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Developer offers ‘historic laundromat’ site for ‘Monster In the Mission’ trade

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Developer proposes land swap to get its towering 16th Street ambitions built

Rendering by SOM, courtesy of Maximus

Thursday’s meeting of the San Francisco Planning Commission will take place not at City Hall, like usual, but instead inside the auditorium of Mission High School.

And there’s only one item on the agenda: 1979 Mission, the huge development proposed for the corner of Mission and 16th Streets that’s saddled with the non-PR friendly nickname “the Monster in the Mission.”

Developer Maximus Real Estate has spent years trying to push the proposed 10-story, 331-unit, 388,912-square-foot mixed use building through City Hall.

Unsurprisingly, opposition from neighbors—some of whom formed a group called the Plaza 16 Coalition to express objections about the building—has been stiff.

If constructed as proposed, the alleged “Monster,” which consists of three related buildings, would tower over the 16th and Mission BART station.

Now Maximus has announced an ambitious new deal in which it will turn over parcels it owns elsewhere in the Mission to the city for affordable housing, in exchange for an agreement on its 16th Street plans.

Spokesperson Joe Arellano said via press release Thursday:

Maximus Real Estate Partners, the developer of the proposed 1979 Mission project at 16th and Mission, unveiled a new proposal today that would include the dedication of two fully entitled land sites in the Mission: 2675 Folsom and 2918 Mission Street. Maximus recently reached agreements to purchase both sites.

As part of the deal, Maximus would provide the community with the two sites to fulfill its affordable housing requirement, and the project at 16th and Mission would be built as 331 rental apartments.

2675 Folsom and 2918 Mission are currently entitled for 192 total units, of which only 31 are scheduled to be affordable. However, if the local density bonus was invoked, the two sites could be built with up to 306 affordable units.

The 2918 Mission Street site is better known to many San Franciscans as the so-called “historic laundromat” near 25th Street, which turned out not to be historic at all.

Designs for a would-be mixed use building at the cite of a present Mission laundromat.
The mixed use building set for the site of the Mission laundromat.
Rendering courtesy of BuzzBuzzHome

After a bruising years-long argument, which led the building’s old owner to sue San Francisco, the city approved plans for new condos at 2918 Mission last year. (Owner Robert Tillman subsequently dropped the lawsuit.)

Now it’s part of a potential development compromise, along with 2675 Folsom, another Mission project that once pitted developers and Mission dwellers against each other.

As noted, the offer is part of Maximus’ required affordable housing contribution, not a spontaneous gesture of goodwill.

Even so, a land deal combining three different, highly contentious Mission developments is dizzying to consider, like one of those Godzilla movies where multiple monsters team up—a Monster Mash on Mission perhaps.

The Plaza 16 Coalition said in January that it plans to use the hearing to confront Maximus with its objections to the project:

After five years of creeping over our community, Maximus, the corporation proposing the Monster, has to present their project to our community. While this is not the first time Maximus has come to the Mission, it is the first time that they have to talk about the Monster without being able to rely on confusion and false promises.

Having working-class Mission residents most impacted by displacement, rising rents and loss community have the right to lead development decisions is the goal. This hearing is a step to community controlled planning for the Mission.

No word yet on how they’ll respond to the new offer. The Planning Commission meets at Mission High at 4 p.m. today.

A rendering of the facade of the proposed Folsom Street building
2675 Folsom design.
Courtesy David Baker Architects