On Tuesday, August 23 at 6 pm, the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) will hold a community meeting at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center to reveal their latest designs for 96 units of subsidized-affordable senior citizen housing at 1296 Shotwell, just north of Cesar Chavez. There’s also a focus group scheduled for Monday, August 29. Here are the two upcoming events:
- Community Meeting: Tuesday, August 23, 6pm to 7:30 at BHNC, 515 Cortland
- Focus Group: Monday, August 29, 6pm to 7:30pm, Precita Eyes Mural Center, 348 Precita Avenue
Right now, 1296 Shotwell is a one story warehouse-style space used for automotive repair. As proposed, the site would become a 9-story building to provide 100% subsidized-affordable housing for senior citizens.
The proposed building would not include any parking, and it would rise 85′ from street level, or 20 feet higher than permitted under current zoning.
1296 Shotwell sits right next door to 1515 South Van Ness, the proposed six-story development approved in a unanimous 6-0 vote by the San Francisco Planning Commission earlier this month. As approved, 1515 South Van Ness will provide 157 units of mixed-income housing, with 25% set aside as subsidized-affordable.
During a contentious community meeting about 1296 Shotwell held last April, some Bernal neighbors objected to the proposed height of the building, which would rise five or six stories above most other nearby buildings. Others objected to the proposed design, which included an 85′ perforated concrete slab on the building’s south side, facing Bernal Hill.
MEDA has suggested the Bernal-facing slab could be covered by a mural, but in the bilingual workshop sessions held during March’s community meeting, neighbors were unenthusiastic about the mural concept, pointing out that south-facing murals tend to disintegrate quickly because of the harsh sun. One neighbor said the mural proposal was “basically the definition of putting lipstick on a pig.”
MEDA tells Bernalwood a revised design for the project will be on display at the meeting on Tuesday. However, despite repeated requests, MEDA declined to provide renderings of the updated proposal in advance of Tuesday’s meeting.
Personally, I would like to see 1296 Shotwell built at the proposed height, with the proposed number of housing units. I live a block from 1296 Shotwell, about 400 feet away, and the building will be in the direct line of sight from my house. The new building will definitely obscure part of my glamorous skyline view, but I don’t care that much about losing some of my glamorous skyline view, because San Francisco desperately needs more, higher-density housing of all kinds to make housing more affordable to more San Franciscans. But that’s just me, and I’m on record as a YIMFY — Yes In My Front Yard.
That said, 1296 Shotwell would likely benefit from an improved design for the south facade, so that the 9000+ neighbors who live on Bernal’s north slope will feel better about gazing upon it for decades to come. We’ll find out what MEDA has in mind at the Big Reveal, 6 pm on Tuesday night at BHNC.