March 11, 2009
Movement On Up To 115 Housing Units At Market And Buchanan?
While we got some hints we’re still looking for the answer with regard to what’s in the works for the Chevron station at 2465 Van Ness (Bueller?). That being said, our piece unearthed a treasure trove of insight into shuttered gas stations across San Francisco.
One such nugget:
There may finally be some movement on the proposal for the 76 station at Market and Buchanan.
The Planning Commission will hear an application for conditional use authorization on March 26. After hearing about this possibility for more than 2 years it will be interesting to see details what is actually being proposed now that market conditions have changed. The CU application claims up to 115 residential units, ground floor commercial, and up to 91 parking spaces in an 85-X Height/Bulk district.
And with respect to the ex-station lot at Lombard and Pierce:
It is a completely contaminated site--Developer had it and walked away. No developer will touch that unless it is purchased contingent upon a total clean up.
UPDATE: Two unfortunate updates from plugged-in readers: 1. "I'll be shocked if the Buchanan/Market proposal goes to the commission on the 26th. It has a lot of design issues to be resolved, expect a significant delay."; and 2. "It will not likely fly with the neighborhood, the design screams "office building" even though it's not. It's out of compliance with the planning department's design guidelines in more ways than I can count."
UPDATE: The aforementioned design.
∙ A Reader Asks: What’s In The Works For 2465 Van Ness? [SocketSite]
∙ The Designs And Details For 1960-1998 Market (At Buchanan) [SocketSite]
First Published: March 11, 2009 9:45 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
This is great. We've waited for too long on the Market/Octavia plan to get the green light...let's see some infill (damn you crappy economy).
Only real bummer about this location is the recycling center across the street. I wonder if this project along with the Whole Foods across the street will exert some pressure on getting that thing moved (which is pretty much a magnet for dudes with carts who like to raid the garbage in the after-hours).
Weren't there also some NIMBYs next door worried about "blocked views"? or was that for the site adjacent the LGBT center?
Posted by: DuboceDave at March 11, 2009 10:06 AM
If I remember correctly this will be an Arquitectonica design. I am curious to see the proposal.
Posted by: spitpalm at March 11, 2009 10:16 AM
One gas station down, four more to go. Market Street as gas-station alley shall be history.
Posted by: invented at March 11, 2009 10:22 AM
I remember a couple years ago the residents in the early 20th century midrises behind this development littered the entire neighborhood with a plea to stop the development so they could *SAVE THEIR VIEWS*. *eyeroll*
Posted by: Eric in SF at March 11, 2009 10:55 AM
Their motivation is irrelevant if its end result is a building that works well in its context.
Posted by: flaneur at March 11, 2009 11:07 AM
I mean, in retrospect, don't you wish there had been a bit more neighborhood opposition when Fox Plaza was built further down the street?
Posted by: flaneur at March 11, 2009 11:27 AM
Do I wish there had been more neighborhood opposition to the Fox Plaza design? Absolutely not. This is not to say it wasn't a mistake to lose the Fox Theater if it could have been reworked into, say, symphony hall. This is not to say that this building doesn't suffer from the now well-understood failings of 1960s modernism - poor relationship to the street and deadly streetwalls, etc. But having the neighbors collectively play architect would only have resulted in (1) a shorter squat building that would have had to charge much more for the apartments (2) bay windows (3) a dumbed down design. If you look around at the results of the public design review process, I think you will find more buildings that are worse not better as a result.
Posted by: Jim at March 11, 2009 12:19 PM
I'll be shocked if the Buchanan/Market proposal goes to the commission on the 26th. It has a lot of design issues to be resolved, expect a significant delay.
And yes, that's the project that has some neighbors upset because they will be boxed in by a tall building. But that lot has been zoned for 80+ feet height for decades, the neighbors have little cause to be surprised.
Posted by: Dave at March 11, 2009 12:35 PM
I hope they allow the building, especially if it is condos, allowing home ownership. Every condo owner is a vote again Daly, and against pernicious rules on land use.
I hope the design is beautiful, even if as it must be, as this is 2009, 21st century style. Good architecture should be welcome.
Posted by: Conifer at March 11, 2009 12:48 PM
Conifer, the lot is not in Daly's District 6, it's in Dufty's District 8.
