The Plea to Save a Mission District Dollar StoreMay 8, 2018
Having already been redesigned to look less upscale and eliminate its garage, the proposed redevelopment of the “One $ Store” parcel on the southwest corner of Mission and 17th Streets, which has been in the works since 2009, has now been formally challenged by the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA).
From MEDA with respect to the 2100 Mission Street project, which would yield 29 new residential units over 3,500 square feet of new ground floor retail space and storage room for 29 bikes, as currently proposed:
Mission St. is the backbone of the Mission District, and supports the cultural and commercial needs of the neighborhood’s Latino families and low-income residents. This corridor is under extreme gentrification and displacement pressure from dozens of luxury housing projects and high-end commercial space conversions. Neighborhood retail is flipping from low-price-point community-serving retail shops to upscale destination shops, restaurants; coffee shops, and bars that serve principally tourists and wealthy newer inhabitants of the city.
This trend is gravely threatening the ability of our low-income residents to remain in the neighborhood. This influx of high-income residents and pricey destination sites is a self-reinforcing loop that in turn accelerates the residential and commercial price pressure on the remaining residents and spaces that support them.
This 2100 Mission St. project represents extraordinary and exceptional circumstances that require the Planning Commission to exercises its discretion because low-price-point retail stores such as this important, sizable One Dollar Store are critical to maintaining the stability of the surrounding families that rely on them to meet their daily needs as they fight to stay in their neighborhood. This store is a major cultural asset to the community and if it is not retained in a permanent fashion this would negatively impact the stability of our law-income families and add to the price pressure on the surrounding shops.
The proposed principally luxury housing units will speed up the process of bringing in more high-income earners averaging many times the income of our existing families. Their buying power and differing shopping preferences will only further increase the gentrification and displacement pressures on the surrounding businesses resulting in more small business losses, and further low-income family displacement. A 2016 survey from Mission Promise Neighborhood revealed that existing Mission families in the program earned significantly less than San Francisco’s median household income, with 77% of families surveyed earning less than $35,000 annually, and 30% of these families falling below the federal poverty threshold of $24,250.
The permanent loss of this dollar store or comparable replacement would contribute to this destabilizing trend – in violation of numerous elements of the City Code, and most notably Planning Code Priority Policy 1, “that existing neighborhood-serving uses be preserved,” Planning Code Priority 2, “neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhoods,” and ‘Mission Area Plan Objective 7.3, “Reinforce the importance of the Mission as the center of Latino life in San Francisco.”
As such, MEDA is requesting that Planning’s approval of any redevelopment of the site be conditioned upon the retention of the existing Dollar Store, “or if not feasible, to retain a comparable establishment that will be granted [long-term] space at a price at which they can continue serving the neighborhood by offering family-serving daily goods at low price points,” arguing that “maintaining this community asset is crucial to the future stability of this Latino neighborhood and Mission Street Corridor.”
In addition, MEDA is pushing the project team to include additional affordable housing on the site, “above the minimum code requirements” of 12 percent as proposed. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
If they can invoke SB-35, the developers should do so now.
Senate Bill No. 35 only applies to projects with at least 50 percent below market rate (BMR) / affordable units (versus 12 percent for this project as proposed and noted above).
The MEDA challenge, as always, is spurious. The project is entirely Code-compliant.
You’re correct, the application of SB-35 would not be helpful to this particular project. However, invoking of the State Density Bonus Law would have been extremely effective in fending off such nonsense from the MEDA ideologues and would also constrain any discretion on the part of the Planning Commission.
Accordingly, a more savvy approach would have been to utilize the State Law’s 32.5% bonus — resulting in 39 dwelling units (in lieu of the currently proposed 29), provide 3 on-site BMR units (@ 50% AMI) and pay the fees for the remaining inclusionary requirement.
Oh, and make sure to reduce — via the State Law’s waiver provision — the ground floor commercial space to about 900 sf) at the corner (just enough for a highly profitable trendy boba stand) in order to not only improve the economics of the project, but to piss off MEDA to boot.
That would be a very satisfying twofer!
MEDA = Mission Economic Deterrence Agency
Mission statement: Keep it down trodden.
