Gentrification Watch: “an up-and-coming neighborhood”

I’ve been watching Union SF building project lately because it seems like this building in particular attracts people that don’t get the neighborhood.  Reader Mission Mistaken once described prospective buyers as “the most vapid, frazzled and unfriendly looking group of Marina moms one could imagine.”  Well, looks like she was right.  On Friday, Curbed SF mentioned that 29 “homes” units have been sold over the last 3 weeks.  Best of all, one buyer said they moved in because it’s the “right location in an up-and-coming neighborhood.” Really?  Didn’t the Mission up-and-come years ago?

Author: Kevin Montgomery

No one should have a biography at age 24.

51 thoughts on “Gentrification Watch: “an up-and-coming neighborhood””

  1. I just hope whoever moves in prompts the businesses around here to stay open a bit later and on the weekends. C’mon Deli Up and Tortilla Flats! Plus, maybe the corner stores will be encouraged to spruce up a bit (Pals #2 anybody?) And somebody could move in and do something cool in the former New York Cafe @18th.

  2. I love to see the desperation of knowing that because of your life choices (you run a blog, how groundbreaking!) there is no possible way you can fight “gentrification.” I can’t wait until the Mission gets cleaner and safer, and an Am. App. store moves in anyway. Where will you go in your pointless search for authenticity then? Hunters Point? Good luck trying to request vegan shit there

    1. You’re just as fake as the people you’re mocking. I’d love to bash your orange-glow face into chunky salsa with a baseball bat, like the rest of your rich lot.

  3. Its enough to make one tear one’s hair out, frankly. I like development, and this one in particular is a handsome building and if I had the dough I’d buy in. My concern is that the building is attracting people who don’t get the neighborhood, and who would be much happier living on Chestnut St. or Union, and slumming over here when they want decent food. But I totally agree that more neighbors who will speak up for quality of life and more services like bibadee says — is not a bad thing. Its just I worry this neighborhood will go from being the Venice Beach (or Silver Lake) of SF to being something less interesting than it is. Does gentrification have to mean a dumbing down, or can it mean something more interesting? Time will tell.

    1. Active Engagement will be the key. The dialectic needs to be that they are joining into an activity-in-progress and not that they are forging a brave new path on their own. The former can lead to a new community, whereas the latter often leads to what our brethren in the Pac NW refer to as ‘Californication’.

      – Mike

  4. This is idiocy. It’s as if there’s some population out there that can’t tell the difference between a drunken Friday night cab ride to Beauty Bar and a $200,000 down payment on a condo… People moving in who don’t “get the neighborhood”? OMG! Did they even take the proper tests? Can they ride a wheelie on a fixie while flipping the bird at [insert random lame thing here]? Can they discern the good ironic graffiti from the random shitbird gang tag? Get over yourself.

  5. This blog used to be really good, then when Allan stopped posting it got decent, not it’s near complete shit.
    This post is a good example.

    Kevin, read what you wrote, that shit is so beyond ignorant and pretentious.
    You are your worst enemy, and it’s very apparent.

      1. Meaning you’re just waiting for a bunch of yuppies to come buy your overpriced jeans and may not be neutral when it comes to expensive condos popping up in the Mission.

        Instead of simply calling Kevin pretentious and allowing him to retort with another ad hominem, why not make an actual argument as to why ugly, expensive condos are a good thing for the Mission as opposed to another form of housing in the same place?

      1. Who said i thought any of this shit was a good idea?
        To say that yuppies buy our jeans is another set of ignorance.

        I invite you to come into the store and sit in one of our chairs for an hour and watch who’s buying our jeans, yuppies? Nope, not one, we have little to zero yuppies that shop with us. We’re a destination spot that sells to a very niche market, to lump us into a “luxury boutique” is ignorant and wrong and anybody with half a sense can see that once they understand the product we’re selling.

        It’s still interesting to see people that have been living in the mission or even the City for such a short time take such a shit-head hipster attitude towards anything that’s refined. I’ve been living in the city for 31 years and in the mission for 11 years, i’m still wondering at which point i get my “pass” card.

      2. You get your pass card when you’re not a douche! Duh!

        Seriously though, don’t give me some shit about yuppie this, yuppie that. Fact is, those jeans are hella expensive. It makes sense that you would want people with more money in closer proximity to the jeans. This was Kevin’s point after you called him names.

