Plans for a four building development to rise along San Bruno Avenue, between Mansell and Ward on the northern border of Visitacion Valley, have been drawn.

But a historic storybook façade (which would be preserved but relocated a little south), billboard (for which there’s a sight-line easement to the 101) and utility lines (for which there are multiple easements through the middle of the eight parcel site) will limit the development’s overall height and density.

As such, the proposed 3255-3333 San Bruno Avenue development would yield a total of 41 apartments, including 31 two-bedrooms, spread across the four buildings, with off-street parking for 30 cars and 52 bikes, as drafted by Schaub Ly Architects below.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in as the plans progress.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by yoyo

    well its better than nothings, which is what’s there now. but all that empty space…

  2. Posted by Boojum

    A couple things – the first, a question: Is there more information on the sight-line easement for the billboard? The underlying question: Is there no way for the developer to buy out the lease on the billboard? Does the billboard owner refuse to sell? Does the term or revenue on the billboard make a purchase prohibitively expensive for the developer? Or is the developer simply uninterested in building in the gap for reasons of her/his own?

    It’s disconcerting to think that a freeway billboard – and sprawling sight lines for the billboard! – limit potential residential development in our housing-starved city.

    Second item: “the 101” is Southern California lingo. Not that there’s anything wrong with this regionalism, but it’s nonstandard in Northern California. In LA, commuters drive “the 5.” In Northern California we drive “I-5.” Ditto, in LA, it’s “Let’s take the 101; it’s faster.” In the Bay Area, it’s “Let’s take 101; it’s faster” – no definite article. Could be wrong in this case, but adding the article suggests the writer is an auslander – in which case: Welcome! – or that the writer’s ear and eye are not particularly tuned to distinction and nuance in language.

    • Posted by zig

      True

      And to all please do not call The Peninsula the South Bay.

      • Posted by Patrick

        Except for that part of The Peninsula that is south of Menlo Park.

    • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

      You are 100% correct on your lingo comments. I’ve always found those differences interesting, having lived in both places (but I haven’t lived in SoCal in more than 30 years, thankfully.)

      The other thing that’s completely irrelevant to the article but since I’m on the subject… SoCal folks, especially old timers, like to use freeway names, interchangeably with numbers. “Take the Santa Ana freeway to the Hollywood freeway…” Our freeways up here sometimes have names, but most of them are never used. Most of us know that the 101 is the Bayshore Freeway, but does anyone ever refer to it that way when giving directions? And many of our freeways don’t have names, or those names are far from being common knowledge.

      Not all of the LA freeways have names that people use (the 605 is just the 605, for example) but most of them do.

      I now return you to your regularly-scheduled topic.

      • Posted by Notcom

        I would disagree w/ your last – middle? – statement: names like Nimitz, MacArthur and Eastshore were routinely used (perhaps because the latter served several different numbered routes [Int80, US40, SR 17]); it seems like that’s changed somewhat in recent years – I hear “880” used a lot more than I ever did “17” – but “truck accident on the Nimitz” is still a phrase most learn during childhood.

        • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

          Yes, the Nimitz name still gets used, mainly by traffic reporters. I’ve never heard anyone use it in conversation, though I’m sure it happens. I’ve lived in the area for decades and have never heard of an Eastshore Freeway, or a MacArthur freeway (though I’m certainly familiar with the MacArthur Maze.) I used to commute on Highway 17 daily, years ago, and never heard it called anything but Highway 17 (trivia: Highway 17 used to be much longer, all the way to Oakland, before much of it became 880.)

          In SoCal, the names are used much more commonly than here, that was my point. I still believe that to be true, but I stand corrected on my assertion that most freeways here don’t have names. I’d warrant that, aside from the Bayshore and Nimitz, few people know the names. (Are there any signs, anywhere, proclaiming “Eastshore Freeway”?)

      • Posted by SocketSite

        We’d take your comment under consideration, but it appears as though your ear and eye are not particularly tuned to distinction and nuance in language (“Most of us know that the 101 is the Bayshore Freeway”).

        And now back to the actual topic and Frisco development at hand…

    • Posted by ayhsmb

      I think the presence or absence of the article is no reliable indicator (anymore?). I’ve been here 13 years and still (usually, not always) say “the” because that’s how it worked in Oregon.

  3. Posted by sfdragonboy

    Gosh, does common sense ever come into play??? Or, the theory that the needs of the many are way more important than the needs of the few, or one?

    • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

      That’s a nice concept, but there’s a thing called property rights, and the owners of several of those properties sold portions of their property rights (the view easement, the utility easements) and they don’t own them any more. Somebody acquiring those properties does so subject to those easements, there’s no getting around it unless they can buy the easements back from whoever owns them.

  4. Posted by Neil Kingston

    In a city with at least 4 outdoor golf courses, I find too knee jerylk to say we are housing starved. We’re actually supremely well fed for housing. Plenty in fact. But the city sold its soul to real estate developers and real estate speculators.

