CFAH

2200-2210 Market Street: Thai House (www.SocketSite.com)

An observant tipster notices the application to demolish the Thai House Restaurant on the corner of Market and 15th streets (2200-2210 Market to be exact).

As proposed, the single story restaurant and surface area parking lot would become a ground floor restaurant and retail with 22 residential units above in 5 stories along Market, 4 stories along 15th, and with 12 parking spaces beneath (including one for car share).

Unfortunately that’s about all we know about this project, but perhaps a plugged-in reader can provide the scoop on what could be an example of the Market-Octavia Plan in action.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Jake

    Now if we can just do the same with the Safeway on Market…

  2. Posted by Phil

    I walk past this restaurant almost every day, have eaten there a couple times, and have long wondered how they managed to stay in business – I couldn’t imagine how they made enough money to keep up the basic infrastructure costs. I guess now I know that they couldn’t.

  3. Posted by zzzzzzz

    Agree with the above comment. The existing restaurant is almost never open. It’s time that land be put to more productive use.

  4. Posted by trafficjam

    The food was actually pretty good, but I guess it wasn’t hip enough for that neighborhood since I was usually outnumbered by wait staff every time I ate there.
    The biggest downside to this is going to be how badly Market backs up to traffic during the 12+ months of construction. With all the construction vehicles coming in and out of the site all day, I’m sure lanes will be blocked pretty consistenly. Combine that with the super fast cable car taking up another lane right at that area of Market and it should be good times for all.
    Oh, and with all the other unoccupied retail space and empty lots in that area, it’s probably a well thought out plan to add more retail space to the bottom of the building. That area can definitely use another 2-3 tanning salons or sex toy stores.

  5. Posted by diemos

    The food was fine the couple of times I ate there but the restaurant at 19th and Castro is way better.

  6. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    I think the restaurant at Castro/19th is what killed this place. It’s much better and well worth the extra walk.

  7. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    “…Oh, and with all the other unoccupied retail space…”
    This might not be such a big problem if (gasp!) people were more open to tolerating formula retail. But of course, a vacant, blighted, graffiti-scarred and homeless-encamped storefront is infinitely preferable to a chain store. Silly me.

  8. Posted by location

    I like Safeway just fine, but what about that weird Motor Lodge next door to the Thai place?

  9. Posted by Live Smart

    Good for them if they were able to get financing to build this. Are these going to be condos or rentals?

  10. Posted by j

    Yes, a vacant, blighted, graffiti-scarred and homeless-encamped storefront is infinitely preferable to a chain store. This is a simple concept. And of all the times to think that a chain store is a more solid prospect–should we put in a circuit city? A sharper image? Hollywood video? A Gap? Nothing is guaranteed, and assuming a chain store that pays the highest bid is the best option just so there won’t be graffiti? C’mon, think it through. People are passionate about this kind of stuff for a reason.

  11. Posted by trafficjam

    Umm, I’m sorry but what exactly is your point about why people would be so passionate that they would prefer a blighted building to one rented out by a chain store? Is it that some of the chains fail and mom and pop chains don’t? Is it that they bring in any less tax revenue or employ any less local workers? Could it be that chain stores are considered ‘mainstream’ and not cool enough for SF? Cause it’s hard to believe there are a whole lot of great reasons to block chains willing to pay rent and taxes while employing SF residents at a time where jobs and taxes are both drying up.
    Oh wait, on second thought, there must be some spiritual reward that I don’t get that comes along with walking past a boarded up building everyday for 20 years like they’re doing near the Pagoda in North Beach or the Harding in the Western Addition. Let’s all keep fighting national chains to retain this classic SF charm.

  12. Posted by j

    Sorry to make you so mad, but simply put: the cost of keeping chain stores away (tax revenue and employment) is worth it. I’m not stating that mom and pop shops don’t fail.
    Let me put it this way–I am for classic urban living. I’m old school, really I am! I am all about small town/urban village ideas. Try and think past your anger. Butcher shop/deli/small churches/close knit community. Spiritual reward? Some may call it that. And yes, we can both go back and forth and cite examples, but in the end, it really is about the feeling of an area. The sense of place. If you like, we could discuss this more, but I am not interested in cynical angry remarks. We can dust off our Jane Jacobs, learn about the history of urban environments, go through old pictures. I’m serious. I don’t want you to feel you are at the end of your rope, there is some really interesting stuff in all of this.

  13. Posted by CameronRex

    12 parking spots, or just 11 if you subtract the one for carshare, for 22 units; this will be interesting to watch. This corner has excellent access to transit and shopping/restaurants. With only half the units getting a parking spot this is a great test of the demand for units sans parking.

  14. Posted by Jim

    I agree with Trafficjam. There is a very specific reason why people live in SF over the burbs or another major city. We should NEVER let franchise stores enter the city. They bring low paying jobs, nothing special and offer horrible service. It’s bad enough there’s a Starbucks on every frickin corner with sheep waiting in line. I would rather walk over the homeless than shop at a franchise/big box store.

  15. Posted by peanut gallery

    How about you should not be allowed to open a store unless you pass the Urban Utopia test. How dare a chain try to make money off our beloved city. Property rights be damned. I hope this one makes it to the courts along with prop 8. Live and let live.
    Here is an idea, if you don’t like a store, don’t buy anything there. If enough people do that, the stores will fail (like the ones across the street?). Or we can subsidize any stores that cannot make it on their own a la Jazz Preservation zone. We really are off our rockers when it come to how we use our resources.

  16. Posted by High Rise Harry

    I’m thrilled for this infill. it seems a waste to NOT have housing on top of this lot, and the Thai place below. I wish more single purpose lot owners would convert (SF. Stereo comes to mind).

  17. Posted by ANON

    I’m still trying to understand how the bank ended up on the other corner. Does anyone actually still use bank branches?

  18. Posted by joel Davis

    “How dare a chain try to make money off our beloved city.”
    Yep. If you want to put it that way, fine. I don’t have that same inflection in my voice–that bitter, angry voice, with spittle coming out the sides of my mouth. But, yes, I don’t care for the suburbanized ethos occurring in the public space. But I will agree I am self-righteous and spirited of course. Elitist if you will. I know what I want.
    “I hope this one makes it to the courts along with prop 8. Live and let live.”
    I’m not sure what you mean about “this one” making it to the courts, but I do find it odd that you would equate a civil rights issue with that of city zoning. Almost as if you don’t understand either issue…

  19. Posted by 94114

    The bank ended up on the other corner because the neighborhood fought a Trader Joe’s (too much traffic). Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the bank donated the space on the corner of Castro and 18th for the LGBT Historical Society in exchange for the new location across the street from the Thai Restaurant.

  20. Posted by Jay

    The density proposed is too much for that site. Parking in Duboce Triangle is already insane. Adding to the complicated traffic patern turning onto 15th Street from the six way intersection at Market/15th/Sanchez will be the retail Bank branch (WaMu/JP Morgan) opening directly across 15th Street from this site. The subject development will likely be the largest / tallest project in the Duboce Triangle neighborhood (outside of the Hospital site). As a zero lot line development, I think the project should be re-thought. And, I’m prodevelopment. Go figure. 😉 Plus, what’s going up on the old gas station site across Sanchez at Market?

  21. Posted by spencer

    i think chain stores should be fine as long as they goive back to the community. This is market street anyway..not a cute tiny street in a nice village neighborhood. I think market and van ness are prime for chains, but maybe some older neighborhoods on walkable streets should stay chainless.

  22. Posted by zig

    Jay are you pro-development until its near you?
    I think concerning on street parking: why should it be public policy to worry about something like this. Buy a spot or take a Muni

  23. Posted by zig

    make chains conform to a design guidelines and I am ok with them mostly
    this will prevent us from ending up with another Safeway like building on Market or McD on Van Ness

  24. Posted by Timosha

    Parking should not be a deciding factor in such a mass-transit accessible, central location.

  25. Posted by invented

    “The density proposed is too much for that site. Parking in Duboce Triangle is already insane. Adding to the complicated traffic patern turning onto 15th Street from the six way intersection at Market/15th/Sanchez will be the retail Bank branch (WaMu/JP Morgan) opening directly across 15th Street from this site.”
    Oh no! Here we go again. Underbuilding in action. It doesn’t end. Which suburb/state are these people from? Parking insane in Duboce? Duboce is thriving! Kids —5 stories minumum 8/9 preferred. Go see flatirons, see buildings which don’t disappear into the tepid tentative built SF landscape, see Hermann/Laguna/Market intersection building – better yet travel outside of Colonial Williamsburg West and see how real cities develop. If ever there were a site for a glimmering interesting urbane building — this is it.
    Oh, imo.

  26. Posted by peanut gallery

    Joel,
    Just a few comments from the peanut gallery in fun. No spittle. One thing that does get somewhat under my skin is the elitist attitude that you admit to that seems to be costing neighborhoods and individuals time and money throughout the city. Like the Walgreens on Cesar Chavez. Maybe the project was slightly improved by the “process”, but I think it could have been done much more productively. It seems like there is a strong entitlement attitude among some citizens of the city when a developer is going to make $s. Even though they are bringing in property taxes and sales taxes with the new project, turning an underutilized corner into something more useful, and providing funds/units for BMRs.
    The idea of sf as some utopian urban wonderland is pretty funny actually. Our city is turning into Disneyland for adults. Especially the real SF.
    The idea of banning a store based on the ownership or affiliation seems to be discrimination to me. Zoning based on use and size seems different than zoning based on who the owner/operator is. One seems legitimate, the other seems like you want to ban a class of operators. I think this will be taken to court. It connected in my mind to the prop 8 issue in the desire of others to control who can engage in otherwise legal activities based on someone elses idea of the way it should be. Like when a store (ie Quickly) wants to open an otherwise compliant service in store but is banned for the sole reason of being defined as a chain to me seems unfair. I may not understand the real issues as well as you, but hopefully you can explain how my reasoning is wrong.

