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S.F. Planning Panel Approves 'Beast on Bryant' Development

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Developer's rendering of market-rate apartment building approved for 18th and Bryant streets in San Francisco's Mission District. (Nick Podell Co.)

San Francisco's Planning Commission has given the green light to a major Mission District housing development despite opposition from affordable housing advocates and those seeking to maintain a place for artists and artisans in the neighborhood.

The panel voted 5-2 late Thursday night to approve a project that opponents, following a local custom that has coined nicknames like Monster in the Mission for big market-rate developments in the neighorhood, have dubbed the Beast on Bryant.

The project, officially known as 2000-2070 Bryant, is slated to replace a collection of small domiciles, artists' studios, offices and workshops on a lot bounded by 18th, Bryant and Florida streets.

With 335 units -- 199 market-rate apartments in one six-story structure next door to an eight-story building with 136 publicly financed affordable units -- it's one of the biggest projects in the city's development pipeline.

Project opponents like Spike Kahn, a local artist and part of a group calling itself Beauty on Bryant, said the new development will push artists and working-class families out of the neighborhood.


"We feel it's not the best use of the land, given that there will be almost 200 luxury condos next door, and we would like to see the developer do a more equitable dedication," Kahn said.

The Beauty on Bryant coalition has been proposing building a complex that would be composed entirely of affordable housing units.

The developer, Nick Podell, has been working with the city for the past year to create a plan that included both market rate and affordable housing units. To win support for his market-rate development, Podell donated the land to be used for affordable housing at the site.

At Thursday's Planning Commission meeting, panel member Dennis Richards said he supports the project because it supplies more mixed housing.

"I think that building more housing of all types is actually a good solution, not just market-rate housing, and this project gets us there," Richards said.

The developer still must obtain a building permit, which would allow construction to start as soon as nine months from now. Critics will have 30 days to appeal the Planning Commission's decision to the Board of Supervisors. If they can get the votes of six of the 11 supervisors, they could stall the project indefinitely.

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