February 21, 2014

Plans For A Sixty-Foot Nob Hill Building On An Eighty-Foot Lot

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Currently a parking lot with space for twenty-two cars, half of which are designated for car sharing services, a six-story building is proposed to rise at 832 Sutter Street.

832%20Sutter.gif

The proposed Nob Hill building includes 20 dwelling units over a 400 square foot retail space. And as designed, the development would not include any parking, for which it will need a waiver from the city as five spaces are required by code.

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Originally designed to rise 80 feet, the height for which the parcel is zoned and which would have yielded 27 units of housing, neighborhood opposition to the 80-foot project when first proposed in 2008 is being fingered for the development's downsizing today.

And to be clear, the majority of the now five-year-old opposition was related to the building's impact on neighborhood parking rather than the building's height per se.

As the six-story building would look in context with the rest of the Sutter Street block (click the rendering to enlarge):

First Published: February 21, 2014 4:15 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Second verse, same as the first.
Why is the lot set at 80 if it can never be developed at that height.

Posted by: Joe at February 21, 2014 4:21 PM

Ridiculous that by right development can be overturned by NIMBYs. Aren't there people complaining about zoning being changed for developers? Are they also complaining about cases of the opposite such as this (and nearly every other development that actually tries to comply with zoning)...

Posted by: anon at February 21, 2014 4:22 PM

Yea, Nob Hill would go entirely to hell if that building had two extra floors *rolls eyes* I wonder if this would still face the same opposition

Posted by: Sam at February 21, 2014 4:33 PM

Editor's Note: To be clear, the majority of the five year old opposition was related to the building's impact on neighborhood parking (more units, more residents, more cars competing for parking on the street) rather than the building's height per se.

Posted by: SocketSite at February 21, 2014 4:48 PM

Removal of 7 units has negligible effect on the parking situation. Opposition to increased competition for street parking should be responded with market pricing that street parking. Today residential permits are essentially free so no wonder everyone takes advantage if it if they can. Market pricing will maintain availability while giving the city the funds required to improve alternatives.

This is just another case of the incumbents wanting to simultaneously live a urban and suburban lifestyle. Choose one or the other.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 21, 2014 4:56 PM

If parking is the big concern, why not require a residential proposal to include...parking? If they did the unthinkable and had a parking spot for each unit in the building this concern could be substantially or completely mitigated.

Posted by: pvc at February 21, 2014 5:08 PM

Another example of how affordable housing takes a back seat to affordable parking.

Posted by: Alai at February 21, 2014 5:23 PM

"If parking is the big concern, why not require a residential proposal to include...parking? "

Exactly! Most people don't oppose development, they oppose infrastructure overload.

Build out the parking, transit, etc infrastructure along with development and many of the problems (along with the opposition) will go away!

Posted by: anon at February 21, 2014 5:40 PM

What parking? I don't live too far from there. Aren't all of those spaces within a 5 block radius in any direction pay-metered anyway?

Posted by: JR at February 21, 2014 5:53 PM

Hang on, didn't the previous plans already have the first three stories devoted to parking? Or am I thinking of a different proposal?

[Editor's Note: No. Must have been another.]

Posted by: Alai at February 21, 2014 6:13 PM

Add parking to the building and you lose the retail space and make individual units more expensive. Given the location, I would they would not have trouble finding folks who want the car free lifestyle.

Posted by: SimpleSimon at February 21, 2014 6:14 PM

JR,
That location is near the transition from mostly metered from Bush down and east/west to mostly unmetered up Nob Hill.

When I lived around there the best time to get a free space was just after 6PM when Pine and some other streets went from no parking for rush hour to all free for many blocks.

Here is a pdf map of SF meters.

Posted by: Jake at February 21, 2014 6:28 PM

"What parking? "

Well, read the post for starters....

"Currently a parking lot with space for twenty-two cars, "

Posted by: Wazzzup at February 21, 2014 6:36 PM

"If parking is the big concern, why not require a residential proposal to include...parking? If they did the unthinkable and had a parking spot for each unit in the building this concern could be substantially or completely mitigated."

This solution makes too much sense. Adding parking would clearly ease congestion, but people don't like to think too far ahead

Posted by: Jill at February 21, 2014 9:27 PM

The building next door is a garage. There's another garage around the corner on Leavenworth. There is an abundance of parking at various garages and lots along Sutter, Post, and Geary. Free parking is a privilege, and instead, should be priced at market rate.

The developer doesn't want to build parking because the lot is fairly narrow. Additionally, excavation would add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost per unit. If it added a parking podium, it would lose out on units it could potentially build, since they already can't build up another 20 feet.

Posted by: Jim at February 21, 2014 9:28 PM

Adding parking would clearly ease congestion

Lol! This is why there is zero congestion in Los Angeles. All that parking takes care of it. If only we were so lucky.

Posted by: anon at February 21, 2014 11:26 PM

The so called parking worries are an excuse for certain neighbors who are actually worried about loss of views and light. Parking is being used again and again as a way of blocking projects and silly people on Socketsite start posting here about "evil" car drivers stopping growth when car drivers are NOT the ones who are stopping these projects. It is neighborhood NIMBY's pure and simple.

