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Built in 1916 and designed G. Albert Langsburgh, the five-story MJB Coffee building at 665 3rd Street is technically still a print shop which is not legally zoned for office use.
Having been used for offices since at least 2007, however, the building’s owners have applied to legitimize its use, creating a Historic Building Maintenance Plan in order to clear the way for the conversion of the building which was rejected in 2012.
The conversion would require at least four showers and a locker room to be added to the building per San Francisco’s Planning Code, but the building’s owners plan to seek an exemption and provide access to a health club or other facility within three blocks of the building at no cost to the tenants. Founders Den members take note.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by lyqwyd

    What sort of zoning requires showers and lockers for an office building?

  2. Posted by soccermom

    The building department acknowledges Office uses in this building as far back as 1987 (see below). More craziness that the owners have to jump through so many hoops to get an existing use recognized and certified.
    Cities grow and evolve. Why can’t our zoning regime?
    Permit: 8713429
    Form: 3 – ADDITIONS, ALTERATIONS OR REPAIRS
    Filed: 9/21/1987
    Address: 665 03RD ST
    Existing: OFFICE
    Proposed: OFFICE
    Units: 0
    Action: COMPLETE
    Action Date: 11/5/1987
    Description: GYP. BD. PARTITIONS, ELEC WIRING & LIGHTING

  3. Posted by jimmyc

    soccermom, Applicants sometimes misinform the Building Department the use of a property. If there is no work on the exterior the Planning Dept. does not have their permit application routed to them.

  4. Posted by soccermom

    @jimmyc – Thanks for pointing that out. Given the public nature of the building permit, it would seem under all circumstance to establish the open use of the property as an office. There is the concept of an ‘open and notorious use’ in real estate law as grounds for a prescriptive easement right. It seems like the same concept ought to apply here. I mean, they weren’t hiding anything from the powers-that-be.
    We don’t need to roast coffee anymore – we need offices.

  5. Posted by Levitmc

    Looking forward to our new free gym memberships :) Thx for the tip
    - Founders Den

  6. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    lyqwyd – the showers might be linked to the idea of making commuting by bike feasible. My office has showers and about half of our bike commuters bathe and change upon arrival.

  7. Posted by Patrick

    @TMOD: And the other half walk around stinking up the place? At my old office which had no showers, we had a bike commuter who did that.
    Are showers now a requirement for offices? I have never worked in an office bldg. that had them.

  8. Posted by lyqwyd

    @ MoD
    It’s an interesting theory, but I’m skeptical that the shower & locker requirement is for bike commuters.
    I once worksed in an office with a shower, but that was in Fremont at a former medical manufacturing building, so a shower made sense. It was definitely nice having the shower!

  9. Posted by Schaetzer

    Regarding recognition of office use as far back as 1987.. The “office” probably was just associated with the industrial use. E.g. bosses, accounting, personnel, etc. They don’t work on the factory floor. Also, there are more than zoning issues involved with the conversion of industrial to office use. The building codes are very different, partly because the density of workers in the building is much higher. That means more bathrooms, more fire rated walls, etc. You don’t just decide that it’s going to be office space henceforth.

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