490 South Van Ness Rendering

The plans for a seven-story building with 72 condos to rise on the northwest corner of 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue over in the Mission could be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week.

As designed by Forum Design for JCN Development, then 490 South Van Ness Avenue project includes a 1,100 square foot retail space on the corner and parking for 48 cars and 83 bikes below.

The former “Quality Tune-Up” site was purchased for $2,650,000 in 2009 having been listed for $4.5 million at the time.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by MG

    They did some initial demo and excavation/grading work here years ago. I assumed they found contaminants since they stopped work.

    It would be great to see some development at this location.

  2. Posted by Invented

    Thank you for not underbuilding a 4 story building. This is approved.

  3. Posted by david m

    could use way more commercial space below. i’m assuming the parking ingress is set for adair lane though, so that’s great for both 16th and svn.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      I disagree on the commercial space (if you’re talking retail). Corner retail is good, but SVN is not really a commercial street otherwise, and there’s not huge foot traffic. With Mission and Valencia so close there’s not much reason.

  4. Posted by unlivable city

    Well I know one thing: time travel will NEVER be possible because were it that it would be, this post would have vanished in a little puff cloud. Because I can assure you, in the future, San Franciscan’s will be wishing all this ugly crap had never been slapped up.

    • Posted by parklife

      And what would be a better use for this parcel?

      And please don’t say a “food forest”.

    • Posted by MarketSt

      Doubt it. These are being built to higher standards than most of the crap that got put up here in the 60’s and 70s, and people seem to accept those as part of the landscape.

    • Posted by James

      I walked by the caged towers at Clementina & 4th the other day, and I must say, I’ll take the proposed future over the present past any day.

    • Posted by Sonja

      I’m pretty sure future SFians will be wishing we built a lot more faster.

      Think about any given proposed project in the 60s and 70s, even 80s, that didn’t get built. That housing would be 30-50 years old now, and some of it rent controlled! Where is all the housing for school teachers and nurses in SF? Well, helpful citizens blocked it from getting built.

      Thanks for nothing.

  5. Posted by mdg399

    “Ugly Crap” – Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And while the majority of the mid rise buildings going up now won’t win any design awards…Id rather these over…an empty lot…anything resembling those “Chinese Victorians” that were put up in the late 60’s and early 70’s (Truly awful and cheap) ….I know…this should be a flower garden or a cabbage patch or….a dog run…..Build it please…. Merci

  6. Posted by Alai

    It’s a seven story building that’s barely taller than the 4 and a half story building next door… wow.

    Speaking of alleys– it seems to me that Adair lane–or any ‘lane’ really– is a lot more people-friendly than South Van Ness, which is pretty much a traffic sewer. All things considered, I think I’d rather have a cafe facing the lane than SVN, and the garage entrance may as well face SVN. Well, maybe it’ll change for the better in time.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      To be fair the brick building next door is really more like 5 stories plus a parapet – there’s a 1/2 floor below the first floor, and the top floor appears to have very high ceilings. But yes, I’m always “curious” about the accuracy of renderings such as these.

      That said, I have zero objections to this building – I think there should be an empty lot tax, everything that’s just a flat parking lot should be charged extra for failing to contribute to our cityscape. (OTOH, I was just in Manhattan and was surprised how common multi-level car lifts are now in surface lots – we could really use a lot more of those here, and get some of the circling traffic off the streets.)

      • Posted by formerly%whatever

        I’d love to see those parking lifts as well but unfortunately, I think that permits for the lifts are hard to get. I remember several years ago when a parking operator (in SOMA somewhere) put some in, the city came in to crack down.

    • Posted by NoeNeighbor

      Why the contempt for SVN? It is a major boulevard and is a vital connection. The term “traffic sewer” shows a real contempt for the majority of San Franciscans who rely on cars for at least part of their traffic needs. It could use a re-paving and some of the buildings along it are a bit gritty — but that is changing.

      • Posted by anon

        Not sure why it shows contempt for people? It shows contempt for traffic. People have a need for sewers (in fact, 100% of San Franciscans use a sewer for something or other!), but you keep it out of the way because it’s unpleasant. A traffic sewer is the same – an unpleasant necessity that should be hidden or in areas useless for nice things.

