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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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News + PoliticsThe battle of Soma, round one

The battle of Soma, round one

Planners approve massive project at Fifth and Mission, but appeals are still ahead


By Tim Redmond

SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 — About nine hours into the Planning Commission’s hearing on the giant project at Fifth and Mission, after hundreds of community people had testified for and against the plan, Commissioner Cindy Wu raised a point that had been missing for most of the discussion.

Why, she asked, are three different objectives – the creation of a Filipino-American Heritage District, the preservation of affordable housing, and the desire of a developer to make a huge amount of money – not discussed in the same context? Why isn’t there any real planning for this part of town?

“I know there are no developer fees [to fund planning for a heritage district] and we don’t get any General Fund money,” she said. But there must be a better way to do this.

Indeed, that was the message of the testimony and the ultimate decision to approve the project: When it comes to conflicting needs and demands on the city’s limited real estate, the ones with the most money always get their way.


The developers of the so-called 5M project – including the Hearst Corp, which owns the Chronicle – are more savvy than many of the heavy-handed types we see in this town. They went out and got community input. They agreed to increase the level of affordable housing (and agreed to give a big check to the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Center to build some of that housing). They promised a substantial package of community benefits — $74 million worth, although it’s not clear when that money would be available and who would control it.

But the essential problem with the deal was pointed out late in the discussion, when one of the opponents noted that “this project is forever. At some point, the $74million will be gone. The Filipino community will be displaced. And the only real winner will be the developer.”

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That’s the sentiment we heard over and over: The people who currently live in the area where the project will be constructed aren’t happy with it.

This thing is giant:

The 5M project is an attempt by the developer to “Supersize Soma” by constructing a 470-foot tower with 400 market-rate (aka rich people) condos, a 395- and 350-foot towers with 600,000 square feet of office space, along with a 200-foot tower with 230 market-rate and 58 affordable units. The height and density limits that would preclude such a project would be circumvented by spot zoning and special carve-outs that would allow the developer to build despite zoning regulations and construct these buildings that are totally out of scale with the rest of Soma, both physically and in character.

The Planning Commission and the Recreation and Parks Commission had to hold a joint hearing on the project, since it will add significant shadows to a local park. But the commissioners didn’t seem all that concerned – the joint body gave the necessary waivers.

Then the Planning Commission had to approve a long series of resolutions – to approve the environmental impact report, to grant conditional-use authorization to one of the buildings, and to authorize all of this within the city’s annual limit on office space.

Community activists in the audience were furious as the project won approval after approval. At one point, a “people’s filibuster” sought to shut down the process, with dozens of people chanting “who are you building for?”

There was no response from the commission.

In the end, the vote in favor of the project was 5-2, with Commissioners Kathrin Moore and Cindy Wu objecting. But it’s nowhere near over: All three key elements, the EIR, the CU, and the office allocation – can and will be appealed to the Board of Supervisors, which has to vote on zoning changes anyway.

So that will be a huge battle — at some point.

When? That gets interesting. If the board takes its time addressing the appeals, legally this could probably go into January, 2016, when there could be a big change in the balance of power.

Today, it’s hard to imagine the opponents of the project getting more than five votes. In January, if Aaron Peskin replaces Julie Christensen in D3, I can see them getting six.

So the developers will be pushing to get this heard at the board as soon as possible.  Which, of course, would again put Christensen in the position of voting in favor of something that a lot of her constituents won’t like – or defying the mayor and the development community that has been a major funder of her campaign.

This is a project that could change Soma forever. And the battle isn’t over yet.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. You’re very mistaken about me if you think I’m pro-Developments.

    Where did I call you a Socialist or any of those other labels?
    It’s like you’re on autopilot. Very telling.

    As for your threat about “nothing adverse” happening to me, it already has. I have been on the tenant end of bad loopholes by a huge Developer… and nothing you or your idea of tenant rights, could have helped. Yup, and I still can’t get behind your crazypants cultural warfare schtick.

  2. I also would like you and several other commenters on this board to take your own advice: stop lumping anyone who does not think as you do as a “socialist” NIMBY” “nativist” etc etc etc demonizing a renter, presuming all development is wonderful, if you truly believe that everyone who speaks up for tenants rights is the enemy, I sure hope nothing adverse happens to you

  3. this is actually one problem, it does create more need for housing that housing. BUT… the land is mostly zoned for commercial, and they didnt have to put ANY housing here. They asked to do that to create a more balanced plan. It is RIGHT by the BART, and planning policy (like it or not) is to put more office in those areas (the converse of this is that the neighborhoods don’t get asked to have office buildings).

