200 6th Street Rendering (www.SocketSite.com)

Two weeks from now, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Mercy Housing to move forward with their plans to build a nine-story residential building with 67 affordable housing units on the corner of 6th and Howard streets, razing the Hugo Hotel and canvas from which Defenestration’s flying furniture has hung for years.


The burned-out Hugo Hotel was acquired by San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency by way of eminent domain for $4.6 million back in 2009 while the owners of the building, which has been sitting vacant for nearly two decades, had been holding out for $7,000,000.


Assuming certification of the EIR, approval hearings for the project will soon follow. And assuming the project is approved and any appeals fail, the destruction of the Hugo Hotel will commence post haste and Mercy’s $19 million project will take an estimated 20 months to complete.

22 thoughts on “Commission Slated To Certify Mercy’s Impact On Sixth Street”
  1. Sad. I always loved the defenestration art installation. The new building looks pretty generic and unremarkable.

  2. Happy. I always hated the defenstration art installation. The new building looks pretty and remarkably better than that old piece of crap

  3. “Defenestration” has had its time, far longer than expected. Now it’s time for the space to help folks who need housing.

  4. There’s something terribly ironic about seeking an environmental impact report for construction on one of the city’s most blighted corners.

  5. The “preservation” lobby would be taken more seriously if they didn’t stick up for burned-out vacant slums like this. It’s a disgrace that this building still stands.

  6. I agree with Dan, the art piece was nice to have around but it was always intended to be temporary. Time to move on and use this parcel for a new building.
    OP – The EIR injunction against the SF bike plan was even more ironic. The backers of that legal action had the gall to claim that enhancing one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation would result in more pollution. Twisted, flawed, and insincere logic.

  7. Why there is even the idea of an EIR for something as important and basic as this new building for this blighted corner is beyond belief.
    We are truly a city of outrageous public process for achieving anything. That old hotel should have been demolished 10 years ago with new housing built shortly after.

  8. Most of the delay was due to the owners being — yes, greedy — and wanting over 30% more than the site was worth. And trying to inflict blight on the neighborhood as a way to get leverage.
    Hell, the owners could have redeveloped the building themselves with the insurance claim payment after the fire if they wanted to, and they deliberately chose not to.
    We need a good phrase, like “urban hostage taker” or something to describe this phenomenon. I’d be all for more use of eminent domain except that the city doesn’t have the money to employ this weapon against blight on a regular basis.

  9. This is the beginning of a trend (a good one IMO) of older, long-time mom and pop building owners selling to larger companies or REITs to redevelop/renovate properties to its highest and best use. Glad to see it happening with the building, hope to see more.

  10. Why do developers build so many of these chopped up style buildings with one or more colors? I assume it is because it is cheap, but this building is not big enough to have sections so it is obviously a conceit. They are even doing it for the new St Luke’s Hospital.
    This is a style which surely will go the way of “Richmond specials.”

  11. ^It’s a planning code thing – the desire is to make large buildings seem like smaller buildings to pedestrians, etc. I don’t care for it either.
    If we want smaller buildings, change the code to enforce that, but don’t try to “trick” folks on the street into thinking big buildings are chopped up into smaller ones.

  12. If it is in the planning code, then the code needs revision immediately. What school of aesthetics is that? How did this city get so many policies that ignore common sense?
    Perhaps they could find an architect with education and taste to help them. There are a number right in this city.

  13. ^It’s common practice in codes across the US, so this isn’t something specific to SF. But yes, I agree that it should be changed.

  14. Why is it the new proposed building looks so familiar. There’s no originality in the new buildings that’s going up in SF. IMO

  15. It may be common practice in codes, but I doubt that it would result in such ugly and pedestrian buildings in NY or Chicago.

  16. Sure it would. But in NY or Chicago a nine-story building doesn’t get any press. There’s a lot of indiscriminate drabness being built in mid-rise districts in all big cities but it goes largely unnoticed unless you’re in the neighborhood.
    I don’t love this one but I don’t hate it either. I never look at the buildings on 6th Street anyway. If I took my eyes off the road for a minute I’d be running over the jaystaggering crack whores. And then I’d have to take my car in for detailing.

  17. @Live Smarter – this property wasn’t sold by a “mom and pop building owner” it was taken from the property owner by eminent domain.
    Some might say that the property owner had it coming; they had let the building deteriorate for decades and tried to exact $7 million for the property, much more than its worth. But I hope that eminent domain action in this case is not the beginning of a trend…

  18. It depends on how eminent domain is used. If the city had taken the buildings east of the new part of MOMA by eminent domain, that would have allowed a much bigger and more creative expansion. Those three buildings have no architectural merit.
    Of course one might make the case that SF politics does not allow the prudence to do it correctly on a regular basis.

  19. What do they mean by affordable housing? Is it going to be like all the other apartment buildings going up in the city that are priced so ridiculously high that all us mid-income/middle class people can’t afford it.

  20. Mercy Housing has given up rights to the project resulting from an inability to raise funds. In turn, The San Francisco Housing Authority has sold to project to an undisclosed investor.
    Preliminary plans, that have been in the works for several years, are for a 120 story high rise tower that will house the new headquarters of Facebook, Inc.
    The top 20 floors will consist of a penthouse in which Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, will reside with an undisclosed gay lover as he works his mind very top secret bending machine.

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