Posted by: Jeffrey W. Baker at March 11, 2009 12:53 PM
It will not likely fly with the neighborhood, the design screams "office building" even though it's not. It's out of compliance with the planning department's design guidelines in more ways than I can count.
I concur with the posting above, this one will need to go back to the drawing board.
Posted by: intheknow at March 11, 2009 12:56 PM
Views are worth saving.
Posted by: kathleen at March 11, 2009 12:57 PM
^^^ new construction generally doesn't destroy a view, it just transfers the view from the existing buildings to windows of the newer building causing the obstruction.
... not that this fact justifies view obstruction though.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 11, 2009 1:03 PM
views are not protected, you can go through the motions and pay the fees but you still don't win.
Posted by: viewlover at March 11, 2009 1:13 PM
Views from private residences are not protected. but scenic views from public parks are.
Posted by: flaneur at March 11, 2009 1:24 PM
What views are we talking about? Look at the picture, there are very few windows on the adjacent building. And the few windows there appear to be on landings in stairwells where I don't imagine residents spend a lot of time.
Posted by: what views? at March 11, 2009 1:38 PM
Indeed. Was the neighbor's opposition about their views...or is this an accusation made up to make them look dumb and selfish?
Posted by: flaneur at March 11, 2009 1:56 PM
Flaneur - the flyers I saw two-ish years ago were complaining about the usual things: the development will bring too many cars, the neighborhood is too dense already, muni can't support any more riders, it will block light and air, it will block views. I honestly felt it was standard NIMBY opposition to a large development.
The proposed building is ~8 stories and will block views from several floors of the 7 story tan building to the right of the photo above.
Posted by: Eric in SF at March 11, 2009 2:09 PM
I see the confusion. This development is LARGE - it will stretch from the corner of Market and Buchanan to the tan building I mention above. It will completely box in the shorter building right above the mural in the middle of the photo.
Posted by: Eric in SF at March 11, 2009 2:12 PM
UPDATE: The Designs And Details For 1960-1998 Market (At Buchanan). And yes, that's the site above.
Posted by: SocketSite at March 11, 2009 2:19 PM
As stated above, views are not protected, and its a good thing. Since every building has a view of something, you literally could never add a single building anywhere. If anybody bought a building thinking this gas station was going to stay there forever, they're an idiot.
Posted by: Jim at March 11, 2009 3:40 PM
Buchanan Street rises steeeply right at htis corner The buildings on Buchannan and on Hermann have lovely views to the south and east. Soon it will change to a views of an airwell. And with 102 condos without one to tone parking, there will conjest the side streets on Hermann, Waller and Buchanan with even more cars battling for less and less street parking.
Posted by: kathleen at March 11, 2009 4:52 PM
If the developers were allowed to build the correct number of parking spaces, one or two per unit, instead of the idiotic "transit first" policy of less than one per unit (as if this were Holland and not California), there would not be battles for street parking. The current policy will perpetuate the battles forever.
Posted by: Conifer at March 11, 2009 5:12 PM
If residents explored other transportation options, instead of the idiotic "one person/one car/five parking spots" paradigm (as if this were Houston not San Francisco), there would not be battles for street parking. The current mindset will perpetuate the battles forever.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 11, 2009 5:17 PM
Conifer, Milkshake, I see a smackdown! On the left we have Conifer; realist, pragmatist, lover. On the so-far-left-its-actually-right-wing, we have milkshake; maker of great avatar nomenclature (props for MOD), purpetuator of dull, long dead theories with respect to dictatorial approaches to development, Chris Daly wannabe, absolutist. 4, 3, 2 , 1... go!
Posted by: Oohh Cat Fight at March 11, 2009 7:13 PM
Thank you Oohh. Exactly correct on the meeting of the extreme left and extreme right in dictatorship. One of the recent examples of this was "congestion charging" in London, a per day charge to drive there. Instituted by the London mayor known as "Red Ken" (Communist Red) all it did was prevent poor people from using their roads. The rich just paid the charge and did not care about anything but the nuisance value. The new mayor of London, a moderate conservative, is limiting area to which it applies. Milkshake and Daly are our very own "red Kens". They know best. The same mindset that eliminates JROTC against the wishes of the high school students and their parents: "we know what is best for you."
