160 Apartments & Ground Floor Commercial coming to the Mission

Source: San Francisco Business Times
Author: Cory Weinberg

The Mission has gotten plenty of buzz lately for packing hipness and high-priced rents into a once thoroughly working class neighborhood. Developer Lennar Multifamily Communities now wants to dive into the booming neighborhood, which is ground zero for fights over gentrification, with its first San Francisco apartment project.

If Lennar’s pitch goes as planned, popping up in the southern part of the Mission would be a 181,400-square-foot building that would house ground-floor commercial space and 160 apartments. The project would replace the McMillan Electric building at 1515 South Van Ness Ave., which was constructed 66 years ago. (It used to be an Oldsmobile dealership long ago.) The San Francisco Planning Department released details in a preliminary project assessment last week.

The six-story building would include a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments at an average size of 890 square feet, according to the assessment. The project would also need to tuck away 19 apartment units deemed “affordable” by the city.

“The Mission is one of the most powerful places to live in the city for all types – not just for people coming in and working at tech companies, but people who are born and raised here,” said Alex Waterbury, president of the company’s Northern California operation. “It’s a unique part of the city. There’s not a lot of supply currently in the southern end of the Mission.”
Indeed, most new Mission projects have skewed north. Lennar Multifamily is “in contract” to purchase the property and develop the space over the next several years after discussions with neighborhood residents and leaders, Waterbury said. He added that the he did not yet know how much it would cost to develop and build, stressing it is in the very early stages.

“We don’t see anyone waiting in the shadows to torpedo it, but there’s always concerns about design and responding well to the existing fabric to the neighborhood,” Waterbury said.
Still, opposition to market-rate housing projects in the Mission is not hard to find. A massive fight is already brewing over a much larger project, 351 units, at the 16th Street BART stop being proposed by Maximus Real Estate Partners. Another project by J.C.N. Developers also near the 16th Street BART station has spent nearly five years seeking entitlements amid fights with neighborhood groups.

This would be the first project in San Francisco for Lennar Multifamily, a division of the huge homebuilder Lennar Corp. Another division of the parent company, Lennar Urban, is selling units at The San Francisco Shipyard in Hunters Point and has thousands of units in the pipeline for Candlestick Point and Treasure Island. Lennar Multifamily is already has plans for 500 units in Berkeley, Redwood City and Mountain View.

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