CityPlace Rendering

“The civic group Livable City has architectural concerns about a modern, five-story glass curtain on a street with historic columned buildings and street-level storefronts. But its main opposition is to the [proposed 201-space] parking garage, which the group says would undo current efforts that have cut cars on Market to make Muni more efficient and bicycling safer.”

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Big V

    yup — gotta agree. as much as it is a pain to me when I *am* looking for parking, it is clear that the lack of parking is what makes SF such a vibrant city — by making cars hard to use, people choose to use their feet and public transit, which brings the city to life.
    so, yah — less parking is good. annoying, but good.

  2. Posted by Rillion

    What does traffic on market street have to do with this? Wouldn’t the parking be accessed off the alley south of the building or one of the side streets? If you have incentives for people to not drive on market street this place would not undo those traffic measures by having parking that people would use mission or one of the other south of market streets to get to.

  3. Posted by curmudgeon

    I think Liveable City is acting on principle (re the parking). I’m not sure 200 spots would be such a big deal, one way or the other. I think it could do fine without it, but it also might make loading easier depending on how it’s managed.
    However, their opposition to the glass curtain wall is silly, IMHO, and is only a mask for their opposition to the parking.

  4. Posted by zig

    This is an important debate but I hope they don’t lose this very important project because of it.
    Many said both the Giants ballpark and the Ferry Bld couldn’t be done without more parking and both have been smashing success stories. Somehow people seem to be able to get to both.
    I agree with the above that the access from Mission St. is the compromise and 200 spots isn’t outrageous.
    I hate way debates are framed in this city as usually all or nothing

  5. Posted by ducatibum

    I do believe that the more pedestrian friendly a city is the more livable and enjoyable it can be. that being said I think that the type of stores they are thinking of putting in would require parking. I think it would be lot more efficient to drive my car a couple of miles once to shop than taking multiple bus trips or a twenty something mile drive out to the burbs.

  6. Posted by anon

    that being said I think that the type of stores they are thinking of putting in would require parking.
    The types of stores that they’re putting in are similar to Old Navy, Marshalls, Ross, and Burlington Coat Factory – all of which exist (in most cases as the largest or one of the largest such stores in the country) within a couple blocks of here WITHOUT parking.
    There’s plenty of parking in the area, no need to add a ton of cars to 6th St (many of which would turn right on Market when leaving to get back to 5th).

  7. Posted by kthnxybe

    You can’t cut out new parking altogether. You have to let people buy things that don’t fit on the bus, and lot of traffic problems are caused by people who need parking and can’t find it.
    The way to make a transit and bicycle first city is by improving the transit and the bike lanes, not by just making driving an terrible experience. The comparison to the ball park is fail, because, frankly, there’s a lot more alternatives when it comes to shopping and if driving sucks too bad, they’ll just go out of the city.

  8. Posted by Spitpalm

    Please don’t ruin this opportunity to better this emabarrassing stretch of Market Livable City cuz it sure isn’t “livable” as is…well, unless you’re slang’n, use’n, pee’n, or poo’n.

  9. Posted by anon

    ^There are more than 3000 parking spots within two blocks of this spot, more than 10,000 within five blocks.
    This is NOT an area of the city lacking in parking.

  10. Posted by on time

    Are the 2,500+ spaces a block away at Mission and 5th not enoough? I’ve never seent this garage full.

  11. Posted by anon

    The comparison to the ball park is fail, because, frankly, there’s a lot more alternatives when it comes to shopping and if driving sucks too bad, they’ll just go out of the city.
    People proclaimed parking armageddon would come with the SF Centre shopping mall less than a block away – with more than 1.25 million square feet of retail space – and NO parking. It’s one of the most successful malls in the US, measured by sales per square foot. Target (!!!) is looking at opening a location in the Metreon – WITHOUT parking. Guess Target doesn’t know what they themselves need!

  12. Posted by trendyloin

    these anti-car people are really going nuts. We’re in the worse recession in years, people. We’ve built so many welfare programs in San Francisco which need tax revenue to survive. We need the construction and retail jobs. Mid-Market is a total mess. Build it!

  13. Posted by steve

    by anon’s “logic” let’s just remove the 5th and Mission garage. just think about how much more SF Centre would sell per sq ft and how many more retailers would be begging to open at the Metreon if there was less parking.

