3673 16th Street
3673 16th Street is an “1880’s Italianate with most original detailing” intact (although definitely not in the kitchen or out back). But it’s also a single-family home on an 130 foot long lot (“ideal for development”) that’s zoned RH-3.
And so yes, we have to ask, will it stay or will it go? If it goes there will be trouble…
∙ Listing: 3673 16th Street (2/1) – $850,000 [Obeo] [MLS]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by g

    that obeo page doesn’t mention any contact information to get a hold of the agent nor does it attribute a brokerage. not sure that fits in the spirit of sharing information.

  2. Posted by marc

    I’m sure we can count on a 3 unit Stanley Saitowitz home wrapped in textured battleship gray metal, translucent fenestration, with drive in parking and other barriers to the street to replace this piece of San Franciscana.
    -marc

  3. Posted by Maggie

    It may be tough to tear down and develop. Since the adoption of the Octavia Blvd. plan most buildings in Duboce Triangle now have a historic designation and need special review for any exterior modifications. They didn’t notify the homeowners when this happened, you only find out when you go to pull a permit.

  4. Posted by marc

    Octavia Market has been approved by the Planning Commission but has yet to be adopted by the Board of Supervisors, as it has no transportation or affordability components yet–just increased heights.
    They call it Transit Oriented Development–TOD–but you can’t do TOD without the T. Under this plan, there are 4 400′ towers planned for the intersection of Market and Van Ness, and the worst/best case would allow developers to do racked parking at .85:1; hardly transit oriented development and a certain traffic scourge at one of the most congested intersections in the city.
    The intent was for Gavin Newsom to prove that his administration was accomplishing something, anything, by pushing out a plan that is as half baked as most of his press releases.
    Now that there is no competition in November, his administration’s office of communications has moved onto other press functions.
    -marc

  5. Posted by Waynw

    It absolutely will not be demolished no matter how under utilized the site may be. There is an effective ban on the demo of any sfd such as this.

  6. Posted by eddy

    Unless of course the owner decides to renovate it himself and accidentally destroys the foundation and cause a collapse. But that never happens! :-)

  7. Posted by marc

    There is an effective ban on demolitions of single family units, but there are loopholes. A permit to demolish a single family old home on Natoma in WSOMA was granted, to be replaced with a….wait for it…Stanley Saitowitz 45′ high 3 unit building wrapped in….wait for it….textured battleship gray metal, translucent fenestration, with drive in parking and other barriers to the street.
    -marc

  8. Posted by james

    what about the old single wall standing tear down so common in some of the restrictive communities on the penninsula?

  9. Posted by fluj

    We may try to purchase this. If possible we would keep the facade, add a garage down, and add square footage behind. SFR is probably the highest and best usage for a property such as this one. And what a shame to destroy such a nice old lady!

  10. Posted by anonSF

    Marc, your rants are getting tiresome. We know you hate every new development, or any attempt to change the existing landscape, or any attempt to build something that a bicycle messenger in the city cannot afford. We get it.

  11. Posted by Pete

    fluj – good luck getting a permit for a curb cut – unless prop H passes and prop A doesn’t. If I could get my hands on this, I would restore as much as possible of the original building, and redo the addition, adding on a bit in back.

  12. Posted by marc

    Hey AnonSF, until you show your face, chill out and allow for there to be some balance between the developer shills and RE agent shysters that dominate here.
    The Fillmore was viewed in the 1950s as you all view SOMA. Thousands of Victorians were razed and some of the most horrific architecture was put in its place.
    We have examples of what does not work, urban renewal (negro removal) and luxury high rise. We are still looking for what would work. Doing nothing is not an option, but it is better than repeating the mistakes of the past.
    Since many on this board profit from rampant development, it follows that if your livelihood is threatened, you all will lash out, just as when the livelihood of our city and neighborhoods are threatened, we will lash out.
    -marc

  13. Posted by anonSF

    Since many on this board profit from rampant development, it follows that if your livelihood is threatened, you all will lash out, just as when the livelihood of our city and neighborhoods are threatened, we will lash out.
    I recently sold a condo in SF and am buying another. I’m not benefiting from rampant development. Keep making it more difficult to build in the city–it just keeps my property values increasing. I just find that your constant repetition of your simplistic solutions is tedious.

  14. Posted by marc

    What is simplistic in SF is claiming that building million dollar condos is going to make anything more affordable to anyone based on facile academic claims that demand can be quenched by supply without providing any economic models to justify that assertion.
    -marc
    [Editor’s Note: We’re all for balance and debate. But we’re also for keeping a thread of comments at least loosely on topic. And so back to this property in specific (or even lot utilization or the practicality of razing a property in general).]

  15. Posted by Miles

    Residential demolitions need to pass muster of the SF Planning Department’s Demolition ordinance. If it is more feasible to renovate the building (as it is most of the time), a demolition permit will not be granted. Add to the mix that it’s definitely a historic building and I would not count on demolition. Yes, I imagine there are ways around the Demolition Ordinance as you see the occasional residential demolition still, but not nearly as many as you did in past years. At the very least you are talking about over a year in planning department limbo until you’re going to know either way. And no, you can’t just keep one wall, once you remove more than 50% of the building it’s considered a demolition.

  16. Posted by marc

    Yes, there are prohibitions on residential demolitions, but the levels of accountability and the history of bending the rules belies any assumption that the law will be followed consistently by the Zoning Administrator, senior staff or the Planning Commission.
    Its really a politicized crap shoot.
    -marc

  17. Posted by Kaya

    Good luck changing anything above grade on this one. Anything changing the historical front to this home in this area won’t be allowed. There are ways to open loopholes, but you better be ready to pay huge sums for the “expediters”.

