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As proposed, the Second Church of Christ which overlooks Mission Dolores Park at 651 Dolores Street will be converted into a 26,000 square foot residential building, with four big three-bedroom units and a four car garage within the church’s existing exterior walls.

New partition walls within the existing auditorium would divide the space between three of the new dwelling units:

An all new penthouse level would be created by raising the suspending ceiling by seven feet and adding a new 3,020 square foot floor beneath the dome.

Outside, the “SECOND CHURCH OF CHRIST SCIENTIST” metal signage facing Dolores Street would be replaced with in-kind lettering to state: “THE LIGHT HOUSE.”

In 2006, a plan to raze the church which was designed by architect William H Crim Jr. and built in 1917 had been drafted but was never approved with designs for a smaller church and eight new dwelling units to be built on the site instead.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by MoneyMan

    “Convert” was an interesting choice of words.

  2. Posted by curmudgeon

    sweet!

  3. Posted by mdg

    ICK

  4. Posted by Rob

    Something like this would be a perfect place for a history museum, with a theater and small lecture hall for neighborhood/public events.

  5. Posted by Jake

    I prefer what the Internet Archive did with a church in the Richmond.

  6. Posted by Bob

    How about a neighborhood safe space for vegan dwarves that are also zoroastrian with an artisanal kombucha drop in workshop on the ground floor?

  7. Posted by BobN

    I think I just threw-up a lot in my mouth.

  8. Posted by 49yo hipster

    I dunno, but some developer got some balzzzzz (or easy access to cash.)

  9. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    And that’s exactly why this conversion is incredibly crass and borderline profane, the “developers” are trying to take the path of least resistance. Same goes for 601 Dolores, the former Golden Gate Lutheran Church.
    They should have gone to the trouble of doing a full-on demolition and replaced it with something else, or if the building was deemed historic, turned to a compatible secondary use, such as a school or special event hall.
    Tasteless, just tasteless.

  10. Posted by Futurist

    Ok, so all of you who want to control what the developer/owner wants to do with this property:
    How many of you have an ownership or financial stake in the project?
    Anyone? anyone?
    Thought so.

  11. Posted by nycdr

    Tiny 10’x12′ bedroom sized to stack with mezzanine loft above. That’s like the tail wagging the dog. Living room way is oversized. Too many wasted space. Spatially the rooms will be out of proportion.
    Penthouse ceiling height seems too low for its girth. Garage plans needs help also.
    Perhaps a couple of revisions design will get better.
    Sad these wonderful church monuments have become obsolete.

  12. Posted by Anon

    Ten by 12 is OK for a kid’s bedroom.

  13. Posted by Adam

    Let them tear it down, a fate better than this.

  14. Posted by Neighbor

    I live down the block and the bottom line is that the developer is respecting the historical exterior of the building and preventing it from simply turning into urban blight. (The real monstrosity would be to tear this down and build something like the POS at 19th and Valencia). NO ONE wants the burden of seismic upgrades etc. on this property -so while the idea of some kind of public space is nice, it’s pie in the sky. They are also keeping the site and sidewalk pretty clean during the process. The church left long ago and the only *real* alternative to this building was homeless encampment. So … I say more power to the developer in this case (heard he was going to occupy with family but don’t know if that’s correct).

  15. Posted by jill

    beautiful. kudos to developer. family housing and historical preservation. good for the neighborhood

  16. Posted by Dongle

    I agree. The building should be used as a community space or educational facility. Its an extremely awkward choice for condo conversion.

  17. Posted by Futurist

    Excellent re-purpose of this building, given a possible alternative of altering the exterior or full demolition.
    Guess what people who want this for a community space or theatre?
    Buy it and do it yourself.

  18. Posted by rabbits

    Why is everything old in this town “historic”? What the eff? That dome is an eyesore. Tear it all down and replace it with something interesting.

  19. Posted by Mike

    100% Agree with Adam. We can all think of some project that *we* would prefer in that spot, but unless we’re going to put our $$ where our mouth is, I think it’s great that the building envelope is being preserved in an adaptive re-use.

  20. Posted by ncydr

    I wouldn’t tear this wonderful piece of architecture down to replace it with a plain vanilla apartment or another program that will end up being another stacked box exceeding the height and mass of the neighborhood. We already have too many boxy buildings in the pipeline.
    I’ve seen church conversion in New York and Boston done beautifully. The design here hasn’t reach that point yet.

  21. Posted by iiii

    Am I reading those plans right? Many tiny, windowless bedrooms, the traffic pattern to the garage running through the master suite, and a ‘family loft’ reachable by… ladder? Is there a ladder?
    I’ve got no strong objection to converting a church into residential units, but they really ought to design the units so they’re salable.

  22. Posted by John W.

    First – some of the design issues on this are dictated not by the developer, but by the building and what can and can’t be moved. This is a very complex building, not made easier by the assorted government agencies who want to have their say in how it is redone. This property was on and off the market for years but no one could find a viable plan that worked. Tear down was rejected by the city and the neighborhood. Assorted commercial and non-commercial uses also didn’t fly. But the developer, who does respect the architecture, but certainly can’t please everyone out there is taking this building and giving it a second life.
    As it happens he is the same one who did 601 Dolores. Which some hated and some loved. (The website for which, though was viewed by over two million people worldwide! Possibly a record for a residential property website.) this country does not have a lot of old historical buildings the way Europe does. Churches, firehouses, movie theaters and other former public use buildings are the closest we have to castles and I, personally, love to see them reused in imaginative ways when they are otherwise languishing. Not every one can be turned into the D’Orsay Museum. Turning this condemned, seismic hazard old church into some cool new pads is as good a use as any. And the only one that anyone would step up to. Can’t wait to see it.

  23. Posted by Gregg

    I do believe I just heard some rumbling in the dark clouds up above… the developers might want to make sure they’re up on their prayers, the Big Guy upstairs might not be too crazy about this.

  24. Posted by John

    So many people seem oblivious to the fact that re-purposing a building costs a bundle, not just for the initial project but also significant on-going operating costs. The developer has to convince a bank that it works economically or they won’t get funding, leaving the community with a derelict building. Feel-good ideas like “community space” don’t begin to pay for themselves.

    As for critiquing the interior design, unless you expect to live there, why do you care?

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