  14. Posted by jamie

    What I want to know is the parking utilization at the existing garage on Mission Street running from 4th to 5th Streets and I’d want to hear directly from the retailers some explanations why they think they need parking spaces at this location, within walking distance of the hub of multi-modal transit options for the entire Bay Area. I think the retailers may want to reconsider their parking needs … people who live just outside of the City aren’t going to go to the expense of traveling to San Francisco to buy toilet paper or clearance clothing. Take it from this frugal guy, if I lived in South Peninsula (no bridge toll impediments), I’m not going to travel to downtown San Francisco to buy things I can find in Colma or some other sprawled out suburban shopping centre.
    That said, San Franciscans need some of these stores (like Target) locally so that we can stop donating sales tax and payroll revenues to other Counties. The retailers wanting parking need to consider the weekday population of San Francisco, thanks to it being a jobs center, is over 1 million people (so I’ve heard).
    We also need to use our imagination and recognize that if there’s a Target located near our work or residence, we’re not going to be making the “fill up a cart full of crap” shopping trip once a month or whatever to this downtown Target … we’ll buy things as we need them, walking in to grab some shaving cream and toilet paper before hopping on the bus home. Maybe people will buy large items – fine, get it delivered or figure out how to use the existing parking resources at 5th and Mission.
    People bitch about losing that Pier 1/2 parking at the Ferry Building (ready to fall into the Bay, I guess, thanks to the substructure falling apart), and yet the parking garages underneath Embarcadero Center are hardly used on the weekends and not that much further away from the actual heart of the market on the south side of the Ferry Building.
    Let’s figure out the right amount of parking for this location while keeping in mind our desire to minimize the number of cars driving around downtown San Francisco. What’s the utilization of the existing parking … let’s start there.

  15. Posted by BDB

    The fifth and mission garage should be more than enough for this location, and then on the other side there is parking at SOMA grand on 7th and mission.
    I’m very much in favour of this project, but getting into that Alley on Stevenson will not be easy. No left turn’s on mission.
    It’s not exactly a car friendly street to get into.

  16. Posted by anon

    by anon’s “logic” let’s just remove the 5th and Mission garage. just think about how much more SF Centre would sell per sq ft and how many more retailers would be begging to open at the Metreon if there was less parking.
    How is that my logic? My logic is that this is an urban area. In urban areas, you build central parking garages that dozens of retailers in different buildings use, you don’t need each building to have their own. We already have more than enough parking within a couple blocks of this area. Others are claiming that stores “must” have parking, when clearly that isn’t backed up by the numerous big box stores that already exist here without parking – and with a big box discounter proposing a store almost in the same spot without parking.

  17. Posted by Willow

    There are a lot of problems with Market St but seriously traffic is not one of them. Livable City need to look no further than New York or Chicago. They allow cars on 5th Ave and Michigan Ave respectively and they don’t have seem to have any problems attracting pedestrians. Hmmm…

  18. Posted by anon

    ^Or we could look at New York and how they’ve closed Times Square to all cars. Different locations require different solutions. 5th Ave and the Mag Mile are both much more connected to the rest of the city via grade-separated transit – I’m all for that here if you can A. convince people to give up car lanes or streets to make it happen or B. convince the feds or state government to give us $25 billion to build a few subways.

  19. Posted by ?

    “They allow cars on 5th Ave and Michigan Ave respectively and they don’t have seem to have any problems attracting pedestrians. Hmmm…”
    THANK YOU! I don’t get it. Chicago has a clean, dense and active pedestrian enviroment, especially in River North around Michigan Avenue, and you cannot believe the amount of parking available, as well as busses, subway stations, etc. What I like about Chicago is they demand retail at street level for the first five or so floors, with parking located way above or way below street level. When you walk around Chicago you cannot even tell where the cars are. What is it about San Francisco’s obsession with cars? If you don’t like cars, don’t use them.

  20. Posted by Willow

    Anon: If you close off any section of Mid Market it would be overun by the homeless even more than it already is. That’s not a solution. They are able to close off Times Square in Manhattan because they don’t tolerate loitering. Unfortunately we are not there yet…

  21. Posted by anon

    Willow – I wasn’t suggesting closing it off, just showing that NY does many different things based on the specifics of each area. Why should we “look to what NY does” only on one street, and not on others?
    The situation in SF is not even remotely comparable to the situations in Chicago or New York.