  27. Posted by Dave

    Jay: Nothing going up on the ex-Shell station site, current home of the Christmas tree lot. My understanding is that the owners of the lot plan to sit on it for a while. In any case, no plans in the pipeline for that lot yet.
    94114: Not quite. WaMu wanted to open TWO branches and secured both the 15th/Sanchez/Market site and the Castro/18th site. Folks in the Castro objected to yet another bank, particularly so close to the larger branch they’d already started construction on, and nixed that idea. WaMu (now JP Morgan Chase) agreed to donate the space to the GLBT Historical Society for a period of time (though they do want to have an ATM on the exterior.) I think the historical society will get to use the space through 2009 and maybe a bit more, I think it was a total of 18 months.
    The info on the Thai House project is basically correct, from what I know; the developers are currently working with Planning and with neighborhood stakeholders, who are pushing them to improve the design and try to get it to fit into the neighborhood (particularly on 15th St.) better.

  28. Posted by Jay

    Zig, Density and parking/traffic are urban planning issues and regulated by zoning. It is of public concern.
    I own a space and take Muni for that matter. So not for me to worry about personally. However, there is a supply shortage of parking and there are no spaces for people to “buy” (unless they buy a garage usually attached to a house).
    I would be in favor of two story over retail, like the rest of the neighborhood.
    However, I agree with someone above, condos won’t get financed any time soon!

  29. Posted by Eric in SF

    94114 – the signs at the old Ritz at 18th/Castro indicated the museum only got the space for one year. I assume a branch is going in after that.
    There are many stalled housing projects along Market, starting between Octavia and Laguna, going up to Buchanan and Market, then to 15th/Market. And we’re hearing about new ones constantly: this development, the proposed Whole Foods at Guerrero/Market. I just don’t see financing coming through until we find out if civil society is going to break down in 2009*.
    *wink* for the humuor impaired.

  30. Posted by anon

    Let me put it this way–I am for classic urban living. I’m old school, really I am! I am all about small town/urban village ideas.
    I think Aunt Bea and Opie moved out of SF a long time ago. Even Floyd closed up his barber shop.
    Dang gum progress!

  31. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “There is a very specific reason why people live in SF over the burbs or another major city. We should NEVER let franchise stores enter the city”
    There are a lot of reasons that people want to live in cities including :
    – concentration of jobs
    – cultural venues : opera, museums, nightclubs, etc.
    – variety of “stuff” (food, merchandise, etc.)
    – diversity : birds of a feather hang out together (or hang out with other birds and learn something new)
    – regional and international transport
    – easy access to the above (good transit, compact layout)
    Though I don’t really have a strong affinity towards chain stores, living somewhere that they are banned is pretty far down on my list of what I look forward to in a city.
    Some of the aspects of chains are not very appealing : poor treatment of workforce, bigbox surrounded by sea of parking, etc. But those negative impacts can be dealt with directly rather than a simple blanket exclusion of chains.

  32. Posted by spencer

    ^^^^
    Yes, but Otis seems to have [multiplied] all over SF

  33. Posted by j

    Even Floyd closed up his barber shop.
    I take it you haven’t been to the Castro to check out any of the barber shops…

  34. Posted by Joel Davis

    Peanut Gallery: I understand the entitlement issue (I don’t care who is making money, really). Also, I am not interested in banning chains. When I say the toll of keeping chains away–that’s a pretty complex statement that I should have qualified. I am more interested in an organic approach, one that everyone is involved in. A lot of times, the situation does not play out well, and we are stuck with something undesirable. There is no clean cut answer, much like I don’t automatically think that a chain store is a great answer to a problem. And in regards to Disneyland–a philosopher (I forget who–obvs. one of the post-modernist) once said that Disneyland was the “truest” place on earth, because it knew it was fake, and knew of its purpose.

  35. Posted by bvneighbor

    No chain stores? (Shaking head). Walgreens, Pottery Barn (uck), Pasta Pomodoro, Diesel, Levi’s…my god, the place is nothing but chain stores. Doesn’t really matter anyway as the place is full of “families.” Can Chucky Cheese be far behind? How bout a Baby Gap? (oh,yeah, their going broke aren’t they?). Anyway, if that scary motel next to the Thai place closes, where will Tina and her friends go to party? Ah San Fran.

  36. Posted by Dave

    Slightly off-topic, but I don’t believe there will be a Chase (WaMu) branch at 18th and Castro even after the GLBT Historical Society’s “free” use ends. Chase/Wamu’s lease expires at the end of November, 2009 I think, so who knows what will go into that spot. Hopefully not another bank.

  37. Posted by ANON

    If local merchants could pull their shit together and open an establishment (besides a pet boutique) that people would actually want to shop at, we wouldn’t have this issue of chains swallowing up all the vacant storefronts.

  38. Posted by Eric in SF

    Friends in the Castro tell me the landlords are a big part of the problem. They feel the Castro is a destination shopping area, akin to Union Street or Rockridge, etc. Therefore they jack the rents insanely high and drive out anything that doesn’t have deep pockets (chains).
    Plant’It Earth recently relocated out of the Castro because of landlord issues like this.

  39. Posted by zig

    Jay-We’ve spent over a decade of urban planning “process” to decide that 2 stories over retail is not dense enough for this neighborhood and that it should be transit first implying we don’t care about off street parking.
    I am hoping people will not be allowed to side track all of that work

  40. Posted by bvneighbor

    What? one cannot make the rent payments from piercing people? (Cold Steel recently closed), renting gay interest dvd’s (mostly porn..another closure), little Thai baskets, anyone? How about the reading glasses store? The Scotch-tape boutique? ANON is right. The locals do need to get it together cause soon it’s going to be all gone. On the other hand, silk flowers and bed sheets ain’t looking like such a brilliant idea either (Pottery Barn) right now, so maybe the chains will be gone too and the greedy landlords can sit with empty buildings. BTW, rather off topic, stopped at a Penninsula mall last eve (well, i needed cat litter if you must know), and the place was very creepy. Not many shoppers even at the Target. Couple of empty large storefronts, and some shady looking characters hanging around. Was it a glimpse of the future? I guess i’ll stay in the City.

  41. Posted by Dude

    I think bvneighbor’s comment at 4:15PM is fantastic, especially the chains mentioned. Truly telling of the hypocrisy which has become modern San Francisco’s view on business.
    People are decrying chains stores like Pottery Barn, which is owned by Williams-Sonoma. Which is headquartered here in San Francisco and provides real jobs to many real San Franciscans. Pasta Pomodoro, another chain, which was founded here in the 50s and remains headquartered here today. Anyone need a history lesson on Levi’s or Gap? How many people do they employ in this city? Yet we don’t want their stores in our neighborhoods.
    Promoting small business development is great, but we need a balance. Unless we all want to pay $40 for a pair of socks and lose our corporate jobs to become shop clerks.

  42. Posted by sf

    Out of all of the buildings in Castro this is probably the one I will be sad to see go.. it’s so unique and cute there. What about the 8 gas stations? Or the strip mall Safeway? Or the Placerville esque Motor Lodge? Or the 24 hour fitness/ Walgreen’s mess?

  43. Posted by fluj

    Pasta Pomodoro was founded in 1994. I ate there for lunch today. The story is printed on the menu.

  44. Posted by sf

    FYI Chase/ Wamu is going to open right behind this Thai place, on adjacent to the Cafe duNord, not 18th / Castro. The building is still under construction.

  45. Posted by Dude

    You’re right, fluj. It was Williams-Sonoma that was founded in the 50s in Sonoma. Got my brands confused. But my point is valid.

  46. Posted by fluj

    That’s cool.However, what I did not know, and what I just learnt because your accidental errant factoid gave me pause, and made me double check what I read today, is this. Pasta Pom has 45 locations both in CA and AZ. Also Wendy’s bought a 25 percent stake in 2002?

  47. Posted by Mole Man

    I’ve had some interesting group meals in this building, but was always mystified by the out of place land use. The proposed replacement seems big, but the details of exactly how it goes up matter. Really good architectural design and materials can make a huge difference.
    The problem with chains is that big retailers use loopholes and scale to kill off all competition, and they operate in ways that do not serve the community well. The 2006 book Big-Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell covers a lot of the issues in detail. Local and externally managed retail are very different, and the proportion of local retail is strongly correlated with community quality of life factors. If big retail chains actually delivered better products, selection, or prices then the Faustian bargain might be worthwhile, but dilligent research shows that none of these advantages are offered while many serious disadvantages are introduced.
    This is not just an issue for urban utopias since retail is part of life. Chains tend to make all places increasingly consistent and uniform. Some people like that, but most people get bored easily and want variety. Local retailers turn out to be extremely good at delivering diverse products and services in ways that benefit the communities in which they operate.

  48. Posted by Kathleen

    Buy a spot or take the Muni?
    Is there no room for us poor old timers who need our cars and can not afford to “buy a spot”? Is it yuppies and homeless only? Is there no room for the less than sexy, regular ole folk in this neighborhood? Anyone who thinks you can legislate behavior aptly, is fool hardy.

  49. Posted by Jimmy (Bitter Renter)

    Kathleen,
    You’re correct. There is no room for you old-timers. Unless, of course, you “bought a spot” 30 years ago in which case you’re living on easy street (thanks to us yuppies). Enjoy the new new reality.

  50. Posted by BRCGranny

    A lot of us ride the bus every day and are not homeless. This is one of the most walkable cities in the world, and that housing development is probably in the most walkable part of SF. If a person can’t live in that location without a car, then I have to question their priorities.
    And I’ll add money and mouth facts: I live in the outer sunset (OuSu?) and do not own a car.

  51. Posted by Jimmy (Bitter Renter)

    Well, Granny, perhaps one of their priorities is commuting to a high-paying job in the suburbs which allows them to pay their outrageous mortgage? Transit to the Peninsula is pitiful and inefficient. Maybe that’s why they own a car.

  52. Posted by marketwatcher

    I thought that place had the worst thai food ever… No flavor. I just hope the design of the new building is something most will like. What do we need to do to get developers to stop using prefab popcorn board for exteriors?

  53. Posted by Brutus

    Jimmy and Kathleen – if you need a car, buy one of the 11 units that HAVE parking.
    The idea that we should underbuild housing or overbuild parking at this location is ridiculous. One spot for every two units is more than enough for a building located on the ONLY subway line in SF.
    Sheesh.

  54. Posted by Dave

    What I really object to is the audacity of those whose lifestyle doesn’t require a car, who think that gives them the right to decide that nobody else needs one, either.
    If you live, work and play in the city, all near transit lines, you are fortunate enough to be able to forego the expense and trouble of a car. Congratulations, it saves you lots of money. But not everyone lives your life — some people need to commute long distances every day, to areas that are unserved or poorly served by transit, or they need to haul lots of stuff around with them, perhaps for their job. Some have disabilities which make walking (even walking to transit) largely impossible. Others (like me) use public transit or walk the vast majority of the time, but have occasional needs that aren’t served by transit or even car sharing. It’s arrogant and paternalistic to decide that people in SF don’t need cars, simply because you don’t need one.
    I’m not opposed to parking limits and to measures that encourage people to use transit and other alternatives, but I know that car-free living just won’t work for everyone. I thought the Market Octavia plan would have been better at .75:1 parking ratio, but we ended up with 1:2 as the basic limit (.75:1 with CU.) I continue to question how many folks that can afford a $700-800K condo will NOT have even one car and will be willing to buy without parking. But we’ll get some answers to that when projects like this Thai House project get built and sold (or not.)
    I have lived in some of the most transit-friendly cities in the world (outside the U.S.), some of which are extremely car-unfriendly. But there, as here, there are plenty of people who simply can’t get by without a car and will endure whatever cost and inconvenience it takes to have one. I remain unconvinced with the idea that if you build less parking, there will be fewer cars. What WILL happen is that the existing parking will become more precious and valuable.

  55. Posted by Brutus

    ^^^So tell me again why ALL units should have parking? That’s me telling you how to live your life? Please.
    If people won’t pay 700k for a unit without parking, the price will drop. At some level, people will decide that it’s not worth it to shell out a huge extra sum for parking. Self selection – those who don’t need a car buy at this location, those who do buy in one of the dozens of neighborhoods that still REQUIRE that all units have a parking spot (car owners forcing their lifestyle on others).

  56. Posted by Brutus

    And Dave, it’s a clear fact that less parking does mean fewer cars. Yes, it makes parking more expensive, but it still equals fewer cars. There is no way to limit parking AND make it cheap (oops, I mean besides parking meters…)

  57. Posted by Zig

    parking debate in SF
    Its like groundhog day
    I live in a one car household so when we buy a condo we will buy one of the vast majority of units in this city with one parking spot. Some day if we need to have two cars I won’t expect to live in North Beach.
    For a given density you get more living space (i.e. units) with less parking. Its going to be ok. Hopefully these units will be worth way less than the median for a similar unit with parking. thats the point
    It was actually quite common in the past for professionals to live in SF without cars in places like Nob Hill.

  58. Posted by sf

    “If you live, work and play in the city, all near transit lines, you are fortunate enough to be able to forego the expense and trouble of a car.”
    This is exactly what us audacious individuals are saying: there is no need for parking for a building built on a transit line! Almost all locations in this city are on or within 1 block of a transit line! Therefore, no need for parking. We are not deciding that the b&t + p people live without cars. I’d rather have buildings in SF be built for PEOPLE, not cars. The square footage it takes to build room for ONE car can house ONE person.

  59. Posted by Gabriel

    note to developers: PLEASE settle on a design that is contemporary, interesting and smart! it’ll be great for the neighborhood.
    but let’s get the other lot (former shell station) developed with some high density and smart development, too!
    it’ll be intriguing to get some development going considering the current trends of the lending market. it’s a great location — so i imagine the units will sell/rent easily..

  60. Posted by sf

    ..talk about forcing your lifestyle on others.

  61. Posted by BRCGranny

    Dave,
    As a rebuttal, I offer the following:
    http://www.cahighways.org/maps-sf-fwy.html
    I am not being paternalistic; I am being realistic. The city of San Francisco has one of the lowest car ownership rates in the country, at around 450 vehicles per capita. The US average is closer to 700.
    My not owning a car is possible only because the city is so friendly to pedestrians and mass transit riders. My willingness to live without a car makes it possible for those who feel (rightly or wrongly) that they “need” a car to own a car. The walkability of SF is one of the reasons that people pay a premium to live here. How many times have we seen folks talk about paying that extra $300k to live near all the shops in Noe?
    Making San Francisco into a car first city — like most of the US — will destory this city. I am not inclined to support plans to tear down buildings to put up parking lots and freeways.
    People who live in SF and feel they can’t live without a car need to accept the city for what it is: a tight, livable city where car ownership is expensive. The city of LA is hostile to my lifestyle choices, so I won’t live there. If some folks find SF hostile to the car lifestyle, then perhaps they should consider not moving here in the first place.
    Unless we make radical changes to SF, it is not possible to support the typical US car lifestyle. Destroying San Francisco to make it more like the ‘burbs

  62. Posted by Jimmy (Bitter Renter)

    The current system results in the most walkable ped-friendly city in the country. So why change the system if it works well? 1:1 parking-to-condo ratio worked just fine for 50 years but now they want 1:2. Nonsense.

  63. Posted by Usually Named

    Given that anti-business environment the progs are trying to create — everyone will need a car to go to work. What’s being created is the dreaded bedroom community for the Peninsula where only the rich and the homeless will be.
    If you want people to stop driving, then you need everything in their lives accessible, including their jobs. Tell your idiot District Supervisor to stop screwing around.

  64. Posted by Brutus

    Jimmy,
    Please. I’m sure you’re quite aware that the vast majority of SF was built prior to the automobile being all powerful. Saying that the current system, which has turned the city AWAY from the pedestrian for the past 50 years, INTO the “most walkable ped-friendly city in the country” is ridiculous. The city was MUCH more pedestrian friendly prior to the 50’s era laws, and I’m sure you know that. Just because something doesn’t completely destroy something doesn’t mean that it “works”.
    Tell me – which neighborhood is more ped friendly – North Beach or Park Merced? Nob Hill or the redeveloped Western Addition? The Castro or Outer Parkside?

  65. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I’m not alone in liking smoked meats. They are nourishing and tasty. Planning should require a wood fired smoker installed in every new condo.
    How dare anyone impose their lifestyle on us by requiring us to pay extra to install or lease a smoker !

  66. Posted by Dave

    BRCGranny: I’m not suggesting 1:1 parking, or a “car first” mentality. I agree with transit first – but it’s not fair, or realistic, to expect that transit (especially our mediocre city transit and fairly lousy regional transit) will work for everyone.
    Certainly development near major transit lines requires less parking. But some of the comments make it sound like driver’s licenses should be illegal for residents of transit-oriented neighborhoods. Do people really mean to suggest that you shouldn’t live in Duboce Triangle or the Castro if you need to own a car?
    We should continue policies which encourage the use of transit, but I can’t agree with policies that try to penalize those who need to drive for whatever reason. And I’m not sure that a city, or a neighborhood, exclusively populated by transit users who never drive or leave the city would be a particularly interesting or desirable place to live. Diversity comes in all forms, and I think a population mix that includes drivers and commuters as well as folks who walk, bike and/or use transit every day is a good thing.

  67. Posted by Brutus

    Dave,
    Again, what are you talking about? HALF of the units in this development will have parking. MOST developments will still have MORE THAN HALF of the units with parking. How is this making the area or neighborhood only for transit users? Is half nothing?

  68. Posted by amused_in_soma

    Dave,
    What people are saying is that car owners will have to pay more for the ability to park it near where they live. There are already lots of premia
    that people who wish to live in SF with a particular lifestyle must pay, so I don’t know why this one is such a problem for you. I can’t qualify for BMR units, so I buy a different place. I don’t want to live in a studio, so I pay for a bedroom. But BMR units and studios have their place.
    You say “we should continue policies which encourage the use of transit”. So we make developers create cheaper housing for those that use transit. Don’t think of it as a tax on cars, it’s a subsidy for transit users (and peds and bikers and agoraphobes)!
    And no one is suggesting all car owners should be banned from the Castro or Duboce Triangle. When the city starts to remove street parking, or deny garage permits and curb cuts, you’re still far away from any such claim.

  69. Posted by Ryan

    I’m sitting back for this one… Castro residents are hard to please, and I am shocked that this has already been approved. I am glad to see development coming to Castro, but it seems like an odd time in the market to start a project like this.
    Speaking of high rents in Castro… a very reliable source told me that a very profitable and VERY well known bar on Castro will be closing shop come January ’09 due to the lease coming up and the increase in rent being INSANE. You know things are bad when one of (if not the most patronized) bar(s) are closing up shop… Scary.
    [Editor’s Note: As far as we know nothing has been approved and only applications have been filed. Now about that bar…]

  70. Posted by Cary

    Re: agree with Trafficjam. There is a very specific reason why people live in SF over the burbs or another major city. We should NEVER let franchise stores enter the city. They bring low paying jobs, nothing special and offer horrible service. It’s bad enough there’s a Starbucks on every frickin corner with sheep waiting in line. I would rather walk over the homeless than shop at a franchise/big box store.
    I’m amused that SBUX, with “sheep waiting in line” is now classified unworthy, (chain), but was worthy when they started in Seattle years ago. Another example of success being penalized to subsidize failure or mediocrity.
    IMO, this is economic fascism. A few of us, with “good sense or taste”, substitute your own word, are arbiters of what the SF “needs”. The marketplace is not to be trusted.
    FYIW, I hate chains, use them only for basic purchases, appreciate their usefullness, and wish the whole world consisted of a series of urban villages. Still, the public decides and I will defend their right to be “wrong”.
    Cary

  71. Posted by ANON

    car owner or not, I personally would NEVER purchase a condo that doesn’t include a deeded parking space.

  72. Posted by Brutus

    ^^^You will when parking spots cost an additional $500k.

  73. Posted by Rillion

    Got Hyperbole?
    If the option were between a condo with no parking space and paying $500,000 for a parking space only a complete idiot would buy the $500,000 parking space which means only the total idoit would ask $500,000 for it. Even at just a 5% return the $500k would throw off $2,000 a month of income that you could spend on hiring a limo to drive you everywhere you wanted to go…

  74. Posted by Brutus

    ^^^Of course I was exaggerating, but the point is the same. If parking is priced separately from housing, there is a point that people will decide that it is not worth it.

  75. Posted by Phil

    @ Ryan
    Speaking of high rents in Castro… a very reliable source told me that a very profitable and VERY well known bar on Castro will be closing shop come January ’09 due to the lease coming up and the increase in rent being INSANE. You know things are bad when one of (if not the most patronized) bar(s) are closing up shop… Scary.
    This is pretty interesting; I follow the bar/club scene pretty closely for my blog and haven’t heard anything about this from my inside sources, but if you’ve got a reliable scoop I’d love to know more. I can only think of two bars that this could apply to; I’d be shocked to hear that The Bar is closing, but would not be so surprised to find out that 440 Castro/Daddy’s is going away.

  76. Posted by Ryan

    @ Phil,
    THINK BIGGER….

  77. Posted by Ryan

    Strike that last comment. Your headed in the right direction.

  78. Posted by mike

    “As a rebuttal, I offer the following:
    http://www.cahighways.org/maps-sf-fwy.html
    I still miss the Embarcadero and Crosstown freeways. The best views of the financial district, the Bay Bridge, and the Ferry building were from the upper deck of the Embarcadero Fwy.
    With the signal timing on Gough, you could get from Lombard to the cross town freeway without hitting a single light.

  79. Posted by sf

    Please tell me it’s The Cafe. I used to work in that shithole and it has brought nothing but crime thugs and criminals into the Castro. Tom the owner can’t manage worth shit, he wanted to change all the glasses to plastic cups permanently, because it would be cheaper with all the broken glasses (I would pick up at least 5 during every shift) until the management overrode his request, fortunately. Malacca lasted only a few months on 18th, then moved right downstairs, and still only lasted a few months. If it weren’t for Luis the manager the Cafe wouldn’t even be in operation to this day. I would be exhilarated to see it go.

  80. Posted by Ryan

    Try again… OH and I did just get official word that it’s not a rumor… It’s fact.

  81. Posted by anon

    I hope its not outlook. it’s one of the few places I like.

  82. Posted by Jake

    Ryan, the bar that’s closing is Badlands, no?

  83. Posted by Phil

    @ Ryan,
    since it’s official, can you name the bar and your source? I’m fairly positive it must be The Bar; Greg Bronstein also owns Jet, which he’s sunk lots of money into in order to turn it into a dance club, and the Transfer, which recently underwent a significant shake-out, including firing the manager. My guess is that he’s decided to close to focus on the building/club he owns, and to re-make The Transfer. Plus, with Toad Hall looking like it’s ready to come online any time now, he can get out competing with Les Natali in the heart of the Castro and concentrate on his businesses along Market (he also owns Lime, as I understand).

  84. Posted by curmudgeon

    I’m tempted to speculate about which bar, but I’m sick of this particular thread hijack. Just don’t close 440, it’s the only one I like and one of the bartenders are hot.
    But after reading this entire thread, I’m still fascinated by Jay’s comment that he’s not “anti-development” but not in my back yard… Please, there are existing buildings only a block or so away that are 5 or 6 stories over retail (Market & 16th), and those don’t have ANY parking. That’s the kind of building we need to fill in all these prominent underbuilt sites on Market.
    At one point there was talk of mollifying neighbors by disallowing residential parking permits for buildings built without parking. I always thought that was an interesting option, although it could be a little difficult to manage over time. But it would provide ammunition against nimby’s and their incessant focus on parking.

  85. Posted by diemos

    “also owns Jet, which he’s sunk lots of money into in order to turn it into a dance club,”
    Thank god, the castro has been crying out for a medium sized dance club for decades. This has got to be the only city with a gazillion hole-in-the-wall bars and no medium sized dance clubs.

  86. Posted by Dan

    Brutus wrote:
    “One spot for every two units is more than enough for a building located on the ONLY subway line in SF.”
    I’m surprised that such a transit fan wouldn’t remember that there is another subway in SF, BART, running through the Mission south to the Peninsula.

  87. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “At one point there was talk of mollifying neighbors by disallowing residential parking permits for buildings built without parking”
    This plan essentially transfers ownership of street parking even further towards existing residents. How did we fall into the idea that public streets were the property of existing private citizens ? What’s next ? Deeded parallel parking spots on the street ?

  88. Posted by Brutus

    Dan,
    I was mostly playing off of the typical posts that mock SF for only have a subway down Market.

  89. Posted by sonofsoma

    80 comments already…
    Nothing like word getting out that somebody might exercise their lawfully protected right to develop their property.
    It never fails to amaze me how a tibit of a story brings out “planning fundamentalists” ready to self-declare themselves “stakeholders” and shout down non-believers with elitist, gauzy planning culture cliches
    (“Formula-retail”,”Transit-rich”.. r u kidding me! Ick.)
    Reality Check: Currently on the N.W. corner of Market and 15th sits a piece-of-shit SHACK. A burger stand turned Thai food joint with the addition of a tacky faux asian roof line.
    ANY replacement project would be an improvement over what exists today.
    Instead of the usual knee-jerk NIMBY/Nosy response the neighborhood should be one thing – Grateful.
    Try welcoming the large investment being made in the neighborhood, especially during these uncertian times. Then, Butt out! A finer finished project will be the likely result.
    RE: Becks Motor Lodge. I consider it a glaring failure of SF’s gay culture that Becks has yet to be transformed into something really, really FABULOUS! – C’mon…The Phoenix Hotel was 20 years ago. Jeeese 😉

  90. Posted by diemos

    Be nice if we could develop that great big hole in the ground at Market and Noe before tearing down other stuff.

  91. Posted by curmudgeon

    I heart sonofsoma

  92. Posted by anon

    I agree with sonofsoma – we spent years developing the Market/Octavia plan. Now that something is being proposed in full compliance with the plan, NIMBY’s want to add more parking, etc. Ridiculous.

  93. Posted by Ryan

    @ curmudgeon
    Was not trying to hijack by any means.
    @ Phil
    Here’s how I see it: It really is not my place to name names or talk about the owners of these businesses. I know the high rent was the driving factor behind the close of this perticular bar (or will be rather) but also because the owner has run into significant financial trouble personally. I highly doubt we will see a boarded up building where it once was, but rather an owner and possible a name change if the current owner owns the name of the venue as I suspect. If you really want to know, dig around a little. It is pretty well known already, and soon it will be public knowledge.

  94. Posted by Phil

    Not what I would call solid verification, but for anyone still interested in which is leaving the Castro soon, check this out:
    http://guyincastro.blogspot.com/2008/11/survey-says.html

  95. Posted by Ryan

    ding, ding, ding. Haha I knew it was only a matter of time before you found something printed about it Phil!
    I don’t feel sorry for him at all…
    I remember reading this a few years back:
    https://socketsite.com/archives/2006/03/1200_indiana_fl.html

  96. Posted by curmudgeon

    ^^^^ Ryan, that was one of my favorite Socketsite posts. “coke and dirty sex porn pad” was a brilliant description.
    I don’t feel sorry for him either…..
    So what remains of the empire? Isn’t it just Lime and Jet?

  97. Posted by Ryan

    HAHAHA That’s why I linked to it! It was one of my favorites too! Hilarious! Yeah I think that’s all he’s got left. Oh and Transfer. But someone told me they closed or are going to be… Maybe Phil can fill us in. But really enough thread hijacking… I promise!

  98. Posted by looky

    geez… all we need is another big chain store in the city…. walgreens/pottery barn/gap/starbucks … yawn!!! never understood why people choose to live in the city when all they want is a suburban vanilla mallscape — i came to SF to escape orange county but you can never leave home i suppose…

  99. Posted by Kurt Brown

    Re the “Becks bashing”
    Yes, it’s not hip enough, some people think it’s “creepy”, but I live a couple blocks away on Sanchez, and I’m happy to have it nearby. They recently freshened up the rooms, and I can put my mom up there for $85/nite with her senior discount. Where the hell can you get a decent, clean room in SF for that price?
    They maintain the building better than a lot of places on Market, and what the hell is wrong with a little retro “Motor Court” in the hood? Does everything have to be hip and serve fabulous martinis? Like Lime? (Which, incidentially, has become THE place for drunk straight women in tight leather prostitute getup to vomit on the curb).
    Becks does what it does well; just because you don’t like the way it looks doesn’t mean it should be “remade” by some angry pack of roving gay designers waving around fabric swatches.

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