Zoned for mixed use residential development up to 45-feet in height, the one-story SoMa building at 259 Clara Street which was built in 1956 and most recently served as a photography studio sold for $1,500,000 four months ago.

A quickly drafted plan to develop the site is quietly testing the waters of Planning with a proposal to demolish the existing building and squeeze a 12,724 square-foot residential building designed by Natoma Architects, with five stories, eight residential units and nine parking spaces in its place.

259 Clara Street Rendering

Noting “the intent of the 45-foot height limit is to allow higher floor to ceiling heights for the ground floor uses of a four-story building,” the Planning Department’s early reaction to the proposed five-story design is that “the ground floor appears too low and squat.”

Per the current Planning Code which allows for 0.25 off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit within the District, up to one off-street parking space for each dwelling unit with at least 2 bedrooms and 1,000 square feet, the proposed nine spaces for eight units would be at least one too many. And yes, the adjacent lot line windows are at risk.

5 thoughts on “Unintended Consequences: A Squat Five Stories Down In SoMa”
  1. The ground floor of the adjacent building looks pretty squat to me. I assume if this new project had suggesting 15-ft ceilings on the first floor, Planning would have criticized its “insensitivity to the neighborhood context”.

  2. This should be interesting to watch. I believe Clara street will require a min 15 foot setback after first floor plus a 25sq foot per unit open space programing. The lot line windows may require the building have some light wells to accommodate air and light.
    If the lot is typical of SoMa it’s 97 or 100 feet deep, and it look to be a double lot so maybe 45′ or 50′ wide. Given the light wells, set backs, stair wells, open space and elevator shaft I get the sense the units are going to be on the small side. Micro might be a better word.

  3. It’s 50′ by 80′.
    If you’re going to use the ground floor exclusively for parking, why bother with tall ceilings?

  4. The new renderings for this project by Saitowitz make me wish the old structure could remain. (And I am usually pro-growth/construction for the city)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *