On today’s show we’re talking about the risks of community opposition in a development project. Sometimes these stories are so outlandish that I have to share them with you.

The project in question is located at 450 O’Farrell Street in San Francisco.

The development team behind the derailed group housing project in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district is suing the San Francisco Board of Supervisors over its decision to vote down the project in October, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California last week.

The San Francisco planning commission had previously approved plans to construct a 13-story group housing on top of the site of the pre-existing church. Once completed, the building would include 316 new apartments, a new church facility, and ground-level space for a Christian Science Reading room. The project was sponsored by the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist. This project is located less than one block from the SF Hilton located near Union Square in SF. I’ve stayed at that hotel numerous times and walked past the Church frequently, distinguished for its Roman style columns.

The lawsuit, is the latest development in the 450 O’Farrell saga. The approximately half-acre site’s redevelopment into housing and a new church was first conceived by the church back in the 1980s, according to the suit. It began the formal application process for a residential development in 2013, and ultimately proposed the 13-story, 316-unit iteration of the project in 2020.

The project underwent three revisions and was delayed half a dozen times before ultimately receiving Planning Commission approval in June 2021. The commission’s 4-2 vote to approve the project prompted outcry from Tenderloin community groups, which argued the project failed to address the neighborhood’s need for more family housing.

The insanity is that the proposal is adding more housing which is needed. The opposition seems to be discriminatory in that group housing would discriminate against people based on income. In my opinion, this is clearly in violation of federal statutes.


Host: Victor Menasce

email: podcast@victorjm.com