  22. Posted by Dan

    Access should be by turning right coming north on 6th St to a one way alley on Stevenson, then turning right on 5th St when one exits. Cars coming from the north would have to drive down to Mission east of the mall, then turn right on Mission, then right on 6th St. Market St need not be in this loop.

  23. Posted by Liveable my hip

    Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich needs two things: to be the father of 3 kids; and, feel what its like to hit say 68 years old.

  24. Posted by intheknow

    I’ve been involved in studies of utilization of the 5th/Mission garage and seen all the numbers. The garage management will tell you — the garage is never full, even on busy days. The thing with a garage that size is that it’s so big that there is enough constant turnover that’s it’s never “full” such that they’re turning cars away. On top of all that, the new Jessie Square garage built by the Redevelopment Agency (under the plaza in front of the Jewish Museum) is hemmoraging millions of the dolloars of (public) money and is almost always empty. It’s only a block away.

  25. Posted by Willow

    Anon: Sorry, I didn’t mean to misconstrue your comment. However I do think that closing any streets between Civic Center and Embarcadero would be a bad idea in San Francisco. Other cities can look at street closures as a possible enhancement to their cities because they don’t have the sort of challenges that we face (e.g. homelessness, drug dealing etc.), or are able to more effectively manage them.
    On the parking…if the developer of this project has done the market research and determined additional parking would meet a need, why the opposition? I don’t get it…surely this city is big enough to absorb another 200 spaces. If they end up being under utilized because of the availability of other parking options or public transit, so what?

  26. Posted by BDB

    It might be nice if Market was one way out from Embarcadero to 8th for Cars. and 2 lanes for Transit only, and one for bikes.

  27. Posted by steve

    willow gets it exactly right.

  28. Posted by anon

    Willow – I actually don’t have that much of a problem with 200 spots, as long as the entrance to the garage is onto the alley and turns are restricted in the way that Dan mentions – the only problem that I can foresee is precedent. We’ve created an extremely successful retail district that isn’t dependent on each building have parking, and I think it should tend towards staying that way. The last thing that we need is Market St retail becoming more like Showplace Square, where pedestrians are shunned and the car is king. We made SF Centre build without parking, why should we change the rules for these guys?
    My ultimate solution would be no parking (I’d be ok with some car-share spots), an agreement with the city-owned Fifth/Mission garage for validation, extensive delivery services for large items, 400 bike parking spots, and night loading only on the alley, with it reserved for pedestrian/retail/restaurant use during the day.

  29. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “…if the developer of this project has done the market research and determined additional parking would meet a need, why the opposition?”
    Perhaps “need” is not the issue but rather how to create the highest revenue stream from the project.
    A parking spot alone is not valuable. Its value comes via its interconnection with the streets network. So when a new project includes a parking spot, the developer gains the right to sell access to a portion of the limited local street network capacity.
    Any time new parking is approved in a congested area, the city is granting the developer the rights to sell access to the street network in perpetuity.
    Developers are not stupid. When given the opportunity to sell something from the public realm (access to the street network) for only the cost of building just a parking area, they will exploit that opportunity.
    This is not a case meeting the project’s “need”. Instead this is a matter of deeding public property to a private developer.

  30. Posted by curmudgeon

    M of D gets it exactly right per usual. Personally, I’m guessing that the 200 (being not so very much parking) is leftover space after the Developer has dealt with their requirements for goods delivery access, and doesn’t constitute a major additional capital investment for them. They probably figure that they might as well take it forward and see if it flies. If not, I’m guessing they still have a feasible project.
    I realize that there’s a lot of guessing on my part, but that’s what it smells like. 200 spaces is not going to make or break a major retail project.

  31. Posted by Jason

    OH MY GOD PEOPLE ITS A FEW PARKING SPACES
    Just build it. Not a big deal!

  32. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I agree with Jason. Build it. The lack of 200 additional parking spaces will have very little impact on the success of the project.

  33. Posted by Big V

    Well, it seems pretty clear from all this discussion that:
    a) there is plenty of parking in the area, no need to add parking at the project directly.
    b) most people want the project to happen, regardless of the parking question, but its worth pushing for the “right” solution (i.e. no extra parking directly at the building, use existing resources).
    c) my thought — it wouldn’t hurt to have a few handicap parking spots right in the development, for those who find walking 2 blocks a challenge. (I’ve broken my leg before and been on crutches…… )
    d) there could be limited 10 minute loading zone for those who made large bulky purchases…..

