While opposed by the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), which raised concerns that the “luxurious project comprised of large, high-end units would be occupied by wealthy residents that will negatively impact the character of this working-class neighborhood and directly and indirectly contribute to displacement impacts that threaten the community’s cultural and economic diversity,” the plans for a seven-story building with nine residential units to rise upon the corner auto shop site at 1900 Mission Street were approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission last month.

In an attempt to address a number of MEDA’s stated concerns and curry favor with the Commission prior to its vote, the project sponsors split the development’s top floor into two units “instead of having a luxury penthouse unit,” downplayed the high-end aspect of the plans by reducing the average size of the units, and touted a signed letter of Intent to lease the ground floor commercial space to Jason Nazzal, “whose family has owned retail businesses in the Mission for 30 years that hires at-risk youth in the Mission and intends to create up to fourteen new jobs for local employment.”

And with the entitlements now secured, the 1900 Mission Street parcel and plans are quietly on the market for $4.5 million, touting “a rare development opportunity to create an amazing building” with plans for nine “high end units,” two “designer Penthouses” which should fetch “well over $2 [million]” apiece, a “luxurious resident entry,” and three unencumbered commercial spaces on the ground floor.

The existing Discount Auto Performance shop on the site is operating on a month-to-month lease and according to the marketing materials, the existing team is “ready to make the project a reality in about a year” but the permits have yet to be issued.

61 thoughts on “Contentious Development on the Market Touting Opposed Luxury”
  1. There is nothing working class about any neighborhood in San Francisco. You’re talking about lower income folks who managed to stay put in their rent-controlled units for decades, probably renting them back when there was some vestiges of a working class left in this town. Those days are gone.

    You cannot fight market conditions Instead of whining about the wealthy coming in to take over your hood, be thankful that you can still afford to live in your hood in your rent-controlled units because once you leave you’ll never be able to come back.

    1. Exactly. When MEDA says “working class neighborhood”, it’s just a euphemism for “we don’t want anyone new to move into our neighborhood”. I mean, these are the same people who were opposed to bike share stations in the Mission because it would supposedly displace “working class parking spaces”, because apparently not only are they entitled to stay in the same rent controlled apartment forever, but they’re also entitled to control who uses public streets and how.

    2. Dear Watson — your statement is strong but invalid. It seems that you operate in a privileged bubble tightly sheltered from the actual people that live here.

      Did you know that the 50th percentile of household income in SF is about 60K$?
      Did you know that lower income people actually can and do own property?
      And that these locals might not be in favor of paying 5$ for a coffee or 20$ for a fast food meal?
      Or that they are not in favor of an ultra-consumer and materialistic or simply cash-snobby environment?

      1. If they own property in SF then I have a real hard time thinking of them as the poor and downtrodden… if your property has appreciated by a million dollars and you don’t like the neighborhood then SELL IT AND MOVE

      2. Wow, can you possibly generalize any more? For the record, I do not own in SF in spite of my upper middle class income. I cannot afford to own nor do I wish to pay $1M+ for a home in the Sunset that hasn’t been touched since it was built in 1942. SF is a privileged bubble but I am sadly not one of the privileged. Darn. I guess I’ll have to move out of the Bay Area in order to retire when I give up my below market rate rental that I can barely afford.

        1. I know how you feel, bro. You would like to retire in SF, I would like to retire in Monte Carlo. Neither of us can afford to realize our dreams and it’s just so damn unfair. There must be a way we can make someone else pay for it.

  2. Damn. That is one nice auto garage. Hate to lose that flag pole too. Tragic impacts to community character. It won’t be the same once the $2-mil. condo owners move in.

    1. The slender look adds elegance – better than 6-story buildings that fill an entire block. If you lop two stories off it would actually be rather mundane to look at.

    2. Well, thankfully architects and engineers work together to ensure that’s not a reality. Thank Zeus you’re apparently neither.

    3. Ever been to Europe? Asia? OUTSIDE MURICA? slender buildings like this are commonplace around the globe. Not everything has to be a big box.

      1. Build something taller than the adjacent buildings. MONSTER IN THE MISSION! Build something the same size as other buildings on the block. NO WALL, WE NEED VARIATION! They’re just trolls. They don’t mean any of this in good faith. They just want to stop any and all construction.

  3. “In play” entitled units now total around 931 with this project added to the mix. Most likely by early 2018 that number will move north of 1000 units. .

    Not too sure how valid the claim that the units should fetch well over 2 million apiece is. Still, at 409K/entitled unit the 4.5 million price tag seems in the ballpark. One could sell the units for 1.5 million apiece and make a nice return. In any case, whomever purchases this entitlement better plan on breaking ground within the entitlement window as, given the opposition, it’s not a slam dunk this project would get an entitlement extension.

