A San Francisco apartment building’s heavily-glazed design was altered after a planner said its windows screamed ‘class and privilege’ – while living in a stunning $1.8 million home with huge panoramic views.
The building at 1900 Mission Street in the heart of San Francisco was initially intended to be seven floors of apartments sporting floor to ceiling glass windows.
However, when the building was proposed in 2017 the San Francisco Planning Commission led by then-Commissioner Myrna Melgar pushed back on the project with protests that its appearance would be a force of gentrification in the neighborhood.
But Melgar – who said the project windows were ‘a statement of class privilege’ during a committee meeting at the time – all the while was living in a nearly $1.8million three-bed home complete with massive panoramic windows in a ritzy San Francisco neighborhood.
Some San Franciscans have voiced their ire at the hypocrisy of Melgar’s statements about the buildings initial design against the home she lived in, while others have said buildings should not be designed by committees lest they wind up bland and boring looking.
The initial plan for The building at 1900 Mission Street in the heart of San Francisco
The new look of the building at 1900 Mission Street after planners forced it to change
The building at 1900 Mission Street was first proposed around 2013, with developers proposing the demolition of an auto body shop and replacing it with retail on the ground level and apartments above the street.
By 2017 community activists pushed back on the project over fears it would clash with the neighborhood’s established community, and raised protests against destroying the auto body shop which was still in business at the time.
The matter was sent to San Francisco’s Planning Commission, then led by Melgar.
‘This towering 75-ft tall building would house only 12 large, luxurious units in the heart of a working-class neighborhood,’ an appeal of the project read. ‘It would demolish a neighborhood-serving retail business – yet one more auto shop in a long list of them that have been knocked down recently for luxury housing.’
Instead of focusing on how the project would push the auto body shop out of the community, Melgar focused on how the building looked, according to MissionLocal.org.
‘I have to just state that I hate the design, nothing against the architect,’ Melgar said, ‘Big windows, to me, are a statement of class and privilege.’
After reiterating her statement, Melgar went on to say ‘You know, poor people don’t do that, they don’t have everything out on the street.’
‘It really rankles me the wrong way,’ she added. ‘So I just have to say, it is a design issue.’
When the building was proposed in 2017 the San Francisco Planning Commission led by then-Commissioner Myrna Melgar pushed back on the project
Myrna Melgar’s nearly $1.8million mansion in a ritzy San Francisco neighborhood
The large panoramic windows in Myrna Melgar’s house in San Francisco
Inside Myrna Melgar’s house in San Francisco. Its walls are studded with huge windows
Other committee members agreed with Melgar.
‘The first thing that came to mind is the Starship Enterprise,’ Commissioner Kathryn Moore said in the hearing. ‘It speaks to, really, the new housing demographics, because of its unusual highly glassy appearance. It does not smoothly integrate into the context of where it is.’
Ultimately the architects were forced redesign the building and provide a much more muted façade that was intended to better fit into the landscape of the neighborhood.
The building is near complete, but some have raised their eyebrows at the decidedly less interesting appearance it was left with.
‘This is what design review does in San Francisco,’ wrote one Twitter user alongside a picture of the newly unveiled building. ‘If you don’t like it when new buildings look like this, maybe we should reform the government committee that’s charged with doing design-by-committee.’
Melgar now serves on the board of supervisors, and still appears to live in her three-bedroom, 1,815 square-foot home worth about $1.8million, according to Zillow.
She could not be reached for comment when contacted by DailyMail.com.