Housing project in San Francisco's Mission District put on hold

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A second housing project proposed for San Francisco's Mission District at Bryant and 18th Street is now on hold after the developer decided not to go forward, seeking city approval this month.

One project was put on hold because of a dust up between the developer and property owners. This week, the second project is being put on hold because of heated debate.

Opponents had dubbed it the "Beast on Bryant." Along with another proposed development they called the "Monster in the Mission," the housing projects were protested as symbols of an affordability crisis in San Francisco, especially in the rapidly gentrifying Mission District.

The developer of the Bryant Street project was scheduled to go before the planning commission next week, hoping for approval, but has instead decided to put things on hold.

"I think the wiser course was just to press pause, take a deep breath and go back to the drawing board, to try to see what we can do to bring a better project to the commission at a different time," Bryant St. project spokesperson Evette Davis said.

The project would have covered nearly an entire block with 274 apartments, 47 of them below market rate.

Critics say there's not enough affordable housing, that artists and small manufacturing businesses currently on site would have to leave in a neighborhood that's plagued by evictions.

"If we continue to go down the road of building these luxury condos, which essentially was what the Beast on Bryant was proposing, that exacerbates the problem. They make displacement worse," Mission Economic Development Agency's Gabriel Medina said.

In a rare move, the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades, representing carpenters, plumbers and other workers voted down the project earlier this year.

"A lot of our members live in the Mission. Latinos are the largest component of our workforce," spokesperson Michael Theriaul said.

His group is now talking with the developer, who plans to change the project but is not throwing in the towel.

"Our intention is to come back with a better project that reflects the input of the community," Davis said.
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