January 11, 2013

New Mission Theater Redevelopment And 114 New Condos Approved

New Mission Theater and Giant Value Site

As we first reported and plugged-in people knew to expect:

On the agenda for San Francisco’s Planning Commission this week, the approval of The Next Big Housing Thing To Define The New Mission, the redevelopment of the New Mission Theater and construction of 114 market-rate condos and 89 parking spaces at 2558 Mission Street where the Giant Value department store currently stands.
The Planning Department recommends approval. And as we first reported last year, once approved, the construction of the 2558 Mission Street building would take approximately 18 to 20 months, 10 to 12 months for the renovation of the New Mission Theater.

Last night, San Francisco's Planning Commission approved the project with 77 permitted parking spaces by a vote of 5 to 1 with Commissioner Antonini dissenting based on the reduced parking ratio. Construction should begin by summer.

2558 Mission Street Rendering

On The Agenda: New Mission Theater And New Condos Approvals [SocketSite]
The Next Big Housing Thing To Define The New Mission [SocketSite]
Are Parking Spots A Disincentive To Walk Or Take Public Transport? [SocketSite]

First Published: January 11, 2013 7:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

This is fantastic news! Did it involve an upzoning of the lot or is all of Mission St. now zoned for 7-8 story buildings?

Posted by: observant neighbor at January 11, 2013 8:23 AM

Oh well, those 37 owners who don't have a space will easily find street parking on that block.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 11, 2013 8:28 AM

Shame about the amount of parking still being left so outrageously high, but overall a good project. Happy to see it go forward.

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2013 8:35 AM

Kewl. Better the parking compromise than this thing sitting around for years on end. Another armory, anyone?

Posted by: 48yo hipster at January 11, 2013 9:03 AM

This looks awesome! That sign is stupid though. C'mon SF, grow up.

Posted by: sf at January 11, 2013 9:17 AM

@formidable - why do you assume that everyone there will need/want to own their own car. Those apartments are going to almost all be for singles/DINKs who are prime candidates for carsharing services. I mean, if small apartment dwellers on Mission Street aren't the optimal demographic for that service, then who is?

Posted by: timid doer of the sweet at January 11, 2013 9:19 AM

sf, please elaborate. To what sign are you referring? The theater sign is an existing sign that was constructed in 1910 and last altered in 1932. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The sign (and theater) will be restored as part of the project. I'm not sure how this qualifies as "stupid".

Posted by: em at January 11, 2013 10:05 AM

This location, like Noe Valley and Potrero Hill is a prime spot for singles/DINKs who work in Silicon Valley. Super convenient to both 101 and 280 = car owners. Bike fascists and the Politbüro can delude themselves all they want but this building is going to add to congestion locally when all those new residents start circling the blocks for parking. And good luck finding *safe* street parking in that 'hood. They'll be circling west of Valencia St.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 11, 2013 10:06 AM

It being a prime spot for young professionals who work in Silicon Valley means a significant number will use one of the many shuttles down there or take the train. Mission is a transit street. Bart to the airport, etc. One really can live without a car there unlike some other neighborhoods

Posted by: Jose at January 11, 2013 10:23 AM

Glad that SOMETHING is being built here, too bad it's this though. Still think it is architecturally uninteresting and too whimsical/bad 60's in style. Don't believe it will last through the ages and become dated very very quickly.

Keeping and open mind, I will look forward to them proving me wrong in the styling when completed but it will be a long time before this street will be considered a wonderful place to live.

Posted by: radar at January 11, 2013 10:28 AM

My wife and I lived in an apartment on Mission Street (at 19th) for several years without a car, happily using the car-sharing services on occasion but taking BART/Muni/Amtrak/Caltrain/bikes to get to work. We bought a car when we had kids. After our kids outgrow carseats, I suspect we'll sell our car-even though we have a parking spot (we now live 2 blocks off Mission St.). We're not bike nazis or moralistic about this; it's just an issue of money and convenience.

