June 12, 2008
Sixty-Six Forty-Five Condos (And Parking) Of 300 Grant
It was sixteen months ago that we first plugged you in to the proposed design for a ten-story mixed use development at 300 Grant (corner of Grant and Sutter). At the time the design called for 66 units, two floors of retail, two levels of below grade parking, and a “landscaped terrace, clubhouse and solarium on 3rd floor for residents.”
And while we haven’t heard much about the project over the past year or so,
next week it’s in front of the planning commission today. The proposal still calls for ten-stories with two floors of retail and up to 40 parking spaces, but the application cites “up to 45 units.”
No word on whether or not the proposed design (by MBH Architects) has evolved as well.
UPDATE: From a pluggged-in reader: "Project (different design) was approved today." Now don't be coy, who's got the design?
∙ The Proposed Sixty-Six Condos (And Parking) Of 300 Grant [SocketSite]
∙ MBH Architects: Mixed-use in development [mbharch.com]
First Published: June 12, 2008 7:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
I wonder if they are having less units but larger sq ft per for a few larger units....
Posted by: Michael L. at June 12, 2008 8:33 AM
I like the deco-modern look - we dont'see too much of that. But it's a shame the project appears to have been down-sized -- this is precisely the type of neighborhood that could and should accomodate denser development. I wonder what happened?
Posted by: zzzzzzzz at June 12, 2008 8:55 AM
Why is it so hard for developers to build enough parking for all the units? It seems ridiculous to not have at least one spot per unit.
Posted by: Anon at June 12, 2008 9:01 AM
It is a joke to provide 1 to 1 parking in the neighborhood that this building is in.
Posted by: Joe at June 12, 2008 9:32 AM
The parking is a function of planning code. I am sure the developers would prefer to build more. Its actually on today's planning agenda as far as I know.
Posted by: Dede at June 12, 2008 9:49 AM
Why is it so hard for developers to build enough parking for all the units? It seems ridiculous to not have at least one spot per unit.
In this neighborhood it would be absolutely ridiculous to have one spot per unit. Even the amount now shown (40 spots for 45 units) is overkill. Should be no more than 22 or 23 spots and at least 3-4 of those should be car share.
Posted by: Brutus at June 12, 2008 9:51 AM
Because of the zone this is in and the direction the Planning Department has been moving in (eliminating minimum parking requirements with rules around maximum levels of parking instead) it's unlikely that this much parking will be approved.
Posted by: Enthano at June 12, 2008 10:07 AM
I would much rather see planning code set a number of parking spots that can be allowed for the site, then let the developer decide how many units to build. For example, this site should maybe be something like 20 parking spots (so as not to overwhelm the street capacity of the area), but the developer could build 20 units if he wanted, 40 if wanted, or 60 if he wanted. I don't like the number of parking spots tied to the number of units.
Posted by: Brutus at June 12, 2008 10:11 AM
i like this building
Posted by: Spencer at June 12, 2008 10:26 AM
Would the ratio of allowed parking to number of units be increased if the units are now larger "family units"?
Posted by: Dan at June 12, 2008 11:15 AM
Perhaps some of the parking is for the retail
Posted by: MarkSFCA at June 12, 2008 11:29 AM
^^No retail parking will be approved in this site. No new parking was allowed (or needed) for the entire SF Shopping Centre addition, so hard to see how any would be allowed for something small like this. There are thousands of spots that are unused most days at garages within a few blocks.
Posted by: Brutus at June 12, 2008 11:44 AM
Perhaps Sutter Stockton garage is 100 feet away.
Posted by: amused at June 12, 2008 11:44 AM
i would live there....
Posted by: Ryan at June 12, 2008 1:24 PM
I'd consider giving up my car to live here, great location!
Posted by: etslee at June 12, 2008 1:56 PM
Am watching the Planning Commission hearing right now. The discussion focuses on height and bulk and historic district, not what's discussed here.
You can watch it on video on
Posted by: sfgtv at June 12, 2008 2:58 PM
Project (different design) was approved today.
Posted by: Dede at June 12, 2008 4:15 PM
That is a very tasteful interpretation of the whole corner has to stick out and be different concept that gets such a work out nowadays. Trees around the base are sorely needed, and even a little bit of setbacks would soften the height.
Posted by: Mole Man at June 12, 2008 4:35 PM
How is the design different? Or where can I find a rendering?
