Plans to raze the former KFC/Taco Bell turned Poke Time building on the southwest corner of Lombard and Fillmore, which was deemed “a fixture within the Marina District neighborhood” when it was rebuilt back in 2005, have been in the works since 2015.

And as formally proposed, a four-story building with nine two-bedroom condos over 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and an underground garage for 12 cars would rise up to 40 feet in height on the site, as we first reported at the time.

That being said, while formal plans have yet to be submitted to Planning, the project team is now exploring the possibility of building a four-story hotel, rather than condos, upon the site.

And as envisioned, the development would include a new rooftop bar and/or restaurant, a required zoning change for which is slated to be considered by San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Paul Billings

    I can’t wait for the neighborhood opposition to this development attempt.

    The objections will surely be like the other effort to build a boutique hotel for millennial types on Columbus Ave at Bay Street site that went down in flames as it created too much “Fear of Millennial Revelry“.

  2. Posted by JWS

    Couple thoughts.

    (A) A rooftop bar here would be the crown jewel of the Marina bar scene. It would be so hard to mess that up so that it wouldn’t be enormously popular.

    (B) The neighbors will come out in spades to try to tear that plan to pieces next week.

    (C) Hotel to condo…interesting. It is really, really worrying me that it seems like housing is not penciling out right now. Let’s take my hood. I see 1554 Market and 22 Franklin from my window, and both appear stalled with no visible work taking place for weeks (if not months). One Oak on the market as entitled. 1270 Mission on hold. Those are buildings from 22 units to 400 and all appear like at best case they are stalled, at worst case might not be happening. That’s quite a range not to pencil right now, especially in a corner where new buildings command extremely high rents (see Nema, 150 Van Ness, 100 Van Ness, etc).

    Is it construction cost? The long permitting process? The price of concrete going up after the tariffs? The BMR requirements? The long entitlements (giving developers flexibility to wait until another cycle even if they could make money on the current)? Something else? A combination?

    (D) Despite my fears about housing no longer penciling despite our dire need for it, this is also a great spot for a hotel. You are a block away from Chestnut which is beyond vibrant right now, clean and safe, and close to so many SF attractions. Not to mention there is certainly precedent for hotels on this block. If they go hotel I would LOVE to see that rooftop bar transpire but that’s beyond a pipedream with regards to the Planning Commission. They’ve been super tough on hotels recently.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      I don’t understand it either; residential was penciling out in 2010 when rents and sales prices were a *lot* lower, so they should still pencil out now – even with rising construction and materials costs, we’re still the most expensive or 2nd most expensive residential market in the country. i.e., if you can build residential in Houston or Portland or Chicago, you certainly should be able to build it here.

      • Posted by JWS

        I agree. It’s blowing my mind. I do have some theories.

        1 – I have heard that with Trump’s tariffs in full force, the price of concrete has risen something like 41% which has skewed budgets of concrete heavy towers beyond belief.

        2 – I notice more buildings committing to high percentages of BMRs which is in theory a good thing. For example, 1270 Mission (my absolute favorite project in Mid-Market because it sets a fantastic precedent for 20ish story infill and connects NEMA/100 Van Ness with Trinity Place/Soma Grand) volunteered 25% affordable to get approved. Now allegedly it’s on hold until/if it becomes profitable again. One wonders if they had stuck to the required numbers if it would be going forward. This has me extremely anxious for Mission Rock, one of the single best projects in the city, who keeps reminding people their timeframe could be up to 40 years and with 40% affordable commitments…

        3 – Permitting. There is no way we are not at minimum in an economic plateau, if not downright recession, in three years. These projects get stuck waiting for upzoning from lengthy area plans that move at a glacial pace (the 5th and Howard projects in the Central SOMA plan, the Hub towers, etc), get stuck in permitting for outrageous amounts of time, and/or get stuck in endless DRs and lawsuits (the building next to Baycrest in Rincon Hill, for example). As that time passes and uncertainty grows, what would have been a slam dunk when it was proposed in 2014 becomes less of a sure thing when they could actually pull a permit in 2018.

        4 – We need entitlement reform. I hear about this at the Planning Commission every week. They are frothing at the idea of a “Use It Or Lose It” type of entitlement where you have a very limited window to pull a building permit once approved. Currently I think entitlements last for 10 years? It could very well be that many of these projects DO pencil, but developers think there’s a high chance they might pencil more in 6-7 years so why not hold it?

        5 – Lastly I have heard financing is increasingly difficult to obtain for all of the above. My understanding was that Build INC just could not get financing for One Oak, and I heard that months before it was put on the market.

        None of the above is good news.

        • Posted by Dave

          Anticipated profit – ROI over time – is the driving factor. Key elements of that are population growth and upside appreciation potential. Taking population growth projected for the BA (anemic at 1% or less compared to Seattle’s 2.5% growth) and the sky high condo prices and rents (Seattle’s median condo price is 555K, SF’s is 1.25 mil) there is far less upside for developers to build a project in SF than in other cities at this time. Generally, developers don’t want to hold and hope. Sit on a property for a decade or more before anticipating a “possible” big upturn in profitability years out. That is wasted capital over time for investors in such projects.