    Also if you want to play this card, Mission Rock is actually WAY more imbalanced toward jobs, but Jane Kim is sporting her “40% affordable” percentage as a big win. In actuality, the percentage of affordable isnt nearly as important as the jobs housing balance if we want to fix the broken housing market.

  4. OF COURSE THE BENEFITS ALSO LAST FOREVER. They are donating a building to the arts. They are building a park. They are building hundresd of units of affordable housing. Those arent going to suddenly disappear. People should go read the piece on this that Randy Shaw did at Beyond Chron. Much more balanced.

  5. wrong – and, going by your comments here: delusional misogynist white guy crying in his beer because not enough people like him –

  6. Basic decency? The Golden Rule? The Eightfold Path (specifically Samma-Ajiva — Proper Livelihood).

    All these clowns have is avarice and self-love.

  7. who said i just wanted one race to live here? thanks for the attempt to defame me – but, I stand by what I said: i do not have any great sympathy for rich white people – and, any rich people – don’t care what race they are as long as their greed is a major part of the problem

  8. “waaahhhh! I shat myself!!!”
    -Siddle… err… sam… errr, not wait, it’s bobfuss, right!? Is that the account I’m signed in with!?

  9. “people evict for profit”

    Wouldn’t that really depend?

    Speaking in caricatures like that is dangerous.

    Demonizing landlords… lumping them in with developers…presuming all evictions are greed based…it’s pretty naive.

    If you truly believe every landlord is the enemy, I sure hope you own.

  10. Then let me rephrase: you have a tendency to make broad statements against large groups of people you don’t like. Are you aware this makes you a bigot? Better?

  11. If these issue is so important, when why are we relying on people who are ethically compromised by their economic ties to the City to continue to represent “the left” even as their failures have been piling up more rapidly over time?

  12. Why does Tim sit by while these right wingers hijack his comment section?

    Probably for the same reason that his political project is to make sure that his loser nonprofiteer buddies continue to get city money irrespective of whether what they get paid to do does any net good.

  13. Current zoning allows ONLY office construction on this site. So the default alternative is a ton of new office space and NO new housing. Again, I state, this is a WIN!

  14. Olmstead spends all day every day on every local website abusing anyone whose opinions he disagrees with.

    Conversing with him is useless, as it is with our resident racist Nancy.

  15. Again, you are on record as opposing the building of new market-rate homes. Why the prejudice against those who can afford them and who want and need them?

  16. Anti-white hate speech is a form of racism.

    Personally I like to see a diversity of people. I would never oppose just one race living here in the way that you do.

  17. If someone thinks that every single last Hispanic in the Mission should be preserved for no reason other than their ethnicity, then the allegation that you claim is made would be apt.

    Diversity is not served by having any one race dominate a location.

    What is your ideal percentage for Hispanics? 50%? 70%?

  18. Who knew Fred Olmsted used such salty language?

    For those too lazy to right click and ‘Translate this page’ on the first Google hit: the Wohnbausteuer was a highly progressive tax on rent. It helped pay for Vienna’s municipal building program. It worked. Still, apparently aggressive public building funded by progressive taxes on rent is ‘trickle down’.

    What policy should San Francisco follow instead?

  19. Most natives are happy with the tech people. I am a native, usually the fake natives who came here in their 20’s and like to pretend that they are from here are the biggest complainers.

  20. I propose that the city buy the 8 Washington land and build a 100 feet tower of affordable housing. Actually, even better, they should make a section 8 building there!.

    Can’t wait for the white Nimbys on Telegraph Hill to come up with an excuse.

  21. keep trying to confuse the issue; just staring the facts; i have noticed that racism against whites is the biggest fear and complaint on these pages and it is so far from reality, it has by now become comical

  22. i believe that is your modus operandi; I need not justify myself to you nor anyone else – you can cry to Mommy whenever anyone says anything nasty to you

  23. just answering the remark regarding the ugliness of racism – and how victimized some people claim to be on these comment pages; immediately after the oft-heard comment calling the Mission a “Latino theme park”

  24. It’s these sort of Nimby lies that turn people off. Only Tim Redmond’s world is 0.00418% extra shadowing before a park’s opening hours is considered “significant”

  25. jhayes has your number: economic cleansing at all costs; i have merely been commenting on how hysterically funny it is that these white guys cry about being victims of racism. Really? do they really believe they are suffering from racism?

