While some fear that the proposed residential redevelopment of the Harding Theater on Divisadero could spell trouble for the Independent next door, it might be double trouble as the owner of the corner warehouse on the other side of the Independent is quietly working on plans to partially demolish the auto repair shop at 650 Divisadero Street and build a five-story residential building with nine units along Grove Street and three new commercial spaces, including two for new restaurants, along Divisadero.


While the existing building’s façade along Divisadero would be retained, additional height would be added, including a proposed roof deck for the restaurants which is not currently permitted in the area but would be allowed per a proposed zoning change. Nine parking spaces for the residential portion of the development are proposed to be constructed underground.

With a parcel that could actually support the development of up to sixteen residential units, the Planning Department is “strongly encouraging” the project sponsors to increase the density of the project as proposed. As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by JWS

    While I support both developments, I can see the reason for The Independent’s concern. That is one of the best venues in SF (my second favorite), and actively contributes to the thriving music scene in the city. I think it’s frustrating when people buy in new developments and then try to shut down the existing neighborhood around them, and this has been a constant threat to SF clubs and concert venues.

  2. Posted by Sam

    ugh, the last thing this city needs is more overpriced housing. Can’t we have at least one area left where the young and hip can live? nopa is arguably that area, it would be excellent to build lower cost housing here, but I doubt that will happen.
    Does no one else notice the lack of mid 20s people in this city? My friends from DC just visited, which has a huge amount, and commented on the literal total lack of this age group amongst females at bars. I muttered something about Oakland and Portland, but honestly I’m looking to leave. It never really hit me until they commented on it.

  3. Posted by Rillion

    It sounds like a nice addition and will help contribute to the improving neighborhood. I like the ideas of the restaraunts with roof decks and commercial frontage on Divisidero. Anything built along Divis at this point must have commerical frontage imo.
    The new condos at Divisadero and Ellis are absolutely horrible and do nothing to help the street life and improve the neighborhood. With the old abandoned building at Divis & O’Farrell now gone (I hear Kaiser is going to make it a park until such time as they build on it, which is some indefinite time in the future), there is a slow and steady improvement happening along Divis. Unfortunately the 2020 Ellis building is not much better then the whole in the ground it replaced.

  4. Posted by Frank C.

    I’m a former resident of that area. Definitely would like to see dense development on Divis, but I think restaurant/bar density is getting too high. There are regs against bars, though.
    Btw, as I mentioned before, the Independent’s owners definitely perceived a threat, and successfully created a grassroots group to have the last Harding proposal squashed. They may not be successful now, this is years later, and the neighb has changed.
    Parking is already at a critically bad level for residents, and another restaurant on Divis will just make that a lot worse. People from other parts of town definitely do drive.

  5. Posted by Sam

    The independent is a much greater city asset than some overpriced condos

  6. Posted by JWS

    @Sam – I could not disagree more with your assessment. I am in my mid-20s, and I feel that is one of the most represented age groups in this entire city. The Mission, Marina/Cow Hollow, NOPA, Polk Street, there are tons of commercial corridors and neighborhoods that are chock full of mid-20 somethings. Without much thought I could easily name 50+ bars that you could walk into that would have the majority of their clientele be in that age range, and those are just the ones that I, along with my circle of friends, frequent.

  7. Posted by Vincent

    This will definitely be a nice addition to the neighborhood. Divis and the city needs more restaurants and housing and a rooftop is a plus. All those that complain about the cost of new housing in the city should wonder why we restrict so much development? I’m happy to bring in more people to enjoy the city.

  8. Posted by anon

    No mid-20s people in SF? Lol. I usually hear the opposite complaint that all of SF is being taken over by early-mid 20s app developers.

  9. Posted by Geno

    @Sam, I live in this area. And have lived here for over a decade. If there is one group that has increased in the area, it’s 20 something young people. You just have to visit The Page, Madrone, Club Waziema, Bar 821, Mini Bar, Little Star. All packed full of 20’s age kids.

