690 Stanyan Site (www.SocketSite.com)

As we reported via a plugged-in tipster in May:

“The other half had a storewide meeting at Whole Foods last night. It was told to them that the [690 Stanyan Project] has been scaled back to be just like the Noe Valley project. No external construction – no condos, just a interior gutting of the old Cala foods and a small format Whole Foods going into it.”

As the San Francisco Business Times adds today (or rather Friday):

“Six months after developer Mark Brennan shelved plans to build 62 condos and a ground floor grocery store at Haight and Stanyan streets because of high city fees, the owner has signed a lease with Whole Foods to occupy the existing building.”

A conditional use permit still stands in the way, but as the 690 Stanyan Project received a conditional use permit in 2008, we share Whole Food’s and the lessor’s optimism.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    Thank goodness we preserved that non revenue generating sheet of asphalt and didn’t replace it with paid parking spots and condo’s.

  2. Posted by anonn

    Thank goodness we preserved that non revenue generating sheet of asphalt and didn’t replace it with paid parking spots and condo’s
    Yes, too bad. Even a somewhat vertical build here could have potentially created some spectacular units with views westward over the park and right at the ocean.

  3. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    This episode made me try to make a list of all the perfectly legitimate projects that have been derailed in recent years due to the reigning obsession with stopping development at all costs and the relative ease with which projects can be blocked. Over the top of my head–the Harding Theater, the Mission Armory, the abandoned longshoreman’s building on the Embarcadero, and now this. Any others I’ve forgotten? The net result of this kind of nihlism, of course, is the decline and devitalization of SF itself. All of which passes for “progress” around here.

  4. Posted by Eric in SF

    I’m pretty sure the Armory could never pan out financially.
    Mission Creek runs under the Armory.
    Residential use requires the building be fortified against the obvious earthquakes, but also either a 100 or 500 year flood, and the cost of that was in the $100 million range. Before build-out of the units themselves, mind you.
    Production/Distribution/Repair use has a lower safety threshold (people don’t sleep there overnight) and that’s why Kink.com was able to move in and start Producing immediately.
    I asked the other half if he wanted to move to this store when it opens as it would mean he could walk to work. “No. I don’t want to see my neighbors at work every day!”
    That being said, I look forward to this store opening. Ashbury Market and Real Foods are barely adequate and there are many lovely things I’d love to cook at home but don’t have time to shop for outside the neighborhood.

  5. Posted by anon$random

    i love haight street market, but we do need a grocery store in the haight.
    i was fine with the idea of the condos there, but i have to say the brennan family’s idea of aesthetics is certainly lacking.

  6. Posted by curly

    It’s a complete myth that this project fell victim to NIMBYs. The EIR for it was completed in a reasonable amount of time, despite the Planning Department receiving tons of comments on the Draft EIR that all needed individual reponses – mainly from people who supported the project and didn’t really understand that commenting on an EIR will slow things down. The project received relatively little resistance from the neighborhood or any type of interest group. The developers had permits in hand when they announced their intention to scrap the larger project.

  7. Posted by LuvTheHate

    Curly: You’re attempting to re-write history here. Amongst the “interest groups” who organized opposition to the project were: San Francisco Labor Council, San Francisco Building Trades Council, San Francisco Sierra Club, Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council. If you’ll read the lengthy responses to their mostly irrelevant “environmental” complaints (e.g. too windy on the roof – do a wind study!!, will spoil the historic view from Alvord Lake!!!) you’ll see where the $$$ and weeks were wasted. With organized opposition like that, you can see why Wanna-be-Mayor Mirkarimi was reluctant to support the project until the 11th hour.

  8. Posted by Eric in SF

    The Business Times spins Brennan’s quotes to make it sound like he’s pissed he didn’t get in on the bubble, plain and simple. He saw a collapsing real estate market and ~$7 million in City fees yet to be paid.
    As much as the City needs new housing, I’m glad he didn’t get those condos built because then someone (taxpayers) would be bailing him out or the first wave of buyers at bubble prices.

  9. Posted by OneEyedMan

    I think Brennan has been consistent in blaming development fees coupled with tighter lending standards. It’s ironic how the City says they have to be more flexible in collecting fees early and then turns around and does exactly the opposite because ORH hasn’t paid the last $5M of their $21.5M.

  10. Posted by OneEyedMan
  11. Posted by wayne

    eric…what garbage. When has the city of SF ever bailed out a private developer. NEVER.

  12. Posted by Eric in SF

    ….and I specified a level of government, implied or real, exactly where in my post above?

  13. Posted by wayne

    Here you go Eric. ….because then someone (taxpayers) would be bailing him out….
    Case closed.

  14. Posted by anon

    @wayne – he says “taxpayers,” not San Francisco government or SF taxpayers in particular. I believe he was referring to bailouts that have come from the federal government.

  15. Posted by Eric in SF

    Thanks anon.

  16. Posted by been there

    Glad this is going through. Recall that the vast majority of the residents SUPPORTED it ( the position of the Haigh Ashbury Improvement Assoc), while the much smaller Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (led by Calvin Welch, a well connected landlord who opposes any gentrigication) opposed it.
    While I would have like to see more homeowners on that end of the street under the grand plan, the revised WF is a good service badly needed in the area, and it’s hopefully a start to displacing the druggie losers who congregate at the intersection/ Alvord lake and blow the park experience for folks who enter the park there.
    The shopping I do at the WF in SOMA can be done here now, and I can walk. I love Gus and the Haight street market and I will continue to suport them but at WF I can get a butcher, deli meats, cheeses, wine / beer , and I can walk. WF can’t touch the prices on organic produe at Haight St Market by the way. Good value here and very friendly staff.

  17. Posted by anonn

    Is it funny to anybody else that they call that sub-pond status cesspool a “lake” ?

  18. Posted by Turtlecry

    It will become quickly evident that the small format WFM replicated from Noe Valley won’t be sufficient in the Haight. HANC has successfully denied Haight residents the convenience of quality food markets in favor of headshops and other “Haight Ashbury character” establishments for too long. We don’t have the other businesses that Noe Valley has to complement WFM services. I can’t wait for WFM to open and hope they’ll be able to expand to a full-service market soon.

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