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Five-story building proposed for vacant Mission lot, neighbors balk

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Plan to trade parking for housing raises ire

The space at 3236 24th Street is an odd, trapezoid-shaped parcel two blocks from BART that, as far as anyone can tell, has never been the site of a building of any significance.

3240 24th is a tiny (500 feet or so) triangular parcel right next to it, also never the site of a home, excepting perhaps some Gold Rush lean-to 150 years ago.

For as far back as anyone can remember, these plots have just been parking lots. Prior to that the land was always kept empty thanks to a railroad easement.

Architect Lev Weisbach and the property owners submitted their new plans for the site to the city on Friday, a “five story building that will include 21 units of housing and 2090 square feet of commercial space on the first floor.”

On paper, this seems close to a sure thing. The Mission needs parking, but it needs homes more. Although things are just barely in the preliminary stages, this would appear to be an easy pitch for the city.

Lot owner Dominic Galu even says he’d like to preserve the murals that dot the locale now, or replace them with new ones once the building is finished.

Even so, the idea of breaking ground anywhere in the Mission these days becomes a political act, and at least a few neighborhood activists told Mission Local they don’t like the look of the plans.

It’s the modern Mission in a nutshell: To some, housing seems the solution to the neighborhood’s woes, and anything necessarily beats nothing.

But to others, every unit of market-rate housing is a wasted opportunity, equivalent to cooking a meal over a house fire instead of putting it out. Affordable housing or none is the rallying cry on that side.

With the preliminary project assessment only in the pipe for five days now, they’ll all have plenty of time to hash it out.

The present Weisbach design calls for over 18,000 square feet of new building, with a cleft, two-pronged design taking advantage of the corner lot’s odd shape. Note the use of the “one dark building, one light one” dichotomy that seems to be popular these days.