Mission Mission has done an excellent job of keeping us abreast of the hand-wringing graffiti at 299 Valencia. While nothing new to the city's elite yet gritty neighborhood of choice, the condo complex stands front and center as something many locals and transplants don't like. (It's a harbinger of increasing rental prices, a surprisingly hot topic this week.)
The real issue, though, that no one wants to discuss (or understand) is that it is an intentionally uninspired structure; it's almost self-consciously dull. No wait, it is self-consciously dull. (If you recall, 8 Washington suffers from the exact same problem.) We are hardly Victorian purists, but 299 Valencia, you see, could have been a bizarre, towering, and wildly intricate piece of work. Some gorgeously horrific residential building one might find in Tokyo or the Netherlands. Instead it looks like Mission Bay shat out section 8 housing in order to fly under the radar. That's the real issue here, not the people who plan on inhabiting it or skyrocketing rents. Architectural structures wanting to go unnoticed. And that's too bad.
In the end we all want to look at pretty things, yes? This isn't one of them even. Not sure why some want to frame the argument with feel-good, lofty ideology about Willie Brown's buddies or socioeconomic factors. San Francisco begs for taller, outlandish design -- not Burning Man trifles, mind you, but actual obsessive works of urban-landscaping brilliance.
As for the graffiti artist(s), who is the "you" in "you're"? And how many people did said vandal(s) displace after arriving in the Mission? And what in the hell is an "artisan haircut"? Because when it comes to 299 Valencia, the only work of genius is its mission statement.
Live on the Valencia corridor. Where the restaurant scene thrives, every surface is covered with art, and the coffee houses, delis and bike shops are world famous but still locally owned. Grab a bite from a food truck, get an artisan haircut, and peruse racks of raw denim or brunch in a parklet. Enjoy the sunny days and the bustling nightlife.