“Historic laundromat” in SF’s Mission District razed for housing

Fight to save activist meeting place ends, mixed-use, 75-unit complex with eight affordable housing units in works

Rendering of project at 2918 Mission Street (Gould Evans, iStock)
Rendering of project at 2918 Mission Street (Gould Evans, iStock)

After a failed bid for preservation, a “historic laundromat” in the Mission District that served as a hub for Latino activism a half century ago has been demolished for a potential housing project.

The single-story commercial building at 2918 Mission St. has been bulldozed on a site entitled by its former owner for an eight-story, mixed-use apartment building, SFYimby reported.

It’s not clear what its current owner, Cresleigh Homes, based in the Financial District, wants to do with the now-vacant lot.

Plans approved by former property owner Robert Tillman called for a 67,070-square-foot building, with 59,000 square feet for 75-units of housing and nearly 7,000 square feet for ground-floor shops and restaurants. Eight of the units would be set aside as affordable.

Tillman, weary of years of development delays, sold the property in 2019 for $13.5 million.

The approved project, which received a state density bonus to add more housing, would include a second-story communal deck, private terraces atop its podium, and private balconies.

The brown-and-ivory building, designed by SoMa-based Gould Evans, has bay windows and setbacks above a tile-clad podium.

A proposed mural would rise along its north wall, above an existing building, facing the nearby 24th Street BART Station. An artist hasn’t been named for the mural.

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Years of lawsuits, and a bid for preservation, failed to save the “historic” laundromat, according to SFYimby. A demolition permit was issued in early April, and the former laundromat has been torn down.

Many longtime Mission District residents argued that the project will only further the gentrification and displacement in the once predominantly working-class Latino neighborhood.

The appeal to preserve 2918 Mission Street was filed by Calle 24 Latino Cultural District Council, which wanted to save the building that had once served as a workspace for many activist organizations in the Mission.

The organizations included the Mission Hiring Hall Inc., Mission Housing Development Corporation, Mission Model Neighborhood Corporation, Mission Childcare Consortium Inc., and Mission Community Legal Defense Fund.

A Historic Resource Evaluation by the San Francisco Planning Department concluded that the former building “lacks sufficient integrity to convey its identified historic significance,” and was not eligible for preservation.

The demise of the Mission District laundromat followed measures passed by San Francisco last October meant to save the city’s dwindling number of laundry rooms and laundromats.

[SFYimby] – Dana Bartholomew

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