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Having purchased the vacant Mid-Market parcel at 1125 Market Street for $7.8 million in December, MacFarlane Partners has submitted draft plans for a 12-story building with 150 apartments over 3,000 square feet of commercial space along Market Street. A garage for 16 cars would be accessed from Stevenson Street, along which the parcel backs.

Recognizing a need to make Stevenson Street “a more livable and pedestrian-oriented street,” San Francisco’s Planning Department is strongly suggesting “enhanced streetscape improvements” to Stevenson as part of the proposed project, including enhanced street furnishings and landscaping.

The proposed project currently exceeds the allowable density for the Mid-Market lot and will need special authorization from San Francisco’s Planning Commission to proceed.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by sf

    If you want streetscape improvements you can start by removing the garage- those are the biggest obstacles to pedestrian life and overall quality of the street.
    16 spaces for 150 units? Srsly? Why even bother?

  2. Posted by curmudgeon

    While I basically agree with you, SF, it would probably be helpful to have some sort of garage entrance for building services, trash removal, etc. I expect their plan has all of this necessary program in the basement level, and there is enough room left for 16 spaces for tenants, so why not put them in. Anyway, just a guess.

  3. Posted by conifer

    150 apartments on 12 stories is an average of 12 1/2 apartments per floor, with little chance of a garage.
    I thought they were trying to gentrify this neighborhood.
    Sounds like SROs.

  4. Posted by WH

    I believe they are micro-units, which is appropriate for the neighborhood, and that the entry to the parking will be from the rear. SF doesn’t allow curb cuts off of Market St.
    [Editor’s Note: As reported above, “A garage for 16 cars would be accessed from Stevenson Street, along which the parcel backs.”]

  5. Posted by conifer

    Ah, yes, I forgot, micro-units. The SROs of 2030 AD.
    Except for public housing, slums are never built to be slums.
    “appropriate for the neighborhood” if you do not want it to change.

  6. Posted by pine

    Hey developers are finally catching on. This is how to expedite your project (little or no parking)and save project expense by maximizing revenue generating space and minimizing non-producing space.

  7. Posted by conifer

    If pine is right, then Chris Daly won, and there will be housing for drug dealers and prostitutes well into the future.
    An intelligent city we have!

  8. Posted by Zig

    Ah, yes, I forgot, micro-units. The SROs of 2030 AD.”
    A few thoughts. There is nothing inherently wrong with SROs. That we house our derelicts in them doesn’t change the fact that many single working class men used to live in them
    I imagine these micro-units will be quite expensive and demand will be high now and in 2030. I just don’t see any reason to believe otherwise.

  9. Posted by Zig

    “there will be housing for drug dealers and prostitutes well into the future.”
    Yes all those drug dealers and prostitutes will be signing leases immediately
    Maybe you should get on the ballet and let the people decide.
    “DO YOU WANT DRUG DEALERS AND PROSTITUTES GETTING SMALL APARTMENTS?!”

  10. Posted by lyqwyd

    If the article from December is correct the building could be 113,000 sf, which works out to be about 745 sf per unit. Now some of that space will be for common areas, say 15% (which is probably on the high end of reasonable). That would make for about 630 sf per unit, either a small 1 bed, or large studio on average. Pretty far from SRO or micro-units.

  11. Posted by Dan

    Perfect location for market rate housing for young single folks working downtown. No need for much parking with BART and Muni Metro right there. All of this housing being built in mid-Market will make for a lively neighborhood (and in a good way).

  12. Posted by JIM

    Housing for the some 50,000 students who now compete in the rental market.

  13. Posted by sfres

    Having lived in Soma Grand for quite some time, I really hope they improve that side of Stevenson Street where folks tend to setup camp behind the cars. Although they are constantly moved elsewhere, the meth clinic out back doesn’t help, either.
    The federal building has done a great deal in keeping that area safe and lit up with the stadium type of lighting all night. More apartments for the area is great — looking forward to the completion of this and the trinity buildings.

  14. Posted by Rillion

    I think people are on to something, if we only build luxury housing then all prostitutes and drug dealers will not have any place to live so will get jobs working for tech companies in order to afford the new places being built. Brilliant!

