200 Dolores: Existing
While the developers had planned to demolish the dilapidated 1904 parish building at 200 Dolores in order to build more housing back in 2003, 115 neighbors rallied citing historical and potential archeological significance (“This would include doing a thorough study of both the building and the double lot to make sure there is no Native American burial ground there”).
In June of 2007 (no, that’s not a typo) the Planning Department responded to the developers’ proposed project requesting a Environmental Impact Report in light of a potential “historical resource impact.”
It’s now late 2009 and the developers’ amended project proposal and Planning Department’s “Intent to Adopt” are online. From the new proposal:

The proposed project would involve the renovation of a vacant, 40-foot-tall, 3½-story, 4,400-square-foot residential building (a former parsonage constructed in 1904) and the construction of a new residential building on a vacant area adjacent to the existing building. A 2-story, 280-square-foot portion of the rear of the existing building would be removed.

The existing building would contain three condominium units after renovation. The new building would be 19,083 square feet in size, would be 40 feet (4 stories) tall, and would have 10 condominium units. The renovated and new buildings would total approximately 23,243 square feet and would contain a total of 13 units.

The new building would include construction of a one level, 16-space, 7,900-square-foot underground parking garage below the existing and proposed buildings.

As far as we know no trace of a Native American burial ground was found to exist.
200 Dolores: Preliminary Environmental Impact Report [SFGov]
Petition To Save Parish Building at 200 Dolores []

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by zzzzzzz

    I live around the corner from this site, and it won’t be developed a moment too soon. It is simply mind-boggling this site has remained vacant and blighted for so many years, but then again, this is SF…

  2. Posted by kthnxybe

    Surely they could have guessed that trying to demolish anything pre-earthquake was going to be very difficult if not impossible.
    The design incorporating the old building seems a fine compromise, and the old/new thing can look pretty cool. Why didn’t they try that in the beginning?

  3. Posted by Shza

    What’s going on with the balconies on the 2nd and 3rd floors (which appear to abut each other between the two buildings)?

  4. Posted by asiagoSF

    no Native American burial ground? I think they should take a second look and come back with a new report in 2012
    OK, I am being sarcastic. The point is that you can’t blame the neighbors for trying to impede development. For whatever reason they believe that it’s in their best interest (albeit at the detriment of the community) and they act accordingly, using whatever levers and avenues are at their disposal.
    What is outrageously shameful is that Planning would not throw out such a frivolous request on day one. That tells a lot about how intellectually corrupt they must be over there.

  5. Posted by Kathleen


  6. Posted by EBGuy

    What’s going on with the balconies on the 2nd and 3rd floors (which appear to abut each other between the two buildings)?
    If you look at the drawings (Preliminary EIR link above), they are shared (connected and not private) exit balconies with a staircase in the far back corner for access all floors.

  7. Posted by Jane

    Too much parking IMO. If you work in a walkable/bikeable/transitable distance there is no need to have a car in this neighborhood. Also there are tons of carshare cars right behind this place. Less parking, more (and more affordable) units please.

  8. Posted by insidesfre

    I’m looking forward to this lot moving on. Sick of passing the blight every day. Property value has already gone up amidst the looming Whole Foods at the next corner.

  9. Posted by Kurt Brown

    I want credit for not making a snarky post about requiring all new buildings to be built with max one parking space only. For a Zip Car.


  10. Posted by auden

    Thank you for the update SS, I have always wondered what the hell is going on with that site.

  11. Posted by spencer

    where is the parking? Every unit should have at least one space.

  12. Posted by BRCGranny

    Why does every unit need at least one parking space? We live in a city that has under one car per household. Clearly, there are a large number of citizens already living fine with out a car. This is not the burbs; we live in a dense, walkable city with adequte mass transit.

  13. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Parking spaces add $100k+ to the value of a unit. That’s approximately $600psf for what is essentially a cement floor unfinished space. Talk about profit!
    In fact, a multi-story building made up entirely of parking spaces in a high-density neighborhood with limited parking like this one could be a great financial success.
    You gotta think creatively in a recession, you know.

  14. Posted by Mark

    Why control how many parking spaces going in? If buyers don’t want the space they won’t pay for it.
    Not everyone is a fit hipster who can get around. I live one block away — I wish they would 4-5 spaces per unit!

