The beast is loose in the Mission. Almost, anyway.
The proposed 335-unit housing development covering the 2000-2070 block of Byrant Street, dubbed the "Beast on Bryant" by critics (who should really be proud of how difficult it’s been for the project to shake that title), finally went before the Planning Commission last night, winning approval on a 5-2 vote.
This was the fourth attempt to bring the perpetually anger-inspiring development to that body. The hearing lasted 11 hours, fully more than a third of that community testimony about the project. That's the longest commission meeting since the 12-hour marathon of last September (a meeting that included Market Street’s 5M.)
In its present form, the Bryant Street project is two buildings, a market-rate development built by Podell Company and a BMR building financed by the city (on land Podell forked over as part of a compromise deal that tripled the amount of affordable housing but shifted the cost of building most of it. There would also be tens of thousands of square feet in retail and arts space, some added just last night at the behest of planning commissioners.
The demolition of six existing buildings, many of them formely studio space for local artists (since relocated) has been a big part of what grinds Mission activist’s gears about the beast.
But the sheer size of the project—more than 200,000 square feet in its latest incarnation—and prominence of market rate housing in it (the price of a single bedroom home in the Mission has more than doubled over the last five years, by some estimates) surely doesn’t help.
Commissioners Cindy Wu and Kathrin Moore voted against the project. Rich Hillis chimed in to tell protestors that he would vote the buildings down if he thought doing so would actually help solve the housing crisis. The others interjected occasional criticism of their own but found nothing to warrant standing in the way of the project.
With a recommendation from Planning, the Beast slouches toward its final stop at the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks.