What’s coming on Market Street?
What’s coming on Market Street?
A car-free, 12-unit condo and retail development was approved unanimously yesterday by the SF Planning Commission, despite opposition from some residents. The project will include no car parking and 28 bike parking spaces.
The building at 1050 Valencia Street will be targeted toward residents seeking the kind of car-free lifestyle that’s increasingly popular in neighborhoods like the Mission District, which is short on housing but among the most walkable, bikeable, and transit-rich parts of San Francisco. The building will be located on the corner of Valencia and Hill Streets, along one of the city’s most heavily-traveled bicycling streets and business corridors. It’s also close to the 24th Street BART station and several major Muni lines. Currently, the site hosts a restaurant space.
Since 2009, opponents have attacked the project on a number of grounds, including the assertion that residents moving into the building will own cars and compete with existing neighbors for street parking, even though residents in units without dedicated parking are less likely to own cars, and about half of residential parking garages in the Mission aren’t used for car storage.
“The reality is that until there is an alternative, people will need cars and a place to park them,” said Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association representative Risa Teitelbaum, who wanted the project to include some car share spaces. ”The residents of this building will be no different.”
Tim Colen, executive director of the Housing Action Coalition, argued to the Planning Commission that the project follows the goals set in the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan — to build denser, less car-dependent neighborhoods. Two of the project’s 12 apartments will be priced below market rate. “This is a way to get housing more affordable and more accessible to the folks who we say we want to live here,” he said. ”We want to see less emphasis on cars — private auto use. This project does it.”
“There’s certainly demand for car-free apartments from plain folks,” said Livable City Director Tom Radulovich, who lives in the Mission. “We see this in the census — the number of car-free households has increased in the past decade.”
Kimberly Conley, who lives nearby on Valencia without a car, told the commission that there was a significant amount neighborhood support of the project.
“I think this is exactly the neighborhood where [living without a car is] possible,” said Conley. “As a young professional who originally moved to the Mission because it is transit-rich, I was discouraged at the time at the lack of small apartments and places to live.” (It’s worth noting that Conley recently held her wedding with ‘Deep Jawa on their residential parklet on Valencia during Sunday Streets.)
Planning commissioners Gwyneth Borden and Cindy Wu echoed Conley’s sentiment, noting that they both live nearby and mostly rely on transit. ”It is transit-rich,” said Borden. “It’s close to BART — I don’t even own a car.”
Opponents also complained that the density, height, and architecture of the building are not appropriate for the neighborhood, though the project sponsors pointed out that there are others like it close by. The architecture of the project has already been tweaked, and it was downsized from its original size of 16 units. Opposition has also been organized by the Marsh, a performance theater next door to the building, which submitted a petition primarily based on complaints about noise and shadows.
While few projects in San Francisco are currently built without parking, Colen noted that the real estate market in Portland, Oregon has caught on more quickly to the growing demand for car-free living. Two-thirds of new rental apartments being built in that city include no parking. ”What do they know that we don’t know?” said Colen.
The project’s approval seems likely to appealed by opponents. Read more from the hearing at Mission Local.
Chic 1 Bed/1Bath SOMA Condo, nearly new, with Parking near Tech Hub, Transit
The ‘it’ home for I.T. techies, urbanites, professionals or investors. Unit 201 is the 1st resale at 788 Minna, the 2011-built designer building steps away from #twitter hq, future Dolby hq, & all the SoMa & NoMa tech companies (e.g., Zynga, Square). No. 201 is an end unit, quiet, bright, w/living and tech amenities: built-in ceiling spkrs, Cat-5 wiring, modern electrical; broadplank hdwood floors, gas fireplace, SOZO kitchen, stainless appliances. Owner has kept home immaculate, added hi-end washer/gas dryer, best parking space in the building, curtains/blinds. Wlkscore = 97. Near mid-Market area revival. Still has the new home smell!
New Stuff, Proposed Stuff, Dreamed-up Stuff
40,000+ units are in the pipeline. Here are a few of them:
A clued-in reader [yours truly] sent us this tip about 655 Folsom Street — apparently the owner of the site (now a Chinese restaurant) is interested in taking advantage of the height allowances and building a 11-15 floor tower. Current plans are for 10 to 12 residential floors (60 to 72 units) and 1 to 3 floors for commercial or office use, or other possible plans include condominium or hotel development. Don’t get too excited - there are no entitlements for any project, these designs are just mockups, and right now the owner is just looking for developers and investors. Have a couple extra million laying around? Get that party started!
Up before the Planning Commission today is the authorization of a project at 459 Geary Street. The renovations to the 1922 building will convert the six floors of office space into 2 floors for an art gallery, 4 floors of office space, and a two floor dwelling unit (with a pool!) that requires a vertical addition. The Historic Preservation Commission approved a Major Permit to Alter at its hearing on July 18, 2012, so looks like smooth sailing from here.
Back in 2006 the project at 399 Fremont was approved for 452 dwelling units, 238 parking spaces and 150 bike spaces. The project kept stalling, with the sponsors extending their approvals for an additional 12 months at the same time every year. There were three buildings on the site, but all of them were demolished in February 2008 leaving a vacant lot since then. They’re up before the Planning Commission again today, again asking for an extension, but this time around the exterior design has been tweaked as well.
The new design by Solomon Cordwell Buenz adds a lot more glass and a lot less masonry, especially at the base. According to the sponsor’s lawyers, they’ve finally been successful in arranging financing for the project and have started pursuing construction permits, expecting to begin construction by the end of 2012.
· Determination of Compliance 399 Fremont [SF Planning]