1501 15th Street Site
By way of a tipster and Mission Mission, as proposed, the dormant ex-gas station lot on the southwest corner of 15th Street and South Van Ness will be redeveloped with a 58-foot tall mixed-use building yielding 40 residential units (8 studios, 8 one-bedrooms, and 24 two-bedrooms) over 9,000 square feet of retail and 39 off-street parking spaces.
1501 15th Street
1501 15th Street [1501-15thstreet.com]
15th and Van Ness: You’ve shopped at the Apple Store, now live in one [Mission Mission]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    Oooh, very much like. Provides a nice contrast from the rest of the area.
    Wish it was 20-30′ higher though, and a few too many parking spots, but good aside from that.

  2. Posted by Modernqueen

    Agree. not looking like the more typical Soma units going up, that are widely criticized here. Let’s see how many other true progressives like this. My only criticism: I’d like to see a number of outdoor balconies projected off the facade; add more to activate the street-side facades.

  3. Posted by mission housing coalition

    Finally, a smart mixed use project in the mission. Love the ground floor courtyards

  4. Posted by mission impossible

    Very smart how the bulk is broken up while still maintaining good unity in the design, the scale and proportions are nice, and actually works really well on the street level… but just wait till all the mission NIMBY’s get started on this one!

  5. Posted by Mark

    It doesn’t look “squalid” enough to meet the character of that neighborhood. The building a block up — is completely boarded up — maybe some faux plywood would do the trick?

  6. Posted by Alex

    No one in the neighborhood likes this sort of architecture. Most people in favor of the design don’t live in the mission, which begs the question:
    Should buildings like this be built in neighborhoods that don’t want them? Whose interests are most important?

  7. Posted by jose

    wait a minute. what happened to that big beautiful street tree in the before rendering shot..?

  8. Posted by Delancey

    Got lego?
    This would work in mission bay if some of those block-scale lots were broken up.

  9. Posted by juan

    “No one in the neighborhood likes this sort of architecture”
    Who’s we white man?
    It always strikes me as perculior that the people who denigrate change the most are the disenfranchised white middle class who purporte to speak for everyone (head over to mission mission for a true example of this)… lets all rally around death to the internal combustion engine or other such progressive nonsense
    As a “minority” and someone who has personally invested in the Mission (as opposed to just whining when other do) for over 20 years i’m ecstatic to see something “like this sort of architecture” coming to this corner. Beats fungus and knob and tubing

  10. Posted by matlaw

    I live 2 blocks away and love this design. Finally something without the modern equivalent (projecting boxes with floor to ceiling windows) of bay windows. Sick and tired of that design. I didn’t realize how much I miss a flat (but not boring) facade until I saw this design.

  11. Posted by Alai

    I’m not sure if I like. Those courtyards look pretty dark. It looks like they’ll be open to the street, but that might change if they decide that there are too many bums or late-night urinators, and I’d rather have plain old streetfront commercial to a bunch of gated courtyards.

  12. Posted by Alai

    Another thing: in the rendering it looks like there’s a big gap between the building and the neighbor to the right. If so, why?

  13. Posted by Zig

    “Who’s we white man?”
    Like that one Juan! Made me smile
    Anyway who speaks for the future residents?
    Mission District is transitory and always has been. There is nothing nice about 15th and So. Van Ness that argues against this progress.

  14. Posted by zig

    And I know little about architecture so this is my own expression (not common insider parlance) but I like most the way they have the building broken up from the ground up into smaller taller sections rather than the articulation that we force on buildings in SF often at the top. This looks awful IMO, or even worse the Palms that is squat and ugly
    This appears to me 10X better than something like the Palms.
    I also like that the materials or, at the least appear to be different than most of the new buildings.
    15th and So. Van Ness has a lot of degenerates living in near-by residence hotels so I wish the developer luck

  15. Posted by ex SF-er

    add me to the list of “likers”
    it’s not the location for me, and I wish the windows opened more than a crack, but the place is very visually pleasing and it is not the same old, same old.
    my FAVORITE part of the project is this:
    “Unit Types: 40 total (8-Studios, 8-1BR, 24-2BR)”
    YAY!!!! It’s not family-intolerant!
    let’s hope it escapes “planning”…

  16. Posted by uponahill

    Wait, no bay windows?
    I would love to see the floor plan but the parking should be reduced. The location is about 1 block away from the 16th Street/Mission Bart Station.

  17. Posted by sf

    My instant reaction within the first second of seeing it was “oooh, nice,” which is the barometer I use for personal tastes of architecture/ style.
    Nice height.
    Good luck with this area- it’s a dump!

  18. Posted by EH

    I agree that it should be taller. Let’s start a discretionary review in order to force them to do it!

  19. Posted by Bernie Hill

    Where’s @Noearch on this one!

  20. Posted by gabriel

    pulp architecture, at best. upon first glance it reminded me of a 80’s suburban office building. And the courtyards are placed facing North, which will be windy cold and dank most likely.
    I know it’s just an infill project, but seriously this just isn’t very contemporary, or in-line with well designed architecture, imho.

  21. Posted by Alex in Santa Clara

    “I would love to see the floor plan but the parking should be reduced”
    ….wait, what?
    It’s hard for me to understand people who argue against parking as a proxy for traffic and congestion. Having a parking space is a great nice-to-have because it gives you the choice in having a car or not instead of having the choice made for you.
    If you want to reduce traffic and congestion, regulate the number of cars on the road, not the number of cars stored off the street.
    We don’t live in the 1950’s anymore, and, typically, both parents in a family have to work (especially considering the demographics of 2-bedroom condo buyers in a not-so-nice area). In order to be truly family friendly, we have to consider that the parents might be working in an area that’s not served by public transit.
    As a potential buyer, you may not need a car NOW, but you never know if your circumstances will change. Buying a place without parking is shooting yourself in the foot. And if you’re a developer, it’s easier and cheaper to plan for and build extra parking spaces now than struggle with insufficient space later…

  22. Posted by Alex in Santa Clara

    Also, the flat walls make this project look like an office complex. Granted, it looks COOL in that steel-and-glass kind of way, but it just reinforces the feeling of living in a box.
    Call me weird, but I think it sucks living in a place without a balcony, or a patio, or at least some kind of a porch at your front door, or some kind of outdoor space. And for those of us who’re into this sort of thing, where would you go to smoke?

  23. Posted by anon

    If you want to reduce traffic and congestion, regulate the number of cars on the road, not the number of cars stored off the street.
    Regulating the cars stored off the street is obviously a proxy for regulating the number of cars accessing the local roads.
    Directly regulating the number of cars on the road would require some incredible (INCREDIBLE!) intrusion into civil liberties on the part of the state.
    I am very much for restricting the amount of parking that can be built (and thus the number of cars that can overwhelm a particular portion of road), but I will be the first marching on city hall when cars are tracked and where and when you can enter an area is restricted. I don’t have an issue with congestion charges per se, but the method to use them often requires some pretty substantial violations of privacy.

  24. Posted by anon

    To add on to my point above Alex, I would much prefer to see a system that allows a set number of parking spots per parcel of land, and then allow the developer to build however many units that they’d like to go along with that.
    So, assuming that this parcel can accommodate 30 parking spots, the developer can choose to build 20 residential units, 10 residential units, or 100 residential units. People on the street don’t overwhelm the capacity of anything really, but too many cars on streets quickly cause overlapping problems to all sorts of things (congestion with other cars, congestion with Muni, congestion with fire/police, etc).
    Linking parking to the number of units built is a terrible way of doing things.

  25. Posted by sf

    Having no parking leads to bird deaths!

  26. Posted by LD

    a mean design for people wanting live in a jail-like setting. Daly City gone urban: little ticky tacky boxes…..

  27. Posted by Alai

    It’s hard for me to understand people who argue against parking as a proxy for traffic and congestion. Having a parking space is a great nice-to-have because it gives you the choice in having a car or not instead of having the choice made for you.
    Parking spaces aren’t cheap. If the city is interested in having more lower-cost housing, reducing parking is one way to do it.
    It’s certainly better to give people the option rather than requiring them to pay for it because they might need one in the future. Having a third bedroom, or extra storage space, is also “nice-to-have”– doesn’t mean the city should mandate them.
    If you want to reduce traffic and congestion, regulate the number of cars on the road, not the number of cars stored off the street.
    Only way I know to do this is congestion charging, and even if that becomes real at some point in the future, what’s the point of spending millions on garages if you’re not going to let people use them?
    We don’t live in the 1950’s anymore, and, typically, both parents in a family have to work (especially considering the demographics of 2-bedroom condo buyers in a not-so-nice area). In order to be truly family friendly, we have to consider that the parents might be working in an area that’s not served by public transit.
    Pretty much all of SF is served by public transit. It’s possible that someone has a dramatically better job opportunity that requires a vehicle, but then they’ll find it worthwhile to lease a parking spot. That’s no reason to make everyone get one.
    As a potential buyer, you may not need a car NOW, but you never know if your circumstances will change. Buying a place without parking is shooting yourself in the foot. And if you’re a developer, it’s easier and cheaper to plan for and build extra parking spaces now than struggle with insufficient space later…
    Well, people are free to buy what they like, and there are plenty of places which include parking. But, clearly, there are large areas of older buildings in SF which absolutely have “insufficient” parking. They do not seem to have a huge problem attracting buyers. Do a little thought experiment: suppose you went back in time and installed parking garages in all the buildings in SF. Would we be better off? About 30% of SF households currently have no vehicle. I think it’s safe to say that if everybody had an attached garage, most everybody would have a car. There would be many fewer storefronts (you have to make room for garages, after all, and there’s less demand for local retail when people can drive to the mall.) There would be a lot more traffic. Rents and purchase prices would be higher. I don’t think we’d be better off. And if we wouldn’t, why should we be trying to change it?

  28. Posted by Modernqueen

    Total waste of time to play the “what if” game.

  29. Posted by BranMetal

    I live about a half a block away on Natoma, and what really plagues the north end of The Mission is the myriad corner lots that are all empty surface lots, car dealers, and the wasteland that is FoodsCo. There is a serious lack of lively corner retail east of Valencia and I’m happy to see this corner get some life. It’s not a bad part of town, but it is lacking a neighborhood feel, but given that much of the industry is gone, and there is a lot of unused space, I’d rather see a modern building with non drug-addled humans and retail than a dilapidated/underutilized parking lot.

  30. Posted by GoodBuyBadTimes

    “my FAVORITE part of the project is this:
    “Unit Types: 40 total (8-Studios, 8-1BR, 24-2BR)”
    YAY!!!! It’s not family-intolerant!”
    Agree completely and also appreciate that there is a mix of studios and 1BR as well. Not that many single person households can afford a 1BR in SF so including studios paves a path to diversity – singles, couples, families. Best of luck to the developer.

  31. Posted by uponahill

    With or without parking people will still buy these units. The 2 bedroom units start at $500K and up in the area without parking. The SF planning department will have the final say about the number of off-street parking. 15th Street and South Van Ness is about a block outside of the Market & Octavia Area Plan which have a parking maximum of 0.75 per unit but given the proximity to a Bart station and SF’s Transit First policy, the planned parking spaces will probably be reduced.

  32. Posted by Tom

    Gang, this was to be a Stanley Saitowitz design (see http://www.saitowitz.com and look at the 15th street project). It still looks to be in plan, but not elevation, at least from the images above and on the developer’s site, which do not match those on Saitowitz’ site. And he is not mentioned by the developers anywhere I can find. Anyone know what’s up as far as architect goes?

  33. Posted by Dan

    I like the original Saitowitz design. You can find the pics on http://www.saitowitz.com by first clicking on “Multifamily Housing,” then clinic on “15th St.” then clicking through the pics.

  34. Posted by Dan

    Sorry, that’s “clicking,” not “clinic.”

  35. Posted by mission impossible

    @Dan
    Yup! I agree, the original Saitowitz design is
    WAY COOL! Wonder what happened to it.

  36. Posted by marcos

    Silvio Berlusconi’s favorite Milan whorehouse, circa 1983. I believe that Duran Duran performed there at the time.
    The Planning Commission rightly rubbed Saitowitz’ gonads across a cheese grater for imposing this design on an existing neighborhood.

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