    1. $2mil per condo on mission/15th? Kinda balsy imo. Need to be close to 2000 sq ft each, or that’s fantasy. $1.5 mil sure.

      I think a lot of these owners are entitling and selling because unless they have a solid crew, they’re going to pay a premium now to get a contractor on board. Plus they’re risking potential market changes 1.5 years from now, when they’re ready to market these. So easier to sell entitled project at a premium. Personally I’m fine with this. Anything to slow down new units coming on the market over the next couple of years. Don’t want rent to go down too much.

      1. Given the uncertain market conditions for the next 2/3/4 years, I doubt these entitlements are selling at a premium. Some (many?) are likely being sold at little if any gain to the initial developer. Whomever purchases them must start construction pretty quickly to meet the entitlement window and that means coming online in an uncertain market a few years from now. There are a very large number of entitlements in play and more surely will come – making it a buyers market. LLC groups are more likely, after doing their due diligence, to seek entitlements in Seattle, Reno, Portland or other more robust markets which further dims the prospects for SF entitlements being sold at a premium.

        1. Totally disagree with that wild assessment.

          1- unless the land was purchased in the last 2-3 years at inflated prices, the sellers will make a good return.

          2- yes there is some market risk 2-4 years, but that’s mostly because construction costs are so high now in the city. That cost structure will change if or when the market slows down.

          3- those other markets you mentioned, land values are going up there as well as construction costs. Developers are chasing the same upward swing theee as we had 2-3 years ago. But sell out there is half the price as SF. And, any national market condition changes (economic, political) will hit those places probably worse than SF because they have more projects and units going up. Who wants to pay premium rent (or buy) condos in second tier cities? SF and Manhattan are different, and much stickier on a downward cycle.

          1. Agree to disagree,

            1) It’s likely a mix of when the land was purchased. There was probably a rush to do so in the boom times of 2013/2015 (boom pricewise). Many sellers will likely not make a good return. Not what they had penciled. This is one driver behind the raft of entitlements put in play recently.

            2) Some believe there is not just some market risk in SF in the coming years but a lot of risk. New construction cost are but one factor and that factor is felt in Seattle and Portland and Reno. One entitlement I know of in Reno is set to go to the build stage and the construction costs are up significantly from what was projected back in 2014. The project is going ahead full steam, not being put in play, as the prices expected for the units have jumped from the 2014 projections and so has the expected ROI. Construction costs are very high in Seattle too. There are not enough workers for all the construction projects – Seattle in the past year has often won the crane contest.

            3) Sellout in Seattle, as an example, will be higher on a relative basis than in SF for years to come. Population and job growth being a key driver there. National political and economic that affect the market will not, IMO, overly impact these other markets to such a degree to take away the inherent advantages they enjoy and will enjoy for the next decade.

          2. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded”

            Just like the old joke illustrates, it’s very unlikely that rising construction costs would significantly shut down development in the steady state. After all, what good does it do you to have a high asking price for your services if no one is buying?

            Much more likely is that a shifting market landscape has put increased pressure on people in the development chain who were counting on continued appreciation. And given increased negotiating leverage to those who’s services are required to bring a project to cash out before a downturn is in full bloom.

            Construction was hit very hard in the 2007 bust. Everyone knows they need to get while the getting is good.

          3. @anon2 Construction workers can demand more in a market where their services are in high demand. On the other hand, in a market where the ROI on projects is slipping because of faltering appreciation, developers can’t really afford to pay them more. So construction workers move to the more vibrant markets like Seattle and Reno and some developers are forced/choose to sell rather than build. There have been some large entitlements put on the market. The 440 or so unit 7th Ave. project, two of the 6th Street housing blocks with around 300 units total. IIRC there was talk the RH Hines project was being shopped which, if true, is another large project. The MR project is being pushed out from 3 to 9 years or so. Demand is falling for constructions workers in SF which does not rank high on the crane count so local workers demanding more for their services does not pencil here in SF It will, locally, in Napa and Sonoma counties over the next several years. Construction costs are still going up here because of material and other factors and, of course, and that does not help these projects that may not be penciling by much.. .

          4. I dunno Dave. I think you’re taking a big gamble by de-investing from SF and going to Seattle. Most people who make it with blue chip investments in premium cities seldom downgrade to second tier. I don’t think appreciation rate will be higher in Seattle when you take a longer term time frame into account. More risk and more gamble is all I see. Especially if you live here. You don’t know the imtimate details of Seattle to maximize your investments. Always best to invest were you live, so you’re aware of what’s going on, and perhaps more importantly, what’s to come. As you know, optimizing your investments is a neighborhood and sometimes street to street specific endeavor.

