San Francisco supervisors set to make call on Parkmerced project 

The Board of Supervisors is set to consider the massive redevelopment plan for the Parkmerced neighborhood Tuesday, following a two-month delay to consider whether the rights of displaced tenants will be protected during the multidecade project that seeks to demolish 1,500 homes.

Project developers Stellar Management and Fortress Investment Group have repeatedly promised to uphold the rent-control rights of current tenants and provide them with modern replacement units in advance of demolition.

But a civil grand jury report last week said the tenants are protected only by the developer’s word, not under any law.

The report was lambasted by developer spokesman P.J. Johnston, who said a law already on the books lays out rent protections on units that are demolished and replaced by new ones within five years.

Much of Tuesday’s public testimony before supervisors is expected to revolve around the displacement issue, as well as whether Parkmerced’s retro-suburban townhouses are a piece of city history that should be preserved.

Opponents of the development, including those from the Parkmerced Action Coalition, have filed appeals to the project’s environmental impact report over what they contend are unmitigated problems, such as increased traffic on busy 19th Avenue.

Developers have a $1.2 billion plan to add a net 5,700 living units to be served by an extended Muni light-rail line connecting the neighborhood with the rest of The City.

Tuesday’s vote is expected to provide a first look at some supervisors’ stances on development.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, whose district includes Parkmerced, sponsored the agenda items before the board on Tuesday. He said tenants have valid concerns about living in a construction zone for 20 to 30 years, but the civil grand jury report’s conclusion on tenant protections is flimsy and would have “gotten a first-year law student kicked out of law school.”

“As the plan is right now, the tenant protections for the Parkmerced far outweigh the protections afforded to the tenants at Trinity [Plaza],” Elsbernd said of a 2005 push by then-Supervisor Chris Daly to allow high-rise development on Rincon Hill in exchange for 590 units to remain affordable. “And that plan passed unanimously.”

Supervisor Eric Mar told The San Francisco Examiner in March after he visited the neighborhood that people were concerned about having to move from townhouses into towers and that he would seek advice from the City Attorney’s Office on shoring up tenant-protection promises.


Rebuilding Parkmerced

How the redevelopment project sizes up

20 to 30 Years of construction
3,200 Current housing units
1,538 Units marked for demolition
8,900 Total units after redevelopment
3,221 Total units considered affordable after redevelopment

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