Bryant St. Development Increases Affordable Housing, But Community Remains Opposed

By Joe Rivano Barros : missionlocal – excerpt


“The developer of one of the most controversial developments proposed for the Mission District — derided by activists as “the Beast on Bryant” — now says he will donate one-third of the property to the city for affordable housing.” – Chronicle

Not really the same as building affordable housing. He is offering to donate a percentage of square footage of the property in lieu of affordable housing to meet his requirement, and no doubt, wants to get a density bonus so he can build higher and denser on the property he is keeping. He may be assuming the AHBP will go through soon. In fact, it may be held up or not go through at all. He could still claim the state bonus perhaps.

The developer of an almost block-long housing complex on Bryant Street between 18th and 19th that has drawn the ire of Mission activists for the last 10 months has now agreed to dedicate one-third of its land to the city for affordable housing, giving up 22,750 square feet where the city can build an estimated 129 units for low and moderate-income tenants.

But despite the land dedication, some community members remain in bitter opposition to what they see as an imperfect solution for more affordable housing and a process with little community input.

“He is delusional if he thinks that having the city build his affordable housing requirement is going to fly with the community,” said Spike Kahn, founder of the arts space the Pacific Felt Factory, who has been involved against the so-called “Beast on Bryant” since its proposal.

“The community is still opposed to this for the very reason that it will destroy our neighborhood,” she said, saying market-rate developments have a “domino effect” of increasing rents throughout the neighborhood. “It’s better to not build any market-rate in the Mission if you’re not going to build 100 percent affordable… No housing is better than gentrified housing.”…

Those building in areas affected by the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan — which includes the Mission — can also choose a rarely-used land dedication option, in which a piece of land equivalent to 35-40 percent of the site is given to the city. The city then uses its own money — as well as state, federal, and tax-credit funds — to pay for the site, which would be built by a non-profit developer…

“We would certainly like to see some changes on [the project] on multiple levels, starting with knowing that there’s funding available,” said Peter Papadopoulos from the Cultural Action Network, a group formed out of the opposition to this project. Though not opposed to the project per se, Papadopoulos said his group and others would get together soon to study its impacts and were already concerned with the loss of businesses and arts space on the block. “This was a major artistic hub in the Mission for decades.”…

“I could see Nick Podell partnering with the community and sitting down with us and having conversations about how we can both building affordable housing in the Mission,” said Kahn. “[But] any offer he imposes on us will be rejected. We demand to be in the room. We have already demonstrated we can mobilize against this.”… (more)