DM Development’s proposal to demolish the parking lot at 450 Hayes Street and construct a modern four-story building on the old Central Freeway parcel in central Hayes Valley will be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission for approval next week, click images to enlarge.

With facades on Hayes and Ivy streets and a courtyard between, the proposed project will yield 41 condos, 20 parking spaces and 3,700 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

A typical interior, two-bedroom floor plan, and elements of its design:

As the 450 Hayes Street site currently appears:

59 thoughts on “Modern Hayes Valley Building Revealed, Ready To Be Approved”
  1. What is the goal of the build taller crowd? Is it some type of Chicago envy fantasy of a city skyline with dozens of super tall iconic towers? (which is not a bad goal I suppose). Or would they prefer a European density similar to Amsterdam which does not have a lot of tall buildings? There are many ways of achieving density without asking that every new building proposed be twice as tall. I think this is an appropriate scale for the neighborhood.

  2. Chicago envy? lol, no.
    We like urban neighborhoods with lots of people in them. Lots of people requires lots of tall buildings and/or narrow streets. Since we’re not getting narrow streets (a la North Beach), we can only hope for taller buildings.
    Personally, I don’t care a hoot for a skyline. I’d be happy with wall-to-wall 6-8 stories covering the whole city. Four stories is absurdly short in a city with such a gigantic housing shortage.

  3. SF is still less dense than Queens and less than 1/3 the density of Paris. The idea that any place here is ever “packed” is laughable.

  4. Hayes on a weekend day may be jammed. If you want something to eat at 3 AM in Hayes you are out of luck. THAT is what “Manhattanization” brings: a “city that never sleeps”. And it’s what I’d like to see San Francisco offer.
    That needn’t mean highrises everywhere and probably Hayes Valley isn’t the place for them just as Park Slope in Brooklyn isn’t. But in the right places like Mission Bay and South of Market we should have a 30 story MINIMUM.

  5. I live in the Richmond District and this is no “Richmond district 1970’s box”. For one thing, the Richmond district box’s ground floor would be dominated by parking and garage entrances.
    I have a theory that if the 1970s designs had decent ground floors, they would not be as poorly regarded as they are today.

  6. Isn’t there an almost identical building to this already built in West Hollywood? I guess it should be no surprise since the wood siding and sliding pop out griding is in fashion with designers at the moment.
    With so many expressing Manhattan, Chicago or even Queens envy, my question is why not move there? OR ….Why not focus your density obsessions on SOMA and South Beach and leave the neighborhoods many people come from all over the world to experience alone?
    There is nothing wrong with taking a parking lot in Hayes Valley and turning it into a four story building that is no taller than the surrounding structures.
    While many here are shouting “taller, bigger, should have less parking, etc.” there is ONE thing they are forgetting about San Francisco and that is we do not have the public transportation infrastructure of New York, Paris or Chicago or whatever city you wish we would become. Bike lanes alone will not solve our transit needs.
    I would be for much greater density if we could get MUNI fixed FIRST. (And the sewers as well for that matter)

  7. 8 stories is “Chicago envy”
    Thankfully, when you start out with that absurd of a statement, anything else you say is immediately disregarded.
    Sorry, but anyone who thinks people “who come from all over the world” to experience hayes valley is horribly deluded, and goes a long way towards explaining how SF just won the title of “snobbiest city” – get over yourself and your obsession with quaint and parochial.

  8. While many here are shouting “taller, bigger, should have less parking, etc.” there is ONE thing they are forgetting about San Francisco and that is we do not have the public transportation infrastructure of New York, Paris or Chicago or whatever city you wish we would become. Bike lanes alone will not solve our transit needs.
    I’m not forgetting this at all. We can’t have good public transit infrastructure with our piddling low density. Amp up the density and we’ll be able to support better transit.