    • Posted by Paul Billings

      Or what about the lunacy of the SF Planning commission declaring that a KFC / Taco Bell combo restaurant was “a “fixture within the Marina District neighborhood” … more only in SF planning decisions.

      But I have to agree this would be the uber must be seen at bar and place to be in the Marina … bring back the Marina Triangle Bars and their location to its former glory!

      • Posted by JWS

        You’re joking. I missed that quote. I lived a stone’s throw away from this site for years and spent unbelievable amount of time on Chestnut/Fillmore bar crawls, the KFC was a running joke and the one time I did go inside it was beyond disgusting. A “fixture” in the Marina? Balboa Cafe. Final Final. Lucca Deli. Tipsy Pig. Hell even Eastside West was dangerously encroaching on “fixture” status by the time it was closed. The KFC/Taco Bell? Not even close.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        It wasn’t Planning but rather the project applicants that had deemed the outlet “a fixture within the Marina District neighborhood,” and “a traditional dining spot for local residents and for local business patrons as well as tourists” with a “menu and service that the patrons have come to expect,” when the team was seeking approval to rebuild in 2005.

        • Posted by JWS

          Hilarious and yet so typical.

        • Posted by Denis

          I remember when they demoed the old building and was so excited for new housing, only for the KFC to creepily respawn. And it truly was vile – this is coming from someone who does not shy away from eating fast food.

    • Posted by Dave

      It’s a combination of things. BMR? Not so much for these stalled/abandoned projects as they had to conform to less stringent BMR requirements when originally approved than are now in place. The current BMR requirements are unrealistic. They may have been accepted by developers when condo prices and rents were going through the roof but no longer. Going forward it’s likely new residential proposals will fall off sharply because of the BMR factor. And, depending on this fall’s election, SF residential construction could be sharply curtailed.

      Bottom line, it is construction costs, the permitting process and the significant slowdown in condo appreciation. And undoable BMR requirements. The long entitlement process is not a guarantee and is a wash IMO. Developers can request an extension beyond the 3 year window and may or may not get it. TBH, they usually get it. If that flexibility was not there a lot of investment groups could take a hit – unable to sell the entitlement in a flat market. And the end result would still be nothing built.

      There was another residential proposal in the Tenderloin area (IIRC) that is now being proposed as a hotel. If Crescent sells 524 Howard’s entitlement don’t be surprised to see a smaller hotel only project. One of the options in that entitlement is an hotel use.

  3. Posted by Denis

    Ugh. I enthusiastically support housing on the Wells Fargo site and (hopefully) the Lombard iHop, and I wish this would be housing as well. I share the previously mentioned concerns that this fairly excellent location and the similarly excellent shuttered Real Foods location a couple of blocks away failed to attract developers. This is an area in dire need of new housing.

    I live nearby and would never oppose this development since really anything is better than the Taco Bell/KFC building. The smell of fetid chicken fat on that corner still lingers in my mind years after it was shut down.

    That said, the geography of the area complicates a roof-top bar if it includes a great deal of outdoor space. Loud sounds and music do bounce off the sloping hills of Cow Hollow turning the area into a veritable amphitheater. If anyone plays outdoor music on their roof deck, I can hear it from 4 blocks away. A great deal of neighborhood opposition is likely and the Cow Hollow Association (with which I am in no way affiliated) wields a bit more power than other NAs.

    • Posted by JWS

      Oh yeah there is no chance in hell Planning Commission will go for a roof deck. The current composition of the commission has come down extremely hard on hotels in general, and specifically with regards to rooftop space on said hotels.

      I just wish we could find a way to make it work. The line at Charmaine’s on top of the Proper Hotel is an hour or more on peak nights, and The Grant (think that’s the name) at the Yotel and the rooftop bar at the Virgin Hotel will surely be enormously popular as well. The average Marina resident is outgoing and social, and values the outdoors. This is a stones throw away from the “Triangle” which has been a party fixture since literally before I was born. With the closure of Stock & Trade, two of the Marina’s most popular bars are literally on either side of this project (Jaxon and Del Mar). This is Lombard, hardly a quiet residential street. The most immediate neighbors would have literally have had to move here in the 1970s for this to not be a neighborhood/micro-area centered around young single professionals going out, and not quietly, until 2am. I am just really, really tired of “neighborhood opposition” to any semblance of noise and bustle in dense urban areas. I have dozens of friends and relatives in this hood and they would all froth at the mouth at the idea of an outdoor rooftop bar at this location. In fact there is an outdoor beer garden (with only sporadic hours, admittedly) right there now in the parking lot that is outrageously popular.

      I am not going to make this into a generational thing because there are countless seniors in this neighborhood who actively engage with neighborhood retail and are out and about. But I’m growing so tired of the small but extremely vocal contingent of seniors who wants to block anything and everything that would be enjoyed by the youth. I am not sure if the data is still current, but in 2011 the data showed that literally over half of the Marina population was professionals in their twenties and thirties. Most of them are either crowded into apartments (I had a buddy who rented a walk-in hall closet in a two-bed because that’s all he could afford) or in the tiny studios that are on most of the corners of the Marina blocks above Lombard. Give them one place, just one place, to get out of their tiny boxes to enjoy a Lagunitas IPA or a Bloody Mary (because this is the Marina after all) with their friends in the sun.

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