        2. Fundamentally as long as prices stay high, more supply will keep coming on line. Land owners, financiers, developers, contractors, labor and materials suppliers are all competing for a share of the pie and their shares may ebb and flow, and people who made rosy predictions may get financially washed out when the market shifts, but no one gets money by not building.

          You hit on the million dollar question with your point about national conditions. Is this going to be a SF localized boom-bust cycle or is this part of a macro financial cycle? Historically RE cycles were localized and many banks doing local lending had busted when a local bubble burst. That spurred the idea that banks had of pooling loans from all around the country into financial instruments. Diversify to eliminate risk. But what actually happened was more macro driven and the diversity was just an illusion.

          There’s obviously huge amounts of froth in the tech sector, but is that unique to tech or a side effect of a global hunger for yield and blindness to risk? From the economist:

          “Yet only at the peak of those two bubbles has America’s S&P 500 been higher as a multiple of earnings measured over a ten-year cycle. Rarely have creditors demanded so little insurance against default, even on the riskiest “junk” bonds. And rarely have property prices around the world towered so high. American house prices have bounced back since the financial crisis and are above their long-term average relative to rents. Those in Britain are well above it. And in Canada and Australia, they are in the stratosphere. Add to this the craze for exotica, such as cryptocurrencies (see Free exchange), and the world is in the throes of a bull market in everything.”

    2. Even 1000 units per year is very small growth in a city of 850,000.

      Very few units being built will be excellent news for existing owners and will only make SF more expensive.

  4. I really don’t understand how groups like “MEDA” have so much say in this. I understand that appeals can sometimes yield viable opposition, but how in the world does a group with such subjective and self-focused agenda really get such headway?

    1. The Planning Commission enables it by listening to self-interested haters, whether it’s MEDA or the Zeitgeist bar owner, whose objection was truly absurd but taken at face value by every commissioner except Christine Johnson, the only one who really seems to treat the role seriously.

    2. The age old practice of Pandering for Votes. Government has as much self interest as any group and will do Whatever it Takes.

    3. We’ve been programmed to bend over backward for those who refuse to improve their own lives and who resent the success of others.

  5. In other words, this building is not getting built because the developers are shopping it for a new buyer who can build. That may take a while.

    If this was in any other major global city, ten of these would have been built already during the time it takes to go back and forth on design, revisions, addressing complaints, etc.

  6. It seems as Socketsite finds something stark in the contradiction between the MEDA negotiation and the marketing language. But they’re not the same thing at all.

  7. I’m not a fan of that building. Its too tall and too dull (so proud of the Mountain View City Council putting their collective foot down re: me-too boxes that could be anywhere ruining the unique character of so much of our area). But I’m even less of a fan of MEDA, which in my opinion should be registered by the Southern Poverty Law center as a racist, xenophobic hate group.

  8. So let me just get this straight: If new people are going to move into your neighborhood who are not like you are, it’s OK to campaign to keep them out?

    The 1950s Deep South called. It wants its politics back.

    1. Not just the Deep South. My husband’s parents faced anti-Catholic petitions when they bought a house in a small Central Valley town in the early 1950’s.

    2. So, people who are exercising their Constitutionally-protected rights of public participation, if they are working class, get compared to “The 1950s Deep South”, but if people are affluent residents of existing relatively tony neighborhoods campaigning to keep supportive housing out of their neighborhood, all you hear are crickets.

      The rhetoric coming from the pro-gentrification crowd is interesting, to say the least.

      1. A lot of rhetoric from all sides on this issue and very few facts and examples… it’s quite easy really, refer to a specific example preferably one that has previous been mentioned on SocketSite so we all has had the opportunity to evaluate it.

        [Editor’s Note: Note the embedded link in Brahma’s first sentence above.]

        1. Thank you for pointing that out editor, I did not notice the link. However, the article is 7 years old, and I am not sure how many of the current readers posting comments, was following SocketSite at that time – I was not.

          As for the people complaining about the Caucasian takeover of SF, anybody care to guess what the population % of non-Hispanic whites will be in 2020 census? Or is the Census not reliable?