  9. wrong Anon – SF is right up there w/NYC in density. You should do some reading before commenting

  10. I like it. Not cookie cutter and appropriate for the neighborhood. Hope it gets built in this cycle. Wish more of the parcels on the east side of Octavia would attract developers too…

  11. And FWIW, I’m kind of tired of the constant harping that we have to be like Paris, Amsterdam, Chicago, Manhattan, etc., etc. It’s okay to look to those places for ideas, but ultimately this is San Francisco and we should have our own urban style. If you need to copy some other place, move there.
    And I agree – density is great but other than infill projects like this, we don’t have the transportation infrastructure to support highrises in the neighborhoods and never will in most of our lifetimes.

  12. Finally, innovative architecture. I’m excited about this project and looking forward to when it opens, and of course buying a unit there (or elsewhere in Hayes Valley). I’m currently renting in Soma and I am personally not a fan of the HUGE towers (which some of you in these comments seem to favor). I think there is significant demand for more boutique buildings like this that can really create a sense of neighborhood or add to existing neighborhoods like this one. Of course, it takes a certain level of taste to appreciate this architecture (same is true for any art, be it film, fashion, paintings, sculpture, etc). Having previously lived in Barcelona, London, New York, and Miami, I am thrilled to see such architecture in my home town. Irrespective of how you feel about this building, San Francisco offers something (architecturally) for everyone – plenty of traditional, marina, and Victorian styles. And now, we can also look forward to exciting, innovative and modern architecture.

  13. @sfJohn – what in the world are you talking about?
    NYC density (all boroughs including Staten Island): 27550 ppsm
    SF density: 17620 ppsm
    That’s not even close.

  14. @June – no idea why calls for 6-8 story buildings is somehow interpreted as a call for “huge towers”.

  15. SF doesn’t need to be like Chicago or NYC to have high rises. It can be itself. The city, for most of its history, has ha the tallest buildings in the west. It has, up until 20- 30 years ago, outshone Los Angeles in its urban glory. When the city turned hippie is when things ironically started going downhill, in terms of blight and urban decay, not to mention NIMBYism and anti- height sentiment. But there is hope on the horizon, as many of the knee jerk hipster types are moving off to Oakland and Portland to further stagnate those cities.

  16. Nice infill and great, unique architecture. It mirrors the style of the new Jazz center down the road.
    And PS, I concur with those saying San Francisco can be much denser. If you want fewer people and more space, this is certainly not the city to live in and try to claim it.

  17. obviously, this should be taller, for the reasons that everyone under 40 already knows.
    that said, the design looks great, it doesn’t look like there’s a curb cut/parking egress on hayes street, and reconnecting the retail streetwall will do wonders for that entire strip. also, though we don’t see the lot treatment, it looks like the hallowed flipper’s terrasse will remain, removing another potentially contentious issue.
    been waiting to see what would rise here for months and years and, though i’m disappointed that the developers didn’t go for a lot more height, it’s probably a safer solution to go for the lay-up than to argue about shading patricia green and asking for variances and hosting bitter public meetings and that.

  18. At least we should all agree that commercial neighborhoods like this one should not build ANY multi unit and multi use buildings that are less than 6 floors. Honestly 6 should be a requirement for this type of neighborhood. Maybe 12 for soma , 20 for south beach and 40 for downtown

  19. Love the building. However on a main mixed-use street as Hayes, this is another underbuilt development we can add to the list. The site was certainly denser 100 years ago. With so few dev sites in Hayes Valley, it feels like a lost opportunity to have added even one or two more stories.