  5. Posted by Dave

    I just got off the BART and saw this article. The fact that open space will have to be kept because of easements is great. Those areas, shown as grass, should be planted with trees to help with the pollution from the freeway. There are trees that thrive in such an environment. SJ tends to plant ameliorating greenery near freeways and busy thoroughfares,

    Keeping the “whimsical” storybook façade is great but for the fact that they attach it to a rectangular box. Old Miraloma is full of storybook designs and what would be better is to have the new building informed by such design criteria. And the other two buildings too. The middle building gives a nod to the retained façade with its brick roofline decoration but more could be done.

  6. Posted by Adam

    Amazing how a street that disappeared decades ago underneath the freeway is still dictating the shape of building lots. That Storybook building used to be on the corner of San Bruno and Le Conte.

  7. Posted by Anonymous

    Makes me wonder about the east side of Potrero Ave between 19th and 20th. It’s empty hillside wedged between Potrero and 101. Seems like a similar site that could be repurposed.

  8. Posted by scott f

    And here I am pleasantly surprised by this because I thought that whole area was RH-1.

    The closeness to 101 is not great for air pollution and noise, but better to be in well-insulated new construction at least. Otherwise, great place for density since this is close to the 8 bus that gives a fast ride downtown until late. Looks like it qualifies for the Home-SF density bonus, which might only be useful if they bought out the billboard easement.

  9. Posted by Notcom

    “historic storybook façade (which would be preserved but relocated a little south)”

    Let’s hope so: I see a looming – or at least potential – ‘OOPS!!’ here once they reality of the cost of doing this sets in.

    (And any info on the history thereof ?? A GC (Richard Delucchi) moved in in 1936 but the records indicate a 1925 build date so it must have been something else first)

  10. Posted by Jamie Sommerfeldt

    If that old “storybook facade” building can be preserved, so much the better. New apartment complexes all look alike with their industrial, cookie-cutter facades. Will there be accommodations for plug-in electric vehicles?

  11. Posted by Pero

    1) Billboard: I’m surprised there is no better way to integrate it into the new building development. Can’t it be attached on the side or mounted on top of the new building? It could also be shifted further up or down the development site.

    2) The Storybook facade looks horribly out of place already and it will look even worse with new condo buildings in the background. Which history is this low-cost Disney-world knock-off supposed to represent?

    3) There is a large, relatively flat piece of undeveloped land on the east side of San Bruno Ave between Mansell and Olmsted. Does anyone know why this spot is still untouched?

    • Posted by Notcom

      Curiously this is the second time in as many years that a “Storybook” building has become the focus of discussions about a development.

      Unless they’re much more common than would seem likely, it would appear they’re being targeted, and tho in each case a happy outcome has been proposed, we can’t count on this forever…therefore I propose SF be declared a Storybook Sanctuary City. 🙂

  12. Posted by ISeeStraightLacedWhitePeopleInVisitacionValleyNow

    Geez this seems like a desperate last resort move. They are really trying hard to scope out every last nook & cranny of SF space to develop to fatten their wallets, though there is nothing there besides the occasional homeless that may have found refuge from all the SOMA homeless “sweeping”. The potential Bayshore-Schlage building development seems more interesting and transformative though.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      The notion that infill isn’t worthwhile or important is absolutely absurd.

  13. Posted by ISeeStraightLacedWhitePeopleInVisitacionValleyNow

    Infill is right

  14. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    9 and 9 R bus and 44 and 8 and 8x are overstuffed not a great option without new services transit wise..

  15. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    Check the investor as many of these projects are being done in different districts of SF, maybe a LLC taking advantage of the “fast-cheap-and-outta-control” development on projects.

    Architect on this was working prior on other projects citywide, but most are unfortunately “run-of-the-mill” designs with no real architectural “oompf”…. mainly for the quick buck flip… of sites.

    • Posted by Joel Green

      “Architectural oompf” is frowned upon in the west/south parts of the city where this architect has mostly been involved.

    • Posted by Dave

      No architectural “oompf” describes what – 90% of projects jammed through during the recent boom years. Mediocrity all around which makes it interesting/sad to see pop-up ads at SS for some great looking residential projects in other cities. Thousand Museum in Miami puts anything built in SF around the TTC to shame including 181 Fremont which some hold up as good architecture..

      • Posted by Brian M

        Dave: Have you ever really been to Florida? A few pockets of artsy stuff aside, Dade County is in no way the architectural nirvana you claim based on one prestige building.

        • Posted by Dave

          I was making a specific comment about a specific building. Not a general comment about Miami or Dade County. I tend to click on pop-ups at SS that are about/advertise new large residential buildings which look interesting. Thousand Museum is one such.

  16. Posted by Sherman

    Shouldn’t there be at least 1 parking for each unit? We do not want MORE double parking on San Bruno, there is already way too much of that.

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