  10. Posted by Sam

    @JWS Where in the mission? Marina, yea fine, but Im not talking about that crowd I guess. My friends and I generally enjoy the more hip(ster) kind of bars, that are so prevalent in Portland for example. Once again Im talking about females in their mid 20s, not the stereotypical male tech employee.
    As for Polk? Hemlock is really the only one that I can think of. In Soma, Tempest is probably about it. In the Mission, I couldn’t name one.
    Im honestly not even trying to sound absurd, my DC friends and I literally tried to count the people at bars. If you go to DC, the H street NE area is entirely populated by this age group with both genders equally represented. Columbia Heights in some areas, U street in certain areas.
    Nopa / lower haight (to a certain extent) however, I think is the last sort of hip young area that SF has left. It would be a shame if this was lost.
    So, I think that @Geno is correct in his assessment, which is why it would be a detriment to the city for this area to be lost.
    Look, without getting too bay guardian(ish), we can all see the writing on the wall. Eventually this will become a city of upper middle class 30+ year olds, which will have ample fine dining and culture but no grit and freshness to it. Think Zurich. Hell, think Castro.

  11. Posted by Sam

    Just to add,
    While I the think the article is slightly hyperbole, I dont think Portland in any way has a more interesting food scene, it does raise some valid points.
    I would consider moving to Portland if it was more walkable, for all of their talk its highly car/bike dependent and things are very spread out. Fun city though

  12. Posted by soccermom

    @Sam – try the Bayview, try the Excelsior, try Vallejo if you really are on a budget. Point Richmond has a lot to offer. There are plenty of neighborhoods and towns with an abundance of grit that are available now to people on a budget. None of us can have it all…

  13. Posted by Sam

    You misunderstand me, I can afford living here. I used to live in Soma and now live on lower 24th

  14. Posted by anon

    Oh man, that would be freaking sweet if SF became more like Zurich. Don’t see it happening though.

  15. Posted by Futurist

    @ Sam: I had a hard believing your comments were actually serious. They sounded like a script from and SNL skit.
    What is “overpriced” housing to you? Then what is “underpriced housing”?
    Where can the “young and hip live”? Yes, that is a problem.
    Lack of 20 something “females in bars”? OMG, that IS a crisis.
    And, if you are looking to move, best wishes.

  16. Posted by soccermom

    @Sam: So it is an issue of the convenience of Portland-like establishments that you want, or the gender ratio that you need? Even for Socketsite comments, this seems like a fairly twee motivation.

  17. Posted by Invented

    “@Sam – try the Bayview, try the Excelsior, try Vallejo if you really are on a budget. Point Richmond has a lot to offer. There are plenty of neighborhoods and towns with an abundance of grit that are available now to people on a budget. None of us can have it all…”
    How ’bout in our own ‘hood? Right off of Divisadero there are thousands of units of cheaper, low income government housing. As far as the eye can see from Divis all the way to 555 Laguna. Not sure there are openings but why not explore? This might be an option.

  18. Posted by Sam

    Yes, I think the lack of a certain gender in a city is a problem. How is it not? As for Zurich, if you enjoy your $13 big macs, have at it.

  19. Posted by Truth

    Casanova, Elbo Room, amnesia, phoenix (for sports games), knock out,

  20. Posted by Truth

    All chock full of 20 somethings, also dr teeth. Speaking of that one, any bar those BUllitt, tonic, rebel, lightning, wild jare guys have is aimed squarely mid 20 somethings.

