The megadevelopment dubbed the “Monster in the Mission” would have been the Mission District’s largest housing project. Now that it’s developer is waving the white flag, it still could be — and possibly as an entirely affordable housing project.
You might remember back around Halloween 2017 when a series of ads declared “I am Not a Monster” all over the 16th Street BART station, attempting to put a working-class face on a luxury condo and apartment project that had acquired the unfortunate nickname “Monster in the Mission.” That development, which would have turned the shuttered Walgreens and Burger King spots at 16th and Mission into the towering ten-story housing complex seen above, set off a divisive seven-year battle over gentrification and overdevelopment in the Mission. That battle is now over, and may represent a landmark victory for Monster opponents and affordable housing advocates, as the San Francisco Business Times reports that the “Monster in the Mission” building has been put up for sale.
The jilted developer Maximus Real Estate Partners still has the 1979Mission.com website up describing their market-rate condo dreams for the project site, as well as their allegedly astroturfy “community” website Mission4All.org. And while we could not find the property listed on the San Francisco section of the website of its new realtor Colliers International, the Business Times reports they've seen a listing for the 58,000-square-foot project describing it as an “opportunity to entitle and construct a new, ‘large-scale’ mixed-use residential housing project.”
More intriguingly, Mission Local reports that a community group wants to buy the property and make it all affordable housing. Community advocacy group Plaza16 says in an announcement that “Plaza 16’s commitment to the community does not stop with the defeat of the Monster. The mission remains to build a 100% community-developed deeply affordable housing project at 1979 Mission St. The Coalition is convening an effort to bring together community, government, and philanthropic entities to deliver on the promise that will lead us to building the ‘Marvel in the Mission.’”
The group has at least one friend at City Hall. The district’s supervisor Hillary Ronen told the Business Times, "I think a fresh start is exactly what the 16th Street BART Plaza needs," and that "if we do this right, this project can be a model for how the city of San Francisco builds housing on top of public transit."
Whether or not that happens, Maximus Real Estate’s sale of the property does mean that the “Monster in the Mission” version of the project is definitely done and dead. These derisive development project nicknames don’t always work to stop them. The “Beast on Bryant” was temporarily stalled in 2015, but eventually beat its appeals and has broken ground. On the other hand, the site of the exceedingly well-crafted insult “Mess on South Van Ness” will be turned into an affordable housing site. It’s up to community groups to see if the 16th and Mission “Monster” trucks in that same direction.