16th and Mission development campaign ad(d)s up

Supporters of a large and controversial housing project proposed for the Mission have shelled out thousands in ad dollars to, quite literally, put up a monster fight.

Mission for All LLC paid $45,600 to display pro-development ads at the 16th and Mission Street BART station from Sept. 4 until the end of the year, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison. The 24 posters line the BART platform and are part of a larger campaign in support of a 331-unit development at 1979 Mission St., dubbed the “Monster in the Mission” by critics. The ads feature a teacher, paramedic and nurse, among others, along with the words “I am not a monster” and the assurance that the housing will allow them to live in the community they serve.

First proposed in 2013, the project has been the subject of intense debate with critics arguing that it is too big, too expensive, does not do enough to address the city’s affordable housing needs and will make gentrification in the Mission even worse. A group opposing the project, Plaza 16 Coalition, is demanding developer Maximus abandon the project and transfer the property into community hands.

Under the current proposal, 290 of the units at 1979 Mission St. would be market-rate rental apartments, while 41 others would be sold for between $280,000 and $350,000 to households that make in the $61,000–$145,650 range, said project spokesman Joe Arellano. The money from the sale of those 41 units would then be used to pay for 49 below-market-rate apartments elsewhere.

According to Arellano, Mission for All is an outreach team of young Mission residents hired by Maximus, who have been canvassing the neighborhood to explain the project to residents and dispel misinformation he claims is being spread by opponents.

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