Deal for 1,900 new rentals on Market meets resistance 

Supervisor wants developer to add more below-market-rate units

The proposed development of 1,900 rental apartments on Market Street was held up Wednesday by a Board of Supervisors committee, which raised a number of concerns about the project, including the need for more affordable units.

The existing rent-controlled Trinity Plaza apartment building, which currently houses 360 tenants, would be demolished to make way for the larger development. Earlier this year, Supervisor Chris Daly, whose district includes the four-acre development site at Market and Eighth streets, helped broker a deal with project developer Angelo Sangiacomo, who agreed to place the 360 tenants in the new complex under The City’s rent control rules.

The deal was expected to quell opposition to the project. Last month, the Planning Commission approved the project.

The Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee, however, refused to vote the project out of committee on Wednesday, and continued the hearing on the project until next month, with members saying they would like further negotiations with the developer.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said he would like to see additional below-market-rate housing added to the mix, and pointed out that the 360 rent-controlled units could turn to market rate as soon as a tenant moved out.

McGoldrick said the existing proposal requires 185 below-market-rate units, but he would like to see 46 more, to reflect a recent amendment of The City’s affordable housing law that requires a development to provide 15 percent of its units at a below-market rate.

Daly said the concerns raised by his colleagues will not jeopardize the project, and expected resolution over the next few weeks.

Once the previous agreement was made over the rent-controlled units, there was a sense that the project was a done deal, Daly said. "It wasn’t a done deal," he said, adding that there were now other hurdles to overcome.

Allan Lacayo, senior economist with the Controller’s Office, said putting 1,900 additional rental units on the market would have a significant impact on San Francisco’s housing market. The development "should have such a positive effect on our city’s economy because it makes such an incredible dent on the lack of affordable units of housing," Lacayo said. "By their mere presence in the market, they will either slow down the rate of rental price increases or they should bring rental prices down."

Walter Schmidt, representing Sangiacomo, declined to comment on the committee meeting, but said he was hopeful something would be worked out.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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