Something has got to change with our laws when 9 years have passed due to NIMBY concerns over a property that is displacing ZERO housing, but rather would be adding 29 units of desperately needed housing. It’s self-defeating for MEDA to oppose as this opposition will just make the rest of the neighborhood housing even more expensive or targets of Ellis act evictions.
MEDA needs to be abolished. They are accelerating rent price hikes by opposing every single development.
MEDA has a right to exist, but there’s no law that the city has to listen to them.
There’s also no law that says the City has to continue providing MEDA with funding. Cut them off.
True, but good luck trying to change that.
“This store is a major cultural asset to the community and if it is not retained in a permanent fashion this would negatively impact the stability of our law-income families and add to the price pressure on the surrounding shops”
There must be an inflationary pressure on cultural assets when a dollar store can be described as a major cultural asset!
I’m not sure why the dollar store can’t make enough money at that location. Seems like a great spot. I personally never go in there, it looks too trashy and run down, looking in from the outside.
Developers would pay more $$$ than a dollar store could ever earn for this property. I am not a fan of when a group like MEDA tries to “help” the dollar store remain in business, when in reality, the dollar store owners want to sell out in a heartbeat. And, they are probably Hispanic (the dollar store owners) as well as MEDA, but yet both sides will talk against “tech culture” and then comment that large glass windows signify ‘privilege’ which is so horrible and bad and if you are richer than them you should feel so ashamed of your life, etc. Ridiculous.
“It looks to trashy and run down” So much hate and ignorance in these comments. Talk about privilege and white fragility.
Why? Poor people can be clean. I know, because I come from a poor family, literally Appalachian hill folk. There’s no reason that being poor means being trashy and run down. (And there’s nothing “privileged” about preferring clean things.)
In any event, do you know “Mike F.” personally? If not, why are you assuming he’s white? Why are *YOU* the one bringing race into this?
Have you actually looked in the windows of the store? Look into those windows at the junk & tell me that it isn’t trashy. No one keeps it nice there.
Dust and dirt all over the place, no organization of any items in there. That is why I wouldn’t go in there. I imagine buying a rubberband that has no elasticity left to it, cracking. Only to hear you shout how “cute” that cracked rubberband actually is. Good for you.
Bugs and 20 year old items strewn in between the glass and display behind it, visible from the street. If that isn’t trashy, I don’t know what is. Stop trying to defend everything in the mission, I’ve been here for years. Dirty is dirty.
The only “privilege” actually shown here is that you are claiming you know more than me. You are expressing your neighborhood privilege, as if I am worth nothing. Gotta love these progressive people, stepping on other people they know nothing about , talking about privilege when THEY are the privileged ones. What makes your opinion any better than mine? Why can’t you open your ears to others’ opinions? Or is yours the only one that matters, and you want to surround yourself with only people that agree with you?
“I’m not sure why the dollar store can’t make enough money at that location. Seems like a great spot. I personally never go in there…”
Asked and answered.
This is ridiculous, and exactly why we have a housing crisis in SF.
According to the MEDA writing above, Detroit is the model for all US cities. Rents are cheap, dollar stores are plentiful and virtually no new luxury housing is being built.
It’s amazing how an economic development agency can be so ignorant of the economic development opportunities new restaurants, destination shops etc. can bring to low income residents. It’s almost as if MEDA wants to make sure the 77% of families making less than $35k a year keep on making less than $35k a year.
You must be the author on the hayes valley case study. Tell us more about how that neighborhood caused upward mobility for the residents (many low income) who lived there prior to its “reniassance” ?
With most of the residents from a Third World Country, they feel right at home in the Mission. I always thought Immigrants should assimilate into American Society but I guess liberal SF wants to buck the trend.
You guys don’t get it. If the owner would just wise up and sell the site to MEDA, MEDA could use a bunch of taxpayer funds righteously to buy it an build income-restricted housing, just like at Mission and 18th.
MEDA would of course have to pay their staff out of the developer’s fee and the staff have to function at high professional levels, so they should be highly paid professionals. Then, if there is any money left, they can use it to protect Latino families from the waves of Asian and Caucasian programmers coursing over the city…
This has nothing to do with the economic concept of ‘crowding out’ where government participation in the market makes private investment untenable. Nothing at all.