Posted by: Conifer at March 11, 2009 8:39 PM
"Transit first" is just a well-intentioned but ill-conceived policy that permits developers to build without having to set aside parking. In other words, they get to point to that dumb policy to avoid less lucrative components of a project, parking spaces.
The fact is is that people want to own a car or two or three. That is the fact, and good intentions are not changing that. I suppose you could try to impose those good intentions on the city by forcing people to drive around and fight over limited street parking in the hope they will just give up their cars. But that won't work. The result is just more traffic, more pollution, and more unsafe pedestrian conditions. They should be required to put in at least one parking space for every unit because it is a certainty that the residents will have at least that many cars, no matter what.
Posted by: anon at March 11, 2009 8:53 PM
Conifer what does the JROTC issue have to do with parking? Where along this clear left/right mindset thingy you seem to believe links the issue does someone who thinks there should be adequate parking spots built in new developments but also doesn't believe that the schools he pays for should be working with an organization that actively discriminates against him?
I don't believe I know what is best or not best for others but I do know that our schools shouldn't be partnering with organizations that discriminate against a large number of San Francisco taxpayers. Keep your pro-JROTC rhetoric out of our parking issue!
Posted by: Rillion at March 11, 2009 9:19 PM
"it is a certainty that the residents will have at least that many cars, no matter what."
Here we go again with the parking thing. Get over it. This is a city not the suburb you grew up in
Posted by: Zig at March 11, 2009 9:30 PM
It would be nice if people looked at facts - like auto ownership rates - where SF has one of the lowest in the nation, instead of just blowing out "People want cars! People want parking! We should build 70 spots per car! More parking!" at every instance. Why do you think auto ownership rates in the city are so low? Couldn't be lack of parking could it? Nah.
Posted by: Brutus at March 11, 2009 9:35 PM
They should be required to put in at least one parking space for every unit because it is a certainty that the residents will have at least that many cars, no matter what.
This is easily refuted by facts, not "what all the people I know do".
Posted by: Brutus at March 11, 2009 9:37 PM
" "Transit first" is just a well-intentioned but ill-conceived policy"
It would be a great policy if they would actually do it. Sit down today with a map, draw lines criss-crossing the city where the bus rapid transit lines will go and then re-do the streets and put in appropriate signal light timing.
Instead we get the worst of all worlds. A half-assed transit system that takes an hour to get from one side of the city to the other combined with lousy traffic and inadequate parking.
Posted by: diemos at March 11, 2009 9:52 PM
^^^It's because nothing has teeth and everything can be stopped. If we simply sat down tomorrow and gave transit priority on ten streets throughout the city (real priority, not halfass bus lanes), it would work, but then everyone with a car would throw a fit. If we add parking everywhere, then everyone who uses transit gets screwed by the additional cars and throws a fit.
This city doesn't need subways (another common scream from people) to have good transit. We're just not that big. Take some lanes from cars (and I mean take them completely from cars) and get buses off all of the other streets and wham! Everyone wins.
Posted by: Brutus at March 11, 2009 10:46 PM
anon - I do not own a car and do not miss it, I just rent one on occasion.
Posted by: flaneur at March 12, 2009 12:57 AM
Instead we get the worst of all worlds. A half-assed transit system that takes an hour to get from one side of the city to the other combined with lousy traffic and inadequate parking
Take some lanes from cars (and I mean take them completely from cars) and get buses off all of the other streets and wham! Everyone wins
too bad this idea is obvious to everybody except SF (cough) "planners".
Posted by: ex SF-er at March 12, 2009 8:07 AM
The thing that bugs me about Muni is that they have too many stops, that is part of the reason it takes so long to get anywhere on the bus. There is a stop on almost every single block.
Posted by: Rillion at March 12, 2009 10:22 AM
Rillion - I've actually had foamers tell me to my face at a meeting that the rights of the elderly and disabled supercede all others and that we should be happy we can walk that extra block because the elderly and disabled cannot. Muni planners have told me off the record they are petrified of the elderly/disabled lobby and as such many of these commonsense solutions aren't even considered.
Posted by: Eric in SF at March 12, 2009 10:36 AM
I have been going to the market octavia meetings for years. The plan was supposed to be approved years ago and finally was just approved. It looks like the developer gave his massing study out and someone decided to send something to socketsite that was misleading. Wonder if we can get the developer to send us a drawing of what the property will look like?
