May 29, 2012

401 Grove Street Gets Its Groove On Despite Intimations Otherwise

401 Grove Aerial

Last July, San Francisco’s Planning Commission approved the development of 63 residential units over 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail and 37 parking spaces (32 residential, 3 commercial, and 2 car share) upon the parking lot at 401 Grove Street.

While the written application for development indicated the project was "proposing parking in an amount which is principally permitted by the Planning Code" (32), the plans depicted seven residential tandem parking spaces, seven more spaces than were approved.

401 Grove Street Revised Design

Intimating the "loss" of the seven parking spaces "in an environment where financing and equity are extremely difficult to put together" could jeopardize the entire development, the project sponsors requested an amendment to allow a total of 44 spaces.

Following a couple of failed motions, the Planning Commission effectively rejected the amendment. And a few weeks later, the developer applied for the permit to start work and the ground has since been broken.

401 Grove Site: 5/29/12 (

Expect the building to be finished by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

401 Grove Street: The Revised Designs And Density [SocketSite]
Permits For 401 Grove On Hold Over Parking Dispute With Planning [SocketSite]
The 401 Grove Street Seven And Great Parking Debate Continued [SocketSite]

First Published: May 29, 2012 9:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

So it looks like the developer was just bluffing that the project's finacing hinged on the extra parking spaces. You can't blame them for trying. Parking entitlements from the city amount to free money to the developer.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 29, 2012 10:06 AM

great, this should really help the parking situation in hayes valley, as i'm sure all of the buyers will be ultra-progressives that ride bikes to work and would never own a car.

Posted by: anon$random at May 29, 2012 1:36 PM

^If they're not, then prices should fall until those who don't want a parking space will buy. Seems like the market in action to me.

Posted by: anon at May 29, 2012 2:36 PM

This wasn't an oversight, the developers tried to pull a fast one. Look at the plans:

The Residential Parking Tabulation Count is 32, counting tandem spaces as 1. The drawings number the tandem spaces as 1 as well.

I don't agree with less than 1:1 parking - would rather see cars off the street - but glad the Commission stuck to their guns on this one.

Posted by: Michael at May 29, 2012 3:13 PM

Are you referring to the parking tabulation Brahma? Yes, it does seem like they are counting a tandem spot the same as a "full size" spot:

Parking Tabulation
Description Count
Full Size 2
Full Size 2
Full Size 24
Tandem 7
Total --> 37

I wonder how the developer has reconfigured the bottom floorplan to eliminate the tandem spots. It seems like someone who tried this accounting trick might also try to install an easy to remove feature (storage?) at the deep end of each tandem spot, enabling covert restoration of the tandem parking.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 29, 2012 4:14 PM

For 500,000 years we got along just fine without garage parking. It's only within the past 60 years that it become life or death.

Posted by: sf at May 29, 2012 4:35 PM

what's the tally of freeway parcels filled in? Does this bring it up to half?

Posted by: James at May 29, 2012 4:49 PM

More oriels.
Just what SF needs.

Posted by: Unplugged at May 29, 2012 7:15 PM

Why are these always 5-storey developments? Smaller would be better. This will make Gough even more of a traffic-clogged artery than it is at present and will be horrible for pedestrians.

Also, why is the design of these places so damned dull?

Posted by: John at June 1, 2012 10:07 PM

Why are these always 5-storey developments? Smaller would be better.

I'll fix that for you:

Why are these always 5-storey developments? Taller would be better.

Posted by: anon at June 2, 2012 11:42 AM

anon wrote:Why are these always 5-storey developments? Taller would be better.
Point taken as to the response to 'John' and the desirability of increased density (I agree with you), but I believe the real answer is: because of the zoning.

401 Grove Street appears to be zoned in either 50-X or 40-X Height & Bulk Districts, which means that the maximum building height is either roughly fifty or forty feet without a variance from planning (read: approved by the planning commission).

I don't have a degree in planning, but there appears to be an extra height offset for the ground floor here, but even so…using the 10 ft. rough rule of thumb for a storey, you're only going to get five storeys max in this location given the current zoning.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at June 2, 2012 10:39 PM

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