  21. Posted by lyqwyd

    Just a few bars in the mission that have 20 year olds:
    Amnesia, Delirium, Beauty Bar, Dr. Teeth, Jay n’ Bee, Elbow Room, Blondie’s… That’s just a few that I know of, and I barely ever go out, but my 20’s age coworkers go there regularly.
    The Mission is WAY hipper and far grittier than NOPA.
    I live in NOPA and work in the Mission, so am pretty familiar with both neighborhoods.
    As far as the development goes I’m all for it as I’d be happy to see more retail along Divis instead of auto shops. The Independent is great, and would hate to see it go. I hope the developer uses high quality soundproofing to prevent noise issues.
    I also hope they go for higher development.
    I can’t see the NIMBY’s getting much traction on blocking this like they did with the theater, nothing historic about the auto body shop.

  22. Posted by Sam

    I’ll agree about knockout in Bernal heights, elbo room sometimes, Dr. Teeth never. Maybe I just got used to DC which might be a special case, anyways we can move on.

  23. Posted by Truth

    I don’t care for
    Dr teeth myself, or any of those “jaeger on tap” “jamisons and pbr” type places, but it is full of 20 somethings. Because they don’t know any better. Beauty Bar too. Always young women in there.

  24. Posted by Futurist

    Wow. SS comments have certainly veered off from important issues.
    Well, at least we now know what’s REALLY important to the 20 somethings here in SF.

  25. Posted by MoneyMan

    Sam, just wait a few years and you won’t be in your 20’s any more. Problem solved.

  26. Posted by Truth

    You’re so full of yourself futurist. Yawn. “Important”? Lol.

  27. Posted by Futurist

    Great comment MoneyMan.

  28. Posted by Sam

    I’ll just say, if any of you go out this weekend, just see if my comments ring true, especially at Dr. Teeth.
    As for what’s really important to the mid 20s guys here, have you ever been one? :p that should answer your question. It may sound like a silly thing to bring up, but it’s honestly among the more important issues. Not just for weekend fun, but for future marriage, learning relationships, being sane in general.
    My girlfriend was shipped out here with me from DC, where they are plentiful. Probably more women than men

  29. Posted by sparky*b

    1) you are choosing DC as a comparison which I think has the most single women in the USA
    2) You are worried about NOPA losing what it is when it has only been called NOPA for a few years and only had the feel it has now for what 8 or so. It is a newly gentrified neighborhood already.
    3) If you are out here with your girlfriend anyway why do you care about the ratio

  30. Posted by Manhattman

    Dont screw up a great music venue. If they build there make sure the developers and agent sellers disclose that there is a club next door where people sometimes play loud music and sometimes pee in your doorway. The club comes first. Then if you buy you know upfront.

  31. Posted by Dan

    Sam should check out Fringe, the indie dance party 3rd Saturdays at Madrone, on Divis in the heart of NoPa. Packed with 20-somethings of all genders.

  32. Posted by JWS

    @Sam – With all due respect, I continue to have no idea what you’re talking about. Upper middle class people in their 30s may own property here, but there are thousands and thousands of young 20-somethings overcrowding virtually every neighborhood in the Northeast portion of the city. I can barely walk three feet without running into 10 of them.
    And frankly, my grandmother’s living room is hipper than U-Street in DC. DC is king of bland, I have family and friends back there, and even the most “hipster” neighborhoods offer less edge than the Tendernob, let alone the Mission. When all else fails, try Oakland?

  33. Posted by Zig

    anecdotal, but I think Sam is correct at least that the types of 20 year olds is changing. At least among the younger generations, those who I would expected to be in San Francisco are in Oakland and never moved to SF. If you aren’t in tech how can you afford these rents?
    What does the census say about this?

  34. Posted by Sam

    Yea DC may just be it’s own little microcosm.
    As for U street, velvet lounge and American ice Co, plus the amazing venue 9:30 club and it’s separate bar are about it. The hipsters are at H St NE at little miss whiskey and such. Also the ramen place toki underground which is amazing.
    Anyways, just a rant I had. I actually enjoy this city overall

  35. Posted by Geno

    And a quick check of demographic numbers shows that DC has little over 57k women 20-29, and SF has about 116k women 20-34. I know the SF numbers include 30-34 year old women. But I doubt 4 years worth of those women take up almost half of that 116k. And percent wise yes DC does have .89% more women then men, compared to 1.66% more men the women. 20 something people take up almost 25% of the SF population, where in DC they only take up about 16%. DC is way skewed in population to 30-50 year olds, and SF goes 20-35.

