CFAH

480 Potrero Site
The four-story live/work building on the northwest corner of Potrero Avenue and Mariposa Street was demolished in 2005 and the lot at 480 Potrero has sat undeveloped since.
Plans for an assisted living senior center to rise on the site have been ditched. Now making its way through planning, a proposed six-story building of 89,600 square feet with 84 condos (26 one-bedrooms and 58 two’s) over commercial on the ground floor:


480 Potrero Rendering
In addition to parking for 33 bikes, 38 parking spaces for cars would be built in a basement garage. From the project sponsor:

While the proposed project would not be required to provide off-street parking spaces pursuant to Planning Code Section 843.08, the project includes 38 parking spaces in an underground garage, consistent with the allowable 0.75 to 1 ratio under the Planning Code.

Based on the methodology presented in the SF Guidelines, on an average weekday, the demand for parking would be 116 spaces. Thus, the project would have an unmet parking demand of 78 spaces.

Additionally, the project site is located on a transit corridor and in a relatively dense area well-served by a mix of uses. As such, it is expected that many of the residents would be encouraged not to make their trips by car.

The propsoed 480 Potrero project will require the Planning Commission’s approval for the construction of a building larger than 25,000 square feet. Assuming approval, the developer is estimating an aggressive construction time of 12 months.
UPDATE: As a plugged-in reader reports, the plans for 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of the building have been scrapped. The unit count above (84) actually reflects this revision but the design has been tweaked:
480 Potrero Rendering Revised

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    Bland, but fine. At least a couple more stories wouldn’t hurt.

  2. Posted by Dick Jams

    Is that retail space at street level OR a “business lounge / fitness facility”?
    [Editor’s Note: It’s simply designated “commercial” at this point.]

  3. Posted by david m

    please let it be retail space.
    seriously cool that they’d go for such a low parking ratio, as one assumes that it’s because the low height/number of units means that the project doesn’t pencil if it includes more significant excavation – i.e. they don’t think they can move the spaces, which is really heartening for those of us who despise cars and want to ratchet their dominion back significantly.
    now if they could just do something about the design…

  4. Posted by Mr. E.

    Six stories is actually quite tall for the area, and adds a significant amount of density to the area. The original plan included retail, but I believe it has been removed. An active, neighborhood serving street frontage would really help with acceptance of the project. That said, expect folks to focus on the 78 spaces of unmet parking demand.

  5. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    anon: AFAICT the site is zoned 58-X, so 58 feet is all they were going to get without some kind of variance over and above the approval they’ll need for the area of the building, hence five or six stories is the max.
    As far as the aesthetics; cookie cutter, “lego” design. Looks like every other generic SOMA condo project from the last five years.
    Good infil project, though.

  6. Posted by EH

    SOMA? Maybe Mission Bay.

  7. Posted by Alai

    It would be nice if the street frontage on the left would be a little more interesting for people walking by. It’s always a bit depressing walking by concrete walls with some token scrawny plants. You have the windows there, but they’re well above eye-level for most of the distance.
    It would be cool if they had a shallow but outward-facing space with an entrance one story lower than the main one.

  8. Posted by Stucco_Sux

    This space was owned by the same investment group that bought up some of the land around the house that Pincus just bought and subdivided it into three (?). They lost their shirts in the 2000 bust and its been empty ever since.
    I wish someone would fill in the decade between.
    Ironically, the empty lot is currently being used for parking.
    The Korean mechanics next door on Potrero double park their cars much of the day as they cycle repairs in and out. Its definitely good old fashioned SF mashup of car repair and residential with a dollop of ugly and too little parking thrown in just to make the whole thing half-assed all around.

  9. Posted by Mr MR

    6-stories is too tall for Potrero Ave. The closest building of that height is SF General.
    There is now zero retail space included in this project. The developer has updated the design to be all residential.

  10. Posted by anon

    “6 stories is too tall” is a ridiculous statement for any location in San Francisco.
    I can see “20 stories is too tall” being valid in some areas, but there are no areas where six stories looks out of place.

  11. Posted by curmudgeon

    Not a great retail location at all. Having some ground level interest would be great, but I don’t think you’d ever get much activity. That stretch of Potrero is gas stations and fast food….much more freeway than neighborhood.