  26. I don’t; I demand logical solutions – but with the inestimable greed going around, and, the acceptance of it – affordable housing is not going to show up – happy now?

  27. wrong – I have only mentioned the profits in eviction and the love of winners (rich people) and losers (everyone else) – i never said anything about “subsidized” homes – “subsidized” being an inappropriate term – i am fascinated by the love of greed that now characterize San Francisco at the expense of everything else –

  28. Why has the 48 Hills comments section become the meeting hall of nasty SF landlords? I mean, does the KKK gather at the NAACP website? (Well, maybe they do!)

  29. “The Planning Commission and the Recreation and Parks Commission had to hold a joint hearing on the project, since it will add significant shadows to a local park. But the commissioners didn’t seem all that concerned – the joint body gave the necessary waivers.”

    The spin cycle is on heavy. The fact is that 5M will cast a small amount of shadow on Boeddeker Park, on an inaccessible landscaped terrace near the park’s northern gate. This shadow always occurs before 8:40 am, before the park’s gates are open. 5M’s new shadows on Boeddeker will be 0.00418% of the park’s available sun. In what world is that a significant amount?

    5M shadow effects:

  30. Not only were most homes built by a developer, that housing is also made available by a landlord.

    They hate capitalists and yet without capitalists they would be homeless

  31. The only person here who was preaching hate speech about members of a race was Nancy.

    I know property investors of all races. Race is a red herring here, but Nancy could not resist trying to play a card

  32. At the end of the day, the project was approved by the Planning Commission, so it looks like you didn’t get the last laugh after all.

  33. Nancy, you need to understand that $am (bobfuss) wants “economic cleansing” of the Bay Area and especially the San Francisco population. In his view, poor people don’t belong in such a beautiful and desirable area, so the higher housing prices are, the better he likes it. Occasionally, he drifts into ethnic cleansing as well, particularly when it comes to brown- and black-skinned people. Thus, it doesn’t matter to him if condos are highly priced. Someone will buy them, just not poor or middle income people.

  34. They have this thing called Google Translate:

    “The housing tax was one that goes back to the initiative of Robert Dannenberg and Hugo Breitner, an indirect but highly progressive tax, which was raised in the interwar period by the City of Vienna and which served to finance the council of Red Vienna.”

    Oh, wait, you don’t give a shit about that. You’re just a loudmouth socialist with to much time on your hands.

  35. Why do you assume that you bring more level of thought or care to the discussion? What makes you “right” and the other commenters “wrong” ?

  36. Ummmm… fuck off if you think that long quotes in German advance the dialogue.

    Oh, wait, you don’t give a shit about that. You’re just a greedy prick with too much time on your hands.

  37. Really goes to show the level of thought / care these ‘people’ apply to what is, for most San Franciscans, a very serious issue.

  38. There is BMR housing south of Moscone Center on streets with Filipino names like Lapu Lapu, Mabini and Rizal about three blocks from 5M. My general impression is that while there may be a relict population of Filipinos in SOMA, the great majority of Filipino-Americans live in Daly City or the East Bay.

  39. So do you feel comfortable making broad assertions about a large group of people? And if you do, consider what sort of person that makes you.

  40. Racism is not the correct word. Xenophobia would be more accurate. Or, in some cases, nativism.

    And, though they undoubtedly exist somewhere, I don’t know any tech workers who sit around going on about some notion of “losers”, and I know a lot of them.

  41. Wrong, you said we should not build market rate homes. That means that you think we should not build for those willing and able to pay for them

    You do think we should build subsidized homes, and only subsidized homes. Therefore you only want to build homes for those who cannot afford homes

  42. Nancy, you gratuitously introduces race several times into this thread, always making sure to assert how much you hate whites.

    A more guilt-ridden, shame-faced white liberal racist it would be hard to imagine

  43. Nancy, a big part of why owners evict s not for profit but to get back control of their buildings.

    Put another way, the main reason for evictions is that the city’s rent ordinance makes long-term renting of a unit very unattractive.

  44. True, and it is also near impossible to merge them as well.

    Rent controlled units mostly vanish not by physical removal but because of the way that rent control motivates property owners to convert them to owner occupation via TIC’s and condo’s.

  45. “Shot by a white guy”?

    So it’s OK to mention everyone shot by a black guy?

    Why is playing a race card relevant and appropriate here?

