2588 Mission Pre-Application Meeting Notes

Jun 29, 2021

DATE OF MEETING:         June 23, 2021                

LOCATION:                      Zoom



Ian Birchall  (IB)   

     Ian Birchall & Associates (ib+a)             


Vidhi Patel (VP)                 

     Ian Birchall & Associates (ib+a)              


Sasha Heuer (SH)                 

     Ian Birchall & Associates (ib+a)             


Leon Quintero (Interpreter)

Eunice Tom (Interpreter)

KaWing (Frances) Kwan (Interpreter)

Anabelle Garay Montenegro (Interpreter)

Annika Hom


Erik Arguello



Jeroen B

Joanna Townsend

Jorge Romero




Kaushik Dattani

Kelly Hill

Larisa Pedroncelli

Kevin Ortiz Latinx Young Democrats

Lou Dematteis

Marie Sorenson

Marla Bastien Knight

Martha Sanchez


Rise Cherin

Theresa Flandrich

Alicia Sandoval

Tanya Reyas

Tom Niu 

and a few others (no names provided)


IB+A Presentation:

- SH: Introduces the interpreters and explains the Zoom logistics.

- VP: Presents the Project Timeline and Ian presents the project to the Community.

- IB: The use of AB2345 to seek a 50% bonus (10 stories) as compared to the prior 35% bonus (8 stories)

- Outlined key data for the project (zoning, unit mix, lot area, residential square footage, retail square footage)

- Floor plans, sections, and model views

- Stepped courtyard. (No cooking facilities in the courtyard)

- Roof deck design and mechanical screens

- The materiality of the building and aesthetics of the facades

       - Panelized rain-screen system to speed up construction + reduce construction cost to increase affordability.

       - Goal to create a matrix of materials w/ subtle articulation to be a less aggressive approach to materiality than other neighboring buildings

- Overview of ground floor uses (retail, community space, main residential entry)

- Retail areas interacting with the sidewalk.

- Mural opportunities (possibly LED display and artwork)

- Entrance to the Building and glass screen over existing mural (with additional etchings and edge lighting at night)

- Renderings showing the building in relation to the context


Erik Arguello - Calle 24 Latino Cultural District:

This project is right next to our Cultural District and we are opposing this development.

You have mentioned some Community benefits, and we see no Community benefits in this development.

You are adding additional market-rate units. There are only 30 BMRs and the rest 152 units are market-rate units.

The BMR unit AMI levels are not low enough for people in the Community. A family of 4, Latinx makes about $46,000 which falls below the 50%AMI.

The additional people that will be coming in to occupy the Market rate units (just like the occupants of Vida next door) will complain about the businesses in the area and complain about events. This is not a benefit to the community.

It is disrespectful to cover any murals in the Mission which explains how little you know about the Community and what these murals mean to us.

We do not see any benefits to the community and do not support this development. This project will spur gentrification along Mission street.. very negative things will happen because of this development.

- IB: Thank you, Eric. We have noted your comments and concerns and appreciate them.

Lou Dematteis:

I have been a resident of the Mission for over 40 years. I am an Italian American and have family living in the Mission for decades.

Can you not see that what you have designed (emphasis on the height of the building) does not fit in the neighborhood?

As an artist, I feel that this project is out of proportion and the scale of the project does not belong in the Mission. It feels that whoever designed this building does not have a sense of what this neighborhood is.

To design something this huge that will completely change the character of the Mission that so many of us have lived in for so long and love (in terms of who lives here) is unacceptable.

You do not understand what this neighborhood is about and have not taken into consideration the Architectural legacy of the neighborhood.

It shows a lack of understanding and lack of respect. The building is out of scale.

If you are moving forward with a building this big, you have mentioned that there is no on-site parking but there will be residents that will have vehicles, therefore the more units you have, additional parking elsewhere will be necessary.

You have missed the mark by a wide margin.

- IB: Thank you very much, Lou. Your comments are noted, understood, and appreciated. I do not wish to get into a debate about the Architecture of the building and I respect your opinion.

Martha Sanchez:

I am a 3rd generation San Franciscan and currently work at 24th and Mission at the Vaccine center so I am very familiar with the Neighborhood.

I feel like we have gone over this over and over again. This building is ugly and nobody likes this building (it is not a debate)..not the Mayor, not the Supervisor. Nobody wants the Mission to look like this.

A building of this nature belongs in the Financial District or someplace else.

San Francisco is full of cultural neighborhoods, murals, immigrants, and community people which is why people love San Francisco so much.

The Mother Teresa mural that is shown in the presentation seems to be a generic mural placed in the views.. No consideration has been given to what the neighborhood is like.. several people are shown on bicycles (not who we are).. the images lack people of color. Whoever put this design together has no clue what the Mission District is like.

This does not belong in the Mission, Castro, Haight, or Chinatown.

