298 Alabama Street Massing

Dandelion Chocolates is pushing forward with plans to build a new four-story building behind their Mission District factory at 298 Alabama Street, complete with a new rooftop pool.

As we first reported last year, in addition to 14,000 square feet of new Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR) space which would be internally connected to the existing building at 298 Alabama for Dandelion’s use, the proposed building includes 13,600 square feet of office space (the tenant for which has yet to be identified) and a 14,000 square foot gym to be operated by Purplepatch Fitness as a health, performance, and education center for triathletes, and for whom the pool would be maintained.

In a pre-application meeting with neighbors, the following concern was raised:

“How can it be guaranteed that the gym doesn’t go out of business soon after construction and at that point the pool doesn’t become a party venue for a tech firm?”

The architect’s response:

“Based on my understanding of the financing of the project, that is not an issue; the financial viability of the gym is guaranteed into the future. Separately, the pool is constructed as a competitive/training pool and does not lend itself to entertaining; there is no “club room” or kitchen on the pool level, and short of the deck area around the pool there is very little amenity-wise which would make this into an entertainment area.”

And Dandelion Chocolates, which acquired the warehouse building and adjacent parcel back in 2014, has since submitted its formal application to proceed with the development of 268 Alabama Street as proposed.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by archiwha?

    o my gosh, it’s a parking lot! owned by a local business! let the owner develop the property already!

    • Posted by Elitist Pig

      What if they go out of business and it becomes an ISIS training center?! Did you ever think about that? Better to leave it an empty parking lot than risk disaster…

      • Posted by Government Shrinkage

        An ISIS training center would add diversity to the neighborhood, cater to poor people, and would therefore be acceptable.

    • Posted by Whistle Blower

      The “local business” is a billionaire’s club using Dandelion’s name as a shell company.

      • Posted by Brian M

        So…the modern American economy, basically?

        archiwha’s point still stand.

      • Posted by curmudgeon

        Please say more. My understanding is that Dandelion was founded by the techie who founded and cashed out of Plaxo (remember them vaguely?) for $150 million. If he wants to spend his time making good chocolate now, there are worse things you can do with all the funny money. If there is something more nefarious going on, please tell.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      i am a member of PurplePatch fitness. It is probably the best running/tri training group. It is very expensive and has top level athletes. they are well funded

  2. Posted by Notcom

    Planning Commission Agenda May 9, 2019:
    Permission to convert 3000 gsf of unused locker space to a gourmet kitchen and add a 10′ cantilevered deck around pool; petitioner is Nestle, Inc. which acquired Dandelion Chocolates LLC in 2018 and moved production to Houston, TX …

    • Posted by Anon123

      In related news, Nestle stated that the chocolate outlet store in the converted PDR space will remain open and is doing great business in the location next to the dispensary.

  3. Posted by donjuan

    A fun place for people with computer science degrees?? Unacceptable!

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Good lord, what kind of crank sees their dystopia in the form of a chocolate factory adjacent gym being converted into a corporate event venue? Put pencil to paper and start writing that screenplay instead of throwing foam rubber wrenches into the gears.

  5. Posted by Noodle

    Aside from the anti-tech BS, that crank clearly doesn’t know much about the economics of triathlons. It boggles my mind how expensive the hobby is. I doubt anyone providing services in the space is going to go out of business soon.

  6. Posted by Whistle Blower

    Dandelion Chocolate is a front for an elite Silicon Valley VC firm, who’s satellite office exists illegally on the top floor of the PDR space. The building exterior is plastered with “Dandelion Chocolate” for that very reason, while delicately hiding any pertinent signage.

    The billionaires want a private gym and lap pool next door.

    • Posted by Fishchum

      If it’s on their property, so what?

      • Posted by SocketSite

        Zoned for Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR), an office space unrelated to Dandelion’s operations would constitute an unpermitted/illegal use of the building at 298 Alabama.

        • Posted by Out of Town

          If a SV company sets up a chocolate company to get “illegal” office space, the zoning is seriously out of wack!!
          So do they really make chocolates there? Anybody try them? Are they any good?

