The former Real Food building at 3939 24th Street, in the heart of Noe Valley, has been vacant since 2003 when the grocery was suddenly shuttered.

Two months ago it was reported that HGGC, the private equity group co-founded by former 49ers quarterback Steve Young which now controls the vacant building, was putting the property on the market with “plans to sell it to a housing developer.”

And the property is now officially for sale.

But according to the confidential offering memorandum for the property now making the rounds, while it is envisioned that “some prospective buyers may wish to develop a more substantial building on the site,” others may simply wish to “renovate and re-open the building.”

And with no set price, the property is expected to be sold to the highest bidder, regardless of their plans for the site which is zoned for development up to 40 feet in height. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Matt M

    It’s a huge shame that this hole in the middle of Noe Valley has existed for almost 15 years.

    • Posted by Orland

      Agree. Whether by rebuild with housing above or not, the most important priority is filling that space at street level.

      • Posted by Ray

        The city should levy a tax on business district frontage that is unoccupied. It’s a nuisance.

        • Posted by jwb

          The city should just tax every building in proportion to the extent that it isn’t maximally tall. This parcel permits 45 feet in height, so being only 12 feet tall it would pay just about the top rate.

          • Posted by Torger Cobus

            I think that’s a great idea.

          • Posted by ijustworkhere

            Or better, just tax the land and not the structure. So an empty lot would pay the same rate as a tall building that was just next to it. This is because the land is not created by anyone and is in short supply. This is Georgism, and is the most economically efficient form of taxation, advocated by everyone from Adam Smith to David Ricardo on down.

            Then people would not only be incentivized to make the greatest use of their land, but also to change the zoning laws to allow for taller buildings, as doing so would effectively reduce the per unit tax.

            With your proposal, there is a perverse incentive to pressure local governments to lower the allowed heights as that becomes a tax cut.

        • Posted by gg

          Agreed. Why isn’t that already the status quo? Why aren’t commercial property owners held financially accountable for the negative externalities they cause by choosing to leave commercial property vacant?

          • Posted by Pablito

            Simple. Because it is not in the interest of the people in Pacific Heights who actually run the City.

            Most people are happily distracted by the bread and circuses the Supervisor’s throw out. So our ‘progressive’ City has the highest income inequality in the Country.

            The average difference in life expectancy for someone living in the Tenderloin is 20 years less than someone living on Nob Hill 10 blocks away.

            Our City Planning department and their land use policies, our City tax policy, is all about protecting the status quo. Not on improving conditions in society…

        • Posted by NOPA

          I think a LVT is a better option than a vacancy tax. Vancouver just implemented a vacancy tax on residential units so we will see what negative externalities that policy has.

          The challenge with a vacancy tax on commercial space is that its hard to determine a fair system. How long is it reasonable to have a commercial space vacant? Renovations and rebuilds have to happen in between tenants. Commercial negotiations happen on a different timeline than residential. What happens in the next recession when business are closing and nobody is opening any new business? Are we going to punish landlords because of a poor economy? What about the shift to ecommerce? SF doesn’t exactly make it simple to change the use of a commercial space, and what happens if we suddenly have too much commercial space in the future?

          I’m not sure the “Evil Landlord” commenters have thought through some of these scenarios.

          • Posted by ess

            Fortunately, there is an existing example that works: certificate of non-operation from the DMV if you’re not going to drive your car for a year.

          • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

            The real challenge with a vacancy tax on commercial space is that it would require the State Legislature (or voters) to touch the third rail of California politics. Same goes for a Georgist land value tax.

  2. Posted by Cass Trow

    It’s the Patio Cafe of Noe Valley.

  3. Posted by Willow

    Whole Foods 2 perhaps? The current one across the street is tiny..

    • Posted by Brad

      That Whole Foods should have been renovated to add a second story. It’s a shame that it will never happen.

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