3500 19th Street Rendering

Three days after we wrote about it in June, permits were filled to prepare the site at 3500 19th Street for construction. And as a reader notes, building has since commenced at the corner of 19th and Valencia.

As we first reported, it’s a five-story building with 17 dwelling units, 2,958 square feet of retail and 15 parking spaces that’s rising on the site and the project’s affordable housing requirement will be fulfilled by way of paying an in-lieu fee rather than included onsite.

With respect to whether the development will be for sale or rent, expect the market to decide in 12 to 18 months.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Marten

    How did this project get started so quickly without seemingly any community input?

  2. Posted by anon

    It had conditional use authorization as far back as at least January 2011: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2011/01/not_a_lot_for_the_lot_at_valencia_and_3500_19th_street.html
    So I’m not sure what you mean by getting started so quickly?

  3. Posted by James

    “started so quickly without seemingly any community input”
    you answered your own question there.

  4. Posted by joh

    and the project’s affordable housing requirement will be fulfilled by way of paying an in-lieu fee rather than included onsite.
    How does that work? Does the city use the money from the fee to build BMRs elsewhere? Or do the developers pay the fee so that they can build the BMRs elsewhere?

  5. Posted by joh

    ^ or is the BMR requirement just waived altogether?

  6. Posted by anon

    They pay money into the city’s affordable housing fund and do not have to build BMRs of their own on-site or off-site. The city’s fund is mostly dispersed to non-profits that build below market rate housing projects of their own (Mercy Housing, TNDC, etc). Several of the new Tenderloin buildings were built primarily with grants from the city’s affordable housing fund, which comes mostly from things like this (but also has some dedicated funding through regular ‘ol taxes).

  7. Posted by futurist

    We could achieve a lot more new housing projects in shorter time and with lower costs if we did NOT have so much meddling community input.
    Generally, the Nimbys and other complainers focus on very small issues, like the color of a project or minor architectural details. More important issues such as setbacks, height limits, and massing are already defined by the Planning Code and should not involve any additional discussion, if they are within the codes.

  8. Posted by EH

    It’s the fund to put all the city’s BMRs into one building, either in the TL or HP.

  9. Posted by Mole Man

    Nice roof details, but that column on the corner bugs me. It makes sense that it is rendered in a different color because it will get tagged and repainted often, also run into by the hapless. And that is all so the building can hang out a bit past the usual corner envelope in grand bay window style.
    That corner would work better if it were clipped back, though at expected prices that might easily eliminate one or two million dollars worth of sellable floor area.

  10. Posted by Alai

    I think it’s interesting to compare the old and the new. Cater-corner from this lot is a shorter building on a lot less than half the size, but with more apartments and more retail space.
    Of course those are small apartments, but no doubt they’re a heck of a lot more affordable, and the retail space doesn’t hurt either. You could double the size of each apartment, double the amount of retail space, and still have room left over for more. And they’d still be a lot more affordable than these, even though the increased number would probably ensure a nice profit for the developer.
    So why not? In a word, parking. Even with the reduced number of spaces (which the developer had to get a special exemption for), half or more of the ground floor will be used for the parking garage. Additional units would require additional parking spots, and there’s nowhere to put them. So the city ensures that the apartments that are built are large and expensive, and that the retail space is significantly smaller than it could have been.

  11. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    Alai:
    In that neighborhood having parking makes perfect sense. Street parking is scarce and building a large project without parking just hurts everyone in the neighborhood (in particular the working class people in the building you mention — Do you think those people don’t own cars? Do you think everyone they know lives within walking distance?).
    While the area is close to BART and a few muni routes heading downtown, most people will need cars for at least some of their transportation needs. So providing for parking is sensible.
    BTW, taking away parking would not allow you to double the size of the retail and residential. I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that it would.
    While it may not meet your fantasies about how people should be forced to live in SF, this project is actually quite appropriate for the neighborhood.

  12. Posted by futurist

    Great call NoeNeighbor. Totally agree.
    Those who continually keep pushing for less or large reductions in parking for new buildings do not understand that it can and will hurt a neighborhood; there are only so many spaces on the street available.
    And yes, most and many people still need a car. I get so sick of hearing others including the bike centric crowd constantly tell others how to live, by giving up their car and getting a bike. A bike only works for a very small percentage of our population.
    I think this is a great project for the neighborhood also, and I also like the corner column.

  13. Posted by Alai

    So the buildings that have been around for a century– those are inappropriate for the neighborhood. This project is what’s appropriate. Right.
    The lot cater-corner to this one is half the size of this one, but with more apartments and retail. Hence, this one could be, roughly, double that one (more, since it’s one story taller).
    And it’s a 10,000 square foot lot with 2958 sf of retail. Many existing buildings use almost the entire ground floor for retail. So what’s in the other 7000 sf of this one? Lobby, a little green space… and 15 spaces, or about 5,000 sf, of parking.
    Finally, I love the reasoning that limiting the amount of working class housing actually helps the working class, by making it slightly easier for people to find parking (and harder to find housing, but that’s not important, apparently).