  20. “The site was certainly denser 100 years ago”
    How so? Pictures from 100 years ago show a city that in no way resembled London, Paris, or New York, but did resemble early Denver, Kansas City and St Louis. This was a city mostly built out of wood structures of questionable strength and design. (Further information can be found in the book “On the Edge of the World”)
    I sometimes wonder if many who move to San Francisco from Tampa, Dallas, Stockton Bakersfield or wherever want to pretend this is New York, Paris or London when the actual history is not the case. This was a western city of questionable architectural vocabulary at the very edge of a continent, and was not known as a cultural capitol, but was known for creating great wealth due to exploitation of the surrounding natural resources. It had an atmosphere more like Las Vegas in the 50’s than London or New York.
    (Read “Imperial San Francisco”)
    The belief that pre-automobile San Francisco was a better, denser more sophisticated lively city is just fantasy. 100 years ago there were already a LOT of automobiles and horse drawn carriages on the streets. Pedestrians had to look down to make sure they avoided the droppings and trash, which is surprisingly similar to today, though now the “droppings” are from humans instead of horses.
    Asking for buildings to be taller will not create a better city. Demanding better public transportation both within the city, and throughout the region would go a long way towards RE-ESTABLSHING San Francisco as the center of the Bay Area. I am all for taller buildings and greater density, but can we also start demanding the transit and services to accommodate all the towers everyone wants? We have ONE major subway line and that certainly is not enough.

  21. How so?
    Um, larger household sizes. With household sizes of today we need significantly higher building density to keep population density similar. That’s why we see falling populations in places like the Richmond where no new development is happening – the place is literally dying away.
    As far as putting the cart before the horse on transit, where in the western world has a great subway system come before the population to support it?

  22. Los Angeles, believe it or not. Now long demolished, but the L.A. Metro area had the world’s largest rail transit network built specifically to encourage real estate and housing development. The same could be said for all the initial western rail lines and many freeways that were built with the population following them later after completion.
    Let’s start demanding the transit to go along with the high density city so many now crave. Let’s also watch and see if buyers will bypass single family homes in Noe and other hoods for high rise flats with no parking but easy access to transit. I remain censorious to all the claims by car owners on this site about how they “wished” they could give up their cars if only there was better public transit.

  23. ^No. You’re talking about streetcars and interurbans to greenfield developments, which is totally different than taking already built up city, adding grade-separated transit, and then densifying the existing city. Couldn’t be more different.

  24. Note that I specifically said “subway system” – not “streetcar system where no money is set aside for maintenance and where we’ll let it rot after the housing is built and sold, then eventually turn the whole thing over to the city to rip out.”

  25. These developments should, at a minimum, have one parking space per condo. The “transit first” policy has placed ridiculous restrictions on parking spaces per building. As many if the readers shout over and over…. The city does not have the infrastructure to support this policy and will not for over a decade.
    Personally, I am getting a bit tired of seeing these square, concrete condo buildings going up everywhere. Where is our city’s architectural style? They all look the same to me.
    How does one get onto this planning commission ?

  26. Replacing parking lots with 4-story residential buildings in neighborhoods like Hayes Valley is just great. Wouldn’t be bad if it were a bit taller but I’ll take it as proposed.
    What the “Fix Muni First” crowd misses is that for every market rate housing unit that goes in, a new full-fare taxpayer is hatched and therefore more funding becomes available for Muni improvements and expansions. It’s a PROCESS people, it’s a process. In the aggregate, projects like these rock and get us a little closer to great 3am eats, killer Muni service, etc. More more more.

  27. jlasf asked:

    Who is the architect? (Or did I miss that somewhere?)

    Handel Architects, LLP.
    They also did the Millennium Tower and are doing the 706 Mission project, among several other things. When it comes to non-highrise projects, it seems like they specialize in throwing up buildings that clash hard aesthetically with the immediately neighboring buildings in the name of Dwell-tasticism, like this one does.

  28. Oh, here we go again with the (constant) complaints about new buildings “clashing aesthetically” with surround context.
    Guess what? They don’t have to blend. they never should blend. there is no definition of what blending really is.
    To be clear, height, bulk, massing, setbacks, rear yards and other elements are defined and should be.
    But the whole blending complaint is irrelevant. You may not like “Dwell” style architecture (your words not mine), but ALL new modern buildings should be expressive of their time and never need worry about blending.
    Blending is completely boring, and hidden excuse for really disliking CHANGE.

  29. These developments should, at a minimum, have one parking space per condo. The “transit first” policy has placed ridiculous restrictions on parking spaces per building. As many if the readers shout over and over…the city does not have the infrastructure to support this policy and will not for over a decade.

