San Francisco Mission District Fights "Yuppie Invasion" FWD

Tom Boland (
Sun, 18 Jul 1999 22:04:24 -0700 (PDT)

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Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 19:55:37 -0700
Yuppie influx alters S.F. neighborhood

By Blair Anthony Robertson
Sacremento Bee Staff Writer
(Published July 4, 1999)

In the last of San Francisco's great working-class
neighborhoods, no one seems to blame the pimps or the
prostitutes or even the drug dealers for dragging down the

It's the yuppies who are under siege at the moment in t
Mission District, a place that apparently wants nothing to do
with conspicuous consumption, chain stores, gadgets, cigar
bars, PowerBars, Hard Rock Cafes, SUVs, DVDs, power jobs,
power stocks, personal trainers, high rent, $8 martinis or $4
caramel Frappuccinos from a certain Seattle-based coffee

There are reports of name-calling and heckling -- "Hey,
Yuppie" -- and, worse, shadowy figures have used keys to
scratch paint on assorted Jeeps, Pathfinders and 4-Runners,
anything yuppie-like, that have ventured into the gritty
neighborhood after sundown.

The backlash erupted in recent weeks because the Mission, a
square-mile neighborhood of about 60,000 people, has been
going upscale. It's getting cleaner, calmer, safer, more
expensive, maybe a little more bland, a little more like
every other neighborhood. The yuppies have staked a claim.
Prices are climbing, ratcheted ever upward by booming
tech stocks and the Young Turks who profit from

The Mission has long been affordable to blue-collar
families in a city known for exorbitant housing prices.
The median price for a single-family home in San Francisco is now
$334,599, a 14 percent jump from a year ago. In the finest
neighborhoods, such as Pacifi Heights, a 3,200-square-foot
home easily can fetch $2.5 million.

Real estate agents say modest houses selling for $500,000
in the Mission went for about half that five years ago.

Five years ago, many of today's new buyers were living in
college dormitories. Thes"Silicon Implants" are willing to make
the reverse commute to San Jose in exchange for living in San

"They're very young," says B.J. Droubi, a longtime real estate
agent in San Francisco. "The people are in their 20s. A lot of them are
paying cash. I feel like their mother."

Droubi says most houses stay on the market all of 10 days
and that recent sale prices are always higher than the asking price.

"These kids love the Mission," she says. "It's like those extreme
sports -- the Mission is sort of an extreme neighborhood. It's got
a little bit of danger, a little bit of excitement and lots of very
happening restaurants.">
As housing prices in San Francisco have risen during the past
decade, many who felt the pinch have left for places like Oakland
or beyond. Now that the real estate surge has reached
the Mission, long-timers either are digging in or bailing out.

. . .

. . . In the end, most Mission residents will admit what is going on.
They can see it in the home prices, in the new restaurants, in the
sale of fine foods at the Bi-Rite grocery. It's a force that
can't harnessed by keying a few SUVs and heckling well-dressed
young people.

It comes down to supply, demand and money -- what one disgruntled
carpenter in the neighborhood might call the ultimate
American paradigm.


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