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Neighbors move to block 60-unit apartment building in the Mission

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Fears of gentrification drive last-ditch appeal of 14th Street development

A rendering of a seven-story building with a black facade. Rendering courtesy of SF Planning

Developers spent four years pushing to build a mixed-use building with 60 apartments next to the San Francisco Armory and finally prevailed in July. But now they’ve run into additional opposition as neighbors attempt to appeal the permits before the project breaks ground.

MX3 Ventures, which also owns Rincon Center in San Jose, bought the parking lot at 344 14th Street in 2015 for $4.85 million.

The company then petitioned the city to build a seven‐story, 78‐foot tall, residential building with 60 apartments: four studios, 17 one‐bedroom and one bath units, 14 two‐bedroom and one bathroom apartments, and 25 two‐bedroom and two bath homes, all of it atop ground-floor retail space and parking.

At the July 25 meeting of the Planning Commission, city planners favored the project because it “results in new rental housing, including new on‐site below‐market rate units, [...] which is a goal for the city and more appropriate than the surface parking lot.”

The commission approved the project on a 5-1 vote.

But not so fast: Mission Local reports that some Mission neighbors who remain dead-set against the new development have appealed that decision, which means that the Board of Supervisors will decide what happens next.

The neighborhood group Our Mission No Eviction (OMNE) opposes the new building, characterizing it as a luxury interest encroaching on Mission life.

An April Facebook post about a demonstration against the project, organized by OMNE and other local activists, called MX3’s designs “a luxury housing project that is currently offering only the bare minimum of affordable housing” and predicted “this project will add to the displacement and gentrification” of the 14th Street area.

Of the 60 planned units, eight would be designed affordable housing, the minimum necessary for a project of this type.

OMNE has appealed the building permits on environmental grounds, alleging that “inadequate soils testing and geotechnical review was performed in a liquefaction zone.” The group also claims the sewer system in the neighborhood may not be adequate for such a large new building, among other complaints.

It falls to the Board of Supervisors to decide the fate of the appeal next month. If rejected, construction can begin on the new building. If city lawmakers decide that the neighbors’ complaint has merit, they may order an additional review of the site.

Curbed SF first reported plans to develop this property in 2014, at the time owned by Axis Development Group, who planned 69 homes on the parcel.