  34. Posted by Dan

    “We made SF Centre build without parking”
    SF Centre did not ask to build parking. They wanted a bridge over Mission St between the mall and the existing garage, but this request was turned down.
    SF Centre is directly across Mission Street from garage. CityPlace would be a walk from the existing garage, negligible unless one had a full shopping cart.

  35. Posted by OneEyedMan

    Big V’s proposed solution should work well. Handicapped parking in the project and a good sized loading zone with well designed in and out logistics.
    Now that that’s settled, when can we start building it?

  36. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Mid-market is getting cleaned up as we speak. There have been huge changes just in the last few months, including a greatly increased police presence and daily cleaning of the sidewalks.
    If you haven’t noticed the changes, you should do yourself a favor and check it out, especially if you have strong opinions about the area. I don’t know where the homeless and drug dealers that used to frequent the area have moved to, but they are mostly gone now.
    It will never get 100% cleaned up unless we move or close Market Street Cinema though, that attracts a seedy element.
    Other cities certainly have problems with homelessness and drug dealing, it is bizarre to claim otherwise.
    Chicago is the dirtiest city in America, at least according to this survey:
    http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/50-cleanest-dirtiest-cities-in-america/article15115.html
    Most of Southside is a mess.

  37. Posted by bornnraised

    People want free parking steps away from where they are going to shop. I rarely ever shop for anything in the city because of the lack of parking. I take my money to places where parking is plentiful. There are but a handful of shops I frequent in the city where I put up with the lack of parking. I doubt this place will house anything I can’t find elsewhere.

  38. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    To each their own, bornnraised. In contrast, parking has never been my issue shopping during the last decade or so. Even when shopping for building materials a ton at a time, all I needed was a seller willing to take a telephone order and either deliver or have a spot where I could load my own car.
    The “need” for a car is mostly a figment of the consensus reality. Granted, using a car combined with trillions of dollars of public infrastructure makes life easier (for the driver, not necessarily for those outside of the car), but are we really getting proper value from the investment ? Could the negative effects of excessive car use negate the value ?

  39. Posted by BobN

    Ya know, if there really is NO need for this parking, the spots will remain empty and the developer will rue the day he decided to waste valuable subterranean space on parking!
    I say, let him dig his own grave, er.. parking spot.

  40. Posted by Eric in SF

    I work at 8th/Market and dodge piles of human excrement, some fresh, on a daily basis, in all directions.
    The number of loud, screaming mentally ill people hasn’t let up one bit.
    I bet the extra police presence is from the Orpheum. I know they really lean on the City to make the area less scary for the suburban delicate flowers that come to see the shows. Wicked has been playing 1 full year – I bet that’s a big component of the perceived cleanup.
    There are still 1-6 “camps” of homeless people slumming next to the Library and the Asian Art Museum most days.
    Perfect is the enemy of the good. Right now the desire for a Jane Jacobs-textbook-perfect Market Street is the enemy of making the area good enough for *everyone*, not just the undesirables there now.

  41. Posted by BobN

    One of the consequences of a no-parking-ANYWHERE attitude is that the existing parking, especially on-street parking, becomes so frickin’ valuable that no one will ever let the city take it away.
    So many downtown streets would be far more pleasant without parking, with room for side-walk tables, with planters, with — GASP! — pedestrian-only blocks, but there’s no way this city will ever be able to take that step.

  42. Posted by SFRes

    “Mid-market is getting cleaned up as we speak. There have been huge changes just in the last few months, including a greatly increased police presence and daily cleaning of the sidewalks.”
    They are definitely focusing attention — but I think much of us can agree there needs to be more. This is definitely an important project to the area. Whether they decide on parking or not, it should still be built nonetheless. I think we can all agree to that!
    +1 on needing to clean up the shops (ie what NYC did).
    So let’s not lose focus on what’s important and cross our fingers that they move forth with the project without too many hurdles.