    Grace, your ship sailed when the Market and Octavia Area Plan was adopted in 2007.
    There’s virtually no way that a project for this or any other neighborhood covered by the Market and Octavia Area Plan would be approved with more parking than the “one space for each two dwelling units, rounded up to the nearest whole number” standard, much less “one parking space per condo”. A developer proposing such a project would almost certainly be setting himself up for a (expensive) rejection by the planning commission on multiple grounds.
    As far as your contention that “the city does not have the infrastructure to support” the longstanding “transit first” policy, I tend to agree, but I also think that allowing new condos to be built with one parking space per unit would guarantee that the infrastructure would get funded or built later than it otherwise would be.
    It bears repeating: compared to the city overall, the average household in the area covered by the Market and Octavia plan is about 50 percent less likely to own a car (see the previous hyperlink). If condo projects started being built with more and mandatorily-included parking, that would tend to attract people who have adopted car-dependant lifestyles to the area.
    Privately-owned, self-driven and largely single-occupant automobiles already are and have been for quite some time the beneficiaries of an insidious public policy bias across California up until very recently, and mandatory parking minimums are very much a part of that bias.
    To the extent that automobile-favoring bias is weakened by public policy modifications such as lowered minimums for parking (which is pretty indirect, when you get right down to it) or the imposition of parking maximums in well transit-served neighborhoods, the potential for increased support for transit gets enhanced.
    I have to emphasize “potential”. Such support may or may not materialize. But just continuing on with the unsustainable status quo of mandatory parking minimums would virtually guarantee that the support would either be delayed dramatically or never reach critical mass.

  30. Excellent news! This neighborhood is being filled in quicker than I thought it would.
    Having store fronts on that side, and connecting the east/west sections of Hayes more fluidly, will be grand…

  31. Socket Site sitcom plot recycling Haiku:
    “New York does this, and…”
    “Like it so much, just move there!”
    “Provincial cretin!”

  32. Personally I suffer from Tokyo envy. I wish our streets were as clean and safe, our mass transit as effective, and our homeless people as well-behaved as Tokyo’s. If density would make us like Tokyo I’d be all for it, unfortunately with our politicians we’re more likely to become Mexico City.

  33. AND to add to formidable doer’s excellent comment I would only say that Mexico City has an excellent subway system (Sistema de Transporte Colectivo) that is surpisingly cleaner than ours. When you take into account the number of passengers the D.F. Metro system carries (2nd in North America after New York City), how they keep the trains and stations so clean is beyond me. Is there not any way to remove the urine smell from the Market street MUNI stations?
    I am surprised at the comments above that density should come first, and transit planning and construction later. Talk about cart before the horse!

  34. Just a quick question — does anybody know if the parcels fronting Patricia’s Green will ever be developed? The ones currently housing Ritual Coffee Roasters, Smitten, and Biergarten? I really hope not because they are such an awesome extension of the park in so many ways, but with the parking lots being snapped up left and right, who knows.

  35. @ Brahma
    Thanks. I like the Millennium Tower more than I thought I would. I hope that I will like 706 Mission more than I think I do now. (And I have no idea what verb tense that is. The architectural pluperfect?)

  36. While the included sample floor plan is a blank slate I can’t help feel like the kitchen dominates the living space. I prefer more separation.

  37. formidable doer of the nasty at July 5, 2013 10:07 AM:
    The problem with your dream is that we and our libertarian Galtian overlords refuse to impose anywhere near the tax burden maintained in Japan and Europe. As a a result, our infrastructure crumbles, our medical bills are the highest in the world, and the homeless have nowhere to go.
    Two maxims can be derived from this observation:
    1.You get what you pay for.
    2.Economic inequality destroys quality of life.

  38. Bravo “two beers”!, and for those San Franciscans who have never experienced the train sytems of Japan, may I present a tour of the “Osaka Station City”.
    (Note that it has a rooftop park similar to what is proposed at Transbay, but I doubt it will ever be maintained as well as in Japan’s which is homeless free.)
    Now all of the San Francsico boosters who clog up so much of the dialogue on this site (and who always make sure they will get the last word) will come up with 99 excuses as to why we could not have public transit like Japan, Europe, Australia, or even South America (ever been on the subways of Santiago?), but I remain open minded and my travels throughout the years have taught me that the inequality of America manifests itself most obviously right here on the streets of San Francisco. Agree also with comments that Mexico City has a cleaner, safer and better run Metro system than MUNI by far! As mentioned earlier, putting in mass transit AFTER all of the new housing is completed is just stupid.

  39. ^I don’t disagree with your point that we should spend more on infrastructure, but the idea that inequality manifests itself more on the streets of San Francisco compared to say, the Mexico City that you mentioned in the same paragraph, suggests that you have not been outside the rich areas of Mexico City. There may be homeless in SF, but there are not millions of people living in shantytowns surrounding a rich center, which is a much stronger showing of “inequality” in my book.

  40. So if all goes according to plan, the neighborhood will lose the 40 or so parking spots at the site, bring in at least 41 people to live in the new building, and include just 20 parking spaces?
    Transit First only works if you run a decent transit system. Until that time, a net reduction in parking spaces means people will still drive, but they’ll spend more time circling the neighborhood looking for parking, burning fossil fuels and clogging up the streets in the process. How does that benefit the City?

  41. Transit First only works if you discourage the use of privately-owned, owner-operated, single (or low) occupancy automobile use. Since we don’t have London-style congestion charging, controls on and variable pricing for parking are the closest proxies.
    That fact would still be true even if no one in The City rode a bicycle or advocated for increased city support of bicycles as a transportation option.
    And anyway, surface-level parking lots are a poor use of precious land.

  42. Well, you can add density, but you can’t make the streets wider. Especially not when you are bound to have more pedestrians due to an increase of population.
    Then the choice is clear: you need to welcome people who will not be inconvenienced by lack of a car. And you do that by choosing to have less parking with the units.
    When I owned a car, I used it once every week or even every 2 weeks. I’d often choose to drive instead of cycling, walking or taking public transit, just for getting some mileage for the effort of owning a car.
    Now I am car-free, and for instance I do not need to worry about long-term parking when I am away for a couple of months.
    The alternative of less driving is either congestion or the stopping of higher density in SF. Our current problem is lack of housing (and the hogging of artificially cheap housing, but that’s another story). If we cannot expand, we’ll be a second rate city in the BA. Every other county on our side of the Bay is attracting the best and brightest. We need to keep up. Rent control/protection hogs almost 1/3 of the available housing pool, therefore we need to build.

  43. Transit First only works if you run a decent transit system. Until that time, a net reduction in parking spaces means people will still drive, but they’ll spend more time circling the neighborhood looking for parking, burning fossil fuels and clogging up the streets in the process. How does that benefit the City?
    Or we could look at actual data and see that this is not the case. Neighborhoods in San Francisco with lower amounts of parking availability have lower car ownership rates – regardless of income level.
    You may think that auto ownership levels stay the same, but this is easily contradicted by census data. Somehow this tired and inaccurate fake data point is brought out constantly, which is annoying.

  44. While the theory of building transit first is a great idea on some levels, the reality is that it’s not feasible, especially in SF. This city is a single party machine, that is clearly not interested in spending anything less than the absolute minimum on any type of infrastructure.
    If you want transit built, elect people who are interested in building transit. Saying “build transit first” is just a euphemism for “no development anywhere, ever”.
    Other than a complete political turnaround, the only way for transit improvements to happen in SF is to build enough new development that transit collapses, then the politicians will be forced to do something. Certainly not ideal, but that’s the state of our city’s government.

  45. Agreed with Lyqwyd.
    Plus, if this City was building infrastructure prior to adding housing, you’d hear the usual naysayers shout “boondoggle”, “central planning” or “houses first!”
    A friend of mine visited a medium-sized city in China in the early naughts and was aghast at the huge freeways crisscrossing the city and built in prevision of the upcoming growth. If anything resembling that was being done here regarding public transit you’d have pitchforks and torches. Just look at the outrage at the central subway currently being built. Some call it “subway to nowhere” when it is actually connecting dense neighborhoods and transit!
    You can’t please naysayers. Heads they win, tails you lose. Better not play their game.

