Major remodel of The Villas Parkmerced proposed
May 9, 2010 11:42 AM
The Planning Commission discussed an ambitious 20 year, $1.2 billion remodel of The Villas Parkmerced on May 6, which would essentially triple the number of homes in the area, reroute Muni lines and add a multitude of shops and amenities the neighborhood has been lacking for years.
"We want to make it a full San Francisco neighborhood with it's own heart," Craig Hartman, partner in process of design said. "It's extremely ambitious in social and environmental goals."
The M-line would be rerouted towards The Villas Parkmerced and include two new stops that would replace the 19th Avenue and Holloway Avenue stop, which is currently the primary stop for the SF State campus.
"We want to offer a safe place to get on for students and residents," Hartman said. "We're working very closely with Muni."
Despite the location improvements, some students disagree with the plan, arguing that the money could be put to better use.
"This city is in debt as it is," SF State student Matisse Tolin said. "Should we really be spending money on this? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Public transit is practically at rock bottom, we should be spending money on that."
SF State student Danny Christianberry lived in The Villas Parkmerced last year and opposes the plan.
"The only people who live there are old people and students and they don't get along. The problem might escalate if you expand the area," he said.
The Villas Parkmerced currently owns and leases 1,683 apartments in the 11 towers and 1,538 two-story townhouse apartments. The plan would keep the towers standing but demolish the townhouse apartments. Another 7,200 units would be built, including ones that could be purchased. Currently, all units are for rent.
If the units come down, residents will have to be moved into new housing in the same complex.
"Any existing resident who lives in a building slated for replacement will be given the same level, if not better amenities," Seth Mallen of Parkmerced Investments said. "Their rent will remain the same."
However, Martha Dryer, a resident of The Villas Parkmerced, does not want to have to go through the trouble of moving.
"I've lived in Parkmerced for four years now," Martha, 55, said. "I know this project will be better in the long run but I doubt I'll even be there by the time it's completed. I'm worried about having to move out of my place."
Parkmerced Investments has already spent nearly $125 million in "quality of life" upgrades and said the project will create about 1,500 jobs.
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