The Elbo Room

While the owners of the two-story building at 645 Valencia Street have abandoned their original plans to raze the corner building which is currently leased to the Elbo Room, new plans to add three stories atop the existing structure and convert the top four floors into seven units of housing, with a 600-square-foot retail space and a garage for four cars across the ground floor, have been drawn by Kerman Morris Architects.

645 Valencia Rendering

And with applications to secure the necessary project approvals and building permits having been submitted to the City last month, the proposed redevelopment was just granted eligibility for a streamlined environmental review.

The Elbo Room’s extended lease runs through the end of 2017, but according to the formal application for the project, the development team had been positioning to start construction, which is to be phased and last an estimated 16 months, “by the end of 2016.”

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Drew

    Sad to see the Elbo Room go. I got to play there 5 or 6 times over the last 11 years. Everyone there was always good to us especially Matt and Alisha. I understand the need for housing, but losing yet another permitted amplified live music venue hurts.

  2. Posted by Missy Jones

    So we’re replacing a space for artists with a space for cars? Great.

    • Posted by Mark

      Welcome to San Francisco. Valencia St. has changed a lot in recent years. Reminds me of what’s happened in the East Village over the past decade.

      • Posted by two beers

        Yes, change. All change is good, and should never be questioned or opposed. Tell that to the next loved one you know who gets a cancer diagnosis: “Well, you can’t fight change!”

        • Posted by seriously

          city growth = good and bad elements
          cancer = always bad

          stop trying to equalize the two just because they’re change. you had an argument and then lost it.

  3. Posted by Mark

    Glad to read that a Transit First City wants to add 4 ground-level garage parking spots on a street that has a dedicated bike lane and is a couple blocks from mass transit (BART). 4 spots may not sounds like much, but it’s the principle of the matter.

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      And the principle here is that people should be able to park their car where they live. I know many of you live in a fantasy world where you work down the street or right on top of a BART station, but that’s not the reality for most people. If you appreciate the bike lane, you should appreciate that the building has a garage so residents can quickly get off the street rather than having to parallel park – or double park while dropping off/picking up.

      • Posted by Bobby Mucho

        What you’re talking about is contrary to the city’s entire transit + infra vision and even more so in this neighborhood, let alone being a location 5 blocks from 2 separate mass transit stops.

        Urban planning is all about getting people to behave and move around more effectively and with as little negative impact as possible. Supporting negatively impactful behavior is antithetical to all of the above.

      • Posted by Mark

        For the record, I own a car and commute via Muni (~1 hour from the Sunset to downtown). I don’t work right down the street from my house nor do I sit on top of a BART station. I wish I did. I don’t bother with a long Muni ride to connect with Caltrain to head down to SJ. I drive in less than half the time it takes on public transit.

        My point is that the city officials who decided to designate SF as a “Transit First City” have responded to our transit crisis by encouraging developers to add parking rather than stepping up and building a real transit network to get people out of their cars. Dedicated off street parking only encourages more people to own private vehicles. In turn, these additional cars add more congestion to our streets which slows everything down even more, including transit.

      • Posted by OtherDan

        Except this is like, what? Three blocks from a BART station? A block from a number of MUNI lines? So this “dream world” you’re talking about is actually the very world where this building is located. Which leads me to ask, what’s your point?

      • Posted by Hunter

        Yeah, as others have pointed out—this isn’t a fantasy world, it’s reality for many people, and should be encouraged when this close to good transit. In fact, your mid-century fantasyland where everyone has a private parking space is a fading dream. We need housing for people not cars.

    • Posted by Bobby Mucho

      100% agreed. Super muffed if that gets a pass in review.

    • Posted by Marco

      A “Transit First” city really only favors the young and able-bodied with no kids and is a “progressive” dream that doesn’t work so well in reality. Do you have any kids in public schools in a SFUSD system where they can’t easily go to the school in their own neighborhood for diversity’s sake? One kid in elementary school across town, another kid in middle school on the other side of town… 20 minutes between start times? An elderly parent who has to go to doctor appointments across town, etc, and yourself… with a job also? The progressives love to force their own ideas of utopia down the throats of everyone else whose lives don’t happen to fit into their view of how everyone else should live.

      • Posted by OtherDan

        And people who just can’t possibly find an alternative to owning an automobile clearly need to force their silly ideas on everyone else, I guess, huh?

      • Posted by Brian M

        There are eight counties surrounding SF where the suburban autosexual lifestyle is fully available and fully catered to. I hear that in San Ramon one’s stucco palace often includes THREE parking spaces. And every business and every school is surrounded by vast parking lots.