  46. True, we’re not very forward thinking when it comes to transportation around here. Just listen to the complaints about HSR. That project is a no-brainer when you look at current SF-LA air travel demand, conservative growth predictions, and the cost of the conventional alternatives.
    I just read that almost all of our regional transportation infrastructure is at or beyond capacity: freeways, BART, Caltrain. There’s ongoing transportation pain in our future. The only real way out is for the electorate to pressure our politicians to invest in expansion. And then our politicians need to take the sometimes unpopular stance to shift funding away from highways and towards the more efficient alternatives.
    As for the “San Francisco isn’t like ” argument, that’s just the coffee talking. SF ought to evolve into a vibrant, growing, good place to live and needn’t model itself against any other cities. My personal vision of SF’s future is to consider the whole bay area region. Halt sprawl and you’re half way towards improving everything. There should be 10-20 or so dense core areas that grow to support the increased population instead. The result could be a “something for everyone” metropolis with everything from highrise apartments to nicely scaled walkable neighborhoods to the existing suburban developments. There’ll still be monster homes though the model will work the way it does in SF: If you want a lot of space you’ll need to come up with a lot of cash to buy the land because it is zoned for much higher density and thus worth more.

  47. … er, “As for the “San Francisco isn’t like ” argument” should have read:
    “As for San Francisco isn’t like [insert your favorite UberStadt here] argument”
    Sorry about forgetting to escape the verboten characters.

  48. @ JWS: “does anybody know if the parcels fronting Patricia’s Green will ever be developed? The ones currently housing Ritual Coffee Roasters, Smitten, and Biergarten?”
    a couple of months back I chatted with the owner of the biergarten who I was complimenting for his good work. the place looks great. often, very good food and what a nice tree they planted. anyway, he told me – if I remember correctly – that the land is leased from the city. I think, technically, it is supposed to be released for development in like 5 years or something but there was talk of finger crossing and that maybe those business’ there, as successful as they are, might be able to extend their leases or become permanent.

  49. Matthew Yglesias, author of the book The Rent Is Too Damn High (Simon and Schuster, 2012), wrote a post today arguing minimum parking mandates should be eliminated citywide rather than simply reduced in certain neighborhoods, as S.F. has done via the Market and Octavia Area Plan.
    That might be a bridge too far, but I think this ‘graph can help everyone understand the case against the arguments of those such as Tim Bracken at 10:38 AM, above who argue — disingenuously — that minimum parking mandates must be maintained until public transit reaches some undefined state of nirvana because otherwise everyone will “spend more time circling the neighborhood looking for parking, burning fossil fuels and clogging up the streets” :

    If you imagine a neighborhood that doesn’t have great bus frequency or amazing neighborhood-serving retail and add some housing with less than one parking space per adult, then you’re going to get the additional customers that would be the basis for more frequent buses or new stores. Why would anyone in a neighborhood like that want a unit with no parking space? Why would a couple want a unit with just one space? Probably most people wouldn’t. But some non-zero quantity of people would do it for the main reason people everywhere put up with sub-optimal housing situations–to save money. But those initial people with fewer cars than adults become the customers for the services—whether that’s carshare or the bus or a walking distance store—that make the neighborhood more attractive down the road.

    The way things work right now is that parking minimums risk destroying existing walkable neighborhoods through the reverse dynamic where subsidized car ownership leads to excessive car ownership leads to further auto-oriented development. Selective liberalization of parking rules can break that vicious cycle…

    Emphasis added.
    In case it isn’t obvious, this area is a walkable, well-served-by-transit area, a positive attribute which would be subverted by mandatory parking minimums.

  50. Why is building one storey too tall – look at all the surrounding buildings. Three storeys should be adequate -.

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