SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco's Mission District tenants and their supporters held a protest Tuesday night to try to stop a development project they call ‘Monster in the Mission’.
The project is proposed to be built on Mission at 16th Street above a BART station.
Opponents say it is further erosion of what was once a primarily Latino family-oriented neighborhood being taken over by high-price housing.
Both supporters and opponents want housing here. The fight is over housing for whom.
"No Monster in the Mission. Come on and stand up for yourselves," chanted speakers at the podium.
The Walgreens, Burger King, a bar, a Chinese restaurant and a market above the 16th street BART Station would be demolished if the project is approved.
"Part of me feels a little bit alarmed and apprehensive about all these recent developments that are growing by leaps and bounds," says Vi Huynh, who's a tenant in the Mission.
On the website for 1979 Mission, the artist renderings show three residential buildings. The highest, at 10 stories, would have retail space on the ground floor.
"We don't want to look down the block and see a huge luxury tower. We already have those on every single block," says Bianca Gutierrez, a single mother of two who's lived in the Mission for 15 years.
"We recognize that there are folks in the Mission who are upset," says Joe Arellano, spokesman for 1979 Mission.
Arellano says Maximus Real Estate Partners, the developer of 1979 Mission, will provide housing for all income levels, 31 percent of units will be “affordable housing”, which means middle and low-income housing would be included.
"By creating housing for all different income levels, we really believe we could help the city and at the same time, clean up this site. And 16th and Mission, for years now, has been in disrepair. It's not safe," says Arellano.
Tenants and their advocates say what's needed is a project that provides 100 percent affordable housing. They fear gentrification will drive rents even higher and force evictions.
Project opponents say they have to take a stand to preserve the color and character of the Latino community that defines the Mission.
"The streets are already divided between Valencia and Mission. It's two different worlds. Pretty soon, everyone's going to come down to Mission Street and this is what we want to prevent," says Gutierrez.
The Planning Commission is expected to hold a public meeting on this project in the summer or fall.
In the meantime, opponents say they will find ways to pressure the city to help them stop 1979 Mission.