MEDA lacks any sort of moral compass. There’s no defense for what they do.
it’s like a mob run organization. always looking for a shakedown
MEDA’s broken record opposition buzzwords like “luxury housing” are ridiculous. The developments in the mission are, for the most part, apartments…for rent…at market rate prices. They ain’t luxury, in fact, most developments in SF that market themselves as luxury, aren’t really luxury when compared to a market like NY.
If you support housing in the mission and are tired of MEDA and its gang of opposition, then please come to the commission hearings and voice your support. The only voices being heard are MEDA’s, because in their world and in their words…the mission is “their” neighborhood.
Thats a lie.
agree. if you build a condo/apt with the cheapest possible materials in SF with very little sq footage, it is still considered “luxury” because the price is still going to be >$900/sq fot or $1m for any 2bdroom. the supply is low and demand outrageously high so people pay top dollar for crap housing.
The SF Planning Department is a horrible joke, it is absurd that they cause a project like this to take 9 YEARS (!!!) to get entitled when we desperately need housing. It is the very height of incompetence to allow a bunch of whiny NIMBY fools that don’t know anything about good city planning to block, stall indefinitely, (and by stalling make more expensive), every project in the city. SF Planning is the worst in the world, as evidenced by the fact that SF is the least affordable place to live in the world. Every single person in the planning department should be fired for gross incompetence.
Before you attack SF Planning, recocognize that they are following state law and the Planning Code. Many planners would like to reduce the opportunities to appeal and delay projects, but until recently, there has been no political will to do so (see the failed DR reform of 2009). And that design is atrocious.
Jack: While I agree with your frustration, it is foolish to assume that a boom town peninsula would ever be “affordable”
MEDA is helping to make san francisco unaffordable.
Yeah I agree. They really help current property owners with their racially biased nonsense. So I just shut up and smile, as my non RC “luxury” (not really) condos in the mish continue to appreciate while their rents go up as gentrifiers struggle to find nice units in the neighborhood. Let’s keep fighting the good fight 😉
i dont think they know that they are doing more to displace poor people than are the the so called ‘gentrifiers” .
So this is what it looks and sounds like when white men cant do whatever they want. Who on this thread is actually from SF?
Because of ridiculous Nimbyism, who can afford to be “from SF”?
Exactly, so why are we allowing the few natives that we have left to be tossed to the side for 29 units?
Nobody is being tossed aside. There is currently ZERO housing on the site. Literally nobody is being displaced at this location. This kind of divorced-from-reality thinking is the same thing holding up development of a huge housing project at 16th Mission BART.
Yes not physically but if you can understand how eliminating a store that helps families stretch limited incomes ultimately hurts those families and works as a catalyst to ultimately eliminate those families from living in this neighborhood.
charles, by not building housing for new folks, those same folks can buy the older residents out of their current housing. housing is more important than a dollar store.
“..why are we allowing the few natives that we have left to be tossed to the side for 29 units?”
Charles, please specify which remaining Ohlone natives are being displaced by this project.
Charles, do you think the Dollar Store is a major cultural asset?
I think if we cant understand why a dollar store would be important in helping stretch a dollar in a neighborhood that houses working class families, then we have missed the entire point.
You didn’t answer the question. What cultural value does it have?
Because you only read part of the planning code. “neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhoods,”
I will let you figure out what role this store plays in economic diversity.
Charles, the mission is not only a poor working class Latino community. It’s actually more diverse and includes wealthier folks too. Don’t they also deserve to have housing and retail that meets their needs? It’s rather closed minded to disregard their affinity for single origin lattes, cold pressed juices, $8 avocado toasts, etc. And usually, those people like $3 tacos too! I mean, can’t we all live in the mission together- working class and urban yuppies too? They also deserve our love.
the wealthier folks will take the housing from the poorer folk if new housing is not built. this kind of blockage is doing more to displace poor folks than knocking down a dollar store
and dont forget that it was an irish neighborhood not too long ago, and they were pushed out by others.
I am and my relatives came here in 1850.
I’m sorry, this has to do with (your making assumptions about) white commentators on this website *how*?
MEDA is a xenophobic hate group. They’re very weird to interact with because they speak in barely concealed racist code about everything. But their end game is obvious (and they’ve said it themselves) which is to corner the market on affordable in order to grow their revenue streams.