  43. Posted by joh

    People want free parking steps away from where they are going to shop. I rarely ever shop for anything in the city because of the lack of parking. I take my money to places where parking is plentiful.
    How much does it cost you to drive to where parking is free? For me to drive to Colma or Daly City costs around $10 round-trip (@ ~$0.55/mi). I can park for ~3 hrs at 5th and Mission for the same price. Maybe more than “steps away” from Westfield, SF Center, etc, but I personally don’t mind the 5 min walk.

  44. Posted by joh

    Chicago is the dirtiest city in America, at least according to this survey
    Yes, but Chicago rates higher in “sanitation” than SF, which ranks among the lowest, which really isn’t surprising at all.

  45. Posted by dub dub

    Yeah, the 5th and mission garage is pretty awesome, cheap, and I’ve never seen it full.
    Since that area is so flat, you get quite a walking radius from that garage, even larger if (god forbid) you want to hop on the muni.

  46. Posted by ex SF-er

    Chicago is the dirtiest city in America, at least according to this survey:
    just one quick thing:
    that survey isn’t talking about street cleanliness, it is talking about pollution etc… things like water quality, air quality, etc.
    you will get no argument from me: SouthSide Chicago is pretty icky.
    and also: air and water quality in Chicago is awful much worse than SF> (that said I disagree strongly that SF has great air quality)
    however, as I’ve said before Southside Chicago is so far away from Northside Chicago that they have little in common. similar to how Pacific Heights is nowhere near the Mission. Or how Noe is a different world than Bayview.
    Chicago really is a tale of two different cities. northsiders never go south, and southsiders never go north. and they’re separated by a huge downtown which acts as a barrier.
    one of the biggest and most striking differences between Chicago and SF is this delineation. In SF you have nice nabes near crap nabes. In Chicago this is less common. and the tourist areas in Chicago are well insulated, unlike SF.

  47. Posted by Eric in SF

    joh – I’ve had this argument with car people so many times I actually don’t make it any longer – I’m tired of educating normally brilliant people on this (to me) obvious fact of car ownership:
    Car owners never EVER *E* *V* *E* *R* include the sunk costs of their owning a car into decisions like this.
    The unquantifiable comfort and security of the car overrides almost all rational, cost-based decision trees on whether using a car for a particular need is the right tool for the job.
    I’ve almost succumbed myself to this emotion-based decision. The months when I have a $200-$300 City CarShare bill I really ask myself is it cheaper to use car sharing than owning? And every time the numbers don’t lie, and I don’t buy a car.

  48. Posted by sparky-b

    But lots of people already have a car, so the cost is already sunk. Buying a car is a different animal.

  49. Posted by anon

    A sunk cost is by definition sunk, and therefore is excluded from return calculations.
    Anyway, Muni sucks, let’s face it. I’m gonna drive and am willing to pay more so I don’t have to carry multiple bags for multiple blocks.

  50. Posted by anon

    ^That’s why I use cabs for big trips. That way, I can take my stuff out right at my front door, rather than having to lug it through a garage or look for a parking spot or double park to unload. Talk about a waste of time! Cabs are like $10 and direct door-to-door.

  51. Posted by anon

    Eric in SF used the term “sunk” a bit incorrectly. I think he meant to note that the true costs of owning and operating a car tend to be greatly underestimated. Taking into account the payments inc. financing or the purchase price, insurance, parking, maintenance and repairs, gas, registration, etc., it is a very expensive proposition. But his other point is valid that for most people they just don’t care as the convenience and comfort of a car trump the costs regardless of how high they are.

  52. Posted by Eric in SF

    anon – thanks, you are correct in my mis-use of “sunk” in this discussion and your assumption of what I meant was also correct.

  53. Posted by Grubber

    The Bed Bath and Beyond, Nordie Rack on Bryant is one of the busiest BB & B in the entire chain. Part of what makes it successful is its parking. Compromise people, compromise.

  54. Posted by joh

    But lots of people already have a car, so the cost is already sunk. Buying a car is a different animal.
    The point of driving less to save money is to maintain the value in an existing vehicle. Cars driven more miles/yr will either get replaced more frequently or will sell for far less on the used car market, all else being equal.
    However, if someone has an older, fuel-efficient, low-maintenance vehicle that has for the most part stopped depreciating, then sure, driving is quite cheap.
    Car owners never EVER *E* *V* *E* *R* include the sunk costs of their owning a car into decisions like this.
    I definitely agree. I am a car person, and I’ve made many silly decisions as a result, like driving a few extra miles to save a few bucks. I like to think I don’t do such things anymore, but I probably do from time to time.

