What is currently a parking lot owned by Nordstrom’s at Sixth and Stevenson Streets was slated to become a residential high-rise, but was denied on appeal as supervisors did not trust the geotechnical review.
Housing Twitter has been particularly acrimonious and finger-pointing today, even for Housing Twitter. The reason was a Tuesday night vote by the Board of Supervisors to deny a proposed 27-Story residential tower at 469 Stevenson Street, one which had already been approved by the Planning Commission. The supervisors voted it down over displacement and earthquake stability concerns, but the vote may symbolize an earthquake between the typical prossive-moderate voting blocs, with aftershocks likely to affect the Matt Haney vs. David Campos California Assembly race.
Tonight the Board voted down a 495 unit housing project in my district on a parking lot on Stevenson/6th.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) October 27, 2021
It was approximately 24% affordable with 100+ affordable units, near transit, w ground floor community space, & extensive neighborhood support from residents & leaders.
Haney took to Twitter to decry the 8-3 vote affirming an appeal to deny the project. He’s taking an unusually YIMBY turn, saying in the above thread that “We need to build housing, including affordable housing, throughout the city, especially near transit.”
The appeal he opposed, though it passed anyway, came in part from appellant and affordable housing developer TODCO president John Elberling, who argued among other points that the development is not seismically safe. “You know there was an old marsh here,” Elberling said. “We know from experience in building eight buildings in SoMa that the conditions can change from one lot to another, and that's exactly what happened with the Millennium Tower.“
Community groups like United Playaz and SoMa Pilipinas supported the appeal, saying the project would surely displace an adjacent development. Elberling said of that project, “It's over 100 units, and it's almost occupied entirely by Filipino family units. That obviously makes it a prime target for investors to buy, for investors to declare they need to move the residents out.”
Another day, another 500 units of housing in San Francisco rejected by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.— Corey Smith 陈锐 (@coreysmith_17) October 27, 2021
Thank you @MattHaneySF, @SupStefani and @Ahsha_Safai for supporting building housing on a surface lot next to transit.
Founding partner of developer BUILD SF Lou Vazquez disagreed, naturally, as it’s his project. “This is the right project for the right place. It's close to jobs and transit, it's providing transit for residents at all levels of income in the middle of a greater center,” he said Tuesday night. “This will result in 40% of the on-site inclusionary housing to be offered preferentially to community applicants. It will include 40,000 feet of ground floor retail. Half of that will be leased to the tenants for $1 a square foot, considerably below market rates.”
FYI, this is 469 Stevenson. Apple Maps doesn’t f*ck around, wow pic.twitter.com/TknoofqYiB— David Wei Wen Young (@stuffonfire) October 27, 2021
But much of the board wasn’t buying the “community benefits” argument. Sup. Shamann Walton pointed out “the potential for this project to further gentrification and displacement and this extremely vulnerable community.” He added that “it’s very clear to me that this will have a very significant displacement and social economic impact on the Sixth Street corridor, on the Filipino community, and the broader low income community here.”
It is in Haney’s district, and Sup. Haney spoke at length in favor. “This project is being developed on a vacant parking lot,” he argued. “It is not displacing affordable units and it will ultimately provide more affordable units and more affordable multi family bedroom units, exactly the ones a few weeks ago we said we want to see more of.”
But only he, Sup. Safai, and Sup. Stefani voted in favor of it. Perhaps sensing it was going down, Sefani complained before the vote, “I just don't understand how we ever get housing built in the city if we continue to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It does not sit well with me.”
Except this housing can be built in the city. The developer here will be sent back to the drawing board, revise it to get it through City Hall, and eventually make a financial killing on this thing. But what’s interesting here is Haney going to lengths to make inroads with the developer set, and perhaps the sweet union contributions that may come with that, in creating distinctions in his Assembly race against a very ideologically similar opponent in the short few months left until that election.
Image: BUILD SF