    And, as wcw notes, thousands of SRO rooms were demolished to build the Moscone Center. And that happened under a progressive administration

  46. I believe that about 10% of SF voters are registered Republicans.

    So, not many, but enough to swing tight elections

  47. i am not concerned with “Sam”; I still find it hysterically funny when the new San Franciscans whine that they are victims of racism

  48. The problem doesn’t demand your sympathy; it demands reason. You can’t just yell “No more pricey condos! Affordable housing only!” and expect it will magically show up.

  49. Just because we won’t be as cheap as Cleveland anytime soon doesn’t mean we can’t stop the bleeding. It would take a truly massive effort right now to get us to early 1990s SF prices quickly, but 2009-10 SF prices might well be realizable in the short term.

  50. my dislike and apprehension of white tech males (tech remains dominated by white males – just a fact) comes from their comments, actions on how they hate “losers” and their definition of “losers” stems from anyone who does not resemble them; this is 2015

  51. “We’re _very_ far away from the point where apartments would stay vacant for a long time.”
    Right. I agree, so I’m saying, no imaginable amount of building will lower prices in SF at the current state of affairs, and bending planning regulations to encourage builders will not make anything more affordable, and will act against the reasons those regulations are there to begin with.

  52. “At one point, a ”people’s filibuster’ sought to shut down the process, with dozens of people chanting “who are you building for?”’
    Whenever things aren’t going well for them left-wing totalitarians try to shut down democratic processes. People’s filibuster = mob rule.

  53. We’re _very_ far away from the point where apartments would stay vacant for a long time.

    But demand is lower, and vacancy rates higher, in cities all over the US – yet homes still get built. If this guy won’t do it for X% profit, that guy over there will.

  54. Which is what makes the moratorium even dumber: we’re throwing away the mandated BMR units developers would have to build for the city, and making the city pay _more_ to replace them.

  55. Your fallacy is The Slippery Slope
    You said that if we allow A to happen, then Z will eventually happen too, therefore A should not happen.The problem with this reasoning is that it avoids engaging with the issue at hand, and instead shifts attention to extreme hypotheticals. Because no proof is presented to show that such extreme hypotheticals will in fact occur, this fallacy has the form of an appeal to emotion fallacy by leveraging fear. In effect the argument at hand is unfairly tainted by unsubstantiated conjecture.

  56. I think what’s being planning will have unmeasurably small effect on price increase. As for the next bust, maybe property owners will simply offer only short term leases if they excpect a recovery?
    I don’t think it’s that simple to outclever the developers. They have money and experience, and their goals are opposite to those of a well-planned city, IMHO.

  57. Obviously, you are ready to dismiss my opinion before you saw it…
    There are puzzling points about this report that cannot be resolved until more details of the analysis are released.

  58. Not “you” specifically. The point is that there’s just no entity right now capable of delivering housing in SF right now in any helpful quantity at lower/middle class price levels. It costs over $500K to build any sort of unit here in the first place.

  59. Well, yeah. But the reason they can get that high market rate is because there are other people having enough trouble finding a place to live that they’ll shell out a completely ridiculous percentage of a high tech salary to do so.

    So house those other people somewhere else instead. Like … a new tower on a vacant lot, say.

  60. people evict for profit – just ask those who are the landlords that evict – they will tell you it’s profit, they are not getting “market rate” and they will drive-up the prices as high as the market will bear

  61. The only notable effort to study that was in the Mission moratorium report, and it didn’t find much evidence that SF properly goes up simply as a result of having newer housing units nearby.

    (Obviously, you folks were ready to dismiss it before you even saw it, of course, but there is.)

  62. now, that is funny and so far from accuracy i would be laughing if it was not so tragic; Trump always mentions losers and all of this rant about losers, winners and success comes right out of his playbook –

  63. Moscone was a liberal with the Democratic Burton Brown machine – he was a wonderful Mayor, an excellent person who was shot execution style by a white guy who kept crying he was misunderstood (echoes of white entitled young people of today crying that they suffer racism) – but please, who are you trying to fool here: comparing the Moscone center to evict to build luxury condos – weak

  64. Do you think people evict just for fun?

    If a person doesn’t have to compete to find a place to live, why would they?

  65. yes, it certainly is; remember Oscar Grant from a few years back: pleading with the idiot white cop not to shoot him the back but the BART cop did it anyway – racism sure is an ugly thing

  66. Because they can still extract enough to make it worthwhile. Developers are not a cartel; there will be one somewhere willing to do it so long as they can make just enough profit to secure a loan.

