How's this for irony? Remember that stretch of 16th Street where protesters made sure Jack Spade and its fancy wares wouldn't be able to move in, in large part to preserve a small business ethos in the neighborhood? Well the Chronicle and SFist just broke the news that there will now be 25 condo units and 8,000 sq. ft. of retail plopped down on that prime stretch of the Mission instead. So much for the little guy in the Mission.
In what I can only ascribe to complete real estate insanity, the long-gone Superior Automotive at 3150 16th St. (across the alley from The Kilowatt) has been bought for what the Chron is calling "the most expensive development site ever sold in San Francisco." It went for $8.7 million. WTF, people!? I remember when my friend Matty moved into the Albion alley next to the old auto shop in the '90s and his car windows were constantly punched in by the local crackheads. It was not the sort of place developers wanted to drop their wads. Now this stretch of the Mission will be officially spit-shined for those affluent enough to afford these upcoming units – which the Chron notes breaks down to costing the developer, MX3 Ventures, "$350,000 per buildable unit, and that's three times what a developer recently paid for land in white-hot SoMa."
I'm not anti-development by any means. I get that if everyone suddenly wants to live here, we've got to make some room for those everybodies to settle into. But these quotes in the Chron are just plain upsetting:
"The deal shows how desperate developers are to gain a foothold in the Mission. It also suggests that the hyper-gentrification that has taken root in the neighborhood over the past decade is not going to slow down any time soon. 'It's astronomical how high prices have risen,' said Sam Moss, executive director of the Mission Housing Development Corp., which owns 3,000 affordable-housing units in the neighborhood. 'It was already brutally expensive to build here. Now it's even crazier.'"
My one hope? That all these new condo residents spend a ton on their good neighbor, and one of my favorite theaters, The Roxie (which had to have a Kickstarter in recent years in order to stick around). As a side note, I imagine the business owners who were hoping for a Jack Spade-ish savior to help alleviate some of the rougher spots around them must have mixed feelings – on the one hand, they definitely have a shot at a fancier looking street. On the other hand, I wonder how much their landlords will want to charge them now?
And if you want a great long form piece about the story of the Mission's crazy development boom, check out Lauren Smiley's article from the Mar. issue of San Francisco Magazine.
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