  12. Posted by Dan

    First floor could be good PDR space, or tech offices. Retail or restaurant could work if it didn’t rely mostly on foot traffic.

  13. Posted by Mr. E.

    @curmudgeon: In its current state, yes, the area is more freeway than neighborhood. However, if density increases, and we expect the limited parking shed to limit the number of cars held by the residents, then it becomes important to provide retail and commercial space. Developments should build for what the neighborhood is becoming, not what it is today. Besides, this area would be a natural draw for the residents of Utah, San Bruno and Vermont (not to mention Hampshire, Alabama, Bryant and Florida.

  14. Posted by Samuel

    The Mission Hill Saloon across the street is always packed on weekends, as its Slow Club a block away. So this spot does get a lot of foot traffic. I don’t see why it can’t support a restaurant/retail. Btw, the auto body shop next door fixed my car. They’re Chinese, not Korean.

  15. Posted by sami

    anon, I agree that 6 stories is not too tall in theory. In practice building height is sometimes a point of contention. Six stories in this side of Potrero, when no other building nearby is taller than two stories, may pose a problem.

  16. Posted by nowayjose

    As someone who lives nearby, this project terrifies me. 6 stories is WAY to large/tall for this area. Parking is already terrible during the day. This project will be a disaster for those of us who live in the neighborhood. The lack of available parking is already an issue. If these plans go through, the issue will be horrendous.

  17. Posted by anon

    ^I suggest you purchase a parking spot then. The city shouldn’t curtail economic growth just so that you can keep mooching free parking.

  18. Posted by GaryFolsoma

    ^The parking situation in the area between Potrero Hill and The Mission will probably get better when the meters are installed, moving much of the permanent street “residents” off to live in some other area of the city.

  19. Posted by curmudgeon

    Point taken about planning for future, but I do think it is more likely for PDR or some kind of office in the short term. I actually think that neighborhood retail of the cafe/restaurant variety is more attractive on side streets like Hampshire where the pedestrian environment is much more pleasant. Potrero just isn’t.
    But there are clearly businesses on Potrero, particularly just a couple blocks further down the street past 16th, including a bunch of furniture/design showrooms. But they are in a less residential area with copious side street parking available. I think this location is a stretch currently for any type of retail business, particularly one that doesn’t have retail parking associated with it.

  20. Posted by Bob

    I went to the pre-application community meeting yesterday & the developers said that this project wil not include any commercial space.
    Instead they are planning on an additional 14 residential units on the ground floor.

  21. Posted by Brian

    Sweet, across the street from a fairly large “project” building, right next to a car repair shop, and a couple of gas stations within a block. Talk about really picking a prime spot to develop…

  22. Posted by Mr. E.

    ^Brian: That is why they call it development. I live in the area, and the Section 8 housing has never been a challenge. Overall, this would have the opportunity to positively impact the neighborhood, but for the parking and retail/commercial issues.

  23. Posted by Steve

    Could we make it just a little uglier please?

  24. Posted by Jeff

    The city needs more housing, so housing needs to get built. Can we please let them build this thing and quit nitpicking the design?
    I live two blocks from this corner and anything would be better than the scraps of long-gone buildings occupying the space now.
    People hate cars, people hate development (and developers)– I understand these sentiments– and the result is blighted corners like this that could serve some better purpose than occasional parking lot. You want to build something awesome? Then buy the lot and build it yourself.
    I got a notice yesterday warning of the “Manhattanization,” full of innuendo and fear-mongering. I’ll be at the meeting.

  25. Posted by TimG

    I live across the street. I’m not at all happy with this. The space is actually not a vacant lot as it’s been leased for two years by Sonny’s autobody for parking cars. So those 50 cars will be displaced during the day and Sonny’s will return to their former practice of taking up every available street parking spots during the day once construction begins. Since the area has become day parking for south bay commuters coming into the city, that’s going to make it very difficult to say the least to park in the area. Then once the project is completed….
    Last nights community meeting was very enlightening and my neighborhood will be opposing the development in it’s current form.

  26. Posted by emanon

    So rather than a NIMBY you’re a NIMFY (not if my front yard)? NIMATS (not in my across-the-street)?

  27. Posted by Dan

    The answer is to expand residential permit parking– it’s one hour only for non-residents in the area to the south, near SF General.

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