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Housing boom arrives in SF’s Excelsior

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Homes in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. are seen on a hillside January 27, 2012. (Jessica Christian/2012 S.F. Examiner)

A housing boom has come to the quiet Excelsior neighborhood.

New numbers from the San Francisco Planning Department show that more than 900 units of housing are in the pipeline between the Excelsior and its neighboring districts.

The figures show that 509 market-rate units and 399 below-market rate units are coming to the neighborhood of mostly single-family homes.

The numbers stirred concern at the Planning Commission meeting Thursday that the Excelsior could become the next Mission District, where once-immigrant dense corridors are now home to high-priced restaurants and bars.

“The Excelsior has been arrived, it’s been discovered,” said Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards. “This is the Excelsior, a working class neighborhood. It shouldn’t be Noe Valley, a feeding frenzy.”

Richards said the housing market in the neighborhood is such that homes are selling beyond asking price.

Gilbert Williams of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action, a social justice advocacy group for low-income residents, said he is concerned about displacement of Latinos and blacks from San Francisco.

“All I have to do is look to the Mission District and see what has happened to that community,” Williams said, asking the commission to not upzone the Outer Mission corridor.

But Planning Commissioner Kristin Moore said it’s not too late for the Excelsior to prepare for change like the Mission, where the community responded to “an extremely difficult situation that was really close to the Titanic sinking.”

“Reaction is in the Mission, the Outer Mission still has the ability to look ahead, shape and participate,” Moore said.

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