Howdy. What are you doing this Wednesday evening? You should flake on it. East Bay for Everyone is asking you to come to the planning commission instead. Wednesday, March 21, 7pm. While the commission actually starts at 6:00pm, we don’t expect public comment to begin ’till 7pm.

This really unique building at 1261 Harrison St is on the agenda. Its got 185 homes, 20 of them affordable under the state density bonus law. Remember the group that came last week to our monthly meeting? This is them!

A well known pro-gentrification organization is trying to mobilize people against this project, arguing that demolishing an unmaintained, crumbling building with a historic designation is going to somehow save the building that clearly nobody wants to preserve.

This project is unique because it is right at the edge of Chinatown and is going to include a really great public market. Ever been to Swan’s Market in Old Oakland? With Rosamunde and whatnot? Its run by EBALDC; they’re working with this project to also have another market like that in this building, and they’re working with the existing businesses in the building to make sure they can move back in when its built.

Restoring the current building will cost millions more than anyone can make back by renting it out, and clearly nobody is chomping at the bit to spend that kind of cash on 100+ year old buildings like this after decades of neglect.

This is the first non-consent item on the agenda. There’s a decent chance this won’t actually take 3 hours to get to public comment. If you’ve got a few minutes, please send in an email to the planner for the project: He’ll make sure it gets sent along to the full commission in time.

Here’s some stuff you can write:

I want to state my support for the 1261 Harrison highrise as a much needed source of housing and downtown economic impact which far outweighs losing one of the least-historic buildings there is. The housing crisis is not abstract, it is affecting everyone who is trying to start their own household, or is getting hit with rising rents, or getting priced out of the Bay Area.

If you want to go after the historicness:

I support building 1261 Harrison because it does not have the negative impact that some people are saying it has, on the Area of Primary Importance designation for that block – which, by the way, has been in place about 30 years and NOTHING’s been done. How important is an API without the money to move it forward, or should the area decay another 30 years? Replacing the one least-valuable building out of the 6 assets on the block does not prevent the other buildings and API from moving forward with historical efforts. In fact, quite the contrary, the new highrise and housing would create economic vitality so the other buildings could actually afford historic preservation.