SF supervisors reject Build’s “Monster on Sixth Street,” drawing mayor’s ire

“We can’t keep rejecting new housing and then wondering why rents keep rising,” mayor says

San Francisco /
Oct.October 28, 2021 03:00 PM
Lou Vasquez, managing director of Build Inc., in front of a rendering of the rejected project at 469 Stevenson St. (Build Inc., Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors blocked an already approved 495-unit residential project in SoMa, handing a victory to a local affordable housing group and drawing the ire of Mayor London Breed, who called it a “perfect example” of how the city became mired in a housing crisis.

The board voted 8-3 this week to reject the planned development by Build Inc. at 469 Stevenson Street, now a parking lot owned and used by Nordstrom, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. City planners must now draft a new environmental study for the project, which could take a year or two to complete and doesn’t come with a guarantee that the board will accept it.

The Tenants and Owners Development Corporation hailed the end, at least for now, of what it had dubbed the “Monster on Sixth Street” after fighting against it since its inception in 2017. Breed was less pleased.

“This project met all the criteria for approval, and it would have created 500 new homes on what is currently a parking lot surrounded by tall buildings, located near transit,” Breed told the Chronicle. “We can’t keep rejecting new housing and then wondering why rents keep rising.”

The supervisors said a previously certified environmental impact report didn’t adequately address earthquake safety and didn’t include alternatives that might have lessened its “shadow impact” on nearby Mint Plaza. Gentrification was another concern.

“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,” said District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton.

Of the project’s 495 planned homes, 73 of them — or about 14 percent — would be offered at rents considered affordable by the city. Build also said it would donate a nearby parcel for affordable housing, bringing the total percentage of on- and off-site affordable units up to 118 units, or about 24 percent.

Build’s Lou Vasquez said he was blindsided.

“We are not giving up,” Vasquez told the Chronicle. “We are trying to figure out what our next step is.”

[San Francisco Chronicle] — Matthew Niksa





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