Last night, Maximus Real Estate Partners held a meeting at Laborers' Local 261 Union Hall on 18th Street to present the community benefits package for 1979 Mission, the much-maligned mixed-use rental building the developer is proposing near the 16th and Mission BART station. Maximus brought chicken and rice, PowerPoint slides, and a friendly if awkwardly deployed Spanish translator. The Plaza16 Coalition, which opposes the development and wants nothing short of 100 percent affordable housing on the site, brought protest signs, forehead stickers, and their lung capacity.
Maximus's Seth Mallen had a pretty bare-bones presentation to get through. The slides recapped the developer's unorthodox plan to roughly double the proportion of affordable units, bringing it up to about 24 percent. As you recall, Maximus is proposing to build 290 market-rate apartments on-site, with an additional 41 on-site units that would be for sale to middle-class households. Another 49 below-market-rate rentals will be built off-site at a not-yet-determined location in the Mission and rented out to people making between 30 percent and 55 percent of the city's median income. The developer is also proposing to expand the BART plaza by 40 percent, raise the Marshall Elementary School playground by 15 feet, and add a "mercado" in the project's retail space for local businesses, a notion that this crowd did not exactly warm to, despite the clever name-o.
As Mallen began to walk through the proposal, the crowd heckled him (and Maximus's community outreach coordinator, Larry Del Carlo) at every turn, over the presenters' repeated assurances that they would open up the floor at the end. Protesters shouted, "Please tell us more about housing we can't afford" and "49 is not enough"—referring to the number of below-market-rate apartments that Maximus would underwrite off-site in the Mission.
Ok Maximus keeps saying they're building 31% affordable housing but they're kind of fudging the math. It's 24% of total units— Cory Weinberg (@SFBTCory) March 5, 2015
The crowd also booed specific PowerPoint slides. They took issue with Maximus's conception of affordable: One slide, showing an income range of $61,000–$145,650 (for the 41 for-sale units) elicited scorn and heckling from the crowd. The slide was meant to stir working-class loyalties, with icons representing a teacher and a firefighter, for instance. "A teacher with 10 years of experience could afford $65,000," said Mallen, reading from the slide. "And a firefighter and a teacher could afford $117,000/year." The crowd booed. "I make twenty-seven thousand dollars!" someone shouted.
When Mallen wrapped up and signaled the beginning of the question-and-answer period, confusion reigned for a few more moments while the presenters tried to figure out who had a question. No one stepped forward. Eventually, the crowd began to disperse, and someone from Laborers' Local 261 began flicking the lights on and off to get everyone to clear out.
Afterward, we caught up with Buck Bagot, a former Occupy Bernal organizer and a supporter of Plaza16. "Market-rate housing is never going to trickle down to middle-income people like me, let alone poor and working class people," said Bagot. "We completely oppose any more market-rate development. We support Campos's proposal for no market-rate development."
Maximus spokesman Joe Arellano, meanwhile, maintained a carefully optimistic tone. "I think we have a very strong proposal that we're ready to take to the city," he said. "We feel like we've made a lot of smart concessions to the community and incorporated the feedback we've heard in the last 12 months."
The proposal is currently under environmental review, with a Planning hearing likely on the way in the fall or early next year. "It was a lively discussion," Arellano said of the evening's proceedings. "We heard that the community demands from Plaza16 are 100 percent affordable housing. I would love to meet a developer that is able to meet that."
· Previous Coverage of 1979 Mission [Curbed SF]
· Developer Doubles BMR Housing for 16th and Mission Project [Curbed SF]
· It Takes a Village to Raise a Child Out of a Condo Tower Shadow [Curbed SF]
· David Campos Might Propose Moratorium on Market-Rate Housing in the Mission [Curbed SF]