  55. Posted by anon

    The Bed Bath and Beyond, Nordie Rack on Bryant is one of the busiest BB & B in the entire chain. Part of what makes it successful is its parking. Compromise people, compromise.
    The Macy’s on Union Square is the second largest Macy’s in the country. The Old Navy on Market is the largest Old Navy in the country. The Ross store on Market is the largest Ross in the country. Neither of those have any parking. Target is willing to go into the Metreon with no parking just to get a stab at a downtown SF store. The advantage of being near Union Square (compared to Showplace Square on Bryant) far outweighs any advantage to having easy parking (and it’s not like Union Square is lacking in parking – 10,000 spots within five FLAT blocks of the square. 10,000!!!)

  56. Posted by BobN

    I guess all the posters claiming that Fifth and Mission never fills up have never tried parking there during one of the big conferences at Moscone.

  57. Posted by salarywoman

    Livable city
    has no pity.
    To drivers of cars
    they say move to Mars.

  58. Posted by StockBoySF

    “But its main opposition is to the [proposed 201-space] parking garage, which the group says would undo current efforts that have cut cars on Market to make Muni more efficient and bicycling safer.”
    Hahaha! And Muni just cut their transportation services. I guess the opposition wants the businesses in this development to fail if the businesses are to depend on Muni’s ridership.
    And to the comments about enough parking in the area, the success of SF Center, etc….. Well there comes a time when more retail space requires more parking. Just because parking was overbuilt a few years ago doesn’t mean that every new project does not need any parking. Besides…. I thought Metreon, except the theaters, was hurting. Though to be honest I think that’s more to do with the sucky stores and it’s weird layout.

  59. Posted by iiii

    At the neighborhood meeting the developer said that the demand for parking was coming from the bankers. Without parking on site, he couldn’t find a lender to finance the place.
    And yes, the garage entrance is to be on Stevenson.

  60. Posted by anon

    StockBoySF – there are several garages in the area (the new one at the Jewish museum for one) that are having major financial problems. Seems like there isn’t a shortage of parking if the garages are hurting.

  61. Posted by Alexei

    In a sense it would be nicer if every building would have a bunch of parking underground than having one large block-sized garage. However, that’s not the tradeoff we’re facing.
    iiii- that’s a good point. The developer’s hands might tied. I guess this is a problem with residential places, too. On the other hand, there are various projects going up with limited parking (Westfield?) and they must’ve gotten financing somehow.

  62. Posted by iiii

    Different merchandise, different conditions. What they sell in Westfield costs more per pound, and is thus easier to carry home via transit, than what they’re planning to sell out of CityPlace.

  63. Posted by anon

    ^And how about Target at the Metreon?
    How do you know what they’re “planning to see out of Cityplace”, BTW? The retailers either sound similar to Old Navy, Ross, and Marshalls, or are places like Target that alter the goods that they sell based on the location. The Target in downtown Minneapolis doesn’t have the same stuff as the Target in Colma, and I assume a similar change here.

  64. Posted by MSTBLD

    What is Liveable City? Who are its members? Who supports it financially? Its only presence is that windbag Tom Radulovich who is always throwing monkey wrenches into projects.

  65. Posted by iiii

    Like I said, I went to the community meeting.

  66. Posted by anon

    ^And they said they’d be concentrating on furniture and big screen TVs?

  67. Posted by pica1986

    I’m no expert in obtaining commercial lending, but wouldn’t getting financing for a chain store expansion be significantly different than getting financing for a speculative mall project? Target has a proven concept and other urban stores they can use to demonstrate feasibility. This mall doesn’t have even have prospective tenants yet and according to the article that’s a showstopper:
    “To get the funding, lenders want commitments from prospective tenants, and those retailers demand some parking, the developer said.”
    I guess in the end it doesn’t matter. By the time the parking, anti-chain store, and/or other (fill in the blank) protesters get through with this project the developer will have long since abandoned ship.

  68. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Like I said initially in this thread, a parking entitlement is essentially a gift from the people of SF to the owner of this property. No wonder the lender wants this deal sweetener. If anyone understands the value of a government delivered freebie, bankers do.

