Advertisements for a luxury housing development in the Bayview that celebrate the idea of the neighborhood becoming "the next Mission" have been pulled after they rankled Bayview residents like Supervisor Malia Cohen. In tweets and a Facebook post, Cohen questioned the comparison drawn by the ad campaign for the Waterbend Apartments at 5880 Third Street, one that she said seemed to encourage gentrification of non-white neighborhoods.
"'Grow With Us as Bayview Becomes The Next Mission'!? The Mission is ground-zero for aggressive tech #gentrification," Cohen wrote.
"Disrespectful" does not even begin to describe the asinine mistake that Waterbend Apartments made when they released this ad for new apartments in the Bayview to the public. I would politely advise Waterbend Apartments, and their ad consulting team, to take a step back and get a firm understanding of the word "columbusing." You are not "discovering" the Bayview and the culture has been here. #facts
This is what people are talking about when we use words like "cultural incompetence." Your description of your planned housing, "urban living at its best," is cultural appropriation at its worst. And what on earth could you possibly mean by "Grow With Us as Bayview Becomes The Next Mission"?! The Mission is ground-zero for aggressive tech gentrification. Points for transparency on what you thought your plans were for our neighborhood. Dog-whistles and coded language are so 2016. #nonsense #youtriedit #dobetter #wearenotleaving
Incidentally, this ad campaign for Waterbend Apartments is not its first tin-eared attempt to attract renters. Last summer, Waterbend was marketing itself as "Big city living on an outer city dime," conspicuously avoiding any mention of the Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood by name as it advertised its $3,130/month one bedrooms.
Hoodline talked to property manager Amanda Fraley about the 'next Mission" ads last November, and she had this to say: “A lot of people have been pushed out of neighborhoods like the Mission... We are giving a chance to young professionals and business owners at risk of being priced out and want to stay in San Francisco. We currently have a very eclectic and creative crowd here... It’s a mixture of suburbia and inner city."
After Supervisor Cohen met with Waterbend's regional manager, the ads were pulled entirely. Emily Heidt, a public relations representative from Waterbend, gave this statement to Hoodline: "We are thrilled to be a part of The Bayview neighborhood and its rich cultural diversity. We regret if we have offended members of the community with our recent advertising as certainly that would never be our intention. We chose to make a significant investment in Bayview because we believe that the community offers a fantastic quality of life for its residents."