As we initially posted in December of 2012 Greystar Developers –based out of Charleston, SC– obtained the lease for the land at 2198 Market Street in the Castro, former site of the Delancey Street Christmas Tree lot. Their plan: develop a building boasting 85 luxury condos sitting atop 4000 square feet of retail space.
Since then there have been several meetings between developers, neighbors, community groups and organizations regarding the building and Greystar’s overall plan for the property.
After the October 2013 meeting Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) decided that they couldn’t give Greystar their stamp of approval on their plan. They pointed to three significant hurdles:
- Affordable Housing: Leading the list – no Below Market Rate units on site. Greystar, following a developers trend citywide, had opted instead to pay into the City’s managed affordable housing fund. A number of neighbors and groups were immensely disappointed by Greystar’s choice. Mixed income diversity is one of the Castro’s quickest shrinking qualities and everyone wants to see more local affordable housing being built.
- LGBT Discrimination: Greystar lacks a national non-discrimination housing policy that includes LGBT citizens at their owned and managed properties. They company only includes equality provisions in rental agreements if its required by local law where they build/develop across the country.
- Design Issues: Local architects tapped to design 2198, Heller Manus, offered up a status quo, post modern building vision that left many unimpressed. Critics pointed out this structure will be erected next to the beautiful, architecturally unique Swedish American Hall and needs to be more than just another industrial beige box.
These bones of contention led a coalition of groups – DTNA, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, AIDS Housing Alliance, Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association (EVNA), Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA), Lower Haight Merchant Neighborhood Association (LHMNA) and District 8 Democrats – to send letters to the City Planning Commission opposing approval of the development.
Since then there has been some movement in these problematic areas in question. DTNA December/January newsletter reports:
- Greystar has agreed to include ten BMR units at 2198 Market. 12% of the buildings 85 units, the minimum required by City mandate, will be set aside *if* developers get a variance from the Planning Commission allowing them to skirt the the rear yard set back requirements outlined for new buildings in the City’s Octavia/Market St. Plan.
- Regarding LGBT discrimination – Greystar came back with a letter penned by founder and CEO, Bob Faith, with language expressing the company’s commitment to equality and non-discrimination. What wasn’t clear was would the company actually adopt a national policy against LGBT housing discrimination at their buildings. DTNA felt Mr. Faith’s letter showed movement but remained cautious.
- Heller Manus met with a coalition of architects from local community groups Castro Community Benefit District (CBD) and Castro Community Planning Association (CAPA) who presented them with a dozen issues they wanted altered to better align the 2198 Market build with the overall design standards highlighted in the Octavia/Market St. Plan. Heller Manus returned a new design plan that addressed most of those concerns.
DTNA and others in the coalition want to see these compromises firmed up and in writing before any change takes place and they change their no vote to a yea.
In all likelihood, considering the overall political diversity of the coalition, some groups will not find these changes sufficient to garner approval especially regarding Greystar’s commitment to a national LGBT housing anti-discrimination policy at all their properties.
The Biscuit will keep you informed as more plans and developments are revealed.