Rendering: Kevin Stephens Design

The Mission Economic Development Agency, an organization dedicated to low-income and immigrant Latinos, has officially taken a stand against luxury condo developments, and their latest initiative is the opposition of a seven-story residential building slated for the auto-body shop space at 15th and Mission.

Last September MEDA filed a Discretionary Review against the 1900 Mission Street property with the following concerns: “This luxurious project comprised of large, high-end units would be occupied by wealthy residents that will negatively impact the character of this working-class neighborhood and directly and indirectly contribute to displacement impacts that threaten the community’s cultural and economic diversity.”

On February 23rd, San Francisco’s Planning Commission listened to MEDA’s concerns and voted unanimously to delay a decision on the project, recommending instead that the developer make changes to their proposal. The list of requests includes the addition of more than two units of affordable housing, relocating the auto-body shop and altering the design to more accurately reflect the aesthetic of the existing neighborhood.

“I have to just state that I hate the design, nothing against the architect,” admitted Commissioner Myrna Melgar. “Big windows, to me, are a statement of class and privilege.”

“The first thing that came to mind is the Starship Enterprise,” followed Commissioner Kathryn Moore. “It speaks to, really, the new housing demographics, because of its unusual highly glassy appearance. It does not smoothly integrate into the context of where it is.”

One of the architects, Kevin Stephens, allows that the changes seem reasonable and “pretty straight-forward.”

On the grounds of rampant gentrification and displacement of long-time locals, MEDA “creates opportunity for habitually under-resourced families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Eight thousand Latinos have been forced out of their homes in the last decade, a number that represents more than 25 percent of this community, so it’s easy to understand the urgency of the continuing housing crisis.

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