler.

  5. Yes, in keeping w/ the neighborhood, we should design buildings with make small windows with bars on them. Architect will be required to design special bars in keeping w/ the ‘hood per planing approval x,y,z…. yada yada.
    Mission Street will take so long to gentirfy. Any progress is welcomed. The should really just build 9 units though and stay out of all the BMR time wasting regs. No body needs an extra entitled neighbor when we’ve already got so many of them in the City.

    1. “Yes, in keeping w/ the neighborhood, we should design buildings with make small windows with bars on them.”

      You got against Stanley Saitowitz? 😛

      1. I generally love Stanley’s work! (As an architect, I don’t care that he’s not licensed, his work is much better grip on handling Planning/Bldg Dept policies and still able to create architecture, sadly this is not the typical case in SF, when developers have too much time/money at risk to get through all the additional bureaucracy. SF Gov. is generally the killer of much progress in SF.

        Disclaimer: These views are my own, and are not in any way representative of Saitowitz’s opinions.

        1. My mistake!– I thought you were being ironic with your “small windows with bars” remark. Saitowitz is surely a master brutalist. His buildings remind us that living in a modern city is not unlike like living in a maximum security prison. I love the stark, austere, and unforgiving frostiness of the Pelican Bay-esque 1501 15th @ S Van Ness, and 8 Octavia @ Market!

  6. this is why SF has such sh*t new architecture, because people believe they are entitled to make everything as inoffensive as possible. how does a city even entertain the notion that they can regulate the “character” of a neighborhood? architectural guidelines are one thing, but this is absurd.

  7. First of all, if someone wants to spend 3-4K a month to live next to an open air drug market then so be it.

    Family housing? You mean the 6 people living in a 1BD apartment? As for dictating higher rents…so, this area should be excluded from increased rents, while the Sunset, where I live, can double in price. Why not preserve affordability in my area of town? Section off a chunk of the avenues so families can purchase a home for under $1M or rent a house for under 5k a month.

  8. I’d be curious to know what % of the housing stock in the Mission is rent-controlled. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s well over 50%, since most of it is pre-1979. That would blunt the argument that new market rate development will drive up rents and displace current residents.

    1. That’s what I thought.. If you already live in the mission you either own your place, and you are a millionaire or you pay 3k+ for a 1bd and have a high paying job or you live in a rent controlled unit. So if you already live in a rent controlled unit you shouldn’t really care about what happens elsewhere, your rent is not going to change.. But people claim market rate units increase the incentive to evict people from these rent controlled units.. Meh maybe.. but in my opinion the war against gentrification is lost in the mission long time ago. If changing more rent increases the incentive to evict, asking developers to pay up for neighborhood benefits or asking them to include more affordable housing also increases the rent, and therefore increases the incentive to evict..

      1. “But people claim market rate units increase the incentive to evict people from these rent controlled units.” in reality, not building market rate units increase the incentive to evict people as there are fewer properties to choose from and when supply is limited the price your willing to pay off tenants to leave is much higher

    1. I was guessing that they aren’t really windows but more classy-glass exterior treatment. Is it a window if it doesn’t open?

      1. Yes, it would be a “fixed” window. I did not think lot line windows/ glass were allowed at all.

  9. “…in a way that better helps “preserve the cultural and economic diversity of the corridor and the Mission District.”

    Demanding that a building that looks different than its surroundings be redesigned is, by definition, the opposite of promoting diversity.

  10. Maybe they can try to make it look a little more impoverished. Decals for the windows to make them look cracked?

  11. So according to these [people], if you force them to construct a building with pseudo-bays, cut-rate stucco, and smaller windows (i.e. the majority of new buildings in the outer reaches of the City), then somehow the developer won’t charge $3000 per month, even if they can get it? Do they have an estimate on how much cheaper apartments will be in a “conforming” building versus this “classy” one? Of course not, because the market doesn’t really work that way, and they don’t want any market rate housing on this corridor.

    BTW, the Planning Commission in their typical decisiveness have voted to push off the decision on 1900 Mission Street twice, first until April 13, and then until June. Apparently it’s easier to make the developer knuckle under to MEDA’s demands to get out from under the carrying costs, rather than actually making a decision.

  12. To keep with the look and feel of the neighborhood the developer will also be required to maintain the garbage along the street front.

    1. the developer will also be required to provide tents to put in front of the building and provide a needle exchange program from the landlord’s unit

  13. They really should have avoided using a white lady jaywalking to the building in their rendering. Should have just had a lowrider cruising by to appease the NIMBYs.

    1. That sucks. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll focus my pro-housing energy on other projects like 1900, 1863 and 1801 Mission where the developers are seemingly being better neighbors, and won’t spend any time defending this project by NIMBY developers.

