Schlage Lock Site Proposed Heights

The details of Urban Paragon’s revised plans for redeveloping the former Schlage Lock site in Visitacion Valley are starting to emerge. The exact number of proposed residential units to rise is now 1,679 (up from 1,250) while the amount of retail space has dropped from 105,000 to 46,700 square feet (which will still include a full-service supermarket).

And in order to “facilitate the increased amount of residential development,” the proposed buildings now rise up to 86-feet in height, with buildings originally designed to rise 55 feet reaching up to 76 feet along Bayshore Boulevard and buildings originally planned for 65 feet rising up to 86 feet in height at the southern end of the development.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    Wowzers, talk about underbuilding. Literally built right next to both a heavy rail and light rail stop! And we’re building like it’s next to a Walmart parking lot.

    Reminds me of the “transit oriented” four story apartment complex that we built next to the billion dollar South San Francisco BART stop.

    The lack of willpower to leverage our existing transit investments is just mind-boggling.

  2. Posted by curmudgeon

    76 feet will actually feel pretty tall along Bayshore., where the opposite side of the street is two story. I wouldn’t be so quick to cry “underbuilding”. The complex will feel pretty huge and out of character. That doesn’t make it wrong, but there is a virtue to be sensitive to the context as well. Clearly, we can see how the developer is proposing to make up for the lack of Redevelopment money.

    • Posted by anon

      As someone who grew up looking up at highrises from a single story house in Bethesda a few blocks from the metro stop, I admit to simply not getting what is wrong with something being “out of character”. We spent billions of dollars to build a light rail line down to this area, and we’re about to spend billions more electrifying Caltrain and making it a world-class high capacity and frequency heavy rail, yet we give more priority to keeping heights the way that they are? For vague aesthetic reasons? Um, yeah, ok.

      Is there another explanation that I’m not getting? There are highrises next to lowrises in many other places…even in America!

      • Posted by Futurist

        And no, there are plenty of reasons to not just load up every new development with high density high rises, because one can. There is context, scale and livability to be considered from a architectural and urban design point of view. There are plenty of other locations in SF with appropriate high rises being added. That’s all fine. But this constant, never-ending push to build higher is said without reason or merit.

        This project has a good, humane scale and will be well received by the families and residents of this area.

        • Posted by Zig

          Seriously how do you know? Know a lot of people from Vis Valley?

        • Posted by Alai

          “Without reason or merit”? I think the reason is the high cost of housing.

          • Posted by Futurist

            And you can offer ZERO proof that building high density, high rise housing WILL lower the cost of housing here in SF.
            Because it won’t. Lack of demand and loss of desirability will. Which we don’t want, and likely will not happen. Unless you wish to become another Detroit.

        • Posted by Fishchum

          Sorry Futurist, a few blocks around Rincon Hill doesn’t qualify as “plenty of other locations in SF”.

          • Posted by Futurist

            You don’t have to be sorry. But please mention Market/ VanNess, VanNess Ave, downtown, Transbay area, among others. I am not of the “build it high everywhere” crowd. You should know that by now. And despite all of the constant howling and ranting, this project at the Schlage Lock site IS being built at this appropriate scale. It’s time to accept variety and reality.

          • Posted by anon

            Most of those places are actually WORSE places to build highrises than this one, because of the lack of high capacity transit and no possibility of it coming in the next 30+ years.

        • Posted by sf

          Context= nearby transit. Build it high!

        • Posted by R

          Without reason or merit, lol!

    • Posted by WHL

      But there currently IS no character there right now, just acres upon acres of wind-swept piece of dirt, in an abandoned industrial area. The place needs density and a critical mass of people to establish a new neighborhood where there never was one before.

  3. Posted by curmudgeon

    I’d actually kinda love to see a tower at the back of the site, and shorter low rise elements along bayshore to get the same density. Granted, towers have a bad association in Vis Vally (for those who remember Geneva Towers).

    • Posted by Zig

      Totally agree with this. These bulky blocks are the worst outcome of our tower phobia.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Ah…These “bulky blocks” are very similar in height and density to what makes cities like Paris and London so livable. Check it out on Google earth and you will agree.

        • Posted by anon

          And if we were building street widths similar to London and Paris, I might agree.

          • Posted by Futurist

            And in the digital aerial above, those street widths shown are VERY similar to those in Paris and London. Prove otherwise. Check out the relationship of width to building height. Regardless, this is going to be a good project, even though parts of it will be VERY tall at 86′. I think the residents can deal with it.

          • Posted by anon

            Huh? The average street width for a non-arterial in London or Paris is barely 20′ wide. Google streetviews clearly show this. These streets are more than twice that.

  4. Posted by Greg

    We need a ballot initiative for this. No Wall on Bayshore!! No Wall on the Train Tracks!!

  5. Posted by Frank C.

    anon is 100% correct. Why should we spend countless public dollars on public transit if we can’t leverage it? It would never be worth it if all we could get were low-density development

    To Greg, and others like him, what you call “walls”, is actually “normal city development.” See Vancouver for an idea of how it should be done.

    • Posted by Jon

      I’m pretty sure Greg’s post has a slight hint of sarcasm mixed with irony; but, otherwise I agree that those who really hold those opinions should be shipped to Siberia.

  6. Posted by Joseph A

    We are talking about 20 acres , 1679 units , this should have been closer to 2100 units so the future needs of San Francisco would have been better served

  7. Posted by Zig

    Locals are a little sensitive to mid rises is this area. Last time it didn’t go well

  8. Posted by BTinSF

    There is nothing wrong with being “out of character” if the character of the area is inappropriate to its location and circumstances, whether that is because the location has changed character or because it was never appropriate. That a development is “out of character” is, by itself, no reason not to build it.

  9. Posted by SFCitizen

    For all those crying “build higher, build denser” I would remind you of the conflagration at the construction site in China Basin. We need to add fire stations, fire equipment, and fire personnel to the City to properly cover the increases in population. I won’t mention water supply, again.

    • Posted by anon

      You should know that infrastructure investments almost always trail new development these days. We’ve lost the ability to plan ahead, unless the plan is “no new buildings!”

  10. Posted by S

    I think these heights are fine. If people are expected to move to the daly city border, I think they’ll expect to have a little bit more space considering that everything else around there is a SFH.

    • Posted by anon

      Then why not let the market decide that?

      • Posted by Futurist

        Because we have legislated planning and building codes for that purpose. Thank fully.

        • Posted by anon

          What? That doesn’t answer my statement at all. We all know that we’ve decided that central planning is a better way to run the economy, but we never seem to stop and ask why.

          And yes, we know that you’re an avowed socialist, but that doesn’t really seem to fit with most of the rest of SF.

          • Posted by Futurist

            You need to explain more what the “market decide” really means to you. It should not mean that a developer shall be allowed to build as high and as dense as HE feels necessary (for his profits), but rather how his particular development relates to the zoning, scale, context and long term urban planning. And contrary to what you say, MOST of the residents of SF do NOT want high rise and high density in their residential neighborhoods. They see it as appropriate at designated corridors and locations, as I have mentioned before. We will never be very denser and very tall in the neighborhoods. And that is what MOST San Franciscans want.

          • Posted by anon

            In this instance, I was questioning the statement from “S” that people moving close to the Daly City border expect more space. There’s no reason to think that people expect that in a new development simply because it’s “close to the Daly City border”. We also won’t ever know what people would be willing to buy in the area as long as we make sure that only one type of housing is legally allowed to be built.

            We’re basically deciding beforehand exactly what people want, rather than allowing people to make the decisions on their own.

        • Posted by sf

          I wish you were consistent in your opinions. I don’t hear this same “the laws the law, it’s perfect” attitude about parking ratios in new developments.

  11. Posted by Futurist

    @ anon: But I don’t get what you mean by “allowing people to make the decisions on their own”.

  12. Posted by Sam

    1200, 1500, 2000 units. All just a drop in the bucket, I’m almost starting to come around to the Futurist viewpoint.

    Unless we as a city decide that we want to get serious about housing and build, it just feels like arguing whether the height is 65 or 85 feet is immaterial.

    • Posted by Futurist

      And each of those “drops in the bucket” are making a dent in adding new housing to SF. Lots more opportunity and locations in the Southern/eastern edges of The City. and 65′-85′ works well; it certainly is working well along the Upper Market corridor near The Castro. Those new buildings are fitting in well with existing scale and context and ALL of them are selling or being rented quickly.

      • Posted by anon

        Showing obvious demand for many, many, many more units.

  13. Posted by Joseph A

    We all know the current housing crunch is the result of projects getting stopped in their tracks by the slightest protest, and that the need for 50k units had been predicted more then 20 years ago ,
    The key would be to build along several key transit paths ,
    Van Ness North & South ,
    Along Mission all the way from the Bay to Army Street ,
    along Geary all the way to Park Presidio ,
    along Market all the way to Castro St
    The Entire Great SOMA, Dog Patch, China Basin , and along the 3rd Street Rail.

    We can keep a lot of San Francisco character , but its silly not to build where transit lines can be enhanced , such as never running single car MUNI trains , and if that means upgrading stops then have it done

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