This will ruin San Francisco and am getting tired of having to come and remind everyone of what we don’t want.

- IB: Thank you for your opinion. The mural you refer to is already existing and you are incorrect to state that we do not have people of color in the renderings. We have a full rainbow of characters for the figures on the street in our renderings.

Martha Sanchez:

The Mission District does not have a full complement. The Mission District is mostly Latino, a Latino Cultural District which is why people like it. You do not have enough Latino people in the images. I saw maybe 2 people. This building is ugly and nobody wants it.

- IB: I heard you. Thank you.

Marie Sorenson:

I think that this is yet another ugly building coming into the Mission and has no relationship to anything around it.

I think that it is way too big.

The fact that the building owner is able to build after burning down his building and that the city rewards him with allowing him to build is scandalous.

This is another ugly building coming into our neighborhood and you throwing us the bone by putting a mural / adding etched class is unacceptable.

The etched glass should read how you screwed the neighborhood over.

Ugly scandalous building and it is way too big.

- IB: Thank you.

Kevin Artiz (LatinX Young Democrats and SF LatinX Democratic Club):

I have met with this Architect a while ago. We have met time and time again regarding projects like the one on 24th and Valencia and other projects where you come into the neighborhood and you tell us what our projects in our neighborhood should be like.

I hear echoes of people saying that this building is ugly and remember saying this years ago.

You come into this neighborhood, do not understand this neighborhood’s historical context, what Mission artists are, what the Mission Architecture is, and do not understand the History (and don’t respect it).

This is becoming very personal because you are coming in as a mercenary and destroying this neighborhood. Please keep this in mind.

Both of these clubs that I represent are fully opposed to this project and are asking that this project be sold to the City for a 100% Affordable Housing project.

Ian, I would hope that you understand what has happened here.. someone died.. there is corruption and that the DA came in and is investigating the Fire Inspector that was involved with this case.

You actively are playing a hand in this corruption. Let that sleep on your conscience.

- IB: Thank you.


Why is Mr. Lou Hawk not here when he wants to build this 10 story building in this neighborhood. What happened to the 42 families that lost their homes because of his negligence. There needs to be a full investigation regarding this and Lou Hawk should never be allowed to build.

5 years ago he promised Mayor Ed Lee that he would sell this property to the City. Mayor Ed Lee died and he went back on his promise.

I have had one protest in front of Lou Hawk’s meat market and will do so again if need be.

We want a 100% Affordable project and you can give us 10 different designs for your building and it will not matter.

It is disrespectful to the community and us as a whole.

People are fighting for their lives to stay in their neighborhoods and sustain their livelihoods.

You need to rethink the project and Lou Hawk needs to come out and face his own community.

He has profited off of us for years.. this is outrageous.

- IB: Thank you, John. I can tell that you feel strongly about your position. We will certainly record it as such.


I have not finished. You are the presenter your comments suggest that you are protesting us. You have no comment. These are the Community’s comments and you have no comment in this. You are the Designer and Architect so stop fighting us and listen to us.

- IB: Thank you.

Theresa Flandrich:

I am not a member of this Community. I am from North Beach but have thought of the Mission as our sister Village. As I look at the design, I feel that it fits perfectly in the Financial District. It looks like Office space instead of looking like homes.

What I know of the Mission is after spending the last 40 years visiting the Mission.

I know that the many tenants that lived here were forced out because of a fire and what happened there was because of neglect.

I feel that this project should have been 1st about relocating all the tenants.

The Mission District has lost so many people. So many people that make the heart of the Mission what it is today and why you may want to build here today.

I ask that you please support the Community that you want to enter into and trust that they know and that they speak on behalf of all the people as well as for our City.

It is important how you honor this Community and those people that lost their homes.

- IB: Thank you.

Alicia Sandoval (Calle 24 Latino Cultural District and Housing Rights Committee):

I was born and raised in the Mission District just a few blocks away from this site.

It brings back many memories. As a child, I would go to the shops in the Mercado when I would visit.

I represent Calle 24 Latino Cultural District and the Housing Rights Committee.

Instead of talking about 30 units of Affordable Housing, you should talk about the Community and not displacing anyone.

Affordable housing is less than 50%, it is 0% to 20%.

Did you invite back the prior tenants to return at the same price that they were paying before?

Someone died because of the fire.

The community does not want this project to be here. We want 100% Affordable housing.

Displacements of businesses and tenants have occurred and we need something that favors the Community, my Community, the place where I was born.

We don't want this project. You need to listen to the Community.

We want a 100% Affordable project and want you to invite everyone that was displaced because of the Fire and bring them back at the same price that they were paying before.

- IB: It is my understanding that the people who were displaced, a majority of the people have decided not to return or seek a right to return. Some have and some are but it is not by any means everybody.