The point is, whether or not the buyers of units in this building own cars, they're not going to use them very much unless they have kids of "carseat" age. This is one of the few micro-neighborhoods in the city in which owning a car is more hindrance than help.

Posted by: observant neighbor at January 11, 2013 10:39 AM

It isn't the city's responsibility to ensure that every person who wants to commute to the South Bay gets first dibs on new housing in areas convenient to freeways. The city should set planning policy based on the goals of the city, not a very small set of potential buyers. If that means that less parking turns off potential buyers and they don't buy here, then well, so what? Other folks will. If that means the prices drop until other folks will, then um, so what? That's for the developer to take a risk on.

Planning shouldn't be primarily motivated by who you think will buy places, but primarily by how you want the area to develop.

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2013 10:55 AM

"why do you assume that everyone there will need/want to own their own car"

The thing is, we shouldn't be operated in assumptions, in either direction. The policy of restricting residential car parking has gone on long enough that some analysis is in order. We keep assuming that the residents of these developments are as green as the planners hope they'll be. Evidence suggests they're not and that the really do need more parking.

Is it really that outrageous, or hard, to take people's real behavior into consideration when "planning" a city? Do a survey of the last ten big (100+ units) developments and compare projected parking need vs. real car ownership vs. desired car ownership.

Posted by: BobN at January 11, 2013 10:59 AM

Great project. Great design.

Bad parking ratio.

But very happy it was approved as designed. The Planning Commissioners are beginning to back away from being amateur designers. Finally.

Posted by: futurist at January 11, 2013 11:18 AM

I love the design but I am wondering two things:

1- What will be value engineered out of the design?
2- What's going on with the building next door in the rendering? It looks completely different!

Posted by: Connor at January 11, 2013 11:40 AM

Evidence suggests they're not and that the really do need more parking.

Love to see this evidence. How many projects with less than 1:1 parking have actually been completed? I'm not aware of any major ones...they're all still under construction or in planning phases.

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2013 11:41 AM

Is it really that outrageous, or hard, to take people's real behavior into consideration when "planning" a city? Do a survey of the last ten big (100+ units) developments and compare projected parking need vs. real car ownership vs. desired car ownership.

Not outrageous at all. But have any developments with 100+ units actually been completed that have less than 1:1 parking? I'm not aware of any off the top of my head.

Also - it does take time for people to self-select and adjust to new norms. I would expect that many folks may think that they can deal with a place without a parking spot, then sell or move a couple years into it because in reality they can't. That's not a failure of planning on the city's part though - that's exactly expected behavior. People aren't entirely rational in the short term, but tend to be in the longer term.

That's why when looking at how folks deal without parking spots, we should be looking at the, dunno, 100 years of evidence that we have already, where we see that places like Nob Hill have dramatically lower auto ownership than neighboring Russian Hill, and lo and behold, parking ratios are higher in Russian Hill (while other demographics like income, etc are pretty identical).

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2013 11:47 AM

It's a perfect development for singles/young couples but also families with young kids.

People who commute South and cannot use a company shuttle will pick the units with parking. Same thing for people with kids or creaky joints.

People who have a shuttle or have an SF job will be more likely to go with car-sharing and do a non-car-based commute.

Cycling to Civic Center, Embarcadero, FiDi, SOMA, South Beach, Mission Bay takes less than 20 minutes and it's flat. Even commuting to the Dogpatch through 18th/Mariposa is fairly do-able.

Posted by: lol at January 11, 2013 12:12 PM

Great news. Hope to see many more new residential buildings on Mission St.

Posted by: Snark17 at January 11, 2013 12:22 PM

I guess anon can't tell the difference between someone asking the city to artificially increase parking and someone asking the city to not artificially constrain parking and causing a shortage. Oh well.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 11, 2013 12:38 PM

^What is the difference between the city forcing a shortage and the city forcing a glut, besides the obvious? Both are explicit moves to distort the market, so am I missing why one is ok and the other not?

