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Plaza 16 developer states its case
Diseño original de la Propuesta. Original Proposed Design. Image courtesy Maximus Real Estate Partners, LLC.
Diseño original de la Propuesta. Original Proposed Design. Image courtesy Maximus Real Estate Partners, LLC.

We take pride in being responsible developers who work with the community to build projects that serve the needs of the area, and that’s what we’re trying to do at 16th and Mission streets. Our 1979 Mission project would create new, much-needed housing for San Francisco to help ease the pressures on the existing housing stock and rents. Ideally, it would include affordable workforce housing for teachers, police officers/firefighters and laborers. And it would bring much-needed improvements to adjacent Marshall Elementary School and the surrounding area to make it safer and more accessible for school children, residents and pedestrians.

Unfortunately, the project has become a flashpoint, leading to a lot of misinformation. Here are six facts you should know about 1979 Mission:

There will be no evictions.
There are no residential tenants on the property and despite what many believe, we don’t control evictions in the area. In fact, we’ve already reached out and are working with the three retail tenants that would be affected by the project (Hwa Lei Market, Mission Hunan Restaurant and the City Club) to make sure they have a space in the new project or are relocated to new sites, should they accept our help.

We want to build market-rate apartments and below market-rate, affordable condos.
We aren’t in the luxury condo business. We are long-term apartment owners and operators that stay invested in the community for the long-term. We plan to build 42 affordable condos at 1979 Mission and reinvest the sales’ proceeds into more affordable housing in another part of the Mission. We are also currently working with the city to see if funds from the sale of the project’s affordable housing units can be reinvested into more affordable housing for the Mission. We recognize the urgent need for cheaper housing and want to contribute. We know the Mission is a unique part of San Francisco and want to be respectful of its housing needs by providing several types of housing.

The improvements we are proposing to Marshall Elementary would increase the total size of the school by 50 percent.
Marshall Elementary is one of the smallest elementary schools in San Francisco. It lacks many of the regular amenities that other schools have. Our proposal would raise the playground by 15 feet, lifting the school’s children away from negative activities that occur regularly on Capp Street and creating new space for positive resources such as new classrooms, a library or school storage.

We are responding to community input.
We have conducted approximately 100 community meetings and public hearings since we began this project. That’s why the design has changed and been lowered to 45 feet on the side immediately adjacent to Marshall Elementary and down to 65 feet on the Mission Street side. We aren’t locked into a specific agenda; we’re locked into rejuvenating the plaza so it’s clean, safe and thriving with business activity and housing for the city.

We want to preserve the Mission’s vibrant culture.
Part of what we want to build is a new Mission District community hub. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one of the Mission’s famous taqueria’s open a new location near the BART station? Can you envision salsa classes being taught at 16th and Mission, or Mission artists displaying their work on the plaza? These are the types of things we envision for 1979 Mission. Our plan is to keep the area infused with the same flavor that makes the Mission unique.

All of this is unprecedented for a development in San Francisco.
If all of this sounds unfamiliar, that’s because it is. We want to be different. That’s why we are working with the community and responding to concerns by adjusting the project, and why we’re offering benefits above and beyond the city’s requirements.

We’re passionate about 1979 Mission because this is a project the city and the Mission District desperately need. More housing will lead to lower rents. A new plaza will lead to increased business activity, jobs and cleaner, safer streets. We recognize that we cannot please everyone and that some people will disagree with what we’re proposing, but a project this important should be judged on the facts, not fiction.

Joe Arellano is the spokesman for Maximus Real Estate’s 1979 Mission project at 16th & Mission streets

Story by: Joe Arellano

View Comment (1)
  • I’ve worked with small business’s on Calle 24 for the past 16 years. We’ve seen the displacement of many small business’s. We have also seen developers promise our merchants to return to their original. space. La Posta, a family owned business for over 30 years was promised to returned after the building they were in was demolished for condos. They were lucky they found a small place to operate. It was further away from 24th and their customer base. The investment they made to their original location was lost. They also lost the majority of their customers losing additional revenue. When the condo was completed, the original space was cut in have and not suitable for a restaurant, plus they would need to invest again in building out the space. New kitchen, hood, frig and so fourth. The space was sold as TIC’s. It is not feasible or realistic for any business to close and then return to their original space. Two years minimum for the new construction. A business would either settle in a new location and reinvest or close down completely. The offer by this developer to have the business’s come back is unrealistic.
    The offer to relocate them at the current market rate is also unrealistic. They would surely not be able to afford the new rents. This is called displacement.

    The creation of more business for merchants in a working class neighborhood is a myth, when the development is created for higher income residents.

    Many of our merchants have lost
    half their customer based because of evictions and high rents. They are replaced by some new ones but not all.
    Most new residents bring a new demand of products and services that are not covered by our current merchants. Thus attracting new high end investor type business’s to cater to them and pushing out the existing merchants, because they could afford to pay more in rent.

    The developer talks about what they envision for our community which is a problem. The community needs to decide that.

    It tells me what little knowledge they have about the community. We already have artist display art on the plaza and salsa dancing and many taqueria’s in the area.

    Short term benefits are just that. The best long term benefit they could give to this community is to let the community decide whats best for them.