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Zoned for development up to 320 feet in height and an estimated 600 units of housing, Goodwill Industries’ prominent 2.3 acre parcel along Mission Street between South Van Ness Avenue and 11th Street is in contract to be sold.

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The buyer, according to Bisnow, is housing developer Related California. The City of San Francisco is also mentioned, which could be for an affordable housing component on the site.

Having outgrown the current buildings on the block and expected to reap up to $60 million on the sale, Goodwill plans to “seek alternate site(s) for all of its current Mission Street functions, ideally within the city of San Francisco.” Local developer David Choo had been in contract to purchase the parcel in 2007, and then the market crashed.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Upper Market

    As the Van Ness / Market area gets better and better (and more tech) I’m curious how that’s going to impact housing prices near Church and Castro train stops. You’re easily 10 mins door to door to get from one to the other.

  2. Posted by Pfffttt

    Someone please define “affordable housing.” Although this development, along with the Honda site, will do wonders for the immediate area, I prefer market-rate housing. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and hate away, entitlement pushers.

  3. Posted by sf

    I think some people get affordable housing and section 8 housing confused.
    This is one of the most banal of all SF intersections, and it is the intersection of the two most prominent streets in the city. Such a dump. I hope that BofA monstrosity is next.

  4. Posted by Joseph A

    No surprise about Goodwill , BUT , any word on the SFMTA bldg , or the Public Storage just South of Goodwill ?

  5. Posted by lol

    Upper Market,
    You could have asked the same questions about SOMA Grand, Nema, the new Trinity apartments buildings.
    Apart from the rare new buildings that have popped up these past 3 years and a few older apartment buildings, most of the supply around Church, the Castro and Duboce is full-floor flats of SFH.
    If anything, when kids move into 650sf 2/1s for 3000+/month, it makes the traditional vic the more desirable, imho.

  6. Posted by invented

    “Having outgrown the current buildings on the block”
    How could Goodwill outgrow that vast and cavernous building? Exactly how much space do they need? They even have a seconds shop on 11th to their main store.
    Anyway, this level of density in this location is long overdue.
    More please.
    12th Street would be a good street to permanently close off to vehicular traffic and make pedestrian.

  7. Posted by zzzzzzzzzz

    Isn’t the nearby Plumbers’ Union site also for sale? Between that, that Goodwill and Honda sites this neighborhood could easily add thousands of new housing units. Not to mention the oft delayed tower opposite the Honda dealership…

  8. Posted by anon

    Where will the bed bugs go?

  9. Posted by Little_Boxes

    Really? 30 and 40 story buildings at South Van Ness/Mission/Market? How much more of this crap can get approved before we pull the plug? Its just gross. San Francisco is being murdered, just like the posters say.

  10. Posted by Build Build Build

    More and More, pack them em. Next we need a subway up Van Ness that intersects with the subway on Geary. Yes sir.
    The Walgreens is going to be sold and turned into housing as well.

  11. Posted by SFCitizen

    Water? Water? Thousands of new residents flushing toilets, washing clothes, bathing, and preparing food. Maybe we need to start with improving our water supply to last more than one or two years of drought.

  12. Posted by seriously

    ^Build Build Build.
    It’s my dream that our city could get a decent transit system. Even “Boston level” would be great.

  13. Posted by Michael E

    The dominoes keep falling.

  14. Posted by Futurist

    Fact is the better transit system is not happening, or barely changing.
    The voters should put a ballot measure out to require extensive transit upgrades and new lines BEFORE we keep building endlessly.
    It will get worse. Wait til all you “build more and up” people get packed onto Muni like they do in Tokyo.

  15. Posted by david m

    futurist, what planet are you from?
    like, not to be ageist, but you’re obviously like a retiree or something who has no practical experience living in sf over the past 10+ years, definitely has either a rent-controlled flat or owns (or doesn’t live in the city), sees his car as utterly essential to his life/personality, and just despises the notion that san francisco would transition into a walkable and appropriately-scaled place (which, again, suggests that you don’t live in the city).
    like, try to think about the city as it evolves for those of us whose generation will live here for the NEXT 40 years and not your recollections of the past 40 years.