  15. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    More market rate affordable housing, great stuff! This is the kind of thing that San Francisco desperately needs. It will be too expensive for SROs, but should be in the right price range for the working middle class.

  16. Posted by extra

    This is the type of development that can actually start to make a dent in SF’s housing affordability problem, unlike the below market-rate units which inflate the cost of new construction and thereby limit supply. (Which really is the intended effect of those laws, of course.)
    No parking to drive up costs, moderate unit sizes, and great access to public transportation. Many people will even be able to bike and walk to get where they’re going on a daily basis.
    Why is the zoning so low that this exceeds the allowable density, anyway?

  17. Posted by OMN

    What is the expected cost for these kind of units? San Francisco desperately needs more housing in the 1000-1350/bedroom range.
    All the talk about tech millionaires ignores that the overwhelming majority of the employees at tech companies are not making the kind of salaries required to live in places like NEMA.

  18. Posted by Adam

    About time this hole in the ground directly across from UN Plaza was filled. It has been years and years. I am still tired of every project in SF requiring special permission (developers apparently don’t know how to read zoning docs) but like I said, about time.

  19. Posted by Zig

    Sorry to hijack a bit here:
    My father has told me years back many single men he worked with in SF lived in SROs in the Mission and Hayes Valley. Before that in my grandparents day living in hotels in SF was very common. There were decent ones all over lower Nob Hill area as an example.
    I know that our culture has changed but it is not impossible to imagine people of modest means living in these today. The fact that we house our drug addicts and drunks in these has really diminished their reputation. I wonder what they would be like if they charged a market rate? Are there any market rate SROs now? Are they viable?

  20. Posted by curmudgeon

    Zig, there are still market rate SRO’s but they tend to be low rent “flop houses” serving really marginal folks. The housing non-profits years ago got into the business (particularly in the Tenderloin and Mission) of buying up these hotels and making them more decent places to live for recovering addicts, formerly homeless, etc.
    There must be some places like you are thinking…decent places for people of modest means, but I think they are extremely few and far between, because economically those units are more desirable either as hotels or apts/condos. Also, In SRO’s folks do need to move every so often (monthly?) or they become protected under rent control.
    I had a friend fighting homelessness a few years ago, and he wouldn’t go near the “market rate” SRO’s that were available, because he thought they were full of criminals and meth addicts and alcoholics. But he did spend a lot of time in hostels, impersonating a tourist.

  21. Posted by Zig

    curmudgeon
    Thanks for the reply. I guess the culture has changed enough where efficiencies and micro units is the best solution
    Certainly when living in a big city all people do not need large spaces. A well designed space and some well designed common spaces is way superior for many people than dealing with the tyranny of the master tenants.
    I hope we build tens of thousands of these without a single auto parking space

  22. Posted by BernalDweller

    When I moved to SF in the mid 80’s, I lived in a very respectable SRO for the better part of a year while I acclimated to the city. There were many very livable, midrange SRO’s, and I knew a lot of people who lived in them. I’m not sure how many of them remain today, but they certainly filled a very important need then.

  23. Posted by lyqwyd

    There are still a few market rate SROs. I had a friend who was a recent transplant living in one for about 6 months or so back in 2008. It was a little sketchy, but not terrible.
    I had another friend that lived in one in Berkeley back in the late 90s. The rent even included dinner… not a very good dinner, but still dinner.

  24. Posted by Alai

    I suspect that one of the changes over time is that the construction and maintenance cost of kitchens and bathrooms is a significantly smaller portion of the expected rent than it might have been when rent was cheaper. As a result the “micro-unit” is probably more economical.

  25. Posted by BTinSF

    I really hope none of the future residents hit any of the heroin addicts from the methadone clinic down the block a couple of doors, who happen to be hanging out as they do in the alley behind the two buildings, when coming and going from the garage.

  26. Posted by SomaSoldier

    The parking spaces allotted should really be for car share vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and service vehicles. This project is on the same block as Civic Center station, not to mention the multiple bus lines and F trolley that travel through that corridor.

  27. Posted by conifer

    Merrily we go along, creating our two-class paradise, the politburo who have cars and garages for parking, and the “people” who do not need cars since they have “multiple bus lines.”
    I think that all SF supervisors and commissioners should be required to enjoy the “multiple bus lines” for one year after each vote against cars or garages.
    Socketsiters who advocate against cars and garages will be expected to use “multiple bus lines” or bicycles for one year after each comment.
    Only fair.

  28. Posted by anon

    ^And any Socketsite who advocates forcing developers to build parking shall be forced to avoid all non-government owned stores for a period of one year. Only fair for those so convinced of government mandates.

  29. Posted by conifer

    Developers would build all the garage spaces they could, since it increases the profit when selling condos. No one needs to force them.

  30. Posted by anon

    ^So the several recent developments that have asked for less parking are merely imaginary?

  31. Posted by anon

    No one needs to force them.
    It seems that conifer is in agreement that parking minimums should be abolished – that means no more 1:1 parking required in 80% of the city.

  32. Posted by Rillion

    I take MUNI to work and my partner takes BART to work. It really isn’t that hard (except for when the BART unions mess it up). We both have cars available but choose to take public transportation because its cheaper and healthier than driving.

  33. Posted by rp

    That part of Stevenson Street is a junkie alley. If they spend the money to landscape it they will just be upgrading it for the junkies and derelicts, just like UN plaza. There’s almost nowhere a civilized working person can sit in UN plaza because the vagrants are sprawled out everywhere all day.

  34. Posted by conifer

    The Economist, July 27 to August 2, 1023, page 27.
    Thoughtful article on restrictive planning and zoning codes in Portland, Oregon.
    It could apply easily to San Francisco.

  35. Posted by AnonArch

    Thanks Conifer, and you are right, the article would apply to San Francisco as well and I think explains why the San Jose region grew into the largest population of Bay Area cities.
    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21582315-are-oregons-strict-planning-rules-stifling-growth-biking-and-hiking-no-parking

  36. Posted by anon

    ^Um, the San Jose “region” is not the largest in the Bay Area in population. Now, San Jose the city is larger than SF in population mostly because it’s more than four times as large in land area. Draw an area of that much land around SF and you’ll get a significantly larger population than what’s in SJ, because density is so low in SJ.
    I agree that the article can be applied to SF as well – but it can be applied even more so to the Silicon Valley cities like Mountain View or Palo Alto or Cupertino. Those places are absolutely strangling their own growth and have MUCH more restrictive zoning than anything in SF.
    The issue is a Bay area wide issue, and I have no idea why you seem to think that it doesn’t apply to San Jose?

  37. Posted by AnonAlso

    Give me a break. I agree with AnonArch… San Jose has a greater population than San Frsncisco PERIOD. Get used to it.
    San Jose should have been an agricultural region like it was. It grew by default due to various issues that pushed many families out of San Francisco.
    He posted an interesting link and it gets shot down because even though San Jose is larger in population , it is somehow unfair to compare because of acreage. WHATEVER

  38. Posted by anon

    I said that it had a greater population. He said that the region had a greater population, which is demonstrably false.
    I’m all for both cities adopting much easier zoning that would allow both to grow. If that means that San Jose becomes 30 times the size of SF, great, I’d welcome that, as it would mean that SJ has adopted even better standards than SF.
    Not sure why you want to make this some kind of SF vs SJ thing – they’re both part of the same larger metro area and should both be doing their part. (and it’s simply false to say that SJ is doing better now – try building anything taller than two stories anywhere in SJ and see how easy that is. SJ grew faster for many years because it wasn’t built out – now it is, and NIMBYs have just as much power there as anywhere).

  39. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “…try building anything taller than two stories anywhere in SJ and see how easy that is…”
    I’m not sure how easy it is but by observing what is built you can see that there’s a lot of 3+ story buildings being constructed in SJ these days, so it isn’t insurmountable. New one story buildings are the rare project these days, even in suburban residential areas.

  40. Posted by anon

    ^Sure, just as there are a lot of observable 3+ story buildings being built in SF. Not sure what your point is.
    My point is that it is NOT particularly easier to build new buildings in SJ vs SF – and is massively more difficult than either SJ or SF to build anything new in the smaller Silicon Valley cities.
    The article that was linked to was talking about places like Houston or Portland that have miles and miles of land available for housing construction, and then the differences between easy permitting (Houston) and difficult or impossible permitting (Portland). Neither SF or SJ are remotely comparable, as both are essentially built out for one story SFHs at this point.

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