I am a white male working in tech, mid-thirties. I went to MEDA a few months ago and took one of their courses. They welcomed me, they engaged thoughtfully with me, and they offered me to come back for more classes. At no point did I feel unwelcome.
It’s dangerous to speak in such broad undertones about organizations and groups making a positive impact our our cities existing lowest income residents.
What course did you take?
Why would you need to take a “course” On what? MEDA didn’t invent the Mission
I think they have a course titled “Proper attitudes and actions to take as a white male tech worker while living in the mission.”
they are making a negative impact on low income residents by blocking housing
MEDA should focus on the core issues of skill set development and encouraging entrepreneurs . Not sure why they are wasting resources on housing which we badly need
Not sure if you actually know what MEDA does or just believe what other people tell you but they that and more. Check out some of their programs, all free by the way.
We don’t need more housing for rich people. Rich people suck.
This taps into the weird hypocrisy of MEDA – they spout hate speech like the comments above, and meanwhile take handouts from rich corporations to pay fat salaries.
They are descended of Jim Jones and the support for them is just as wrong as it is was
For the People’s Temple. A racist cult is a racist cult.
And they’ll continue displaying poorer people from existing housing for every single unit of new housing that isn’t built. Congratulations, you’ve failed miserably.
Why do you hate rich people? They’re human beings, just like you.
This is the major problem. People here in california are such haters. They can’t bear to see anyone else doing any better than them. If that happens, out come the buzzwords: “privileged” , etc… Maybe instead of critiquing everyone else, you spend that time bettering yourself and your skills, so that one day someone may refer to you as the privileged one. Don’t be a hater, that is no way to go through life , resenting others.
MEDA isn’t racist any more than the Italian-American groups in North Beach or the Chinatown CDC or the SF-JCC. And they certainly aren’t a cult. Calm down, everyone.
Maybe not openly racist, but certainly racially biased. When they do “advocate” on behalf of a neighborhood demographic, they literally only advocate for Latinos (as if that’s even a monolithic group). It’s bizarre and xenophobic as hell, not to mention indefensibly ignorant of the history of the neighborhood.
The history of the 50s where the white immigrant families left the mission as displaced latino families moved in because they didn’t want to live next to latinos ? Well damn, the tables have turned.
So insanely incomplete and revisionist. Truly willful ignorance.
My bad, originally occupied by natives who were removed and then white immigrant families moved there followed by a mass exodus because displaced latino families moved in. Again, the tables have turned.
This is nonsense
Oh yes they are. They are also homophobic – bating gays as “gentrifiers.” They love code words like ”Latinx” sprinkling them liberally to audiences they think are fellow travelers. But they aren’t very subtle in these forums and end up offending many people of Latin American decent (South American in my case). People aren’t the lemmings they wish they would be.
I actually shop at this dollar store because it is conveniently located. 🙂 But it truly sucks.
It is dirty and run down. Skid row poverty depressed suckiness. If there is an earthquake anyone in there will be squashed flat. The floors aren’t level. The building is falling apart. It is not something that was once nice and that can be restored. The building was cheap crap when it was new and now it is dangerous old crap. If there was one honest building inspector in SF-DBI this thing would have been condemned for code violations 5 years ago.
Tear it down and build some housing for people.
Thank you , that sounds like an honest review. MEDA has a right to argue against the new development, but claiming that the existing store has cultural value is a bit of a stretch.
I live among many Latinos and frequent Dollar stores as good deals can be found at times, but I don’t encounter any cultural values there, just people that are trying to stretch their income as I do.
“Tear it down and build some housing for
brogrammers = people. African American’s = people. Asian’s = people, Latino’s = people. White people = people. LGBT = people. We are all people. People who deserve a lot better than the crappy dollar store I buy my cheap canned mushrooms at. 🙂
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that… MLK….
Work on building something positive up instead of blocking others.
While a crappy land use – did I mention this place has a deal on decent canned mushrooms?
Yes, let them eat cake, eh?
Many people _can’t_ afford better than your “crappy dollar store.”
Thank you for the enlightenment. Now I know that brogrammer lofts are the “light,” and poor people are the “darkness.”
No idea where you found all that enlightenment – didn’t correspond to any posts here but maybe at the bottom of a beer bottle?