  15. Posted by BobN

    Less parking, more (and more affordable) units please.
    Affordable units underground? The parking is below grade — where it SHOULD be, out of sight and out of mind.
    I wonder if you’d find less-than-one-car-per-household if you surveyed those who own units in the City or among those likely to buy in the near future. I seriously doubt it.
    we live in a dense, walkable city with adequte mass transit.
    I wish Londoners would stop posting here…

  16. Posted by anon

    “I wonder if you’d find less-than-one-car-per-household if you surveyed those who own units in the City or among those likely to buy in the near future. I seriously doubt it.”
    From census 2000, just over 94,000 of San Francisco’s roughly 330,000 households do not have cars, specifically:
    Own: 11% have no car
    Rent: 38% have no car
    Citywide: 28% have no car (both owning and renting households combined)

  17. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    That 11% is almost certainly legacy owners and the elderly who can no longer drive. Probably less than 5% of new buyers are willing or able to give up their car.

  18. Posted by stucco-sux

    Car haters make me puke.

  19. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Talk about profit!”
    Yeah, profit provided by the taxpayers who fund the rest of the automotive infrastructure.
    A parking space alone is worthless. It only becomes valuable if connected to relatively uncongested streets as well as three or so other parking spots available at the endpoints of possible journeys.
    In a congested environment like SF, every residential parking space created degrades road conditions (a common resource) and puts pressure to create more parking at offices and retail centers. Who pays for that ?
    If developers had to pay the total cost of adding another car to the transportation system, it wouldn’t look very profitable anymore.

  20. Posted by Ryan

    Thank god. This corner sucks, and has become so trashy. Finally time for some development here, and not a moment to soon!

  21. Posted by Usually Named

    NIMBY reform required. If the neighbors insist on using frivolous reasons for halting development (burial grounds, my ass), should we have those neighbors asking for this kind of report pay for the results if they come back negative?
    Seems fair to me.

  22. Posted by sf jack

    “This is not the burbs; we live in a dense, walkable city with adequte mass transit.”
    I see we have a comedienne.
    Sure, the place is dense.
    Walkable? In many areas, yes, though certainly not all parts.
    Adequate mass transit?
    Ha! Not in my lifetime.

  23. Posted by PatrickS

    The spot this lot occupies is indeed in a dense and walkable — it scores a 97 of 100 on Walkscore. It’s a few blocks from *both* Muni and Bart lines. If EVER there was a place not to enforce a 1/1 ratio for parking, this is the lot.
    The 2010 Census will show even fewer SF homeowners who have cars. Why — because cars (read: gas) have become more expensive, bike and pedestrian infrastructure is significantly better, and things like Zipcar and Citycarshare simply didn’t exist in 2000.
    I’m fine with underground parking, as shown. I’d rather have another layer of housing though. And see us stop building cheap tract houses all the way out to Yosemite Valley because citified homeowner NIMBY’s keep blocking increased density around their multibillion dollar, taxpayer-paid (and subsidized) transit infrastructure.

  24. Posted by Alexei

    Parking spaces add $100k+ to the value of a unit. That’s approximately $600psf for what is essentially a cement floor unfinished space. Talk about profit!
    Well, from the article, it’s a 7900 sf garage with 16 spaces, or 500sf/space (I’m guessing something like 200 sf for the space and 300 for the ramps and such. That makes $200 per square foot, assuming the $100k increase. Considering it’s underground (and under an existing building!), construction costs are probably not terribly cheap. Doesn’t seem like a big money-maker to me.

  25. Posted by MuniFedUp

    How does an underground parking area destroy the pedestrian enviroment above? I would rather have cars parked out of site, than parked up on the sidewalks, or blocking driveways and crosswalks as is often the case in this area.
    The trouble with MUNI/BART is that it does not help if you work in parts of the city that are not MUNI friendly. If my job is at the Presidio and I lived here, driving a car would be 5 times faster to work than trying to take MUNI up there. MUNI only works if you use the Market Street corridor. Our transit system is far from standards and expectations most other urban dwellers around the world have come to expect in their own systems.

  26. Posted by bornnraised

    Muni and BART suck.
    People drive.
    Home purchasers value parking spots.

  27. Posted by vox

    Maybe if the developer had offered to let Native Americans provide a valet parking service for the building it would have had an easier time getting the permits.

  28. Posted by kathleen

    Lotsof people who work use cars. Lots of peolpe have a rich fatasy life where all people take public trnasportation. Between crap schools andthe need for kiddie pick up and drop off, to the few decent schools in town, most doulbe income familes with kids who live in town with kids have TWO, not one Car.
    Keep limiting parking in new construction then stop whining when affluent families flee to the suburbs.

  29. Posted by Jeremy

    I’m usually quick to complain about car-centered development, but in my opinion they did this one right. The parking is below-grade, out of sight, and uses an existing curb cut, as far as I can tell from Google maps. To me, it’s far preferable to having a curb cut per housing unit.

  30. Posted by Jim

    Ah yes, indian burial grounds. Just wait until we see what the new Landmarks Commission does – the ultimate NIMBY weapon to assure that nothing gets built anywhere in the city – and goes to the exurbs as sprawl. I read one staff report that a site was “across the street from a potential historic district consisting of 4 edwardian houses and two other non-historic houses.” Not in an historic district. Not across the street from an historic district. Not an historic house itself. No reason to think the 4 edwardians were any different from thousands of others in the city. The flimsiest of excuses…

  31. Posted by 45yo hipster

    Parking spots are mostly valued between $50-75k, not $100k. And depending on the circumstances, they do not always yield a high rate of return for the developer.
    The prob is that planning dept forces 1 for 1 in most areas (although that changed/is changing for high transit corridors.) also, developers often feel that it’s hard to sell a new condo without a prkg spot, and ste inclined to include it whenever possible.
    The smart thing to do would be to give the developer a few options on parking. So in progressive, walkable areas, especially where the parking build out is expensive, the developer could forego 1 to 1, and could add a car share space instead. Developers can only maximize their returns when they ste giving the public the parking options it wants. If the planning dept was more flexible on the matter, we could do a better job of maximizing parking use, rather than be encumbered with a one size fits all approach.

  32. Posted by peted

    We have a few 3-4 br rental units in the mission and just rented them recently to 7 recent college grads. 5 of them have cars because they either work in another part of the city that’s not easily accessible by public transit, or they work outside the city. I see them driving around and around the neighborhood looking for parking — joining the other throngs of mission dwellers who drive round and round the blocks because the planning department won’t enough parking to accomodate the people who live here. It appears that a lot of the car traffic is CAUSED by limiting parking rather than vice versa.

  33. Posted by anon

    ^^^Ooooh, good point peted, because LA (where there’s plenty of parking built in every building) has no problems at all with traffic.

  34. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Removing parking without upgrading transit and increasing neighborhood density just leads to worse and worse traffic and parking issues as peted alludes to. The fact that you *can* drive somewhere doesn’t mean you *will* drive if there are truly viable alternatives.
    For example I occasionally take Caltrain to work but if my schedule that day has me leaving the house too late for a Caltrain trip then I drive (it stops twice an hour in my town, on the :22 and :33). Why doesn’t Caltrain run every 15 minutes like a normal commuter train service (e.g. S-bahn in Berlin)? Lack of rail infrastructure.
    Those who imagine that LA traffic is significantly worse than the Bay Area should look at the numbers below. Traffic numbers like that are the result of anti-densification (Peninsula and City NIMBY-ism since the 1960’s) and a failure of urban planning policies, not 1:1 parking ratios in the Mish. The state is growing in population and you basically have two options: increased density or endless sprawl. We have unequivocally chosen (b) endless sprawl — and are now paying the price in terms of pollution and congestion on the roads.
    Some LA Freeways
    The 5@Santa Ana 358,000
    The 10@Los Angeles 345,000
    The 101@Encino 336,000
    The 91@Anaheim 315,000
    The 605@Santa Ana 312,000
    Some SF Bay Area Freeways
    The 680@Walnut Creek 307,000
    The 80@Emeryville 306,000
    The 880@Hayward 280,000
    The 101@San Mateo 262,000

  35. Posted by anon

    I wasn’t talking about freeway traffic, but traffic in dense LA neighborhoods like Koreatown (30k people/sqmi, but with SIGNIFICANTLY more traffic than the Mission – BECAUSE the neighborhood has significantly more parking). More parking = more cars. Without increasing the capacity of the streets (more lanes), you end up with more traffic. People circling for parking is an extremely minor amount of traffic compared to the amount created by adding more parking (and thus more permanent cars being used for dozens of trips a week).
    In peted’s example, if his units had seven parking spots, it is almost inconceivable that the people renting from him wouldn’t have at least seven cars (likely eight or nine) instead of the five that he mentions.
    Haven’t the last 60 years taught us ANYTHING about induced demand?