  16. Posted by Ugh

    Dear Futurist, I guess you have not drank the Kool-Aid. The “experts” at Streetsblog and the SF Bike Coalition feel we do not need more transit but instead more bike lanes and to force a reduction in auto lanes and parking. They shout to build taller buildings without parking as a solution. They believe in the FAITH BASED transit planning which says that if you make getting around the Bay Area more difficult, eventually people will throw up their hands and ride bikes. It is interesting to note that many of the most shrill voices who post their anti-car pro bike hysterics here are also regular posters on Streetsblog, SFBC.
    While they fantasize about tearing down freeways they offer NO real solutions for how to move people quickly around the Bay Area. The Bay Area is a vast sprawling region with less density than Southern California and yet the only solutions being offered by the armchair “experts” is to take away cars and build taller buildings without parking.

  17. Posted by 94123

    @david m….San Francisco IS a walkable city already! What do you consider “appropriate scale”? Manhattan? Chicago? Shanghai?
    Just curious, if you want to live in a Manhattan or Hong Kong why not move there? San Francisco is world famous because the density of this city is NOT Manhattan or Hong Kong. Tourists come from around the world to enjoy the light, air, views and walkable neighborhoods that are still very uncongested. I moved to San Francisco from New York City and would never go back.

  18. Posted by Jim

    Just a few answers to questions above:
    -the B of A/MTA building was purchased by the City for City offices a few years ago. That building is going anywhere
    -the reason Goodwill wants to decamp is not that it has “outgrown” the site but rather they want to get their charges out of SF’s drug scene and into a smaller town up north
    -Yes the plumbers site is for sale; however, they are notoriously hard to deal with
    -Yes the Walgreen’s building is for sale
    -The Mayor is putting a measure on the November ballot to fund Muni improvements

  19. Posted by Futurist

    That’s ok, David M: you can have your opinion, but are obviously new here to SS since I have never seen your name here, and you don’t have a clue as to who I am or my background. Doesn’t matter. Your words don’t deserve an answer from me.
    No, ugh: I have not drank the Kool-Aid and the babble that flows freely from the Streetsblog and bike coalition crowd. You’re completely right on with your comments. All true.
    And, finally @ 94123: Yes, this IS a great walkable city, great scale and livable. Those who want our density to just grow and grow, really should try moving to Manhattan, or Hong Kong, or Shanghai.
    The pro-growth pro-build-it-taller people offer no valid reasons WHY they want super increased density. They just cite demand, and, perhaps envy of other super large cities. We need to monitor our growth carefully,and respect the unique scale and character of our city.

  20. Posted by Sam

    @94123
    Ha,why so we build? Maybe so we can even a fighting chance of not massively increasing housing costs each year. Young people literally can’t move here unless they’re in tech, which is the only job I’m aware that a 21 year old can routinely earn six figures. You want even them to be priced out? You want to live in Zurich? Move there

  21. Posted by Fishchum

    “The pro-growth pro-build-it-taller people offer no valid reasons WHY they want super increased density.”
    - Wrong. Many of the “pro-growth build-it-taller” have offered valid reasons as to why we need more density in appropriate areas. You’ve just chosen to stick your head in the sand and ignore them.

  22. Posted by Futurist

    Actually Fishchum, they haven’t offered valid reasons to my knowledge.
    I’m fine, as I’ve said before in selected reasons zoned appropriately.
    But building more and building taller will not make the city cheaper to live in. Many of us want retain our unique character, while also growing very carefully.

  23. Posted by Oceangoer

    Thanks, Little_Boxes. You said it for me … more 30 and 40 story buildings is gross.

  24. Posted by CheckThisOut

    We need more density because we need more housing. We need more housing because we’ve been adding jobs faster than we’ve been adding housing, and people need to live somewhere.

  25. Posted by Curious

    Could we get San Jose to start having some density first since it is the largest city in Northern California? Why must San Francisco get all of the traffic and towers?

  26. Posted by Futurist

    Yes. People need to live somewhere.
    There’s Oakland, for example.

  27. Posted by soccermom

    Type Vallejo into Redfin, and you will find 90 houses listed for sale under $400K.
    14 ferry trips to and from the SF Ferry building each day (no congestion!)
    $150/foot for a 2005-built Lennar home on Mare Island. Stainless/Granite Kitchen, small yard. $399K. $80K down gets you a 30Y 4.5% 320K mortgage at $1,600/month
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/Vallejo/417-Rickover-St-94592/home/18986701

  28. Posted by Jake

    Sonoma + Solano + San Joaquin counties account for about half the increase in people commuting to SF for work in the past 20-25 years, according to the US Census.
    More people commute from those counties to SF for work than commute within SF by bike to work.

  29. Posted by Alai

    Well, don’t forget to add the $290 monthly cost of the ferry. Plus the two hours a day for the ferry ride alone (it’s a pleasant enough ride, but I imagine it gets old). And of course you’ll have to maintain a car — that’s another $700+ a month (AAA). Double these costs for a two-income household, and you’re talking real money. Still cheaper and larger than SF, but the cost gap is significantly narrower.
    That said, expanded housing options in other parts of the Bay Area– especially those near BART stations and existing old commercial corridors– would be the most effective way of creating more affordability. You wouldn’t need to build any towers, either– even Richmond district level densities would be sufficient. Unfortunately, it seems that these towns are as opposed to building that as SF is to towers.

  30. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “$150/foot for a 2005-built Lennar home on Mare Island.”
    Which is even more isolated than Treasure Island. “Mainland” Vallejo may be older and more run down but is a much more central and livable location. Check out how far the shortest drive to the grocery store is from Mare Island.
    If I were an artist I’d be looking at places like Vallejo to set up shop. SF is no longer a friendly place to take a risk on artistic talents. The only artists in SF are already accomplished, deep rent control beneficiaries, part timers working high paying day jobs, or trustafarians.
    —————–
    As for San Jose and Silicon Valley in general, those places are already increasing density where politically possible. They face similar NIMBY issues though.
    A damping factor is that most of the land is already occupied by detached SFHs and those really resist upzoning. Check out Cupertino’s Rancho Rinconada neighborhood (southwest of 280 and Lawerence Expy.). That tract was originally developed as 900 sq.ft. bungalows sited on 4000 sq.ft. lots. They’re being replaced one-by-one with huge 2 story 4000 sq.ft. mini Taj Mahals. The result is pretty funny when a new McMansion next makes the older, low, small home next to it look like a garage. This transformation doesn’t increase density much but it does enable an extended family to live where only a small family could before. And if the economy tanks they can be cut up into boarding houses.

  31. Posted by Joseph A

    Futurist , I know you hate anything new , but the city needs to add housing at all price levels not just housing that needs to be heavily subsidized.
    Those that have been screaming to halt any construction , or try and extort every possible bribe from developers is what caused this housing crisis.
    The truth is that the each unit of housing takes at about 2 years to built under the best circumstances. So how about we do what is needed to get 50K new units of housing built.

  32. Posted by soccermom

    I think ‘it’s isolated there’ and ‘it’s lonely on the ferry’ as non-cash expenses are precisely the sorts of compromises one can be expected to make for affordable housing. Also, a buyer could always contribute to the community spirit!
    There is no prohibition on biking to the ferry terminal FWIW. People can exercise in the hinterlands.
    And as for $290 per month for a ferry ticket and an hour of peace and quiet each way, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me compared to most commutes. Ferry rides offer a bevy of companionship and opportunities for camaraderie (see namelink).
    There is a value ‘sweet spot’ in downtown Vallejo (many of the state-name streets) where you can find 100 year old craftsman gems that have been cared for fairly well in the $2-300′s.

  33. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    soccermom’s point is that we all have to weigh these considerations. If a family making $80k a year working in SF wants to live in a big single family house, they can do it in Vallejo, but the trade-off is a long commute and some other inconveniences. They could, alternatively, live in SF in a small rental in a good and more convenient neighborhood.
    Similarly, if a family making $750,000 a year working in SF wants to live in a 10,000 sf mansion, they can do it if they want to live in the burbs and commute in. They could, alternatively, buy a nice but far more modest home in SF in a good and more convenient neighborhood.
    All but the tiny (0.1%) slice of very wealthy have to weigh these things and make decisions. It is not elitist or magic.

  34. Posted by zouaf

    This intersection is one of the ugliest in the city. I should know, I live in the neighborhood and need to pass through on foot from time to time. Noisy, choked with cars, shabby buildings, no public spaces. The grouches who complain about how San Francisco is losing its “character” must not get out much. I look forward to seeing the Goodwill building replaced by something new, and the nearby Honda dealership, and the lot across the street from the Honda dealership as well (currently a coffee shop and parking lot). And if someone were to dynamite the Bank of America and SFMTA buildings, I’d send them flowers and chocolates on aesthetic grounds alone.

  35. Posted by Futurist

    Soccermom makes a good point. One that I’ve been saying as well. Her idea for Mare Island makes a lot of sense.
    Something “affordable” to your particular income means you may NOT get to live in The City.
    Trouble is: all the newbies coming here want to live in the trendy hot spots. If not they whine and complain and demand more rent controlled units.

  36. Posted by R

    “Trouble is: all the newbies coming here want to live in the trendy hot spots. If not they whine and complain and demand more rent controlled units.”
    I get confused by all the rants here, but I thought the premise was all the newbies were the ones driving up the prices for the artists and natives who have been here for ages.
    Guess it’s just too complicated for me to follow.

  37. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Trouble is: all the newbies coming here want to live in the trendy hot spots.”
    Thus says the guy who probably could not have afforded to live where he does now had he arrived in the city fresh out of college today. Would you have settled for Mare Island?

  38. Posted by soccermom

    As a recent college grad I lived in Astoria Queens before it was cool, 40 minute extra commute. I also lived in Rutherford New Jersey and took the bus into Manhattan (holla at me NJ transit!). My friends on the Upper East and West sides paid $1200/mo for their rooms in shared apartments (mid 90′s), I paid $400/mo for mine.
    Some people trade convenience for savings.
    Ramen is 12 cents a bag in bulk, I think, even now.

  39. Posted by Fishchum

    Difference is, Soccermom doesn’t sound like an overbearing, condescending a$$ when she makes her point.

  40. Posted by Alai

    I think ‘it’s isolated there’ and ‘it’s lonely on the ferry’ as non-cash expenses are precisely the sorts of compromises one can be expected to make for affordable housing.
    Sure, these are some compromises you might make. Other people might prefer to make different compromises.
    Some people might prefer to sacrifice the availability of easy or free parking, or the existence of nice views, having a local park that’s shadow-free every day of the year, having a backyard of a certain size, or not having to share a wall with your neighbor.
    But we’ve gone to pretty great lengths to make sure that no one has to make those sacrifices: we’ve made views protected, parks shadow-free, and we place limits on development so that everyone can own a car if they want and that there’s enough roadspace to carry them all (this one, at least, has faded in some parts of SF, but elsewhere it’s in full force). Lot size minimums, setbacks, restrictions on multifamily development, etc. (And to head off the inevitable criticism, I’m not saying that these are necessarily worthless.)
    So you can’t choose to make these sacrifices. The only sacrifice you’re allowed to make is to live in a place that’s so inconvenient or unpleasant that you spend as much on transportation as you do on the housing itself. And when that’s the only sacrifice permitted, that’s the sacrifice that you are forced to make.
    There’s a lot of talk about how housing developments which don’t provide a large amount of free parking “force” people to not have cars (despite the fact that parking is almost always available– it just costs more), or that building tiny apartments or tall buildings “forces” families to have too little space, and how this is an unacceptable imposition on people’s freedom, and requires government intervention to prevent. In the next breath, the same people say that similarly “forcing” people to live an hour and a half from where they want to be is just fine, just the market, and that no one deserves the right to live in SF.
    That’s what makes no sense. If you’re going to argue for various restrictions on the creation of cheap(er) housing in order to preserve people’s quality of life, from sunny parks to ample parking, don’t pretend that housing costs and long distances aren’t also huge factors in the quality of life, and don’t be surprised when others start pushing for laws to address those.

  41. Posted by Alai

    Speaking of Vallejo and that property in particular, I think it’s worth considering what role the city’s bankruptcy plays in the valuation there, how that would affect you financially and otherwise, and noting that you already have to pay more than double the standard property tax as a result of special assessments.

  42. Posted by soccermom

    @Alai – that’s an interesting point about property taxes. That parcel is carrying a 13/14 $292K assessed value with a tax bill of $7,151, at 2.4% a fair double of what I would ballpark a 1.2% property tax.
    Looking up the tax info here:
    https://www.solanocounty.com/depts/ttcc/onlinetaxinfo.asp
    It seems like most of the ‘unusual’ assessments relate to Community Facilities Districts on Mare Island. This is probably a Lennar/City tactic to ensure those neighborhoods pay their fair share for new services, but it may also ensure that upkeep funds sourced in Mare Island actually stay at Mare Island. Treasure Island and Shipyards buyers take note!
    Comparing the different compromises one could make is interesting. I think a key distinction is that choosing a long commute is an individual election where most of the cost and benefit is born by the individual making the decision.
    In contrast, the argument for smaller setbacks or more dense building patterns provides a benefit for those profiting from that increased density, but with more of the external costs borne by the community around the beneficiary.
    I still don’t buy the argument that owning a home in a less desirable suburb is somehow off-the-table in a discussion of an urban housing plan.
    Of course, if we are going to knock down any building in the city to build apartments, a sorting center for second hand clothes near a busy intersection with lots of transportation options seems like a pretty good choice to me.
    Nevertheless, Futurist has a good point about how we ought to put the transportation plan in place before we allow a bunch of new units to be added. Give us a Geary subway and a Van Ness Subway, and we will have quieter happier streets. Oh and everyone, including renters(!), should pay for the new subway, not just developers and not just landlords…

  43. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Give us a Geary subway and a Van Ness Subway, and we will have quieter happier streets.”
    Totally. It would probably play out like this:
    1. upzone the corridor to support transit
    2. fund the transit improvements. probably via a blend of general funds, fed money, and assessments on the upzoned parcels
    3. build out the transit
    Between steps 1 and 3 there will be significant inconvenience as the upzoned parcels and transit are built. I don’t know how to avoid that problem but it is this factor that gets the NIMBYs fired up because they often won’t tolerate temporary inconvenience even if it provides a much better future.

  44. Posted by S

    i agree with milkshake and zouaf – this is not a great intersection and there’s not a lot of character here to preserve…this is an appropriate place for dense housing. the only issue is it’s freaking windy over there but I think the increased density will make the area less of a dead zone in the evenings.
    SF and all the other cities in the bay area have to add housing. Just be smart about where it’s added – it’s definitely possible to preserve character and add units at the same time. SF may be “dense” by US standards but there are tons of totally appropriate, underutilized spaces. New housing shouldn’t go heavy on parking because ideally it’s going in transit rich areas and more parking equals more cars equals more traffic. If the new housing is going up in Noe Valley or somewhere a bit more out of the way, there are minimum parking requirements that take care of that.

  45. Posted by Louis

    These 2 sites are the center of what is essentially a grimy area that has been left out of past development cycles, because of perception of location quality.
    now the market has expanded enough that people are willing to invest, and there’s as much competition of downtown, mission, hayes valley and rincon hill. ps that was the case with twitter HQ for a long time. it happens, cities evolve along with people perception of location.
    it near transit and city had long hearing on zoning; 320 and 400 height make sense. the afffordable housing components are set forth in the zoning as is parking and they make reasonable sense.
    There is no real argument as to whether these should be built or not.
    The interesting element here is the investments – were in the late stages of a RE cycle’ cant tell whether it is the 7th inning or the 9th — but its certainly not early. Crescent Hgts and related are buying their way in on very high values for unentitled land. Each site is selling for around $60 MIL / $100,000 per apartment for raw land. the projects cannot be in the ground for at least 2-3 years, or be delivered to market until say 2020. so, its 50/50 whether they will get build this cycle of next ( i.,e. 8-10 years from now). Happens all the time. Better have deep pockets and patience.

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