Beast on Bryant

Battle unfolds over large development project in San Francisco’s Mission District

Development West
(Courtesy BDE)
(Courtesy BDE)

Dubbed countless times as the “Beast of Byrant,” 2000-2070 Mission Street in San Francisco has been surrounded by unmissable negative sentiment from locals. The scheme, which aims to hold 335 apartments across two buildings, experienced a turbulent planning process. Last year, locals of Mission Street took issue when Nick Podell, the developer behind the project, attempted to the push the scheme through via the Streamlining Act whereby the commission had to act within 60 days.

“I think [the developers] knew that the Commission would not have approved the plan in the first place,” said Commissioner Dennis Richards. Opponents of the development, mainly comprising artists, local residents, and building trades representatives, argue that more affordable and not market-rate housing is needed.

The original plan (Courtesy BDE)

The original plan (Courtesy BDE)

The proposal would also see the demolition of six buildings that mostly house artist studios. Totaling more than 200,000 square feet, the project hasn’t won locals over with its aesthetic, something which its scale probably doesn’t aid. However, advocate of the project and executive director of the Housing Action Coalition, Tim Colen, said in 2015 that resistance against the scheme reflected the difficulties of addressing the “housing affordability crisis” while building in San Francisco. “It’s not possible to improve affordability if we don’t build a lot more housing,” he added.



Now the “Beast” has finally stumbled through an eleven-hour hearing at San Francisco’s Planning Commission. That said, the development hasn’t come through unscathed: the Commission voted 5-2 in favor of a proposal that includes 92 additional affordable housing units and 33 fewer market-rate dwellings. Meanwhile, 40 percent of “PDR” space (Production, Distribution, Repair and Arts uses) will be replaced on the site—none was set to be originally replaced.

The original plan (Courtesy BDE)

The original plan (Courtesy BDE)

While the project has been given the go-ahead, opponents are planning to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors. “This is going to be one of the most built-out sections of the city outside of downtown, in what is now a neighborhood of single-story warehouses,” said Peter Papadopoulos of the Mission Cultural Action Network. “Right now the projects are being studied one at a time with no consideration of the cumulative impact on a given block, neighborhood, or the city at large.”

Related Stories