January 14, 2010

Stepping On The Gas For Development At Mission And Ney

4199 Mission

San Francisco’s Planning Department has issued its notice of intent to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration (which is a good thing if you’re the developer) for the proposed redevelopment of the corner of Mission and Ney from gas station to residences over retail.

The proposed project would include demolition of the existing gasoline service station and associated structures, removal of two underground storage tanks, and construction of a four‐story, approximately 40‐foot‐tall mixed‐use building.

4199 Mission Design

The proposed approximately 31,480 gross‐square‐feet (gsf) building would include 12 residential units (approximately 18,210 sf) on the second through fourth floors, approximately 1,990 sf of ground‐floor retail, 6,030 sf of common and circulation space, 3,355 sf of open space, and a 15‐space ground‐floor parking garage (approximately 5,250 sf) with ingress and egress from Ney Street.

Speaking of which, who's got the latest scoop on 2465 Van Ness, 1031 Divisadero, or any other shuttered stations about town?

Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration: 4199 Mission [sf-planning.org]
The Development Of 1301 Divisadero: A Plugged-In Reader Reports [SocketSite]
A Reader Asks: What’s In The Works For 2465 Van Ness? [SocketSite]

First Published: January 14, 2010 11:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

There goes another gas station. How can this be good for the city? The loss of one more gas station in the city has the effect of raising prices for everyone in need of petrol. Duh...demand and supply! The price of the commodity has nothing to do with the price charged by stations in the city. It's all about availability. Less in this case means higher prices. Just one more slap in the face to the middle class in SF. Ouch!

Posted by: youllbsorry at January 14, 2010 12:09 PM

You're right, youllbesorry. The greedheads don't realize that every new restaurant, condo/loft, empty dotcom office which displaces a gas station, auto repair shop, hardware store, cobbler, upholstery shop, paint store, garden supply, etc. raises the cost of all of those things, and we have to drive farther, probably out of town, to get to them.

Sure, there's just nothing very sexy about a tailor shop, or furniture refinishing, bakery, auto body, etc., when compared with a ten dollar scone or a hundred dollar piece of endangered fish, but these are the kinds of businesses which make a town function. But then, we're rapidly becoming little more than a Disneyland for adults, full of transient twenty-something coders. There goes the neighborhood!

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 12:31 PM

San Francisco is a tiny city cars by their nature travel far

Buy your gas on South Van or South City

I will take housing over gas stations any day.

I almost read these comments as satire

Posted by: Zig at January 14, 2010 12:40 PM

"we're rapidly becoming little more than a Disneyland for adults, full of transient twenty-something coders. There goes the neighborhood!"

Except the neighborhood in question is blue collar and poor. Are their "coders" or many middle class whites for that matter in the Excelsior?

Posted by: zig at January 14, 2010 12:43 PM

A quick lube operator told us a few yrs ago that their store in SF is one of the lowest performing ones in their chain of 40+ stores in the Bay Area. Maybe they said that to negotiate a lower rent, but we saw their numbers and it was true. People in SF drive much less than other parts of the Bay.

Posted by: formerly%whatever at January 14, 2010 12:51 PM

I see this gas station every day going from my kid's elementary school (SF Community on Excelsior St.) to the Glen Park BART. It's a perfect place to build workforce housing. It's no more than 5 minute walk from BART, on major bus lines, near the branch library. This is a neighborhood with abundant auto-related services, blue collar jobs ect. A little middle-class housing and slightly upscale retail hurts nobody and would cater to the many, many families who have bought houses in the area in the last few years.

Posted by: JKD at January 14, 2010 1:10 PM

I fill up at that gas station quite frequently...They have close to the cheapest prices in the city so I'm going to be bummed that it's going. (BTW, that's an old picture. It's no longer Chevron.) Oh well, there's a Shell station pretty close by but it's typically 5-7 cents more expensive per liter.

Is that area considered Excelsior or Mission Terrace?