- I was not involved with this project at the time these things were being negotiated. This is what I have been informed.

- Thank you for what you had to say and I appreciate your passion and comment.

Jorge Romero (Calle 24 Latino Cultural District):

I do not live in the Mission and am a Civil engineer so I understand a little of what is going on.

You keep saying that the comments have been noted and recorded. What is going to happen now about these comments?

- IB: We will make sure that everyone has access to these comments on a page on our website exclusively for this meeting. We will have all the comments and responses to those comments documented and legible to be read on that page.

- The document should be up on our website sometime early next week.

- With respect to the passionate comments that have been said tonight, we will be taking those to our Project Sponsor/Development team and will be presenting the comments to them.

- It is important to understand that we are not the developers, we are here to interpret the program that we have been given and this project is still early in the process and we have to still go through the Entitlement process which will include multiple back and forths with the City.

- All your comments are important, relevant, and will be reviewed/discussed.

- SH: In addition, the meeting notes and recording will be submitted to the City.

Jorge Romero (Calle 24 Latino Cultural District):

Are you seeking a LEED certification for this project?

- IB: At this point, we are not seeking any LEED Certification. The Solar Panels that you see on the Roof are part of the Green requirements that the City and State require.

- Thank you. We appreciate your comments.

Lou Dematteis:

I spoke earlier, but I want to follow up on Jorge’s comments.

I was part of the last Zoom meeting and we are repeating a lot of the same comments and I do not see anything that you do with the project has anything to do with the comments we made.

Are we making comments that you are not going to take into consideration and do anything about?

We have made many similar comments in the previous Zoom and you did not listen to us as you have made no change based on what you were telling us.

- IB: The project is not a 100% Affordable project. We are working on a project for a specific program. The Client has asked for that program and if this is to change substantially, based on the demands, requests, and to answer the passions of everybody who has spoken this evening, would require a structural change to the Project.

- I can not comment on that and this is not something that I can give you any sense of comfort on.

Lou Dematteis:

I understand and am not asking you to make decisions that you can not make.

In addition to the 100% Affordable, we also spoke about a building that fits in with the neighborhood.

A building that takes into consideration the historical context of the neighborhood. These items came up in the 1st meeting and this project looks worse than the 1st design we saw.

For a 100% Affordable project, I understand that this is something that the City needs to make a determination on. .buy the property and get another developer involved etc.

We expressed last time that this project does not fit into the neighborhood and told you the reasons why.

The last project was an 8 story project that was already too tall and now you have a 10 story building.

This project fits into the neighborhood even less than the prior project making us feel that you are not listening to us. Is it true that this project 2 stories taller than the last project we saw?

- IB: Yes, this project is 10 stories above grade.

- I do not want to debate with you regarding how this project is the way that it is. In terms of the program, we have increased the number of units by about 30-40 units that added to the Housing stock in SF.

- With respect to the height of the building, massing, elevations, treatment, this is the beginning of the project and we are open to having discussions with people who wish to be contributing to the project.

- It is difficult to see at times how we can open up these conversations when the demands for 100% Affordable come up and I can't do anything about it.

- So as long as we are talking about 100% Affordable, I can not respond to that.

Lou Dematteis:

I was not talking about 100% Affordable.

The point that I was trying to make is this: the building you showed us last time was already too high and out of proportion in the neighborhood. Several people have made that expression and yet the project comes back with a building that is 2 stories higher than the previous project that we mentioned was already too tall. We are not being heard. We understand Pro-formas but you are not listening to us.

- IB: We should give others a chance to talk here and would be interested in continuing the conversation with you, but for right now, I’d like to move on to other people who have their hand up. Thank you and we appreciate your comments.

Larisa Pedroncelli:

Ian, I would like to speak with you directly. Gentrification is a form of racism and a form of violence.

You may be familiar with the work of Loretta Lees.

You have a responsibility to understand studies that show that building a building of this nature causes displacement, homelessness, and tears apart the fabric of the community.

I have heard you say over and over again that there isn’t anything that you can do, but there is one thing that you can do.. which is You can not allow Hawk Lou as a vessel of violence in this community.

You have a responsibility to this community and can build this building somewhere else or find work elsewhere with other people.

You know that someone died due to the lack of maintenance on this building and there was a cover-up.

- IB: I do not know the things that you claim I know. What I have heard is hearsay. Knowledge requires evidence that I have seen with my own eyes. Please don’t argue with me to say that I know what I don’t know.

- I do not wish to get into an argument with you about your philosophy and beliefs regarding gentrification. I hear you and as the Architect for the project, I have limited control over the Program that the Client wishes to see built. I will take your comments to heart and will address them with the Project team. Thank you.

Larisa Pedroncelli:

I do not know if you are familiar with the work of Tony Damiano. If not you should familiarize yourself with his work. His studies have shown that projects such as this one will raise the rents of people with the lowest rents and cause displacement around this project.

