Tuesday, October 27, 2015

San Francisco condo project seen to displace Pinoy community

Several groups in San Francisco have formally challenged the approvals given to a project that they said will result in the displacement of a Filipino community there, reports said.

report on the San Francisco Examiner said the groups sent a letter of appeal to the city's Board of Supervisors concerning the 17 approvals given in favor of the 5M project by the city's Planning Commission.

The 5M project aims to turn four acres of land between 5th, Mission and Howard streets in downtown San Francisco into "600 market-rate units, offices, open space, parking and restaurants" or three luxury condominium towers.

It will also construct 212 residential units for mid-income families and pay $8.8 million for transit improvements.

Save our SOMA, one of the groups opposed to the project, argued that the project undermines the importance of the area as a "Filipino hub of arts and culture."

Moreover, the project, if approved, may erase "one of the very few places immigrant and low-income families have been able to afford," the group said in a statement.

"If these luxury condos are approved and built, a new (richer) population of people will move into the new spaces and surrounding land values will increase, making it unaffordable for many low-income families, and hastening evictions and real estate speculation," it added.

The other groups that opposed the project were the South of Market Action Committee, South of Market Community Action Network, and Friends of Boeddeker, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

The project split residents and nearby workers and business owners in its seven year planning process. The divide was made more prominent during the nine-hour Planning Commission hearing in September that approved the 5M project.

report on Hoodline said the project was praised for offering "a laundry list of community benefits beyond what's legally required" and for "creating new housing without displacing any existing tenants."

Filipino advocates remained adamant that the luxury units will "eliminate" the Filipino and working-class community in the area.

The Board of Supervisors will hold its first hearing on the project in early December.

San Francisco is a major hub for Filipino immigrants in the United States. Last year, the Californian city certified Filipino as the third language required for city communications to aid the thousands of Filipinos with limited English proficiency there. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News 

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