Attempt to clear out collective housing near 16th St. BART Plaza shows the impact of new market-rate projects driving up property values in the area
By Tim Redmond
MARCH 3, 2015 – A noisy protest and press conference at 16th and Mission yesterday brought into focus the impacts that new market-rate development is having on the neighborhood.
The tenants of 3030 16th Street, right down the street from where Maximus wants to put in 345 units of new housing, are facing eviction from the space where they have lived as a collective for more than 10 years.
Station 40 is part of San Francisco’s great housing history: Back in 2003, when the property wasn’t worth much, a group of pioneers moved into a dilapidated second-floor space, fixed it up, turned it into living quarters, and established a community that has been home to “anarchists, queer and transgender refugees, broke people, veterans against the war, those healing from the prison system, lifelong San Franciscans, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the formerly homeless,” the group’s press statement notes.
There were once dozens of places like this in the Mission and Soma; many have been evicted as property values have risen and landlords have figured out that they can make more money renting to someone else.
In this case, the landlords, the Jolish family, own three adjoining buildings that could be combined into one nice condo complex. The area is zoned for 80 feet, and Maximus has set the standard for what other property owners might want to do.
The tenants have asked the owners to sell the property to the San Francisco Community Land Trust, which, with the Mission Economic Development Agency, could turn it into affordable housing. The Land Trust and MEDA say they can raise the money.
So far, the landlords have declined.
But this is San Francisco, where collectives understand organizing – and tenant groups know how to make a huge fuss over this sort of mass eviction. The press attention the event today got is one sign that Station 40 won’t leave easily.