There is no activist automobile group organized going around the city stopping residential construction projects, but there are dozens of neighborhood groups using "parking" as an excuse to stop everything including the Warriors arena. It's funny that the number one and two people who are organizing against the Warriors arena do not even own cars, but have used traffic and parking as their main reason for blocking the project. The same goes for the Telegraph Hill groups who are mostly rent controlled carless retirees who use "parking" to fight every new project. Look at the Polk Gulch people who came out to fight bike lanes, they were all about 70 years old and most did not own cars, yet they screamed they needed the parking.

I submit that if this project included parking, the neighbors would STILL be fighting it, but are happy to pretend it is all about parking in the meantime.

Posted by: AntiNimby at February 22, 2014 4:32 AM

Anti nimby - you could not be more wrong.

Posted by: Grace at February 22, 2014 2:58 PM

I am running for mayor on a campaign to end all free parking on streets, and use the revenue to build affordable housing.

Posted by: woolie at February 22, 2014 7:24 PM

@AntiNimby - I agree, although I would add the caveat that I think the fears about losing value, views, or even just the neighborhood changing may be below the surface of consciousness for many...they may actually believe their concerns are about parking, but it is a general fear of change and parking is an easy and tangible thing to grab on to.

Certainly SOME are calculated about it, but I think most are just scared and are reaching for something to attach their fears to.

Still silly to fight ANYTHING that meets zoning, but hey, it's SF...this is expected.

Posted by: JWS at February 23, 2014 9:53 AM

This is precisely the right area for a taller building, with parking, built to a real luxury standard. It would contribute to the gentrification, and encourage other developers to improve the edge of the Tendernob. The next one would then be on Post, and so on down the hill.

There is no central area in any major western city more in need of gentrification than the Tenderloin. The Bowery has long since lost its bums, Clerkenwell is now more than trendy, and the 10e arrondissement is becoming chic, squeezed in from the 9e and 11e.

Posted by: conifer at February 23, 2014 4:23 PM

Conifer, parking is not required for this building to be luxury (assuming that is necessary for this space). I work in technology and many of my co-workers are looking for spaces within in walking distance of downtown so they can live car free. Adding parking to this will remove the retails space. Which is better for the neighborhood: a blank wall that opens on occasion for car access, or a retail space that generates plenty of foot traffic from the surrounding buildings?

Posted by: SimpleSimon at February 23, 2014 8:22 PM

apparently, this lot and the adjacent parking garage have been considered for condos since the previous re boom.

from a 2006 article:

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2006/08/14/newscolumn4.html?page=all

"Real estate investor Edward Duffy is placing a bet on lower Nob Hill, an area that has been generally immune from the city's condo boom. Duffy has paid $4.5 million for 832-840 Sutter St., an unentitled site between Leavenworth and Jones streets. The seller was the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Tony Crossley and Frank Wheeler of Colliers International represented the seller. While marketing the property, home to a two-story parking garage with an adjacent surface lot, the Colliers International team hired architect and engineer Charles Bloszies to design a seven-story, 70-unit residential and mixed use project for the area."

Posted by: Jake at February 23, 2014 9:22 PM

If I lived and voted in SF, I would vote for the anti-nimby for Mayor!!

Posted by: inclinejj at February 24, 2014 7:55 AM

I don't get the opposition.

We are told time and time again that this supposedly a "transit first" city. Proposals are often attacked for INCLUDING parking, and developers are frequently pressured to include less parking than they would otherwise be allowed to build, and this pressure comes from both the city government and also housing activists who claim that parking increases housing costs, thus reducing affordability,

But, then when a developer tries to appease the "transit first" crowd, the first objection cited to a proposal is lack of parking.

It seems like a no win situation. I think these particular developers need to just tell one group or the other to stuff it, and either go with building the project with the fully zoned parking amount and build at full height, or else forge ahead with the no-parking building plans.

Posted by: Chris at February 24, 2014 11:16 AM

Still dwarfs the buildings on either side. If you reduce it to four, to match the building next to it, I think it's OK. Nob Hill is a classic neighborhood, the less new construction the better...will ultimately damage the appeal the neighborhood holds.

Posted by: Hawkins at February 24, 2014 3:55 PM

^As planned, it's shorter than half of the buildings on the block. Why do the short ones count more to you?

Posted by: anon at February 24, 2014 4:03 PM

Hawkins, you're delusional. It's smaller than many other buildings on the same side of the same block. Any argument about neighborhood character will require it to be increased in size.

Posted by: woolie at February 24, 2014 4:42 PM

@Woolie - I disagree. The buildings on either side look decidedly smaller.

Posted by: Hawkins at February 25, 2014 8:35 AM

Well Hawkins, if you want to be intentionally obtuse, that is your right. But while the buildings directly to either side are smaller, ALL other buildings on that side of the block are between 5 and 9 stories.

P.S. This ain't "Nob Hill" either.. more like Tendernob.

Posted by: R at February 25, 2014 10:16 AM

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