  14. Posted by lol

    futurist,
    Using your logic, we could say the car-centric crowd has been telling everyone how to live for 100 years now. It’s all about striking a balance.
    Right now, bicycles are encroaching on car kingdom, often getting in the way of the “necessary traffic”. Bikes are traffic too. There’s one human on that bike, and there’s very often one human in that car too. They all deserve equal treatment in the facts.

  15. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I personally don’t think biking is for everyone or even most people, but the case for reducing mandatory parking doesn’t depend on bike commuting being ubiquitous. At all.
    The idea, as if the above commenters haven’t already heard it, is that if some buyers want the option of going car free, they can do so in exchange for a lower cost of acquiring housing. People who want a car-dependent lifestyle are free to lease parking.
    My personal thought is that it’s only a matter of time, if financing stays as cheap as it has been for the last two years, before some clever financier’s going to start a REIT that does nothing but build third party parking garages around this city.
    lol has it right, ironically, it’s the “don’t tell others how to live” crowd who have been telling others how to live, by insisting that housing be built with mandatory and/or minimum parking, and then asserting that without minimum parking that everyone will have a car and park on the street.
    If you’re car-centric, that’s your choice, but don’t tell others who want less expensive housing that they have to pay for parking they don’t need and don’t want to pay for in order to support your car-centric life choices.

  16. Posted by Jackson

    Lol, I would love to see bicyclists rise to the level of responsibility of car drivers by purchasing mandatory insurance, having a driver’s license, and bicycle license plates.
    Futurist, is correct in stating objection the bike centric crowd constantly tell others how to live and dictating parking space requirements.
    Let the market decide.
    If apartments without parking are cheaper, they will sell quickly and developers will build more.
    The bicycle-centric crowd favors “central-committee” type direction of building parking space requirements.
    Even if all automobiles were electric and pollution free, bicycle “Critical Mass-heads” would still complain and attempt to promote their agenda over other views.

  17. Posted by tipster

    Retail space in cities will go the way of the dodo bird. Amazon is reportedly working on same day deliveries. I’m getting stuff delivered to my San Diego employees from Amazon in under a day as it is. I don’t even go out to buy toothpaste any more, I just order it online. $79 per year buys me nearly instant free shipping and a ton of free movies.
    Another thing that’s looking like its about to go the way of the dodo bird: the mortgage interest deduction. The Republican party just voted it out of their platform.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-20/republican-platform-won-t-protect-mortgage-tax-deduction.html

  18. Posted by anon

    If apartments without parking are cheaper, they will sell quickly and developers will build more.
    Um, you do realize this is ILLEGAL in most cases, correct? The city forces developers to build parking, by central committee, as you say.
    I would love nothing more than for the amount of parking built to be based on the market, and not folks saying that every unit must have a parking spot built.

  19. Posted by Jackson

    Anon, you are I are in complete agreement then.
    I’m willing to give up mandating parking spaces in buildings, if you and others will give up preventing building such too.
    Since we have solved the issue, I’ll buy a round of beers for everyone!
    BTW, what kind of a handle is anon? (just kidding)

  20. Posted by Alai

    I’m willing to give up mandating parking spaces in buildings, if you and others will give up preventing building such too.
    I like that idea.

  21. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Jackson wrote:

    If apartments without parking are cheaper, they will sell quickly and developers will build more.

    The bicycle-centric crowd favors “central-committee” type direction of building parking space requirements.

    Not from what I’ve seen.
    The people insisting upon mandatory parking ratios, more often than not, are the folks who’ve adopted car-dependent lifestyles and don’t want it challenged. They also, from what I’ve seen, are mostly incumbent homeowners who for any given proposed project, want developers to be forced to include parking so as to minimize competition for on-street parking from those new to the neighborhood who buy the completed units.
    And I’m not defending bike snobs (need a better catch phrase here). If you want to provide a link to where the “bicycle-centric crowd” demanded mandatory parking ratios, please do so, I’ll be glad to read it.

  22. Posted by fixie landbaron

    I live 2 blocks from this development. Yes, it’s uninspired, boring, and the same as everything else being built at the same time, but so are most developments, including those beloved 100-year-old victorians (yes, I own one). But I am thrilled to see it going up. We need housing, of any sort, thank god we’re building it. It’s better than a freaking parking lot.
    FWIW, I am a car-free cyclist (I ride about 150m a week, most of those commute miles) and I am not in favor of central committee decided parking requirements. Let the market decide. But doing that does require moving the whole parking system to the market, which includes elimination of the subsidized residential street parking.

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