  36. Posted by Dan

    Sorry, anon, but people in LA have more cars than SF not because there is more parking, but because it is so slow and difficult to get around LA by transit. Yes, there is now one subway line, but unless one lives and works along the line, one is stuck using very slow buses to travel long distances. An LA Times reporter wrote a column on his attempt to get to LAX by mass transit (buses and trains). It took 2 1/2 hours! And in many parts of LA (e.g. the hills) mass transit is not even an option.

  37. Posted by MCM

    Parking and profit, the two forces that move development in already crowded areas like Dolores Park. Geology, geography and history are pretty much ignored by developers and the planning commission. The project needs to be downsized to accommodate the ground it rests upon.

    Underground parking is going to have the same problems buildings in the area, including the the First Baptist Church (which an arsonist took out) and the remaining parsonage, have with their foundations: water. There’s an underground river that runs along Dolores Street and still, down deep, empties into the lake bed under Camp Street.

    About halfway into the project watch for the developer to ask for a variance to eliminate lots of parking underground due to water leaching into the walls. Still, it would be more dangerous to build it without recognizing or admitting to the problem. So the developer gets a big chunk of change, the area gets an unbargained for slew of vehicles looking for street parking.

  38. Posted by Mark

    PeteD — You are completely correct. My job was transfered out of the City for a year — when I would get home to the mission, I would drive around and around for 30-40 mins — and it was dangerous — looking for spots is hard — and at dusk bikes and walker are at risk for drivers drinving the same 10 blocks for 40 mins.
    And it used a ton of gas! City driving after all…
    I just hope these guys are allowed to do 1/1 — there is no 1/1 “enforcement” rule here — it is the opposite — you are lucky if you are allowed to build 1/1.
    Also, I had a roommate who drove — paid parking here is roughly $200/month — he worked out a system in xls where he would track all of his parking tickets, time, place, badge number, cost. He would then limit his tickets to $100 or so a month — worked great for him — because it was cheaper than a parking spot…

  39. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I just hope these guys are allowed to do 1/1 — there is no 1/1 “enforcement” rule here — it is the opposite — you are lucky if you are allowed to build 1/1.
    And for how many years was it the opposite? It still is in most of San Francisco, the zoning code requires you to build at least one parking space per unit. Why should people who don’t need it subsidize the drivers?

  40. Posted by Toady

    “Why should people who don’t need it subsidize the drivers?”
    And why should be people who don’t need it try to keep the people who do from having one?

  41. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    And while we’re at it, why should people who don’t have kids pay taxes to support public schools?
    Why should people who are employed pay unemployment taxes that support people who are out of work?
    Heck, once upon a time I walked to work and the grocery store every day (when I lived in LA, ironically enough) … maybe I should get back the taxes I paid that were used to maintain roads and freeways that I didn’t personally use. I’m gonna write my senator right now!!
    Heck, we could go on and on … but that’s not what living in a society is all about, now is it?
    America is all about choices. And that includes the choice to buy or rent a parking if you want it. That’s what the zoning allows, that’s what the city has determined is reasonable in this neighborhood, and it is ridiculous that all you little twits go around second-guessing a system that is proven to work for generations.

  42. Posted by anon

    And why should be people who don’t need it try to keep the people who do from having one?
    Because we all need the streets to flow freely – for transit, taxis, personal autos, etc. Allowing too many parking spots causes problems for all of the current users. The power company won’t permit more users than its current capacity allows – why should the network of streets be any different? Rolling blackouts are looked down upon if caused by a stupid company allowing it to happen, but massive congestion is ok and the city (and residents) attempting to limit it is wrong? Ridiculous.

  43. Posted by anon

    Sorry Dan, but availability of parking (especially cheap parking) tracks auto ownership rates much closer than availability of good transit