        2. I choose that post from back in 2010 because the proposed project was targeting foster children, a group I think is particularly deserving of support, but if you choose pretty much any ss post on supportive housing, particularly if the supportive housing is for the homeless and in a neighborhood that is not the ‘loin, you’ll soon find comment threads like this one: “here is a plan, let’s use some of that that money to buy up some land in a part of CA that is cheap. Build housing and treatment facilities there, hire the staff to run them and get people off the streets with the help they need…”

          …meaning, of course, that the commenter wanted The City to purchase land outside of SF In-lieu of building actual supportive housing here, “then export anyone deemed as mentally unfit to reside here to be exiled to a camp” (that summary was from another commenter in the same thread).

          But somehow, the fact that MEDA is exercising their rights to prevent The Mission from becoming something current residents don’t want is somehow deemed more objectionable to the ss commentariat than wealthy people doing the same thing. I’m interested as to why.

          1. How are you concluding that people commenting on this thread do not find a 7 years old case of discrimination equally objectionable? Is one required to always reference the entire back catalog of NIMBY activism in SF when criticizing a current case?

            You’re simply projecting your own class warfare mentality onto those you disagree with.

      2. @Brahma: NIMBYism is not reserved for only certain socio-economic classes. But mentioning the ethnicity of undesirable newcomers in your complaint is not NIMBYism, it’s racism. It would behoove you to not defend this sort of disgusting rhetoric with your whataboutism.

  9. Its obvious many of the comments here are from privileged white people who have no compassion for the poor and working classes who struggle everyday to survive in a city that’s increasingly only for wealthy Caucasians.

    1. Caucasian in terms of biological anthropology or racial classification? Not sure how wealth is tied to any of the above, nor how a single auto shop underpins the entire working class (no caucasian representation there) but I am certain you can connect the dots for us.

    2. Even worse. They see themselves as victims.

      Such tragedy. The colonial white upper class feeling unwelcome. At least they can take solace in comparing themselves to the people they have oppressed for centuries.

      1. How does a few codos replacing an auto repair shop change a whole neighborhood? And who told you that only Caucasians buy expensive condos?

    3. Take note, people! Racism is “compassion” as long as it’s against Caucasians. #newspeak

        1. No need to market. Chinese investors already come in and pay over asking prices for homes with cash. But, I love the Caucasian comment. SS has really reached a new low.

  10. Another gorgeous building from Copy+Paste Architects!

    … seriously, there is nothing about this building that is unique. It looks exactly like every other building that has been built along Valencia. Can someone at the planning commission allow something different to get through? Are are we stuck with gray on gray boxes with the modern bay window for eternity?

    1. See the earlier coverage. It looked distinctive, but the Planning Commission forced them to redesign it, with Myrna Melgar calling the large windows “a statement of class and privilege” and Dennis Richards adding the design was “aggressive.” They pretty much signaled only bland architecture would be allowed, and set the actual professionals at the Planning Department in a tailspin because they can’t advise project sponsors if they can’t predict how the Commission is going to vote.

  11. I love the height and density, but the thing that bothers me is that the original developer signed a letter of intent with a local business, and now they seem to be offering the project with the ground floor unencumbered. Socketsite apparently didn’t bother to call the local business to figure out if this was news to them, or if a deal had been made to “buy them out”. It’s possible the letter of intent was written in such a way that it wouldn’t transfer to a new owner/builder, and was just ignored. Haha, stupid local. Either way, what I can tell you is that when future projects come up, activists will use it as an example of a developer not keeping their word. Even IF the business was bought out, they will assume and publicize the worst, and if pro-housing people don’t have an answer that feels fair, that’s the narrative that will stick. Regardless of whether we think the pressure to negotiate with MEDA is fair, weasly moves after the fact don’t help future developments or the YIMBY cause.

    1. Agreed. If they threw Jason Nazzal under the bus, that’s terrible and will erode trust. It’s ironic because MEDA themselves negotiated in bad faith here — they complained about the penthouse unit and got it split into two to accommodate them, then later denied having known about the project. We need a little more honesty on both sides.

  12. Everyone critiquing the aesthetic or complaining that we (SF) don’t get enough interesting looking or well-designed buildings realize that it’s 100% because of the design-by-committee BS that orgs like MEDA put forth? It’s also become incredibly expensive to navigate approvals which make it more likely to end up with a value engineered final design (assuming someone doesn’t bitch about how the brick is actually prefab or tile).

  13. The auto shop is a dump – the City needs housing – so hopefully they will build this.

    What I don’t get about this is the description of “luxury”. To be honest to me I cannot see how anyone can characterize this as anything other than just another boring apartment building. Saint Francis Wood? Luxury. Presidio/ Lands End? Luxury. An anonymous 1,500 SF box on a busy street corner in the Mission surrounded by panhandlers ? Not luxury. It looks like it will be an ok building – but it doesn’t begin to compare. MEDA is excited about a lot of nothing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *