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Plans to raze the iconic Flax Art & Design store at 1699 Market Street in order to make way for a proposed nine-story building with 160 units of housing, 123 parking spaces, and 4,500 square feet of commercial space on the site have been submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department for review.

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According to Planning, the proposed development is “designed to be respectful to neighboring buildings by providing setbacks,” ground floor retail space would help activate Market Street, and access to the garage would be by way of McCoppin Street.

Unfortunately, the adjacent Travelogde is not part of the proposed development as well.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Dan

    I hope Flax can find an equivalent space nearby before construction begins, or perhaps return after construction.

  2. Posted by two beers

    “I never shopped there, anyway. Too many journals”
    “There aren’t any artists left in SF, so why do we need more than one art supply store?”
    “Why stop at nine stories? Why not twenty? Thirty?!”
    “Build it now!”
    “Building even more units for twitterkidz will make SF more affordable!”
    My comment: Can’t blame you, Howard, for trying to cash in on what you see going on all around you, but you’re waa-aay too late on this cycle. I expect you’ll be in business longer than you think.

  3. Posted by invented

    Take the motel with it: imagine a curved building following the lines of Market flowing into Valencia. City College property behind it I believe will be surplus.
    Market Street is unstoppable.

  4. Posted by sf

    A totally inappropriate use of space. Safeway Market St. Is hopefully next.

  5. Posted by lol

    For once I agree with two beers. I think we’re not far from the end of the current building frenzy. In that business, you’re often rewarded for being ahead of the curve, but following everyone? Not very often.
    Anyone starting a project when everyone is shouting “build build build” is usually too late in the cycle. just my opinion.

  6. Posted by Sierrajeff

    *sigh* – out goes unique character, in comes another Walgreens and a check-cashing joint.
    Curious how the proposed ground floor retail will “help activate Market Street”, as opposed to what’s there now (i.e., ground floor retail!).

  7. Posted by PatBurns

    @ SierraJeff
    I don’t think the proposed ground level retail will activate market street but the influx of market-rent paying consumers will. For too long, the demog in that section of market is predominantly SRO dwellers and homeless

  8. Posted by bris

    Pretty sure the motel will get rolled into this one…that will be a good sized lot.
    Good for Martuni’s!

  9. Posted by cfb

    “For too long, the demog in that section of market is predominantly SRO dwellers and homeless” – PatBurns
    You mean you actually have to look at the city’s poor people, instead of pretending they don’t exist? The horror! Quick, build a whole foods and dog spa!

  10. Posted by Sam

    This will be a fairly big loss to the remaining artists in this area and the city in general. I guess the fiction that arts are still created here had to be blown apart at some point, much like Chelsea, lower east side, and etc…
    So it goes

  11. Posted by curmudgeon

    I don’t get the gnashing of teeth over this one. (I’ve seen it posted by friends on facebook as well). It seems to me there are plenty of retail spaces that FLAX could fit in without any problem. If there is still a market for art supplies, then FLAX will survive. And the site…with the adjacent motel, is ripe for intensification.

  12. Posted by two beers

    “intensification?”
    hilarious! Oh, wait, you weren’t being ironic?

  13. Posted by Mark Ballew

    Don’t forget that there is a brand new Blick store just up the street. We could use the housing, this cycle or next, and this is a transit rich area, bike-able, and there is a new plaza opening up on Mccoppin.

  14. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    There are other places to get art supplies around the city including the SFAI store. Still it would be nice for Flax to stay in business in this part of town.
    The good news is that this one story building will replaced with something more appropriate for mid-Market.

  15. Posted by bgelldawg

    And why can’t Flax be the ground floor retail in the new building???

  16. Posted by Sam

    Because Daniel Pattersons Coi pt. 2 can pay 10x the rent?

  17. Posted by Rob

    Interestingly enough, that damned Travelodge seems to be pretty busy with “regular” customers. Its been the exact same for 60+ years.
    Definitely needs to be “intensified”

  18. Posted by Brad

    Will be sad to see it go. They should tear down that crappy hotel before they mess with Flax.

  19. Posted by seriously

    i hate it when people associate trying to clean up an area (ie get rid of the drug addicts around the motel) and respond with “WHY SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK AT THEM?!? YOU JUST WANT YUPPY STUFF!”
    no. i just don’t want drug addicts and crazy people everywhere. why is it ok to villify someone for wanting a nicer safer neighborhood for everyone?
    i’m sad to see the art store go, but if it means the motel does too later i’m all for it. they should keep flax in the retail space!

  20. Posted by Futurist

    This is a great location for more housing and ground floor retail. I hope they provide some below grade parking as well. I also hope that Flax can (eventually) move back into a new retail space in the building.
    I agree with seriously: I would like to see our city leaders get real and actually tackle and solve our homeless/drug addict problem. If they spent as much time on this VERY important issue as they have on bike lanes and removing parking, they could solve the homeless problem.
    It’s perfectly ok to say: ” I am tired of seeing the homeless/druggies on our streets”.
    The BOS should solve this problem.

  21. Posted by invented

    The McCoppin plaza should be very nice; as well the landscaping on the rest of the McCoppin is inviting. The trend of converting streets to pedestrian/cyclist use is encouraging & will undoubtedly pick up steam as we reconsider our alleys and such. Especially with fewer and fewer new residents owning vehicles. The glimmer of car-free streets is a ways off, but at least the conversation has begun.
    http://www.spur.org/events/2014-05-14/designing-and-planning-car-less-city

  22. Posted by jeremy

    “The BOS should solve this problem.” LOL. What planet are you on? Maybe if we give about 9 of the Supervisors lobotomies, they might finally be able to “solve” it – by stopping trying to “solve it”.
    All of the “solutions” are payoffs to the “Non-profit” groups who provide campaign workers and votes for the supervisors – and all of the non-profits that “serve” the homeless end up “serving” a non-stop revolving stream of homeless folks – get one homeless guy into free housing and free rehab and free everything, and 3 new homeless guys show up from elsewhere to take their place as word on every street in every city says “Go to SF and you’ll get a free house and food and healthcare!”
    This will NEVER stop until a majority of SF citizens pull their heads out of their arses and realize what the game is – and demand that it stops.

  23. Posted by cfb

    “why is it ok to villify someone for wanting a nicer safer neighborhood for everyone?” -seriously
    And why is it OK to villify SRO residents? They’re not all drug addicts and criminals, you know. Just saying.
    Nice neighborhoods are great, but it’s kind of messed up when people (not you) act like a place can never be nice if there are any poor people around.
    But I’m going on a tangent. This sounds good to me, we need all the housing we can get. I wish they’d build it taller than 9 stories though. This is a great location for a highrise.

  24. Posted by Futurist

    @ Jeremy:
    That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying.

  25. Posted by JB0

    The idea of replacing this great art store – knowledgeable staff, wide range of materials – is depressing. Will there be anything interesting left in town at this rate.

  26. Posted by pedestrianist

    It would be awesome if they took the opportunity to reopen Stevenson to McCoppin!

  27. Posted by Dan

    Why is a midblock connection necessary there?

  28. Posted by Joseph A

    Sad to see it go , but the city does need housing plus there are a large number of art supply stores downtown.

  29. Posted by katebear

    “I am tired of seeing the homeless/druggies on our streets”.
    REALLY REALLY TIRED……it is an eye sore all over SF. From Downtown Financial District, to Civic Center, to Mission district…

  30. Posted by Amy

    How about a park, open space? Way too much building and no place for people. Great cities have little parks/squares (Paris/London), even downtown FiDi has open space. Also we need a motel/hotel upper market area. Where can visitors stay when apts are way too tiny to have guests visit? Who wants to stay in FiDi hotel on holiday when family/friends are over here?

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Yes this area need more parkland though unfortunately it might attract only a certain segment of the local population and scare off the rest. Build it and they will bum as it were.

      Maybe build a quasi-public park on top of the building instead?

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