By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt
Low-cost space for grassroots groups at risk as gentrification fuels speculative deal for historic labor temple. And this is why so many people don’t want the Monster in the Mission.
My first job in San Francisco was in the Redstone Building, at 2940 16thStreet, near the 16thand Mission BART plaza. I worked as a canvasser for the Abalone Alliance, the antinuclear group fighting PG&E’s Diablo Canyon plant. And every low-budget, grassroots nonprofit in town seemed to have offices in the building.Theater Rhinoceros, an early LGBT theater company, did shows in the basement. I think we paid something like $100 a month for our office…
Now it’s a community center, with unions (the United Taxicab Workers), community groups (the Western Regional Advocacy Project) and media (POOR magazine) occupying some of the last affordable space in the Mission…
And the history and the community is facing an existential threat.
On Wednesday/27, organizers are holding a rally and community event to honor 104 years of economic and social justice at the Redstone and to work for a community solution. 6pm to 9pm, free.
This matters, a lot. It’s a key statement about whether there’s still a future for a Mission District that has room for the community-based organizations that have served and defined the neighborhood for decades – and whether history and public service matters more than cold cash.
It’s also a sign of what is to come if the Monster in the Mission moves forward. Already, investors are eying property in the area: “It took the Valencia Street gentrifiers a while to get the claws in this part of the Mission, but it’s starting to happen,” Boden said…
One of the big problems with projects like the Monster is that they drive up property values in the surrounding areas. Even the prospect of the area gentrifying is making it possible for the owner to ask for such a stunning amount of money for a building with only 33,000 square feet of rentable space. Just to cover the mortgage on a $20 million note, the rent would have to go up to almost $40 a square foot – at least ten times what current tenants are paying. Nothing in the North Mission now rents for that much; any buyer would clearly be expecting massive demographic changes in the area.
So there’s a lot at stake. See you on the 27th… (more)