        • Posted by Arch

          “Traffic Sewer” is a Streetsblog/SFBC term used to describe any road with heavy vehicular traffic. I guess that would make Champs Elysees a “traffic sewer” as well as Brompton Road-Picadilly (A4) in London or Fifth Avenue in New York. You have to read the comments on those sites to understand the extreme fetish they have towards ANY automobiles being allowed to “share” “their” roads. Some of the names one sees popping up here writing about “4 wheeled death machines” are regular bloggers over on those sites, and they were heavily involved in trying to reduce underground parking on a retail/housing project I was involved with recently.

          As someone who builds and designs buildings in the reality based community, I accept that the Bay Area is a sprawling region with poor public transit that will require SOME to need transport for at least the next 20 to 30 years. I tried to do my part by going electric for both of our vehicles as I need a car to get to job sites throughout the Bay Area as well as up to our other home outside of Calistoga.

          • Posted by anon

            No, a traffic sewer is a street that has heavy vehicular traffic and little else, often including absolute disdain for other users of the street (pedestrians, etc). Champs Elysees is a GREAT example of a street that handles high traffic volumes WITHOUT being a simple traffic sewer. Locally, I would count Van Ness as doing a decent job of having heavy traffic volumes but also having good pedestrian facilities. South Van Ness however, is a traffic sewer, as it’s a terrible street for a pedestrian.

            Geary is an example of a street that SHOULD not be a traffic sewer, but was redesigned in the 50/60s to make it that way. It could be a nice street for both pedestrians and vehicles.

          • Posted by Arch

            “absolute disdain for other users”……Sounds like another Streetsblog term to me. It sounds great on Streetsblog to paint all drivers as evil speeding selfish death machine drivers out to cause mayhem for pedestrians or bikers, but that is simply not the case. My family bikes and walks as much as we drive. We follow traffic laws, no matter what mode we are using. Only the Streetsblog crowd feels some street users are better than others.

          • Posted by anon

            Again, said nothing about drivers. And tell me again why we can’t have a street like Geary built more like the great pedestrian AND traffic streets of Paris (which you brought up)? Why do we have to have streets built only for cars?

        • Posted by NoeNeighbor

          Well if SVN is a traffic “Sewer” what are those things that are moving along through it? The message is clear, drivers are just POS’s. Or maybe you never realized that those vehicles on streets contain real live people who rely on streets to get them to their homes, work, school, and social activities.

          • Posted by anon

            Um, water? We all rely on water, and sewers move that water around.

          • Posted by Anon

            Exactly! Using the word sewer instead of river or stream is intentional. They have an agenda and it does not take into account the vast majority of San Franviscans. Instead of spending their time getting more and better transit, they fume and spew that getting rid of cars and car parking is their ONLY answer.

          • Posted by anon

            Do people build rivers to connect their houses to water sources? I’m not understanding how a river is remotely similar to a road, since rivers and streams are completely naturally occuring. Elk path perhaps?

          • Posted by anon

            Great, can I start calling MUNI a transit sewer then? Calling a street like SVN a traffic sewer shows bias and myopia.

          • Posted by anon

            Sure, call Muni that. It doesn’t bother me, sewers are necessary pieces of infrastructure in a modern city.

            Traffic sewers can be necessary too (freeways, etc), but there’s no reason for a street like SVN to exist in such a horrid state. It should be a multi-use street like major streets in Europe or Japan. It is possible, and pointing out things that SF does poorly does not mean that I’m on an anti-car kick. Not sure why you want to defend terrible planning.

          • Posted by Anon

            All right. Were in agreement. Let’s see how happy people are if I call the wiggle a bike sewer. As for SVN being multi-use, I am all for that, but I would imagine by multi-use you mean removing street parking and traffic lanes for dedicated bike paths. I’m just not convinced every street needs to follow the latest Streetsblog fad. Some streets need to carry heavy amounts of car traffic so that streets like Valencia or Mission don’t have to. The Streetsblog goal is to close Market to all cars, is that your definition of multi-use?