You have a responsibility and don’t have to work for this client.

- IB: It is not for you to tell me who I work for or choose to work for. We are here to talk about the project. I have heard and continue to hear your concerns and respect them and will document and will talk them through with the project team.

Larisa Pedroncelli:

You owe this community that you will look at the Data and you will process this information.

- IB: It is not for you to tell me what I owe this community. We owe each other respect and I will certainly do the research that is necessary based on what you have said.

Lou Dematteis:

You are in our community. You are here to listen to us, not debate or fight us.

You need to listen to us since you are just the architect. You represent Hawk Low and need to tell him to come out and face us. Stick to the Architecture of the building and stop debating with us (this community).

- IB: Thank you.

Erik Arguello - Calle 24 Latino Cultural District:

You are here to provide feedback to Mr. Lou and that is what should be happening.

All that has been said here needs to go back to Mr. Lou.

We want 100% Affordable housing and want him to sell the property to the City as he had promised.

- IB: Thank you. We will take your message to him.

Kevin Artiz (LatinX Young Democrats and SF LatinX Democratic Club):

I hear a lot of the same points being made that have previously been made.

It is outside your realm of scope, Mr. Birchall, to continue to tell the community what their community is.

We do not want the project here and Mr. Hawk Lou needs to sell the land to the City.

You continue to work on projects that displace and gentrify this Community.

You do not understand this community so you need to back off and provide these comments. You don’t represent the Community and you do not live in this community so you need to listen to this Community.

Maybe we will come and protest outside your house.

- IB: Thank you. I do hear you.

Tanya Reyas:

I was born and raised in the Mission and I grew up a few blocks from this site.

I oppose this project and ask that this site is sold to the City for 100% Affordable housing.

This building is too tall, ugly and it feels like as I walk around the Mission, the colors have been taken away by these colorless buildings that do not fit.

30 BMR units are not enough.

It feels like we are not being heard and I agree that Hawk Lou needs to stop hiding behind others and sell the property to the City and face the community.

- IB: Thank you.

- I would like to assure everybody that your comments are valid, meaningful and I am very much aware of what you have said at the prior meeting and this meeting. I will take them to the project team for discussion and hopefully some appropriate action. As mentioned, I am just the Architect and that is a fact

Chat message 1:

Residents of the Vida building are concerned about the impact on the Community in terms of an increase in the number of people needing Parking and increased traffic. 21st and 22nd frequently have a standstill on Weekends. We are also concerned about the shadows cast with the increased height of the building.

- IB: For the record, we did have a meeting with the Vida HOA committee and those concerns were expressed there and are heard here as well.

Chat message 2 (Arif):

Can you explain why the proposed number of stories is more than what is permitted?

- IB: The State Density Bonus Law permits an increase in the number of units on a property calculated in a way that is rooted in the allowable density on a Property.

- It provides for an increase in height.

- It allows for relaxations from normal Planning requirements that would otherwise be strict or deny the development of a maximum developable number of units allowed under the State Density Bonus Law.

- The project presented over a year ago was seeking a 35% bonus. AB2345 increased that allowable bonus to 50%.

- We looked at several different ways to take advantage of that as the increase in the number of units can only help with the affordability over the entire project.

- These units are going to cost in excess of $500/sf (hard construction costs) and this is beyond the control of the project developer.

- To make projects affordable to build, when housing is needed, the SDBL provided an incentive to allow for Affordable units to be included in the project.

- Many areas outside of San Francisco do not have Inclusionary requirements for the development of housing within Urban areas so the State Law was written in part to fill that void and develop a quid-pro-quo for including Affordable housing in a fully marketable (market-rate) housing project.

Chat message 3 (Eric Arguello):

If you need to meet with the Vida, you need to meet with the Mission Community

- IB: OK.

Chat message 4 (Arif):

Going rates are much higher than $500/sf. It sounds like the owner wants to extract the max. profits.

- IB: The $500/sf is the Hard Construction cost. Not the Development cost which can be in the excess of $700/sf - $900/sf.

- The Affordable units sell for less than what they actually cost to build.

- The difference between the value of an Affordable unit and a Market rate unit is added to the Market rate units increasing their sale cost by 50,000-80,000 each.

John Mendoza:

Either the developer can afford to build at $900/sf or he can not, but he is not going to do it on the back of this community.

- IB: I hear you. Thank you.

IB – Since there are no more chats or hands up, I am going to call this meeting to a close.

I remind you that a transcript of this meeting and a recording will be available.

The transcript will be available on my firm’s website as a dedicated page.

We hope to have it available to you by this time next week.

Thank you all for your commitment to your community.

Thank you for your comments and know that this has not been easy for many of you to deal with.

Wish you all a good evening.

Stay safe and stay well. Good night.