Ronen Says She Supports Market-Rate Housing Plan With Cole Hardware Store

Clarifying her earlier remarks about a development plan for the now-empty lot where  Bernal’s Cole Hardware store stood before a devastating 2016 fire, D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen tells Bernalwood she supports a developer’s proposal to build eight market-rate apartments on the site if the plan will bring a Cole Hardware store back to Mission Street.

Last week, Bernalwood confirmed Cole Hardware was working with the property owner to open a new store on the ground floor of the proposed building at 3310-3312 Mission. However, earlier this week the San Francisco Examiner reported that Ronen wanted to use the site for 100 percent affordable housing. “My hope for that entire block is that we create affordable housing to replace the affordable housing that was lost,” Ronen told the Examiner.

Though the new building would be too small to trigger San Francisco’s inclusionary affordable housing requirements, controversy over the type of housing to be built at 3310-3312 Mission would throw the future of the project into doubt and likely delay the reopening of a Cole Hardware store indefinitely.

In a follow-up conversation with Bernalwood, Ronen clarified her remarks to the Examiner. Ronen said she originally hoped to secure the property at 3310-3312 Mission for use as 100 percent subsidized-affordable housing, but after the lot was sold to a private developer, that option was off the table.

Now, Ronen says, she has been in contact with the owner of the property at 3310-3312 Mission, and she is enthusiastic about the plan to build market-rate housing there because it will also secure a long-term future for Cole Hardware.

“Yes, I do support this project,” Ronen said.

“My top priorities are affordable housing and legacy businesses,” she said. “I’m supportive of this project because the developer wants to bring back Cole Hardware with a 20-year lease. As long as the market-rate project brings back that legacy business, I support it.”

When asked if she would continue to support the project if it faced opposition during San Francisco’s famously complex planning and permitting process, Supervisor Ronen said, “The only way I would have a say in any say in this is if it came up for review under under a [California Environmental Quality Act] appeal, and I can’t see a CEQA issue that would make any sense for this project.”

This Sunday, June 18 will mark the one-year anniversary of the fire that destroyed the original Cole Hardware building. More than 50 people were displaced by the blaze, which destroyed or damaged several buildings at the southwest corner of of 29th and Mission Streets. San Francisco Fire Department investigators concluded the fire likely began in a trash bin stored outside an apartment above the former Cole Hardware store.

IMAGE: Rendering of proposed market-rate housing at 3310-3312 Mission Street. Photos via SocketSite; composite illustration created by Bernalwood

18 thoughts on “Ronen Says She Supports Market-Rate Housing Plan With Cole Hardware Store

  1. I was against it before I was for it! What’s the over-under on how long it takes her to change her stated position again?

    • Seriously, MG? I guess you have reason to believe, in this age of Trump, that if you say something often enough, it just becomes true. So go ahead and keep peddling your fake news lies.

      But for the record, Ronen was never against the market rate project. Go back and read the original Examiner piece (which itself is just an article, attempting to represent Ronen’s position but clearly not to the exact level required on this blog). The lot was for sale, and Ronen hoped that it could be bought and used for 100% affordable housing. But once it was sold to a developer who intends to build market-rate housing and rent the retail space to Cole Hardware, she said she supports the project. There is no change of position there.

      Folks can take issue with Ronen’s initial desire to have 100% affordable housing built on the property — that’s fine. But please have some respect for yourself and for our community and resist your urge to vomit up a cheap, distasteful, and false accusation of “flip-flopping.”

      • Yeah, the tone of the original Bernalwood post was a bit… yeah. Sup. Ronan was hoping for affordable housing, but she never stated she’d oppose this project.

      • Ronen may have been misquoted in the examiner, or she may need to be more careful when she speaks to the press, or she may need to recognize that she has a reputation for blocking market-rate housing whenever possible to get more affordable. Either way, her comments the Examiner did not require much interpretation to reach the conclusion that she was blocking this project too. I’m glad she’s doing the right thing here.

  2. What happened to all those displaced by the fire. Have they been adequately compensated for theit losses and satisfactorily rehoused in comparable homes in their neighborhood. That is the very least we should do.

  3. It is interesting that the developer does not appear to be taking advantage of the HomeSF option of building taller and adding some affordable units. That site would seem like a great candidate (and is clearly within a HomeSF qualifying area). Is the issue something specific about this project site or the developer, or is it something about the legislation? I hope this doesn’t represent a broader lack of interest in the HomeSF option.

    Incidentally, Ronen voted in favor of the HomeSF legislation. She did offer an amendment, that was voted down: to exempt sites with “legacy businesses” already in place. I know this is going to be hard for some folks on this blog to swallow, but it seems like there might be some consistency there in her focus on both affordable housing and legacy businesses. http://www.sfexaminer.com/sf-grants-developers-20-foot-height-bonus-exchange-affordable-housing/

    • By keeping this project as small as possible, this owner/developer avoids complexity and a potential loss of control. While HomeSF is laudable, it would add time and political risk to this project. See all the debates on “what percent affordable” and “how many” and “how high” by everyone from politicians to bloggers? The expedient move here is to keep it as simple and small as possible, and just get it done.

    • I’ve disliked Ronen’s actions on housing in the past (e.g. supporting Prop I), but I definitely would be impressed if she successfully got a bigger project through in return for a few new BMR units.

  4. Very happy to hear Supervisor Ronen is supporting the existing project. Her explanatory remarks clears up what seems to be a miscommunication somewhere in the process.

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