  36. Posted by Moto mayhem

    If there is one thing this city has too much of , it’s hipster types in their 20s, including females. I’m a former punk and see the hipsters as bogus wanna bes. They’re not original and most have lower IQ than the typical marina guy they make fun of. Frankly I would gladly donate a lot of money to move more 20yo hipsters to Oakland and Portland. Sam, can I help pay for your relo?

  37. Posted by LeftNopa

    I have no problem with 20 something hipsters, but San Francisco gets a very special type of hipster because it is so expensive. Coughing up 1 year rent on a unit that would be a house payment in almost any other city without a job means you are probably a trustafarian, and this city has tens of thousands!
    When the trustafarian hipsters do decide to work and trade their connections and expensive private university degrees to get access to a seat on the Facebook or Google bus, they end up buying a home in Noe Valley because it is still in the “right” part of the “city”. Why should they settle for less than a 2 car garage, backyard with spa, and enough windows for light and air? Isn’t that what urban living is all about? Of course, they make sure to walk and ride a bike as much as possible when getting coffee, but out pops the SUV from the garage for most trips even though they make sure to post on Socketsite about how cars are “ruining” San Francisco. They chose Noe Valley because it has lots of transit options and is bike friendly after all!
    I actually think the much hated Marina is more honest and authentic. I actually left NOPA for the Marina! At least in the 94123 nobody pretends to be something they are not, and they make choices for transportation based on honest comparisons such as bikes being for exercise and cars for lugging groceries and long haul trips to places like Tahoe and Napa, and the Marina Express bus for getting to work.

  38. Posted by anon

    “At least in the 94123 nobody pretends to be something they are not”
    I actually agree with most of the above post, but I still have tears in my eyes from laughing at this one truly funny line.

  39. Posted by Futurist

    @ leftNopa:
    I do wish you would stop sterotyping Noe Valley like you did. It’s not fair.
    My garage in my house is only a 1 car space, just enough for my Suv. I wish I had two spaces.
    I don’t have a spa in my back yard, but I do have lots of windows.
    And I’m not a “trustafarian”.
    Noe Valley is not really that “bike friendly”, given the amount of hills we have here.
    Come on. Be fair.

  40. Posted by LeftNopa

    O.K., agree futurist, I was unfair towards Noe Valley, and my anger should probably be focused towards a Mission or NOPA trustafarian hipster who would tell me the “Marina is materialistic and pretentious”, yet these finger pointers can be the most pretentious of all. There is one particular Noe Valley person who posts on this site (With Noe Valley in his name) who calls cars dangerous, yet owns a car himself, who argues against new housing generous parking ratios yet boasted that he had a private garage himself. I just cannot stand the hypocrisy.

  41. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “…who calls cars dangerous, yet owns a car himself…”
    How can you call this hypocrisy? A chain saw can be dangerous but that doesn’t mean that a professional carefully bucking up logs causes danger.
    The streets would be much safer if everyone behind the wheel were more cognizant of the potential danger that powerful machines can cause. The vast majority of motorists are careful and cautious but it only takes a few distracted, negligent, incompetent, or enraged drivers to create tragedy.

  42. Posted by lyqwyd

    A recent example of what MoD is referring to.
    Owning a car doesn’t mean you have to deny it’s dangerous.
    Since I cook with knives and fire, does that also mean I must deny they are dangerous?

  43. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Wow, I appreciate all my fans. 🙂

  44. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Hey LeftNopa, we have a rule around here: attack the idea, not the individual. If you can’t argue constructively go find another playground.

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