    2. That discretionary review has already been denied by the Planning Commissioners. The nuns are going to get their kitchen.

  14. Wait so rich people don’t have families? They are all going to live there alone Gastby style? WTF man…

  15. Maybe the city can fund $10K-per-head relocation stipends for disgruntled Mission anti-development people. With the proviso that they may move anywhere they wish, as long as it’s Detroit.

      1. if the “downslope folks” are self-described “activists” who are as self righteous, racist, and entitled as this Mission group, can one not understand why this is not exhilarating? Even if it is also a little wrong?

  16. And only if 1/10 people who shared the sentiment that this request for DR wrote their own letters to the Planning Commission we’d do much better at avoiding this nonsense.

  17. In related news, “Our Mission No Eviction” recently revealed its new motto: Let There B-light!

  18. Unbelievable…no,’s totally believable. Let’s slum it down so it looks like people from the “diverse” neighborhood are living here. Maybe incorporate graffiti into the facade, take away the glass, leave the body shop door. Then the new owners can change costumes before leaving home in the morning to blend with the character of the neighborhood.

  19. Someone needs to explain the meaning of the English word “diversity” to these people. It means both low and high incomes and lifestyles should be welcome. Otherwise, you have a low income ghetto which seems to be what they want–a place that bars the more affluent so the less affluent don’t have to compete with them on any level.

  20. The real story here is that our wonderful politicians, by their selection of planning commissioners like Kathrin Moore, are effectively legislating lovely Marxist ideals like “large windows and unusual highly glassy appearance [are] a statement of class and privilege.” Is it any wonder that the rest of the world laughs at this city?

  21. i advocate the whole state of California needs to have a unified building law. This way those NIMBYs in Mission can pound sand and things get build faster than the draconian slow pace sf building dept. Take out local influences so these people can’t get their voices heard. That’s the only way to get things done in SF efficiently and quickly.

    1. The malicious punching down by the Crusaders for Gentrification on this thread makes me understand why people supported Stalin and Mao…

      1. Socketsite won’t even let us mention illegal immigrants on this thread and you’re calling us Crusaders? Unbelievable.

        1. OK, I apologize for the crusaders jibe and capitalization snark. How about “cheerleaders for gentrification”?

    2. Yep. As a socialist who immigrated from a socialist country, this is the attitude in SF that makes me want to vote for Trump. (No, don’t vote for trump) But sometimes you want to tell the idiots to STFU.

  22. “Malicious punching down?”
    In a City that most likely spends more per capita on the less fortunate and down-trodden, your comment is quite ridiculous and reeks of smugness.

    1. 1. What does what the city spends have to do with the punching down of the commenters on this thread?
      2. The city spends more per capita on the unfortunate, than what?

  23. The sad thing is, it doesn’t even look that upscale, but it will definitely BE upscale. The opposition to it is 100% appropriate and the rationale plainly obvious.

    The commenters on this thread is ample evidence (as if any was needed) for the need to fight gentrification by any available means.

    1. That people actually want to keep the standards disturbingly low is sickening. Americans are famous for upward mobility. Nobody should be threatened by this.

    2. How does that work? I’m all for more affordable housing, but this is a private development that will be market rate no matter how many design restrictions that Planning puts on it. If MEDA and others want only affordable housing on Mission then they need to roll up their sleeves and find creative ways to finance them. Just defending every old gas station or Blockbuster store in the name of “preserving diversity” makes no sense and does nothing to reduce gentrification – it just makes the existing housing more expensive.

      1. Didn’t the city kick in something like 600k per unit for an affordable housing development nearby on Mission?

        Sorry, Maya, but the opposition is hardly appropriate. Cities go through boom/bust periods and people move in and move out accordingly. We’re not talking gentrification here. We’re talking about allowing a select group to continue to pay below market rate while denying access to anyone else from moving in and paying market rate, which apparently includes freezing the entire neighborhood in time and preventing any development.

  24. Just imagine if the developer was not going to make a mint out of this… would this be the chosen design?

  25. “…several commissioners expressed concerns that these large windows and unusual highly glassy appearance were a statement of class and privilege.”

    Thanks to the Planning Commission for the laff. The Chronicle funnies weren’t very good today.

  26. Anyone who thinks the Mission is “gentrified” should drive or walk Mission Street from 24th Street north. It will be the year 2050 before any rational person considers this a gentrified neighborhood.

    1. Every wealthy American city has piles of feces and discarded needles in every alley! Definitely gentrified.

  27. So glad I left the Mission. I want to live in a city, not an ethnic purity theme park.

    I’m sure they’re glad I left too so it’s really win-win.

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