  67. I hav no sympathy for the tech elite and their problems; especially WHITE tech elite and their housing whine; they will do jut fine – as for the other 90% of us – that is what we need to think about

  68. The person who can afford it and moves in will then be a person not competing for other housing units elsewhere in SF. Which is still a good thing for many others who can’t afford that specific unit.

  69. Die Wohnbausteuer war eine auf die Initiative von Robert Danneberg und Hugo Breitner zurückgehende indirekte aber stark progressive Steuer, die in der Zwischenkriegszeit von der Stadt Wien erhoben wurde und die zur Finanzierung der Gemeindebauten des Roten Wien diente.

    Breitner had been a banker, but he was a social democrat. The progressive taxes he designed that Vienna used to fund public building worked: Vienna built over 60,000 units in municipal buildings in ten years, and is the largest landlord in the country.

    What policy should San Francisco follow instead?

  70. A large increase in supply would likely not lower prices immediately, rather stop them from increasing so dramatically. More supply now means that after the next bust, it will take longer for prices to recover, helping affordability. If we don’t build now, we’ll be even worse off during the next cycle.

  71. This board is beginning to rival the despicable Socketsite boards. It’s sad, and weird, considering the articles are actually written by and for intelligent, compassionate people. Wonder why all the trickle-down trolls have been swarming?

  72. Don’t try to reason with WCW, he drank the Kapitalist Kool Aid and long time ago, just spends his time trying to convince us it’ll all trickle down eventually…

  73. The argument is clear, but the evidence seems scanty.

    Here: 45 Fremont is 600,000 sf offices, zero sf residences, completed 1978. What existing buildings were razed nearby as a result? Whom did the process displace?

  74. Moscone was probably the most left-wing mayor that SF has had, and he gave his name to the biggest development ever in SOMA.

    Nobody now thinks we were wrong to replace those slums with his eponymous center.

  75. “the Bay Area is the hub of the California Republican Party”

    No, it’s still currently a Democrat hotbed. That’s why using a party partisan lens doesn’t work. Keep trying though.

    You’re correct about the winners/losers stuff, but you’re having trouble identifying the culprits, or identifying harmless projects from transformational, community ripping, madness. (I think this project has a little of both, for the record).

  76. A building of this scale will attract more buildings like it, and will put pressure on landowners to raze existing buildings in favor of higher value ones.

  77. Bob, it makes perfect sense for a condo owner to want to see very few competing condos built.

    The problem that Marcos has is his refusal to see his decisions as being part of the white male tech worker gentrification of the city. And instead try and dress up his self-serving NIMBYism as something noble and moral.

  78. Everyone who supports this project cares about the city. They just care differently about it from you. We want to see progress, prosperity and more homes. You want to freeze the city in time like some kind of a theme park for losers

  79. It is not clear to me how these Filipino’s will allegedly suffer if this development proceeds. No one ethnicity or nationality should be in a position to veto projects that benefit all races and nationalities.

  80. In the area plans, and the general plan, maybe in theory, but there’s no coordination, and certainly approval of an individual project does not look at the current office and housing balance.

    Generally, it’s “build offices, because residents need jobs” and “build condos, because employees need housing.”

  81. This is basically an urban infill project that you do not like because the projected residents don’t adhere to your dogma.

  82. Define it how you want. The point is that there is demand for new homes at these price points. And low-income people are not the only people we need to house.

  83. Building new homes actually decreases displacement, as it absorbs buyers and investors who might otherwise buy existing buildings and evict

  84. kind of like a tech funded white guy who owns a condo valued at over a million dollars in a neighborhood where the average yearly income is around 30k.

  85. The 1979 Mission proposal had zero sf of office space, but would have provided 300 housing units. Doesn’t Planning consider the balance between new office space and new residential development in its approval process?

  86. Sixth graders can identify and analyze logical fallacies [Sixth Grade in California Public Schools, PDF]. To assert that development displaces people without explaining the mechanics is to assume a conclusion. Assuming a conclusion is a classic fallacy, true, to say nothing of the logical defects of arguing that a development that builds homes does not build homes.

    How would not building this project decrease displacement?

  87. Building offices creates demand for huosing for employees. The project shows 600,000 sq. ft. of office space. At a generous 200 sq.ft./employee, this means you’re bringing in 3,000 employees, but only providing 800 housing units.