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2013 12:42 PM

restricting parking is sure to cause more congestion in the area and more problems for cyclists with car owners circling the blocks across bike lanes, looking for parking. Most homeowners own cars, and will continue to own cars. People who can afford these condos can afford cars and like having the luxury and convenience of having a car. But they need a place to store it. If its not stored in their building, it will be stored on the street and constantly moved to find new spots. in addition, all of these 77 spots will not go to the owners. I'm sure at least 1/3 of these must be earmarked for the visitors to the businesses. Of course those business will be less frequented if you make it harder to park near them, limiting customers only to those in the area

Posted by: spencer at January 11, 2013 2:33 PM

380 14th Street (aka 299 Valencia) has less than 1:1 parking. Anyone know how the parking is working out there? It's a similar location, transit-wise.

Posted by: mish mash at January 11, 2013 2:36 PM

@spencer - only two of the parking spaces are reserved for the retail component: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2012/11/the_next_big_housing_thing_designed_to_rise_in_the_new.html

Also, we've had this discussion many times before, but we can see from census data on SF that the income level of an area has no bearing on auto-ownership. It entirely tracks with the availability of parking, hence the reason that Nob Hill or North Beach have dramatically lower auto ownership rates than the Bayview or Viz Valley, in spite of incomes several times higher.

Posted by: anon at January 11, 2013 2:41 PM

You sure about this address? Doesn't work out on a map....

Posted by: Gregg at January 11, 2013 3:30 PM

It entirely tracks with the availability of parking, hence the reason that Nob Hill or North Beach have dramatically lower auto ownership rates than the Bayview or Viz Valley

How could it be any other way? The idea that wealthy people are going to own cars and so are going to be running around all day parking their cars on the street is silly. If you're rich, you're not going to want to spend a lot of time on pointless activities (well, also if you're poor, but if you're rich you can afford not to). If there really is a crisis of parking, what's the rich person who drives going to do? Move away, obviously, to a place which offers convenient parking. Or switch to Zipcar and Uber. Either way, problem solved.

Of course those business will be less frequented if you make it harder to park near them, limiting customers only to those in the area

And yet, they seem to stay in operation. People seem to keep opening new businesses despite this lack of access.

Posted by: Alai at January 11, 2013 4:40 PM

What is the difference between the city forcing a shortage and the city forcing a glut, besides the obvious? Both are explicit moves to distort the market, so am I missing why one is ok and the other not?

How about the city not "forcing" anything and letting the market decide? Why is it so hard to wrap your head around that idea? Oh wait, I know, it's because capitalism is evil, right?

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 12, 2013 8:20 AM

How about the city not "forcing" anything and letting the market decide? Why is it so hard to wrap your head around that idea? Oh wait, I know, it's because capitalism is evil, right?

Um, I've said before that I'd be ok with getting rid of parking maximums if we simultaneously got rid of all parking minimums along with market-pricing meters and residential parking permits. Maybe you're confusing me with the folks that simply want the city to mandate lots of parking everywhere for free?

Posted by: anon at January 12, 2013 10:34 AM

Switching gears a little, I'd love some feedback from the commentators on here.

I read this site frequently, and it seems that a lot of new units are slated to come on in 2014/2015.

For a potentially buyer, would you consider it best to wait? The condo market, as you probably know, is very competitive right now in the $500-$800K range. Would you expect this new inventory to thin out the competition at all?

Posted by: Scram at January 12, 2013 11:17 AM

As a property owner for a long time, my one word of advice, well two is this: Don't wait.

The new inventory will only get bought up. There is pent up demand here in SF for housing to buy.

Some properties will always look better in the future. Why wait?

Figure out EXACTLY what you want in unit size, amenities, locations, and your realistic budget, including the cost of taxes, HOA dues, and maintenance, and mortgage.