        Seriously though, why does anyone think this is a who’s lived here the longest contest? You can live here a long time and still suck.

    1. Who would pay that kind of money for jeans when you can get them for $15 at the Mexican-Cowboy store?

      If I were you I would probably pry for condos too.

  6. The scary thing?

    The Mission has not even begun to ‘up and come’ this time around. As much as many of us ‘see’ the change, and feel like we’ve lived through a lot of it, we’re still in the prologue phase.

    I’m fairly certain that I will dislike portions of the next 10-15 years of ‘evolution’ on our streets, but I don’t know how to bail out an ocean liner with a thimble, nor do I think that the effort of bailing would offset the incoming deluge to an appreciable degree, so working with the tide seems to make the most sense at this point.

    Sorry for all the dorky single-quotes, but the loss of inflection via printed text can cause confusion…

    Just think: We’ll get to do this with the Tenderloin in about 20 years. I have less mixed feeling on that one.

    – Mike

    1. In 10-15 years you’ll have matured enough to wonder why you can’t live in a place without slipping in human shit when you step out your doorway; and if you still want that type of neighborhood, you should easily be able to move on over to the Tenderloin, which I’m sure will not have change appreciably by then. In 10-15 years you might be pushing a stroller down the street and wondering how you can get one that’s a bit more agile so you can swerve when some bum lying on the bench at the corner of Albion & 17th has his dick out and is spraying urine toward your previous little spawn as you walk by on the sidewalk. In 10-15 years you’ll be lamenting all the new era hipsters who who, despite their green vegan philosophies, still seem to have no problem with tossing their Pabst cans all over 16th St or Dolores Park, scrawling with permanent ink or pen on your property, or throwing up on your doormat at 3 in the morning. The Mission has been up and coming now for over two decades.

      If it were the way it was 25 years ago — your car would have been broken into dozens of times each year. If you don’t have a car, your bike would have been stolen over and over again, or pieces ripped off it. If you went to the [insert hipster bar name here] you would have been the only guy there under the age of 50 — and no hot chicks in sight. You would have to be content with only two types of food — burritos and chinese, or a couple of extremely greasy eggs at Jim’s. Yes, it was still sunny back then, I’ll give you that.

  7. A gentrified population complaining about gentrified people moving into their gentrified neighborhood. What next, the Chinatown?

  8. And all you carpet-baggers who left your own cities somehow all magically “get the neighborhood” while these other carpet-baggers who are also moving in somehow don’t? How does one “get” the Mission? Tagging your neighbor’s house? Eating a burrito? Riding a bicycle with no brakes?
    How presumptuous to say that somebody might be better off in the Marina or on Chestnut St. Funny how you have to compare this neighborhood to another in Los Angeles.
    The best way for you to make the Mission an interesting place is to leave it and return home to Boston, Providence or whatever place is that you also couldn’t stand; presumably because the people back there just weren’t interesting enough.

    1. Because shit gets more and more expensive as this happens. Property values go up, leases cost more, which makes food cost more, which makes beer cost more, etc. etc.

      All gentrification is not bad. All gentrification is not good. We should be able to have a debate about what we want to see happen in our neighborhood without immediately resorting to name calling. It’s not a black/white issue. We can decide when something is good and something is bad. We might not agree, but it’s probably better than the way this dialogue is right now.

  9. why is gentrification such a bad thing? i am psyched that my neighborhood might get cleaner, have less gang violence, and be more appealing for families with kids.

    neighborhoods change all the time. the Mission (like the Castro) used to have a different mix of residents as recently as 30 years ago. i don’t get how people can justify feeling so entitled about the neighborhood they live in.

    1. I’m asian and I cant stand the fact that Daly City is mostly asian now. Why don’t you white folks come on back to Daly City so I can have parking space again, and get a decrease in the volume of rap music that goes up and down my block every evening?

    2. wow.

      um there are a lot of families w/ kids in the mission right now.

      we shouldn’t have wait for the income level (and resulting color change) of neighborhood to rise before it gets prompt attention by City services.

      neighborhoods do change and thinking that it should stop after one has transplanting in is hubris and naive… but thinking that new residents wont’ come in conflict with the old residents is hubrisistic and naive…

      Feeling possesive of your neighborhood is a good thing though, it means you taking ownership of what it is and will be, but yeah, change will still come.

      Have you seen that picture of two men kissing in the castro while an old lady looks on (disgustedly)… can’t stop progress…

      1. I think it’s funny that people who moved from somewhere else to the Mission are now complaining about other people moving into the Mission.

