A second big proposed development, and the second largest to have brought the ire of Mission activists fighting for more affordable housing, has been stymied in seeking its approvals from the Planning Commission. This would be 2000-2070 Bryant Street, a.k.a. the "Beast on Bryant," and this is the second small victory in two weeks for the affordable housing camp, who also want to see the "Monster in the Mission" go down in flames, that is unless it becomes 100 percent affordable.
As the Business Times reports, the graffiti-covered warehouse building between Bryant and Florida (between 18th and 19th) that currently occupies a large part of the site has been a point of contention for local artists who have occupied the space which was owned by InnerMission, formerly CELLspace. The plan by developer Nick Podell was to build 274 luxury apartment units, with a minimal amount of affordable units on site (47, or 17 percent).
Unlike in the case of 1979 Mission Street, the 330-unit so-called "monster" adjacent to the 16th Street BART station, Podell and his team appear to be pressing the pause button on the project themselves, either because they were concerned it would not be approved as-is, or because they knew politically it may be unwise to shove the project down the neighborhood's throat at this juncture without making some changes to their plans. The news came via a letter from Podell's attorney to Planning Director John Rahaim saying that the project would not go before Planning this month as scheduled, but would delay a couple of months in order to consider "certain revisions to address [community] concerns, including the mix of uses and the project design."
Project spokesperson Evette Davis tells The Examiner, "This is really meant to be positive. It’s meant to be able to take a look at some of these great suggestions [from the community]." But that statement belies the development team's clear sense of defeat in the face of growing opposition to market-rate housing in the Mission, and to the impending moratorium ballot measure that could stymie all market-rate projects in the neighborhood for two years or more.
The "Beast on Bryant" was so-named in the wake of plenty of controversy, not just because of its scale and its small number of below-market-rate units Maximus, the developer behind 1979 Mission, compromised with the community by promising 24 percent affordable units in order to get its approvals, however that project is now delayed by a legal dispute with the landowner.
The project attracted much attention initially because it meant the displacement of artists and while InnerMission agreed to sell to Podell in exchange for money to relocate, other artists who were subletting from InnerMission pushed back in July to fight their evictions.
Meanwhile, the influential SF Building and Construction Trades Council took a rare stand against the project in June, sending a letter of objection to the Planning Commission regarding the projects lack of affordability, and the developer's refusal to commit to 100-percent union labor on the project. "We deeply sympathize with the folks backing the moratorium," said a spokesperson for the Council. "We do have a lot of folks in our organization who live in the Mission."
Nick Podell Development will now likely wait out the election in November, and the moratorium vote, to see if the project will be able to move forward at all as primarily market-rate, and then come back with a greater mix of affordable units, as well as more replacement warehouse space for artists and manufacturers.