I find it funny that we have one person on this thread that actually shops at this store, and everyone else keeps saying how bad it looks and or how trashy it is. You have shown exactly why you cant comprehend why this store is vital to the residents of the mission.
MEDA’s argument that tearing down businesses that cater to low-income people and replacing them with businesses that cater only to wealthy brogrammers and millennial marketers will further gentrification is factually correct. On the other hand, Mission Street is ridiculously underbuilt.
This building is expendable. But there is a possible compromise: instead of a Blue Bottle or an avocado toast emporium, why not let the dollar store move into the first floor of the new building?
This is exactly my point.
So the dollar store is not a cultural treasure but a place where people with little income can purchase household essentials – so why not just state that in the first place. It has nothing to do with culture – Latin, San Franciscan or otherwise.
Good point. I like the compromise. Maybe a more effective way to help low income people would be for City Planning to have a code section encouraging dollar stores ? Some sort of retail density bonus?
Businesses that serve the needs of working class families can’t afford the rents that landlords can extract from venture capital-backed vanity eateries for brogrammers.
If no brostaurant is banging on the doors, most landlords prefer to leave commercial spaces vacant rather than lower rent, which would put downward pressure on other rents. Price discovery is the last thing commercial landlords want.
The Mission is already a lost cause for working class families
Let’s take a step back though. We do we need so much government intervention? It is like there has been so much intervention and has been for so long with unintended (or intended?) consequences that you then need even more intervention like telling a property owner he has to lease to a dollar store? it is all crazy counterproductive
I lived two blocks from the dollar store for years.
Even two years ago, it was one of the last places in that part of the Mission to buy basic household goods for cheap without resorting to a delivery from a big box retailer or Amazon. Here’s a long list of things I regularly bought there which costs at least 30% more at a big box retailer:
– Toilet paper (even assuming you have space in your tiny apartment to hoard three months of toilet paper, Target delivery or wallgreens (also on its way out) was 30% more expensive).
– furniture pads, nails and hooks to hang stuff
– party supplies, paper plates, cups, etc. The luxury grocers in the area charge upwards of 25 cents a plate.
– basic kitchen stuff and utensils not made out of gold
– laundry products
– light bulbs
– and the list goes on.
I don’t agree with all of MEDA’s tactics and I am not saying the $1 store was economically viable, but you have to be willfully ignorant not to understand the frustration or recognize that more housing does not equate to a more inclusionary or affordable neighborhood. Even if your housing is secure, you can still be driven out purely because of cost of living.
It’s easy to look the other way at people’s misery in the restless pursuit of economic advancement. I sympathize with economically disadvantaged societies who have no choice but to look the other way. I think San Francisco can afford to do better.
I just want to caution everyone here against shopping at dollar stores in general. There is a reason why the products sold there are so cheap. Those products are made from and packaged in chemicals known to have adverse health effects and do not meet quality standards of large retailers. You can pretty much assume anything you pick up off the shelf contains environmental toxins such as pthalates (from vinyl/pvc material and packaging), bisphenol (cheap plastics/packaging), chlorine (cheaply manufactured electronics, cords, accessories), formaldehyde (cleaning products), arsenic (fruit juices), styrene (food packaging), bromine (black plastic kitchenware), etc… Save a dollar today, spend thousands in a cancer clinic tomorrow.
There is another dollar store on 16th St., just a block and a half away.
Sure that one will be gone soon too
It is counterproductive to ossify neighborhoods I agree but people seem to fail to grasp the huge planning failure we have in CA. That we can’t produce working class areas like the Mission for people is a failure. That people get pushed out to areas with all single family homes and have to live in garages and dining rooms and without good transit is a total failure
So you are saying that we need more government intervention to protect blue color neighborhoods and the PDR space for blue color jobs? I think SF is making an effort already.
Planning = government and planning counter to economic forces = BIG government.
No we need less government intervention other than maybe direct subsidizes for affordable housing and less zoning and regulations like parking minimums so the housing people need can be built. Of course we need much better public transportation as well.
More big planning less busy body stuff
Raze this and 3/4 of the Mission. The P-Commission approved the Central SoMa Plan 7-0 last night at 9:00. You’re next
Raze your own damn hometown.
UPDATE: Contentious Development Slated for Approval and Potential Goodwill
Comments are closed.