The Corporate lies of Gentrification

root - Posted on 07 October 2009

A to Z Corporation attempts to defy height restrictions to gentrify the Mid-Market Cooridor

by Bruce Allison and Thorton Kimes/PNN

Readers know I go to many meetings. There are buildings being planned, 2 of them on 7th Street near Mission; one of them will be on the Eastern side in the middle of the block next to the Izabel Hotel, which houses people with chemical and mental illness challenges. Two years of construction would not help any of them with recovery and might make anger management difficult as well as generating the unintended consequence of increased police presence and surveillance.

The main problem with these 2 units is the violation of height restrictions and the percentage of required "affordable housing" units included in the construction. Poor families live in the neighborhood and not only will they not be able to avail themselves of this new housing but also the mainstream tourist trade will experience a loss of housing for the population of folks that drop millions of dollars (and hotel tax monies) into San Francisco's economy every year.

Mission and 7th Street's Western side is at risk too. By tearing down another 50-unit tourist hotel (which also happens to be where locals regularly catch buses to out-of-town casinos--T.K.) and a local pizza parlour, local tax receipts will continue to shrink. This will hurt even more because of property taxes assessed by the city and sent to the state return to the community,but there will be less of that for the 2 years this project will take to be completed.

This project is not deep enough in the pipeline for public comment and outrage to be ignored the A/Z-SF Hotels, LLC has only gotten to the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement study of the impact of their project on the neighborhood) level of activity. If you are a resident of San Francisco and want to stop this project from going forward, write to the staff contact person (Irene Nishimura) of the San Francisco Planning Department at her e-mail address ( or by mail mail to 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, SF CA 94103-2479. The phone number is 415-575-9041.

One more reason for concern/outrage: no resident of the affected block of Mission Street has yet been informed that change is coming to the neighborhood. It would be very helpful if this was mentioned in inquiries or comments by mail, e-mail, or phone calls.

If you want to contact A/Z-SF Hotels, LLC, call Andrew Junius at Reuben and Junius, LLP at 415-567-9000 to ask that Ò114-7th Street construction not happen at all. We donÕt need more housing for the gentry.

This building contractor would be wise to retrieve its investment by making the housing units affordable to 50% of AMI (Area Median Income), with proper tax assistance A/Z-SF Hotels could make a profit and help the blue collar community that really could use more housing. A few units for people making 0-30% of AMI wouldn't hurt! This would also help the city by lowering taxes and getting more folks out of the shelters and off the streets.

The tax money saved by not pursuing this project could be used more creatively to help people get the education and services they need. For more information on this and other housing issues e-mail me at


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