Posted by: Willow at January 14, 2010 1:35 PM

No,you're right zig, there aren't too many coders out in the Excels. What a perfect opportunity! We can build all kinds of overpriced cool live/code lofts out there for them, and we can drive the blue collars out, because working joes are bad for property values, right?

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 1:36 PM

Willow, they sell gasoline by the liter? how un-American! I say... boycott Shell

Posted by: asiago at January 14, 2010 1:48 PM

two beers

I lived in the Excelsior as a little kid (not raised)

My brother was raised there (Balboa High). My dad was raised there (Balboa High). My parernal grandparents lived out there. Most of my uncles (both blood and by marriage) are from the Excelsior. I have two cousins out there still.

What were you saying about it? I know it well

Posted by: Zig at January 14, 2010 1:51 PM

"paternal" grandparents

Posted by: zig at January 14, 2010 2:01 PM

Zig, I'm sure you know the Excels better than I do. I do know it is one of the last working class neighborhoods in the city. I like working class neighborhoods. All real cities have them. They are the lifeblood of any real, vibrant city. Working class neighborhoods don't exist in amusement parks.

Sure, take out the gas station, so that the blue collar joes who live there and have to commute to work will have to pay more for their gas. Sure, build higher-end housing, raising rents in the neighborhood making it harder for the working joes to live there.

What's your vision for the future of that part of town? Should we just gentrify the working class completely out of SF? Maybe some of the real estaters on this board would drool at the opportunity to gentrify the Excelsior. I hope they leave it the f*ck alone.

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 2:08 PM

Nothing makes my day like this news. Gas stations should be incorporated into other structures (supermarket parking lots, parking structures, malls, the like). They really don't need to be land-intensive, fluorescent-lit eyesores they are.

Btw what's "workforce" code for?

Posted by: Invented at January 14, 2010 2:11 PM

I'm sure none of you land reconfigurers (i.e used house salesmen, developers, banksters) who think every gas station should be torn down and replaced with condos and Whole Foods ever complain about the price of gas in SF, probably the highest price in the US. Which. of course, affects the price of everything else here.

Are all of you just concerned with how to make the quickest buck, or do any of your ever look at the bigger picture? Quality of life? Sustainability? Diversity? Economic fairness? (ooh, now I've done it, I must be a commie!)

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 2:23 PM

Oh well, there's a Shell station pretty close by but it's typically 5-7 cents more expensive per liter.

you really are getting ripped off! Next time ask them to give you gas in gallons! :)

at least they're selling it in liters and not litres... that would be just too much.!

Posted by: ex SF-er at January 14, 2010 2:25 PM

@Invented

I always thought they were on self contained plots because of the toxic fumes, leaks, etc. In less populated areas, they sit vacant for years when they close, because they leave behind a mini version of a Superfund site... they have to excavate the tanks, surrounding dirt, etc...

Posted by: hugh at January 14, 2010 2:27 PM

"What's your vision for the future of that part of town? Should we just gentrify the working class completely out of SF?"

I don't think I am making the connection that you are. I don't think the the housing will be high end.

I don't support the type of activist planning you advocate for because it fails over and over and is ripe for corruption

Boring personal ancedote: my grandfather came from Croatia to Valencia St, rented a flat, (raised my mom) only because it was cheap and accessible to downtown. Nothing more and I am not sure anyone should expect more.

All we should do is make sure we allow for accessible (by public transit) housing supply all over the Bay Area so people have place to live. We do a shitty job of it this type of planning. What I would call "real" city planning not the neighborhood level activist BS

The evolution of neighborhoods is natural. You might be surpised to know that the Excelsior that my father grew up in was almost seem as a burb within the city for working class Irish and Italians who lived in nuclear families and were moving out of the Mission. My bother was the last of the generation of white guys in the Mission with feathered hair driving around in TransAms but the area was already undergoing rapid change


Aren't you glad we didn't impose policy to preserve "us" even after "we" all moved on to San Mateo and San Bruno? Well in fact we sort of did. They should be knocking down the houses out there and putting up two and three familes.