Parking, most people in SF use parking as car storgae as much as car parking. If you have kids how do you go to your friends in Alamo Ca? We are not going to solve parking issues in this forum. But, maybe we can all agree to start working together for solutions to all issues in the City versus people taking such hard stances so all we end up with is bad decisions driven by a vocal few, versus what is good for the City, the bay, the state and the country. We have to work together to win.
Ah, dreaming agian
Posted by: Chrissf at March 12, 2009 11:12 AM
The party responsible for giving "misleading" information is the Planning Department - the agency in charge of issuing a permit for the building. If you have better information, please share.
I love all your incendiary statements.
Posted by: flaneur at March 12, 2009 11:58 AM
By the way, Chris, has it occurred to you that it is cheaper to rent a car for those few weekends a year when you go to Alamo or other places, and rent out your parking space for $300 a month, or not rent one in the first space (not counting additional car ownership costs, such as maintenance and depreciation)?
Posted by: flaneur at March 12, 2009 12:12 PM
Why do we need to have a floor or ceiling on how much parking is built within a development anyway?
Developers will build the minimum amount of parking necessary to sell or rent the space and will be much more responsive to the changing attitudes of San Franciscans toward transit than any government committee of groupthinkers/politicians/utopian dreamers/gadflies that take multiple years to write bad and outdated policy. Why do we need a rule at all?
Posted by: M at March 12, 2009 12:33 PM
M - One of the problems is that parking is often bundled with property. This forces buyers to acquire parking whether or not they need or want it. This sunk cost becomes "free" parking and is in effect a subsidy of the auto/gasoline industries. Whether or not you agree with the subsidy we should recognize it as such and decide whether it is in the city's best interest.
A single residential parking spot also implies the existence of a few other parking spots at school, work, grocery, etc. and hence multiplies the subsidy.
Unbundle parking and market it independently - the market will drive the price towards equilibrium. The current scheme instead motivates us towards exploiting this "free" resource.
Even so the city needs to balance the needs of people using streets. Capacity is limited and very expensive to expand at this stage of the city's growth. Automobile transportation is tremendously inefficient compared to other modes of transport.
If the city wants to grow (and I believe it does) then it needs to figure out how to move more people about within the existing infrastructure. Placing more cars on the street is a poor solution. Continuing on the current auto based transport trajectory is synonymous with being anti-growth : We will hit a wall very soon. Even in locations which can expand indefinitely in all directions like Atlanta and Dallas the auto based system scales poorly. It is even worse in a confined geography.
Yeah, Muni is pretty bad. And it might get worse as ridership grows and budget decreases. But this isn't the first time that the city has faced a modal shift in transport. After WWII the US made a huge shift towards driving. That was done on a preexisting inadequate infrastructure of congested, slow, unsafe roads.
We solved that problem in a big way and I'm sure we can also solve the current issues too. It will take a little creative thinking and flexibility though.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 12, 2009 1:06 PM
I agree - there is going to be a fight on trying to get this approved in the City. However, with the downturn in the environment and the need for revenue to cover the deficit, anything can happen. If I am the developer, better get your entitlements while you can. The Planning and Building Department is more flexible these days with the slowdown in their workload.
Posted by: Ken at April 10, 2009 7:46 PM
Off topic - but really just across the street - any word/drawings on the rumored Whole Foods at the S&C Ford site?
[Editor's Note: Whole Foods Green-Lighted In Noe (And As Proposed On Market)]
Posted by: ph goat at April 13, 2009 12:53 PM
Take some lanes from cars (and I mean take them completely from cars) and get buses off all of the other streets and wham! Everyone wins.
This is part of TEP (the Transit Effectiveness Project).
The thing that bugs me about Muni is that they have too many stops, that is part of the reason it takes so long to get anywhere on the bus. There is a stop on almost every single block.
This is also part of TEP.
TEP was approved essentially unchanged by the Board of Supervisors, too. Right now stuff like the BRT lanes on Geary are being held up in a lawsuit, but even if they weren't, The City doesn't have the money this year to implement them.
The wheels of progress move slowly, but they are moving.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at April 13, 2009 3:29 PM