          • Posted by Government Shrinkage

            Dandelion chocolate is a perfectly legit chocolate brand. I am a bit of a chocolate snob and don’t think too highly of them, but they are a real chocolatier.

          • Posted by Freeloader

            Their iced hot chocolate may be an oxymoron, but it’s all deliciousness on a hot Indian summer day.

          • Posted by ess

            Pardon me if I don’t take the desires of SV people as automatically-good public policy.

        • Posted by Whistle Blower

          Dandelion Chocolates is a legitimate chocolate company whose founders have connections with the heads of this VC firm. They struck a deal, where Dandelion and VC would benefit by way of a new massive factory for Dandelion (which is still under construction) and a new secret satellite office for VC (which has been completed for nearly one year). The owner of this building is a shell company under the guise of Dandelion, but is in fact NOT the chocolate company. It’s meant to throw off any second guesses and is a legal tactic used by the wealthy to hide money/assets.

          Goes to show how money and politics favor the tech elite in progressive San Francisco.

          • Posted by Anon123

            Many owners of manufacturing companies who have capital to own the facilities that they operate in will set up a separate entity for said facility; there are many reasons for this – financial, generational transition, minority ownership or sale of production company etc. and there is nothing shady about it.

            As I understand it, the manufacturing company is allowed office space on site, so that is fine and dandy too. If they additionally use their office space to run other business they may be in a grey area.

            If the new building is permitted with 13,600 sq ft of office space, they can rent it to anybody… right? So you have an issue with the office component of the new building, or the gym?

          • Posted by Elitist Pig

            We’re through the looking glass here people…

          • Posted by anon

            Assuming this is true, I still don’t see why we should care. I get that it would technically be illegal under the planning code. But where’s the actual harm in some VC offices above a legit chocolate factory?

            And many if not most new businesses fail, so it wouldn’t surprise me either if the gym/triathlon training facility failed. But again where’s the harm?

          • Posted by Whistle Blower

            Anon123, you are missing the point. This is NOT a Dandelion-owned company. It’s a shell company owned and operated by Sequoia Capital.

          • Posted by Anon123

            So SS is misrepresenting the facts?

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Which facts are we misrepresenting? The building is owned by Dandelion Chocolates Real Estate LLC.

          • Posted by Anon123

            Thank you – so I do not see what point WB is making then. It is a chocolate company divesting into real estate development; the project is beyond their own needs, but nothing shady about that.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            But once again, zoned for Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR), an office space unrelated to Dandelion’s operations would constitute an unpermitted/illegal use of the existing building at 298 Alabama.

          • Posted by Harambe

            Sounds like an unpermitted/illegal use of the building to me!

          • Posted by Anon123

            So there MIGHT be an illegal use of existing building, but shouldn’t be a problem for the new construction discussed in this article, and they may actually take advantage of the new office space and legalize everything.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      purplepatch is legit. and very few tech bros are members

  7. Posted by Moratorium

    Ugh. This is why I hate this city. Why does it matter if they have parties in the pool? I doubt this person even lives within earshot of the building. A city filled with conservatives obsessed with what other people are doing.

    • Posted by Martin

      I agree. There will always be noise and traffic, but it’s never quantified as in… traffic won’t be worse than North Beach or parking will be no worse than Marina. Both of those places are reasonably desirable and neither would be built if we had comments like we have today.

  8. Posted by unlivable city

    SF Planning/SFGov have repeatedly and frankly idiotically dropped the ball on this entire part of the city for two decades.

    One block from here is the new park no one asked for (more of a concrete play yard bunker), head south and its droves of illegal tech offices with people parking on the sidewalks. Campers line the streets 24/7 with no city intervention on behalf of the neighborhood’s greater well being.

    Its a bizarre mash-up of uses and zoning with no leadership. Instead its a free for all that allows for some good things (Heath) and a lot of dumb things (spoiled rich brat party spaces, random nightlife venues jammed in between residential, pet hotels that don’t pick up after their guests). its messed up. All of it.

  9. Posted by Jack Baker

    WB – this is idiocy – a chocolate factory is a legit use of PDR space, regardless of who owns it. The zoning regulates the type of use, not ownership.

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