          • Posted by anon

            No, I’m talking about wider sidewalks and perhaps some street trees. Parking can/should stay if there’s room once the sidewalks are widened. Anything that can make the street a better place to walk.

            I don’t agree with removing all cars from Market.

          • Posted by Anon

            Trees, better sidewalks, etc. all sound great and reasonable to me. I would think 95% of the neighbors would be for this too. There is a big difference between proposals like yours that try to make streets like SVN better for everyone, vs. those who simply want to punish drivers a reconfigure streets to only benefit 3% of the users (bikes). I hope your idea comes to fruition and SVN becomes more attractive over the decades.

          • Posted by anon

            The neighbors would be for this. It’s folks that just use the street for its traffic sewer use that might lose a few precious seconds that would be against it – wider sidewalks and street trees mean narrower lanes and a more enclosed feeling to the street, which does lower speeds. No way around that.

          • Posted by Anon

            Are you saying people who own automobiles are against trees? Do you have any back-up studies about how drivers feel “closed in” and can no longer use streets as “sewers” when they have mature trees? I actually take Dolores street in from the airport even though it has many stop signs just because of the beautful trees, it is a great welcome back way of entering the city.
            I assume you are not talking about the soon to be dead Canary Island palms on Market? Is there any evidence that those palms slow down traffic?

          • Posted by anon

            No, I’m saying that people care less about the neighborhoods that they don’t live in. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Agree; while SVN between Market and the 101 stub is a horrific scar on the urban fabric, south of 101 (where this is) there’s no reason the SVN, Potrero, and Folsom couldn’t be really nice boulevards – these streets are wide; throw in a nice median like Dolores, and you could create some really attractive streetscapes that still serve traffic (of *all* modes) really well.

        • Posted by emanon

          “horrific scar on the urban fabric” Love the hyperbole!

        • Posted by anon

          Absolutely. That’s why it’s such a shame that is only a traffic sewer. It wouldn’t take much to make the street pleasant for pedestrians as well.

          • Posted by Spencer

            we need traffic thoroughfares so people can get across the city. the city needs more traffic tunnels like those on geary because they free congestion and separate cars from pedestrians (which is good for all)

          • Posted by anon

            Do people not get across Paris? I’m not understanding your point. I just want streets to be useful to cars and pedestrians, which we know is possible from thousands of cities across the developed world. Why do you want streets to only be useful to cars?

  7. Posted by alberto rossi

    Either the pedestrian right of center is 15 feet tall or the ground floor is 6 feet.

  8. Posted by SFInthebox

    Finally, this piece has been vacant for a while. Is the SRO Housing across the street going to change? Perhaps it will bring a balance into the neighborhood, the loitering outside of that hotel is not very pleasure to walk by everyday. And the Asian food restaurant & the empty grocery space definitely need an upgrade.

    • Posted by two beers

      Why would/should the SRO change? Do you propose it should be changed? How, and to what? What would you have done with the residents? Do you have any suggestions for providing housing that poor people could afford? And lastly, how would “changing” the SRO effect your own property values and/or rents?

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        I think the answer to the last question is pretty obvious, and not even really subjective or debatable (regardless of how one feels about the other merits or intangible value of having diverse populations within a given neighborhood).

      • Posted by SFrentier

        Two Bits- why don’t you try living next door to that SRO. That place really brings down that corner, plus the constant activity in front of it by ‘undesirables’ is a real eye sore. Fair amount of violence as a result of that too. Main prob is that it’s just too damn big. Small SRO can get swallowed up, but this thing is a monster.

      • Posted by anon

        Why should it change? Because it’s a !@#$-hole.

        I’m totally fine with SROs existing, but not crime-infested hellholes like this one. As far as the residents go, the good apples will be much better off somewhere else, and it’s better to split up the bad apples and force them to find somewhere else to terrorize.

        • Posted by anon

          And to be clear, I think that we should be building MANY, MANY more new SROs (or if you don’t like that term, micro-apartments), including many that are market rate.

  9. Posted by SFrentier

    Damn, $2.6 mil. That’s only $36,000 lot price per unit (if they get the 72.) outside of the soil/environmental issues, if this project doesn’t get delayed forever, profits should be phat for the dev!

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