        You re so right. There are no other choices in the Bay Area. Every place must look like Fremont, utterly oriented to the automobile. Even places already so overwhelmed with traffic that encouraging additional car use will contribute to gridlock.

      • Posted by Alai

        A friend of my grandmother’s moved out of the city to a Seattle suburb several decades back. Very much not a “transit first” area. I know because on one of her visits I helped her look for a way to get to church on Sundays, but many buses, infrequent already, just stopped running on the weekends. She spent her last few years isolated, and died from an illness that afflicts people with sedentary lifestyles. The last few times she visited, she talked about selling her house and returning to San Francisco and renting an apartment, but the hurdles were too great, and the financial aspect was also a problem.

        But, y’know, suburbs are great for the elderly! Ample parking! Apartments without parking are the worst!

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      vast majority of people who can afford to buy condos will want a car. It has been shown over and over again. Do you prefer they have car storage or that they circle the block over and over looking for street parking or doublepark in bike lanes ?

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        That’s not a good reason to follow a business-as-usual approach if requiring every condo buyer to also purchase parking. The vast majority who want a car should then look into the vast majority of existing housing that comes with parking.

        The space for those four parking spots in this development could be used to create living space.

      • Posted by Alai

        So if we took a survey, and it turned out that most people who can afford to buy a condo wanted a balcony, a private backyard, nice views from every room, and stainless steel appliances, should the city make those mandatory as well?

        No, I don’t want people to circle the block over and over.

        What will prevent that: appropriate time limits and/or pricing for street parking, as necessary.

        What will not prevent that: mandating a parking space for every new housing unit. Case in point: many outer San Francisco neighborhoods.

        • Posted by Jake

          which “outer San Francisco neighborhoods” are as hard to park in as this location?

          FTR, ~90% of owner occupied housing units in SF have at least one vehicle and the Mission is around average for SF. The correlation of car ownership with income is very high in this area, as I have discussed previously in SS. In fact, with almost no doubt at all, housing of this kind in this area will have at least one car per unit on average. That’s not “business-as-usual”, it is merely statistical facts available to anyone to lookup.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            4 spots for 7 units in minimal. these will liekly be 1.2M+ condos, and you need to earn >$300K to afford. Most people with that type of salary are going to want a car

  4. Posted by Stop Driving

    San Francisco gets increasingly stale every day. Remember the Fillmore Jazz District?

  5. Posted by ldr

    i doubt anyone who visits this website remembers the warehouse district near the ballpark. the townsend/king st area was internationally known for the most awesome all weekend long parties and art performances. back when sf was the most enlightened city in the world. we used to call it the cool grey city of love. now it’s all about greed…

    • Posted by Drew

      I saw one of the last Survival Research Laboratories shows in one of those warehouses you are talking about 🙂

    • Posted by two beers

      To both of which I’d add the outdoor SRL shows literally under the freeway near 2nd St, with air canons pumping subversive flyers into the air, while machines took each other apart.

      • Posted by Drew

        Nice. I got to see one of the outdoor SRL’s under the freeway. Hearing protection and safety glasses highly recommended. The indoor one I saw was NUTS and, well, really was probably a bit too dangerous. I still maintain a rehearsal space out on Cesar Chavez and used to have one at 3rd and Hudson. Peace.

    • Posted by Jake

      yes, some of the art/parties were in buildings that no longer exist, like the old pier building that was torn down to build PacManBark and of course Club Townsend. The recurring tidalwaves of boomtime money have washed out many. Downtown Rehearsal was cleared out in the dotcom with the intention to become a computer data center like a smaller 200 Paul, but ended up empty for a long time. Vulture capital drives out varied culture, Gresham’s law of creative destruction.

  6. Posted by Brooder

    We are becoming both ultraconservative and autocratic.

    Nothing can ever change; we need to freeze the status quo in place. If you are so keen on keeping the Elbo room just like it is I am sure the owners would entertain an offer that is high enough. Put your money where your mouth is, don’t tell others what to do with their assets.

    At the same time, we tell everyone how to live and which possessions people should have. Let’s knock of this fascist attitude. I own a car in my garage but I hardly use it to get around town. I still like it for the big grocery shopping and to go running in Crissy Field. Most of us are all, pedestrians, bike riders and public transit users. The right means for the right purpose. Transit is not that great in SF and some people even like to leave the city on occasion …

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