Pinoy neighborhood group appeal massive SF development plans

SAN FRANCISCO – A group of concerned residents from San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood are fighting against a project that they believe will displace nearly 2,000 residents, many of whom are Filipino.

They filed an appeal to the San Francisco Planning Commission to reverse the approval of the 5M project.

The 5M project is a massive development by the Hearst Corporation and Forest City that will include three new buildings, one office and two residential, in the historically Pinoy populated neighborhood.

Angelica Cabande of the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) said, “We need to stop letting the City just push us around and we need to tell the City that Filipinos have great social and economical contributions to San Francisco; therefore, they really need to take out demands seriously.”

Opponents of the 5m project say that San Francisco has a history of displacing the Filipino community to different parts of the City.

Barbara Rockman, a San Francisco resident of over 20 years said, “We learned about the whole history of displacement which we had no idea about – the I-Hotel, Manilatown, Yerba Buena. It became much more an issue of watching of people were reacting to what’s going to happen to their neighborhood and to my neighborhood as well.”

The 5m project has received mixed reactions from other Filipino organizations in the community.

Those who back the development cite how the 5m project promises approximately 212 affordable housing units and nearly tens of thousands of square feet for public open space and cultural uses.

Alexa Arena, Senior Vice-President of Forest City, said in a email to Balitang America that this is the first private project to offer 33 percent below-market-rate housing in the same neighborhood.

“We will be presenting our current project for approval, which is a collaborative effort with the community created over six years, approved by the Planning Commission and has support from neighborhood, affordable housing and arts groups,” said Arena.

The development will still proceed to the Board of Supervisors for approval on November 16.

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