Posted by: carne asada at June 12, 2008 5:37 PM
"Why is it so hard for developers to build enough parking for all the units? It seems ridiculous to not have at least one spot per unit."
Completely agree Anon! I know that's not very "green" of me but the city's (and by extension the Bay Area's) public transit system is simply not good enough. Car share program help but it still doesn't cut it.
Posted by: Willow at June 12, 2008 10:31 PM
if the parking spaces are going to be below grade level, what difference does it make? Do some of you that don't want any parking believe this space should be made into condos too?
Posted by: viewlover at June 12, 2008 11:37 PM
all these dumb "green" retards. I mean, give me a break mr. "overwhelm the street capacity of the area." People aren't going to buy these units and park a hummer in the space to commute to Tracy. Its their house, so they store a car there, and pull it out on weekends to drive to Tahoe. They would have virtually zero impact on the street capacity. In fact, they would reduce impacts on the local streets, because the people who could afford this place are the same numbnuts who, otherwise, would be driving in from Russian Hill and Cow Hollow. If they could live here instead, then they could store their cars instead of using them.
Posted by: normal joe at June 13, 2008 12:32 AM
I was at the planning commission meeting today as a resident of 333 Grant. Most of us like that more residential is going in but I think even with the down-sizing, it's too big and tall. Most of Grant Ave gets very good sun light which I think contributes to it being the premier shopping street in SF and a nice place to reside. 300 Grant is going to be the 4th tallest building on Grant Ave. Yes, setbacks would have been nice and they did finally agree to a paltry 4 feet on each of 3 sides. I don't know where to find pictures of the approved design but it shares enough elements with other buildings in the area that a commission member actually said it had *too* many elements.
My understanding of the parking situation is that the developer had to get a variance to go *above* a maximum. The developer knows that even stacked parking adds value.
I guess the strategy is to start with as out-sized a plan as you can and brace yourself for opposition. At the end of the day, 300 Grant is probably close to reasonable.
Posted by: pwb at June 13, 2008 1:53 AM
"Its their house, so they store a car there, and pull it out on weekends to drive to Tahoe."
"If they could live here instead, then they could store their cars instead of using them."
I agree with this comment because this is what you see with all of the new towers in Chicago that are becoming very popular with empty nest buyers from other parts of the city and suburbs. In Chicago, you do not see cars pouring out of condo tower parking garages in the morning, since from my experience, the cars tend to be used more frequently on weekends than during weekdays, especially during normal rush hour periods. More than any other American city, Chicago is going through a huge migration of people moving back to the center city because they want to be able to not use their car, but at the same time, buyers expect and demand to still have an automobile as part of their lifestyle option. Our firm has consulted on four high rise residential projects in Chicago, and from observation the cars are used on average only twice a week. This is San Francisco however, and people love to tell other people how they should live. Do all those who want to force owners in this new building not to have an automobile option, not own cars themselves?
Posted by: jeff at June 13, 2008 4:55 AM
^^^Jeff, I don't own a car, but I also don't want to tell people how to live. However, it is necessary for the city to limit capacity on the streets, for safety reasons as well as to increase the reliability and speed of Muni. If you want to pony up the billions to build subways, go ahead, but until that time the city should have the ability to limit the number of cars so as to not destroy Muni even more than the last 60 years of auto-first planning has.
As I mentioned above, my idea would be to limit the number of parking spaces for a piece of land. If the developer wants to only build enough condos so that each has spots for two cars, I say go for it. If he wants to build enough condos so that each has a space for one car, go for it. If he wants to build so that only every fourth condo gets a car, go for it. My solution would limit the amount of cars flooding into an area, while not placing any limits on the amount of cars per unit.
Posted by: Brutus at June 13, 2008 5:47 AM
@Normal Joe. I completely agree with you. I have a decent sized SUV and have already adjusted my "carbon footprint" to now only drive the vehicle when I want to get out of town. Otherwise, when I get a place that has off-street parking, it's gonna stay parked in the garage and I'll be taking public transportation. I welcome and seek out the opportunity to not use my vehicle unless absolutely completely necessary. I live in NYC now and walk Avenues (not blocks) to get groceries. I'm used to it. I just hope my vehicle doesn't get keyed for "eco-terrorism".
Posted by: ab at June 13, 2008 7:32 AM
It should be noted that my concern for allowing too much parking has nothing to do with "carbon footprints" or "eco-terrorism", but simply with the negative aspects that too many cars can have on the pedestrian life of an area, as well as the adverse affect that it can have on the surface transit in the area (which helps to contribute to the pedestrian life). I don't care if you have or need a car, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't regulate how many cars are allowed in any one section of the city. If you want one, you pay more for a spot, find a spot in a garage nearby, or find another location that has the parking that you require.
Posted by: Brutus at June 13, 2008 8:29 AM
Another reason that cities may want to restrict parking in already congested neighborhoods is because some state and federal administered transportation funds are tied to how well the project improves "Level Of Service". The deceptively named LOS guidelines steer projects toward keeping automobile traffic freely moving while completely ignoring any impacts on walkers and cyclists.
In the past cities met their LOS requirements by widening roadways and increasing the design speeds of intersections, effectively taking land away from non-motorized users and giving it away to motorists.
Lately cities have been taking a more holistic approach of balancing increased capacity with reduced congestion. Limiting the number of cars on the street is a straightforward way to reduce congestion and improve LOS.
Many locales are in a tight spot with no more room to expand roadways, but still a desire for growth. Continuing down the path of assuming that everyone needs a car leads to stagnation.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at June 13, 2008 9:41 AM
Again the hysteria around the car issue
I know there is a huge suburban mentality in US cities but to clarify this:
Units without parking should be cheaper in theory. There are and always have been people (often wealthy) who live without cars. There will be plently of units with parking so I really don't see the need for the fear as it is simply increasing people's choice
How is this any different than the restriction on me building a 4 unit in Noe Valley or the Sunset without parking? Is this kind of regualtion ok since the assumtion (which is false) is we all have cars? The numbers say otherwise. Check them rather than wild assed specualtion based on your experience that everyone from your college you know in SF owns a car
Posted by: Zig at June 13, 2008 1:49 PM
Sorry that should read
"There are and always have been people (often wealthy) who live without cars IN SF"
Very important point. In NYC too obvioulsy. Not so much maybe in other places
Look again at the proposal and see it includes parking for most units.
Posted by: Zig at June 13, 2008 2:01 PM
Thanks to a plugged-in reader: The New And Improved (And Approved) Design For 300 Grant Street.
Posted by: SocketSite at June 13, 2008 4:08 PM
I still feel there are ways to have better transportation options without requiring subways (which are becoming prohibitively expensive to build these days) and without having parking restrictions.
instead, designate certain streets as bike, bus, MUNI ONLY (could add Taxi in there if you chose). If you did this then you would have free-flow of traffic for people taking these options.
Then the other streets would be for the cars.
You wouldn't need to legislate parking to control cars... you could do it by time. If too many cars were truly on the road then the roads would be at a standstill and driving would take forever. Thus, people would simply take public transportation which would be quicker and more economical.
If you Spaced the "bus, muni, bike" lanes every 10 blocks as example, then nobody would need to walk more than 5 blocks to get to an effective transit option. And you would have a much more effective transit system.
other cities in the world do things like this and it works very well.
Posted by: ex SF-er at June 14, 2008 7:03 AM
ex SF-er, do you know about the proposed BRT lanes for Geary, Van Ness and perhaps Mission? The TEP has proposed doing this, but in the typical San Francisco "no change of any kind" fashion, various groups have been holding up the planning process on this. The worst has been the self styled "Greater Geary Boulevard Merchants and Property Owners Association", which is apparently just one guy, who filed a lawsuit against the Geary BRT.
This is San Francisco however, and people love to tell other people how they should live.
Hey, if you car drivers want to stop running red lights, killing pedestrians, making illegal turns into crosswalks full of pedestrians (I see this every day on my walk to work in SOMA: the car that tries to push their way through a crowded crosswalk), running cyclists off the road, etc. then I guess I would consider stopping "telling you how to live".
Though I still think car drivers should have to pay for the true cost of ownership, instead of shuffling the externalities onto everyone else. Parking should be an "add-on" for these kinds of developments and it should be a very expensive one, because it should include not only the cost of building and permitting it, but a congestion tax, to pay for the transportation improvements required to support a car in such a dense area, and probably some kind of public health impact fee, to pay for the pollution and extra tips to the ER by all the people injured by car drivers.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at June 14, 2008 10:25 AM
Sorry, you might not know what all those acronyms mean.
TEP = Transit Effectiveness Project, which is basically Muni's attempt to come up with a new master plan, which they have not done in over 20 years. I went to a couple of the meetings, it seems like a great example of good government to me.
BRT = Bus Rapid Transit lane.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at June 14, 2008 10:50 PM