      2. Glenparker. We understand. You were born here. You’ll die here. So you are the only one who can really say anything about here. Instead of saying the same stupid shit every post, can we just assume you’ll say it and you can just stfu already?

      3. (clears throat in Kevin’s direction)

        It’d be interesting to see a post specifically created to gather people’s opinions on ‘what should happen to the Mission as time moves forward?’, as the whole time movement thing is extraordinarily likely to continue to occur –

        I’d consider trying to wordsmith something quick myself, but that feels a bit like a heart-and-soul type issue for this blog and I think that’d belong in Kevin’s domain. It may bring on some nasty flames, but it seems like we’re already there, and the exploration of the issue might eventually shake out some of the snarkiness.

        – Mike

  10. I don’t know that there is a way to change the negative aspects, which are strongly linked to low income (gangs, shootings, dirty streets, tagging), without gentrification. In the history of all cities, has there ever been another way? It’s not the yuppies who are killing each other, dumping mattresses and shitting in front my house. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be low income people here but I would like more of a balance to help reduce some problems – particularly gang violence.

  11. oof.

    I’m not sure what to say. I don’t believe the mission is gentrifying. I have seen a great deal of change, but it is the same change that the rest of the city has experienced and is not unique to the mission. Like loss of light manufacturing and other quality blue collar jobs. Or condo live-work buildings. I can’t tell anything else. Maybe more and better cocktails?

    Do you folks mean whitening when you say gentrification? That’s the impression I get reading SFist or Spotswood or here in other posts. If that’s the case I doubt it, most of El Corazon is brown, not white. Do you mean there are a bunch of 20 something cyclists? Cycling is most definitely bigger now (thanks Critical Mass!) But 20 years ago there were more motorcycles so I think it maybe a wash. Is it families? I lived for years by an elementary school and there were ton-o-families. Do you mean vacuous frat and sorority types, genus Marina? I remember sitting in the tapas place where Range is now, when a flood of Marina types came in, I wondered aloud then, “Who let JCrew in?”

    I find this tedious and lacking proof. It seems maybe that change = gentrification to you folks?

    I have an answer to you all, move to the Marina and change it, you can open a dispensary, a bike shop, a donut shop, start a blog, tag the sidewalks, hang on Marina green and get trashed on Union Street. You can then argue about whether Cow Hollow should be included as cool and take over Perry’s on a Wednesday night. And don’t forget the Marina Safeway, your first stop for finding love.

    Oh and those native sons who throw out the scurrilous carpet bagger, fuck off. This a nation of immigrants and this city was not built on rock and roll but by immigrants.

  12. 1. kiya is right this blog is sucking hard now. kevin’s pictures of graffiti constitute a plurality of posts now.

    2. jimbeam: you should simmer down. you have more angst than african americans in the antebellum south. i get it, you don’t like the consequences of gentrification (i.e., rising costs and the corresponding fall of YOUR purchasing power). however, no one here believes for one second that your angst is anything by self-centered. you don’t give a crap about the plight of the other indigents, you don’t do shit to help these people out. but go ahead and keep ranting on this blog and deluding yourself into thinking that you are fighting the good fight.

    3. “gentrification” is, outside of divine intervention, unstoppable. it is premised on the laws of supply and demand. in other words, so long as people want to live in the mission, and the mission is a finite quantity, people with less capital will inherently get displaced with people more capital. moreover, if the above equation is true (increase in demand with no corresponding increase in supply), prices will also continue to go up.

    4. i have no idea how any of you guys/gals live (poorly, lavishly, or otherwise). here is some unsolicited advice: get an education (SF public throughout until college and grad school for me), work hard and keep your nose clean (legally and ethically). yes i’m implying that the complainers are lazy mofos who blew many of opportunities in life.

    1. That’s a mighty big assumption for such an educated fella. I guess your undergrad and grad studies focused on social economics and anthropology (as well as race relations).

    2. lol. you are awesome.

      it’s less about purchasing power and more about culture. this is where people simply don’t get it. there have always been loaded people in the mission (in the last 10 years, at least), except they were cool. the new loaded people are lame. therein lies the problem. they want cookie-cutter condos and chain pizza places and probably upscale cocktails. we have a neighborhood like that already in sf (several) and we don’t need another one.

      also, i am at boalt, so the poor/dumb argument doesn’t work in this case. (well, i am currently poor).