  18. Posted by Lori

    This house confuses me. There are junk rooms that are just labeled “rooms.” It’s very hard to tell what they layout is, in addition to the fact that you can barely see the floor on the rooms with all the junk. We need a floor plan on this one.
    Add in a tiny bathroom and a kitchen that was poorly remodeled with formica cabinets probably in the early 80s … this one might be a challenge to make it feel more open and airy without destroying its vintage feel.

  19. Posted by Usually Named

    Marc is just parrotting what anecdotal info he hears. He obviously hasn’t gone through a construction project in The City. I’m going through my second (my first was a 2-unit TIC conversion), and it’s abundantly clear that Marc has absolutely no clue what he is talking about. But that sounds about right when your view of the world comes from a linguistics professor.
    Two years to get a building permit? And I’m being told that it’s supposed to be normal?
    Demos without a permit can get you red tagged. From my hell that is going through Planning and DBI, it’s not worth the risk. But thanks to that, it also adds a ton of unnecessary cost to maintain old wood that can’t even be seen by most people.
    As for building above grade — it is possible, but the Planning department will probably require a setback to “maintain the integrity” of the facade. Your mileage may vary as to what the setback will be.

  20. Posted by anon

    “What is simplistic in SF is claiming that building million dollar condos is going to make anything more affordable to anyone based on facile academic claims that demand can be quenched by supply without providing any economic models to justify that assertion”
    Amen Marc! As for this house……
    I am very interested in this house also. I am an architect and have already sent a client this story as this is what she is looking for. She told me over the phone recently that after looking at various condos, she was fed up. As she put it “If I wanted to live in Los Angeles or Miami, I would have moved there instead of here!”
    This house is an interesting reminder of what the world thinks is unique about San Francisco, and these type of structures are becoming increasingly rare.

  21. Posted by marc

    Okay, so one person’s experience pulling permits is not anecdotal but observing the permitting process in consultations with planning and building inspections commissioners, attorneys and planning processes for the better part of a decade is anectodal.
    Got that str8.
    Perhaps folks like the Los Angeles district of South of Market at 4th and Townsend, but to my mind, as anon notes, that is not San Francisco and detracts from what makes this city special. Not only architecturally but culturally, one might as well pass through a wormhole to Houston when crossing 5th.
    Gimme our 100 year old short lot Mission Edwardian over this new crap any day of the week. We were horrified when we were shopping for this home, having to check out Live/Work in SOMA at the prospect that we might have needed to buy one to avoid displacement. Fortunately, things worked out otherwise and we live in a San Francisco home.
    -marc

  22. Posted by Usually Named

    Marc,
    Observing the process != going through the process. Reading how to make a souffle is not the same knowing how to make one.
    Why don’t you go through it to see how incredibly ridiculous and idiotic the process is and get off your “academic” perch (quote used to indicate that the word academic and Marc usually don’t belong in the same paragraph). It’s a process bastardized in a way only a group with no real-world experience can come up with it.
    I’ve now seen a lot of your postings — and it’s clear that your mind is warped around some alternate reality that defies logic.

  23. Posted by Billy

    We got it, marc. You want SF to never change in any way shpe or form – and you also want it to be completely affordable to anybody that you want to live here, everyone else be damned. I’m certainly glad your viewpoint wasn’t here 70 years ago (as an example) – then we may never have created a gay neighborhood, or experienced the Summer of Love, or anything else positive that has happened here in the last 70 years. The Castro would still be an Irish neighborhood, as would the Mission, the Financial District would never have been built, certainly the Giants would have moved to the South Bay, the list goes on and on.
    Try to find something to compromise on marc, otherwise you simply sound like a selfish homeowner who wants to keep everyone not like him out of “his” city.

  24. Posted by g

    “Perhaps folks like the Los Angeles district of South of Market at 4th and Townsend, but to my mind, as anon notes, that is not San Francisco and detracts from what makes this city special. Not only architecturally but culturally, one might as well pass through a wormhole to Houston when crossing 5th.”
    I thought what made this city special was the diversity, progressive politics, mild weather, beautiful natural terrain, and the ability to travel throughout the city without having to own a car, amongst other things. Should someone who likes all of these advantages of living here in the city be forced to look elsewhere outside of the city just because they, *gasp*, prefer to live in a loft?
    [Editor’s Note: No, they shouldn't (be forced to look elsewhere). And we’re not blaming you (honestly), but let’s try to get back to this property in specific, or at the very least the practicalities of developing (in whatever way, shape or form) something similar in general).]

  25. Posted by sanfranvalues

    what is a 1 story house doing in san francisco in the first place? Is it really a smart use of land??Build something worth the land it’s built on. There are plenty of these little munchkin houses, which I find butt ugly, all over the city.

  26. Posted by emmett_brown

    Here’s how I would redevelop this property:
    1) Give it the paint job it deserves.
    2) Move in.

  27. Posted by Andrew McCluskey

    To tear down this cute old building would be sad. I have walked past this house multiple times and was charmed that I lived in such a place that had buildings like this. Renovate the interior, extend the back, but let’s preserve what makes this city special.
    If you want aluminum and glass or stucco, go anywhere in the world to get that. But 120 year old Victorians aren’t built anymore and should be preserved accordingly.

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