SAN FRANCISCO – The massive development that will be built in the heart of a historic Filipino neighborhood in San Francisco has been approved by the board of supervisors after hearing hours of public comment for and against the project.
The Filipino community has been split over the 5M project headed by the Hearst Corporation and Forest City that will include three new buildings, one office and two residential.
Opponents argued that the project would raise land prices and rent effectively pushing out working-class families and elderly Filipino residents from their homes in the South of Market (SoMa).
The board of supervisors recently passed legislation to establish a Filipino heritage district in the SoMa but opponents say there will be no Filipinos left in the SoMa thanks to projects like the development.
“It’s a Filipino heritage zone but if we are going to get Filipinos displaced out of the community then it’s a graveyard,” said West Bay Pilipino Multi Service Center Executive Director Vivian Zalvidea Araullo.
Other Filipino community advocates say that San Francisco relies too much on massive corporate investment to provide affordable housing without genuine regulation.
“We’re seeing here in San Francisco that the rate of the cost of living increasing is not matching the rate of increase in wages and that is something we want to expose and we want to hold this city accountable for its residents who actually make this city what it is,” said Tina Shauf of GABRIELA USA.
However, the supervisors approved the 5M project because they say developers are offering 40 percent of the units as affordable housing and will provide funding for area public schools and community centers.
“There’s nothing to compare with 40 percent housing,” said Ray Balberan of United Playaz. “There’s nothing to compare with $10 million going directly into the community, into direct community services. There’s nothing like that and jobs for the community. We want it to go forward and we will fight for it to go forward.”
“This is the right time to approve and to have this affordable housing and as also the benefits for seniors and for the open spaces for everybody,” said SoMa resident Stephanie Menchadez. “We are on the progressive side and I encourage these people to embrace all these kinds of offer. On behalf of Forest City we will start the good life in San Francisco.”
Construction of the development is scheduled to begin early next year.
need list of supervisors and how they voted First time comment
Supervisors John Avalos, Eric Mar, David Campos voted against it.