  88. i don’t hate white people: i refuse to hate but mobilize, organize against greed, stupidity, and work for a society that includes everyone – why are the techies so afraid that they are hated because they are white – i lived in the Mission for over 35 years, and, as a white person – i never experienced any “hate” except from the young entitled white people who congregate at Dolores Park who refuse to clean up after themselves – really, does anyone think this is real – “white people are hated” – maybe, a few are disliked after they sneer at the Mission and call it a Latino theme park –

  89. perhaps the author just simply cares about the City – and everyone in it; as, apparently, many of the people who comment on this board
    do not care about the City: they are too busy determining who is a winner and who is a loser and dumping on the poor; now, the Bay Area is the hub of the California Republican Party – truly, it makes sense

  90. 400 market rate units deceases demand for existing housing stock (i.e., previously rent controlled units that get TIC’d).

    A bunch of new office space decreases demand for existing office space in SOMA where nonprofits are getting pushed out.

    These are good things. If you keep fighting every project and thereby decreasing supply, you just push up prices and hurt those with the least ability to pay.

  91. deine success: a teacher is a success, except that by your standards, because teachers do not make over $100,000 – they are not

  92. again, put your thinking cap on: building housing that does not meet the needs i.e. luxury condos of the populace is not a good thing –

  93. if you put your thinking cap on, like our elementary school teachers taught us, think about it: instead of building housing for the majority of people needing it, homes aren’t built but upscale offices and shopping and lots of very wealthy condos –

  94. What evidence is there that development of residences and offices in previously nonresidential space indirectly displaces people?

  95. I wish Tim had looked at the decision that Jane Kim faces with this development. She has to appeal to the Filipino community that doesn’t want this project, wealthy people who want this area improved, and the tenderloin that will get $$$ from the developers. This will be a real test. If I were her, I would work out a deal where it passss but she gets to vote no.

  96. Market rate by definition means affordable to those who are in the market to buy. Using the term “unaffordable” is incorrect.

  97. The City can put its foot down and not approve of projects if it deems them to have too much of a deleterious impact, e.g. not having enough open spaces. I think the city has leverage, but did not use it.

  98. High rises in SOMA is a big part of why Julie’s district can stay low-rise and cute. Julie and her constituents should support this.

  99. If those units are truly unafffordable, then they will not sell.

    I am guessing that they will sell. Successful people need homes too.

  100. If the city refuses to do spot zoning, Forest City can just tear down everything on the site, build the zoned maximum office space with no housing in the most bland configuration planning will allow, provide the minimum public benefits required by law, and still walk away with a bunch of cash. How is that a victory for San Francisco?

  101. “The battle of Soma, round one”

    There have never been any land use battles in SOMA until this one, which is round one?

  102. United Playaz got city funding for their headquarters and then turn around and support a project that will help displace their playaz.

    That’s how the nonprofit extortion racket works in San Francisco.

  103. “it’s totally possible for this developer to come back and meet the existing zoning and build mostly luxury condos”—that’s up to the planning commission. I think people thought the city made a bad bargain from the POV of the local residents, a good one for the developers.
    The city should have insisted on open space as necessary infrastructure, and refused to do spot zoning, and start from there.
    I agree that it’s speculative, but D3 voters might feel Christensen will side against them and with developers in some future circumstance.

  104. 66% unaffordable luxury units; 500′ buildings; accelerated appreciation and gentrification of neighborhood; office space for thousands of employees, but only 800 housing units; a precedent for spot zoning. Community benefits are one-time, but the negative effects are permanent.

  105. 33% affordable units — over 200 of them, more than double what the law requires
    $74M for community benefits
    48,000 sq ft of open space
    Elimination of surface parking which shouldn’t exist a block from Market St


  106. I would argue that the shadows aren’t terribly significant. They’ll only occur before 8:40 am, and will only eat up about about four-tenths of 1 percent of the parks total sunlight. This development occupies mostly empty parking lots that sit behind the Westfield Mall at an intersection that badly needs some kind of investment. I think the community is right to demand a big public benefit in exchange for spot upzoning, and I don’t know if this is enough. On the other hand, I know its totally possible for this developer to come back and meet the existing zoning and build mostly luxury condos. It’s a hard balance to strike, but I think this is the best case to get the most affordable housing out of this project.

    I also thinks its worth exploring why you think Julie Christensen’s constituents care about what happens at 5M, or that her vote on 5M would determine whether or not they vote for her. It seems just as likely they’ll either very little interest or feel like it would improve that particular intersection, but this is all wildly speculative.

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