      – jimbeam (laughing my way to the poorhouse, oops i mean bank)

      1. 1. they don’t call it boalt anymore.

        2. “the new loaded people are lame. therein lies the problem.” the line of demarcation separating cool from lame is arbitrary and capricious (I too went to law school) at best. just because what you have deemed “lame” is now supplanting what you call “cool” is adding nothing to the argument (your option on lame/cool is no more valid than Kiya’s for example).

        3. your distinction between “purchasing power” and “culture” is a distinction without a difference. specifically, purchasing power dictates culture/trend/style. just because your point of view is losing ground does not mean the culture winning is wrong or bad. in fact, this is the form of selfish thinking I was alluding to in my previous post.

        4. just because there is another neighborhood equipped to serve the needs of a particular clientele, that fact alone, is not dispositive on whether the mission should/could also serve that same clientele.

        what i have learned is that jimbeam’s intellectual prowess is rather weak especially for someone from a top 10 law school. although I did not attend “boalt” (my law school was on the east coast) my experience with attorneys that have graduated from your purported institution leads me to believe that you either 1) don’t attend “boalt” or 2) you got into the school based on something other than merit (e.g., nepotism or affirmative action).

      2. Hahaha. You continue to make racial comments! I ignored it in the first post because it’s almost too pathetic to address, yet still awesome.

        1. And yes, we do still call it Boalt (despite Berk’s attempts at relabeling the school).

        2-3. If you think culture = purchasing power then you don’t understand what the word culture means. There have been several dominant subcultures in SF in the last 30 years that eschew pp as a way of measuring worth. I think what you’re seeing here is a backlash from a part of SF’s counter-culture. If you reread what I wrote, you’d see I clearly stated that it’s not about actual bank balances, it’s about how people exercise that balance. Cool and lame are always going to be arbitrary in a certain sense. I’m ok with that.

        I could give you reasons for why Ed Hardy and cookie-cutter condominiums are lame. They would be well reasoned, but we’d never be able to completely universalize them. It’s an aesthetic argument that has meaning. You can choose to ignore that, the same way you can choose to enjoy bad art.

        4. Here’s the point: SF (and cities in general) are homogenizing. I think this is a bad thing. I don’t want the Mission to be exactly like the Marina (and vice versa, it’s cool to be able to go to a different part of town that feels different).

        The great thing is that you sound like a racist, yuppie douchebag. I’m sure in your little cookie-cutter big(shit)law world people couldn’t possibly disagree with your assessment of the situation and still be intelligent. Seems like you really benefited from your education. ;)

  13. Now I know I’m not the brightest in this bunch and I don’t make a lot of dough and I’m not from here (only lived here for 12 years). But I am curious as to what your social, racial, and economic backgrounds are for those of you with the big picture comments. I’d hate to make more assumptions than I have already made based on what you’ve said.

    1. I’m a white boy, which means I embody pretty much every stereotype our people in the Mission have: grew up in the middle of Nowhere in a town of a population density of ~30 per square mile with animals weighing hundreds of pounds across the street, cooked pizza (and delivered it) through high school, was a mechanic / ate out of dumpsters through college, and decided I never wanted to be forced to eat ramen again so I got a job in tech when I ran out of gas money somewhere around Santa Cruz and eventually moved into an apartment that was above the means of anyone who doesn’t work in tech. Says a lot without saying anything about me.

  14. What is up with all you people on two sides of a sociological fence? You’re living up the American stereotype (nay, true image) of approaching an issue from only 2 sides. And the generalizations from all of you regarding class, subculture, and politics. Pathetic, ignorant, petty, and useless for society much less community.

    Ah, but this is just a blog about OUR neighborhood, so I cease and desist. But, one analogy from a friend of mine who grew up in the Marina district prior to what it became today…

    That neighborhood was comprised of a variety of classes and ethnic groups. Today, its not the only hipsters that those residents frown on (only regarding their clothing lifestyle choices, not their approach to community and city planning—if that ever came into their shortsighted heads) it was the yuppies whose sole interest was self-serving and basically destroyed the cohesion of tenants, property owners, and small businesses in the area. While the yuppies were educated claimed the intent of cleaning up and modernizing the neighborhood, they did so at the cost of the community that was thriving there instead bringing in outside businesses that took over what was.

    Change is welcome, only of it benefits most to all those involved.

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