Last Saturday, the New York Times published an article titled “High Rents Elbow Latinos From San Francisco’s Mission District”. (They later changed the title to “Gentrification Spreads an Upheaval in San Francisco’s Mission District”, without acknowledging the change.) The article opened with this sentence:

“SAN FRANCISCO — Luxury condominiums, organic ice cream stores, cafes that serve soy lattes and chocolate shops that offer samples from Ecuador and Madagascar are rapidly replacing 99-cent stores, bodegas and rent-controlled apartments in the Mission District, this city’s working-class Latino neighborhood.”

The statement is clear: “luxury condos are rapidly replacing rent-controlled apartments”. The problem with this “fact” is that it’s not true. The New York Times’ writer, Carol Pogash, made it up out of thin air to sell her story. As any journalist will tell you, nothing sells like conflict… and if that doesn’t mesh with the truth, well, the truth be damned.

How do we know that? Because San Francisco Planning keeps very detailed records of all city housing. We can just look up every Mission development since 2010, and see how many older apartments they replaced. The final total is… zero. Yes, zero. In the last five years, since rents started rising after the 2008 crash, not a single Mission apartment has been torn down for “luxury condos” (or any other new housing). But the NYT wants people to think rent-controlled apartments are being “rapidly replaced” for new development, so that’s what they’ll print, even though this has never once actually happened.

Here’s the full list of Mission housing developments built since 2010:

480 Potrero Ave., 84 units, under construction as of 2014; replaced a vacant lot
35 Dolores St., 37 units, under construction as of 2014; replaced abandoned auto shop
899 Valencia St., 18 units, under construction as of 2014; replaced a gas station
685 Florida St., 4 units, under construction as of 2014; replaced a vacant lot
39 San Carlos St., 3 units, under construction as of 2014; units over ground-floor garage
85 Brosnan St., 3 units, under construction as of 2014; replaced an office building
930 Shotwell St., 2 units, under construction as of 2014; replaced a vacant lot
1076 Hampshire St., 2 units, under construction as of 2014; replaced a storage building
1515 15th St., 40 units (7 affordable), built 2014; replaced an abandoned gas station
2421 16th St., 12 units (1 affordable), built 2014; replaced a vacant lot
3418 26th St., 11 units, built 2014; replaced a vacant lot
1600 15th St., 202 units (40 affordable), built 2013; replaced an abandoned factory
3500 19th St., 17 units, built 2013; replaced a surface parking lot
200 Dolores St., 13 units (2 affordable), built 2013; replaced a vacant lot
141 Albion St., 3 units, built 2013; replaced a vacant lot
857 Alabama St., 2 units, built 2013; replaced an abandoned storage building
3135 24th St., 9 units, under construction as of 2013; replaced a parking garage
1280 Hampshire St., 3 units, under construction as of 2013; replaced a garage
299 Valencia St., 36 units (4 affordable), built 2012; replaced a vacant lot
411 Valencia St., 16 units (2 affordable), built 2012; replaced a garage/auto repair shop
179 San Carlos St., 3 units, under construction as of 2012; replaced a vacant lot
555 Bartlett St., 60 units (9 affordable), built 2010; replaced a paint store
2101 Bryant St., 26 units, built 2010; replaced a hole in the ground
736 Valencia St., 8 units, built 2010; replaced a vacant parking lot