And buy.

Posted by: futurist at January 12, 2013 3:46 PM

Anon - why not try a posting on Craigslist advertising a parking space for reasonable price like $250 per month within few blocks of subject development. The market may surprise your distaste for folks that live a life outside immediate few blocks

Posted by: Temporary Shortage at January 12, 2013 4:08 PM

@Temporary Shortage - what in the world would that tell us? Should I also post something on craigslist advertising bananas for sale only to folks in that area, and then if I get responses demand that the city require a place that sells bananas to locate there?

Posted by: anon at January 12, 2013 5:33 PM

You know what really gets responses on craigslist? Housing. Even for entirely unreasonable prices. (If you think $250 for a 325 square foot parking space is unreasonable, you're not going to like the cost of a 325 square foot studio...)

It's a travesty for the city to mandate parking when the housing shortage is so much more acute.

Posted by: Alai at January 12, 2013 8:23 PM

Housing shortage? Says who? High prices are an indication of high demand relative to the supply but that doesn't mean the supply is too low. Prices are even higher in Manhattan, would you say there is a housing shortage there? 2M people crammed onto a small island. Or what about Singapore? Or Monaco? Do those places have housing shortages?

People who can't or won't pay market price in SF can find housing elsewhere. And if they have to commute to SF then so be it. I could then argue that your "housing shortage" is really a transit shortage. If the Bay Area had the type of mass transit system Tokyo has it would be completely bearable to live in Tracy or Cotati and come to work every day in downtown SF.

Posted by: not the droid you're looking for at January 12, 2013 9:43 PM

^Then we certainly don't have a parking shortage either.

Posted by: anon at January 12, 2013 9:49 PM

Many of us have been saying essentially the same thing as not the droid:

There is no housing shortage here.

There is a demand problem.

There is a public transit problem.

Posted by: futurist at January 13, 2013 11:20 AM

And by that logic there is no parking shortage either, and never could be regardless of how much new housing is built.

Posted by: Anon at January 13, 2013 11:28 AM

Your opinion. BTW, there is an Anon and an anon. same?

Posted by: futurist at January 13, 2013 12:03 PM

Anon is wrong yet again. Cars follow their owners, not the other way around.There is no housing shortage because people who are willing to pay the market price can find housing. There is plenty of inventory, it's just expensive. Not so for parking. There are no spaces even for people willing to pay market price. And that shortage of spaces is increasing vehicle traffic in the neighborhoods, wasting fuel and polluting the environment.

If the city was really interested in reducing traffic rather than just punishing car owners, they would offer a decent alternative to driving in the city and they would limit parking where people have their errands, not where they live. A car parked in a garage is not clogging the street or burning fuel. Not that anon is ever going to understand any of that.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at January 13, 2013 9:55 PM

Please show me a neighborhood where a parking spot cannot be bought or rented. I can find you one on craigslist, I guarantee, you just won't like the price. You're just looking for parking spots at unrealistically cheap prices or for unreasonably short terms (if you want access to a spot for only a few hours, that ain't possible - you need to rent for the month).

Posted by: anon at January 13, 2013 10:44 PM

Formidable - no, there, isn't "plenty" of inventory. I don't know why anyone would think that.

Posted by: Fishchum at January 14, 2013 7:52 AM

"There are no spaces even for people willing to pay market price. There is plenty of inventory, it's just expensive. Not so for parking."

Sure. The difference is that for parking, there's plenty of inventory, and it's free. As a result, it's overused. Tragedy of the commons and all that.

Posted by: Alai at January 14, 2013 6:16 PM

I bet when you are paying upwards of $4000 a month with taxes and fees with no parking, its' gonna suck real fast.

Posted by: grumpy at January 14, 2013 8:36 PM

There is a large pay garage on Bartlett, right behind this building. Perhaps some will get monthly parking there.

Posted by: Dan at January 15, 2013 8:10 AM

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