Posted by: zig at January 14, 2010 2:41 PM

two beers - how many auto repair shops and gas stations do we need in a city where less and less people are owning cars?

Posted by: Fishchum at January 14, 2010 2:50 PM

Zig,

You're right, it probably won't be high-end, but it will be "higher-end", i.e. more expensive than what's there now, so it will put upward pressure on rents, chasing the workers away. If this is going to be affordable family housing, than I am very wrong.

I sure agree with you about shitty city planning. Mission Bay and the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, for example. More sterile cookie-cutter yuppie condos all over the place. Also, the sad, sordid tale of the Fillmore/West Add. I'm not sure what you think the "activist planning" I support is.
I just think the despised working class should be able to live and work in a city, with some modicum of dignity.

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 2:52 PM

Ex SF-er: Great catch. Of course, I meant gallons. Sorry, I'm showing my metric heritage! :-)

Posted by: Willow at January 14, 2010 3:07 PM

how do gas station owners feel about the homeless people who stand there all day/night and come wash your windshield once you pull in? i never go to the van ness & pine chevron anymore because the guy is always there.

Posted by: condoshopper at January 14, 2010 3:28 PM

We need Parisian gas stations like this.

Posted by: dr.who at January 14, 2010 3:28 PM

condoshopper -- I think you answered your own question. Clearly the owner of that gas station doesn't feel strongly enough about it, because those hobos are always there. If the hobos deterred more customers, causing a loss in revenue, the owner would get rid of them. Anyway, you've just ensured I will never go there, so good work!

Posted by: JimBobJones at January 14, 2010 3:37 PM

As population density rises there is less demand for auto services of all types. There is also an ongoing story of woe for all gas stations in that most of the profit goes to the supplier. This means that most of the profits are made from extras like attached convenience stores and eateries. Because these other consumer channels are highly competitive gas stations tend to get crushed and go under, and this phenomenon is national in scope. How much pressure the market can take before gas companies have to ease up to prevent declining sales remains to be seen because we have not reached that point yet.

Posted by: Mole Man at January 14, 2010 3:41 PM

With that F bomb, I'm beginning to think two beers is Chris Daly.

Commie no, Socialist; yes.

Posted by: marko1332 at January 14, 2010 3:44 PM

@dr.who

We used these Paris and Brussels indeed -- so unugly and a non-issue. Discreet ones on the highway as well. All self service. No fanfare, no glaring lights along famous parks (Golden Gate Park uh hum).

The lurkers @ stations & car washes are notoriously there to grab wallets from open car doors in the cleaning process. It's a known problem under the guise of having your windshield cleaned.

Posted by: Invented at January 14, 2010 3:56 PM

I wonder about people who block development in the name of preserving working class neighborhoods. I just can't figure out the argument.

If the gas station disappears, and it's a 'vital resource', then won't it drive down the desirability of local housing, and hence prices?

Obviously you're not going to displace anyone with this project, since you're building housing that wasn't there before.

A lot of arguments seem to boil down to "if you make the neighborhood nicer, or rehab a run-down apartment, richer people will be happy to move in and costs will go up." So you keep things crappy in order to drive away people with money? Lame.

You oughta figure out something that's important to people with money but which people without money won't miss. You want to keep a neighborhood working class? Here's an idea: BAN ORGANIC FOOD (or at least advertising it as such). Making it difficult for cars to exist is not bad either, since they're expensive. Put in a warren of random street barriers, like in Berkeley.

Require the conversion of garages into studio apartments! Inconvenient for the wealthy, even as it brings in money for homeowners.

Of course, it goes without saying that public transit should be improved. Not trains, though, because the wealthy will ride those, but good old-fashioned buses.

Think outside the box, people! We can beat this thing.