  69. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    yes, I remember the armageddon people predicted with the opening of Bloomingdales. No it hasn’t happened. 5th & Mission garage is still not full.
    I don’t think having a small garage with access from back street is that big a deal. I just don’t buy the developer’s argument that this is a deal breaker. Parking will always be a problem in SF downtown. But it has never stopped shoppers. Forget those shoppers who prefer free parking in the suburb. They won’t come just because there is a new garage. Downtown retails should focus on making it a San Francisco experience that they won’t find elsewhere.

  70. Posted by pica1986

    “No wonder the lender wants this deal sweetener. If anyone understands the value of a government delivered freebie, bankers do.”
    Not to nitpick, but if you read the quote you’ll see it’s the prospective tenants of the space that want the parking, not the bankers. And the bankers want commitments from prospective retailers/tenants before they will consider funding the project. Either way, if this developer was smart he would run the other way before he wastes anymore time and money dealing with the activist group of the week.

  71. Posted by Dan

    “…a parking entitlement is essentially a gift from the people of SF to the owner of this property.”
    The city will be paying when people arrive on mass transit. MUNI only collects 20% of its revenue from fares.
    However, the city will make money back on increased property tax, sales tax, payroll tax, parking tax, etc., but only if something is built.

  72. Posted by anon

    The city will be paying when people arrive on mass transit. MUNI only collects 20% of its revenue from fares.
    True, but the incremental cost of adding a few more riders is negligible unless we’re talking about so many that it requires more vehicles or vehicle runs. In other words, adding two more riders on each bus stopping in front of the building would increase the amount of revenue that Muni brings in without increasing the cost to Muni.

  73. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “The city will be paying when people arrive on mass transit. MUNI only collects 20% of its revenue from fares.”
    Are you implying that they city need not pay anything for those who choose to drive ?
    You gotta love magical San Francisco where the streets repair themselves, no-one ever gets run over, and parking spots are built on free land.

  74. Posted by Dan

    No, I’m not implying that the city isn’t paying for motorists. My point is that it costs the city something whether people arrive by car or MUNI, but the city will be well-compensated with increased tax revenue.
    Yes, there is increased efficiency with increased MUNI riders, but still increased need for drivers and new equipment. Since MUNI riders only directly pay a small fraction of the cost to transport them, increased ridership will increase cost to the city.

  75. Posted by joh

    Perhaps the developers and prospective tenants want parking because they believe that customers might be too scared or turned off to walk there. The current state of that stretch between Pearl’s and 5th St is often overrun with a fair number of sketchy/undesirable characters.
    I suppose a new building with enough foot traffic would clean up that block to some degree, unless of course “value-based retail” means dollar stores and thrift shops.

  76. Posted by Alexei

    I’m guessing that the 20% figure is due to buses which run mostly empty on off-peak hours and other fixed costs, and that the net from increased ridership is much better than 20%, maybe over 100% of costs (ie profitable).
    Also, the costs from increased traffic are borne as much by other drivers and even commuters on buses as they are by the city directly.

  77. Posted by redseca2

    As someone who has worked in the 5th and Market neighborhood since 1993 I need to point out that the big 5th and Mission garage often fills completely up. Please remember that garage pre-dates everything, including the Nordstroms building.
    If this developer wants to go to the considerable expense of the construction of several levels of underground construction and it is used for the first decade of its existence as “parking”, before we all switch to bikes including Room and Board when they deliever your sofa, more power to them. You could never add that below grade space later.

  78. Posted by anon

    ^Sounds like the 5th/Mission garage needs to raise prices if it “often fills completely up”. Also, seems as though the garage a block away needs to do more advertising, since it’s drowning in a sea of red ink from being so empty – if 5th/Mission is filling up so often, they shouldn’t be having a problem finding parkers.

  79. Posted by acoustician

    Does the 5th/Mission garage really ever fill up? I often use the Zipcars on the 5th floor, and rarely see a lot of traffic up there. The floor above that has even been closed off as long as I can remember.

  80. Posted by anon

    ^I’ve never seen it even remotely close to full, though it might push capacity on a couple days of the year (an Oracle conference or maybe Macworlds of past years). Certainly three days a year of capacity warrants adding hundreds more parking spaces though…

  81. Posted by anonandon

    The garage that fills up in this town is the Sutter-Stockton garage. I don’t know who owns that facility, but they should be making a ton of money, and it would be nice if they kept the elevators clean.

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