Rendering of 1924 Mission Street by Gerry Ramsey

Two Mission housing developments were up for review by the Planning Commission on Thursday, with stylistic concerns cited by the local activist organization Our Mission No Eviction. Their main concern? That the upscale and modernized designs will accelerate gentrification and higher rents.

1924 Mission Street, a former auto body shop, will be demolished and replaced with a seven-story, mixed-use building with 11 housing units.

The divide between Valencia and Mission Street has been visible for years, with the homeless congregating on Mission and the $10 juice shops setting up shop on Valencia. As a way to curb the neighborhood’s shifting image, Our Mission No Eviction is focused on keeping the neighborhood affordable.

“This high-end project proposed for 1924 Mission St. will most likely command rents of somewhere in the $3,000 to $4,000 range for a one bedroom unit,” Carlos Bocanegra wrote when requesting the discretionary review on behalf of Our Mission No Eviction.

At the hearing on Thursday, Bocanegra further remarked, “I look at this building sometimes and am confused whether I’m standing in front of a Miami beachfront summer home or an Airbnb in San Diego.”

Afterward, The Planning Commission voted unanimously for the developer to rework the design.

At 1298 Valencia Street, a former gas station will be replaced with 35 housing units. In a moment of pure NIMBYism, the developer paid off the city to the tune of $2.3 million to build affordable housing elsewhere. Only one unit of affordable housing will be included in the project.

Rendering of 1298 Valencia Street by Ian Birchall & Associates

Since this is unavoidable (as the developer has already paid the fee), the discretionary review focused instead on the design of the development.

“Should we make things look like they were built today, or should we make them kind of in the Victorian contextual?” asked Commission President Rich Hillis. Then Hillis, ever the tastemaker, added, “I don’t understand the orange that’s creeping up in every building we see these days.”

Commissioner Kathrin Moore felt similarly, “I really regret… the fact that you are intentionally creating this as a standalone design. I think it’s really unfortunate.”

Despite these concerns, the Commissioners unanimously approved the project with zero changes.

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