Posted by: Alexei at January 14, 2010 5:08 PM

Clean renewal energy mandated into all buildings. % of excess energy goes to the the city and is dispensed free to the people (wait for it) who pay property taxes in the city.

Posted by: Kathleen at January 14, 2010 6:27 PM

Alexei- The concern some (well, me) have is that this is a foothold for the condominimization of one of the last refuges in SF of the people who clean up after your messes. Yes, they still live here, in far corners of the city, and they live off your crumbs, and keep everything nice and shiny, so we can live out our prolonged adolescence in the`frathouse town.

I see the archy is Gary Gee. We can officially begin the SOMAfication of the Excelsior. Loftominimums for everyone!

If these are 3brs and 4brs, I stand corrected, but considering Gee's resume....ever try raising a family in a freaking loft?

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 6:27 PM

^ Read the freaking document first and look at the floor plans:

"The proposed building would include a total of 12 dwelling units, of which nine would be three‐bedroom units and three would be two‐bedroom units."

It's not the architect that dictates the number of bedrooms but the developer and Planning.

Posted by: Corrected at January 14, 2010 7:13 PM

I stand corrected.

But, gee, it's Gee. There's a TON of lumpy, rusting baggage there...

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 7:24 PM

Builders aren't building live work lofts, since the live work ordinance was repealed.

Posted by: Dan at January 14, 2010 7:35 PM

Okay, they're condos now. They're still blindwall boxes.

If Gee is designing affordable family housing, well, that's different....nevermind!

Posted by: two beers at January 14, 2010 7:54 PM

condoshopper you think a hobo who wants to wash your windshield is a nuisance? I was checking my tires at my local Chevron station and this guy came up and helped me pull out the air line and held it while I checked all four tires, and put air in some. It would have been hard without him and the dollar I gave him was accepted with a smile and a thank you. Don't always be too sure that some of these guys can't be helpful.

Posted by: Oceangoer at January 14, 2010 9:56 PM

There is this little thing called the supply-demand curve which would indicate that building more middle income housing should push *down* the price of comparable housing, not increase it.

But a simple Econ 101 look at the situation is not sophisticated enough, because it is obvious that more supply can drive its own demand, as in the cases of gentrification or where almost overnight, a whole street can become filled with trendy new bars and cafes.

I know a coder who lived in the Excelsior: he moved out after being jumped and mugged by five guys one night. It is still pretty rough around the edges, but so is the Mission and that has not stopped it from gentrifying. In general I think it is a good thing when neighborhoods get safer and nicer, but I see your point about working class people being pushed out of San Francisco. It has been happening for decades, pretty much ever since San Francisco's nadir in the early seventies. Back then crime in San Francisco was about as bad as Oakland is today and very few middle class people were even willing to live here. Since then, things have cleaned up considerably. But with the economic winners, there are going to be some losers as well.

At least Daly City and Vallejo are still affordable.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at January 16, 2010 10:35 AM

Wow, fascinating thread. Plenty of people who don't live in the Excelsior know what it "should" be like.

Yes, middle class people live here. If you make a "normal" salary, and want to buy an actual house, with a yard, in the city, you don't have many options. As for "blue collar and poor", you have to be out of your mind to think that anyone who can afford a house in SF is poor. (Well, you are poor after you start paying the mortgage, but that is a different story.)

I understand that there is a philosophical argument for retaining "low cost" housing, but the practical result is to prevent improvement of the poorer neighborhoods. So Pac Heights and Noe Valley are allowed to see their living conditions improve and their properties appreciate, but I am not, simply so that the rich people in the rich neighborhoods can feel good about themselves for living in a city which thinks of the poor?

Posted by: dont_think_twice at January 17, 2010 7:41 AM

The Excelsior is a large neighborhood-- one development is not going to change it, for better or worse. The development site is a short walk to Glen Park BART and village, and near a 280 on-ramp. Dense development makes sense there.

Posted by: Dan at January 17, 2010 1:20 PM

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