The owners of an 83-unit live/work building in San Francisco’s rapidly changing Mid-Market neighborhood have withdrawn an appeal that, if successful, would have cleared the way for a mass eviction of low-income tenants who are mostly artists.
“He hasn’t withdrawn the eviction orders so we’re not claiming this as a total victory, but it is a victory,” said Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee.
John Gall, a former major league baseball player who is one of the owners, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
But a spokesman for the Department of Building Inspection confirmed that an appeal challenging the suspension of a demolition permit at 1049 Market St. was withdrawn this morning. The permit would have allowed the owners to evict the tenants and convert the live/work lofts into offices.
The building is zoned for commercial use and the owners had been trying to bring the units up to code, but claimed they could not “overcome the city of San Francisco’s overly restrictive” residential building requirements.
‘We’re Not Leaving’
The permit was revoked last fall after Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim intervened, pledging to work with the owners to ease code requirements so the tenants could stay.
“This is about evicting working-class tenants and artists so that they can convert our apartments into offices and cash in on the Mid-Market tech boom,” said resident Marcele Wilson. “But these are our homes. We’re not leaving.”
Whether the owners plan to continue with the evictions remains unclear, but Avicolli Mecca said they would have less legal standing in court.
“My understanding is at this point, he cannot proceed with the unlawful detainers, which are the next step, because he doesn’t have the permits for demolition,” said Avicolli Mecca. “Why he withdrew and what he’s up to now, I have no clue, but we will continue to fight the evictions.”
As KQED’s Dan Brekke reported, 11 tenants filed suit against the landlord early last month:
The specific allegations in the suit include breach of implied warranty of habitability, tenant harassment, wrongful attempt to recover possession of a rental unit, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Housing advocates and tenants were expected to hold a City Hall press conference late Wednesday afternoon.