Parcel 12 by the Double Tree Hotel and Parcel R1 on Tyler Street
The character of Chinatown has shifted since 2000, when the fast-tracked approval of the Millennium/Ritz Carlton launched a rapid succession of luxury towers in and around the neighborhood. Since then, Chinatown's housing stock has doubled, primarily due to the addition of two thousand luxury high-rise units. Luxury development spurred a sharp increase in real estate values, bringing rising rents, land speculation, and a wave of evictions from the privately owned brick row houses.
Keeping Chinatown Chinatown
Today, Chinatown balances at the tipping point, with the growing number of luxury units threatening to dominate the character of this historic neighborhood, home to so many generations of working class immigrants. In order to stabilize and preserve Chinatown's working class and small business core, the Chinatown Master Plan Committee proposed several important strategies and goals.
The first goal is to preserve the neighborhood's existing affordable housing. Second is to seek opportunities to turn privately owned buildings into nonprofit community-owned housing for permanent affordability. But preservation alone cannot keep pace with the influx of luxury housing, so the third goal is to add 1,000 new units of affordable low and moderate income housing from 2015 to 2025. Greater resident control of development is also critical if future development is to support community goals and priorities.
While we celebrate improvements like the Chinatown and Mary Soo Hoo Parks and welcome new neighbors, we need to use every tool at our disposal to keep the feel and character of Chinatown from slipping away—until we no longer feel at home in our historic community.
Chinatown's remaining public parcels are the key to the community's future. We can reach our community stabilization goals by maximizing affordable housing and providing for important needs like a library and recreational open space. Because public land should belong to the people, public and community needs should be the top priority.
Community Ownership of Land
One of the best ways to ensure strong community control is through nonprofit community ownership of land.