The 13,750-square foot SoMa parcel upon which McDonald’s sits on the southeast corner of Third and Townsend is on the market and being shopped. McDonald’s lease expires in January of 2017.

Zoned for development up to 105-feet in height, the 701 Third Street site is designated “Mixed Use-Office,” which allows for office, housing and retail use, as well as hotel, light industrial and arts activities, but not adult entertainment or heavy industrial.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Zig

    What about the McDonald’s on Van Ness and the one on Haight Street? Both have huge parking lots. You have to wonder.

  2. Posted by invented

    Which gets me thinking of the large McDonald’s sites on Golden Gate and Van Ness, and Golden Gate and Fillmore. Oops and my favorite pet peeve, the one facing GGP on Stanyan.
    All in time.
    (but not soon enough.)

  3. Posted by Serge

    Zig: The Haight St site is nearly 38,000SF, while the Van Ness site is smaller at 13,000SF.
    In 1997/98 the Van Ness site filed for permits to build a 144-unit senior housing building. Obviously nothing was ever done with that.

  4. Posted by Serge

    Oops, forgot to include the 3000 SF lot sitting behind the Van Ness site which is used for part of the parking lot.

  5. Posted by Joel

    Does McDonald’s lease all of their property in SF? They’re located on some pretty prime real estate throughout the city.

  6. Posted by Serge

    Joel: McDonalds generally does 20 year ground leases with options to renew.

  7. Posted by Mickey

    FINALLY. Have been wondering about this underused parcel for a long time, and why it hasn’t been developed.

  8. Posted by anon

    Great. More tech millenials.
    Anyway, 2017 is pretty far away. Surely the residential/commercial/equity markets will implode by then.

  9. Posted by c_q

    This was the location for the famous ‘go ahead – make my day’ dirty harry line. (no, it wasn’t a mcdonalds back then, but it is the same structure).
    I don’t think that is historical enough to merit keeping the mcdonalds of course… it’s just interesting.

  10. Posted by wiger toods

    @c_q – Well in that case it has to be classified a hysterical building and must remain as is for perpetuity.

  11. Posted by Joshua
  12. Posted by Hawkins

    I would love to see a food forest here, for the new residents of Rincon Hill that enjoy sustainability. SF is sorely lacking in this type of thing, especially after the unjust takeover of the Hayes Valley Farm for more ticky-tacky 1% housing. Perhaps with a priority for those in the affordable units. We simply have too many tall buildings in this area already.

  13. Posted by hahaha

    “I don’t think that is historical enough to merit keeping the mcdonalds of course… it’s just interesting.”
    Oy vey

  14. Posted by hehehe

    “I would love to see a food forest here, for the new residents of Rincon Hill that enjoy sustainability. SF is sorely lacking in this type of thing, especially after the unjust takeover of the Hayes Valley Farm for more ticky-tacky 1% housing. Perhaps with a priority for those in the affordable units. We simply have too many tall buildings in this area already.”
    Double Oy vey

  15. Posted by EH

    Definitely the end of an era, but this space was more valuable for McD’s purposes back when it was a last outpost before going into the wilderness south. Happy Donuts is gone, and that was a kind of harbinger. By the same token I don’t think McD’s would ever give up the Haight space because it’s still such an iconic presence that I don’t see ever getting drowned out by its surroundings.

  16. Posted by 1965

    @anon: You kids get off my lawn!

  17. Posted by Johntrev

    Shots of the mission style former Southern Pacific train depot at Third and Townsend, directly across Third from the McDonalds: Handsome building.

  18. Posted by SFRealist

    Hawkins: “We simply have too many tall buildings in this area already.”
    I assume that’s a joke, right?

  19. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    This is totally historical.

  20. Posted by Moto mayhem

    Too many tall buildings in a city’s core? A food forest? Are we in candy land?
    What would Dirty Harry think of a food forest?

  21. Posted by BobN

    Wasn’t there a big brawl in this place a few years back?

  22. Posted by Rincon Hill Billy


  23. Posted by conifer

    The most under used parcel in San Francisco is the empty lot on the west side of Powell Street between Sacramento and Clay.
    Why has this lot never been developed, now 108 years after the earthquake ?

  24. Posted by anon

    What is a food forest?

  25. Posted by Hawkins

    Hello anon. A food forest is the future of urban sustainability, a collective urban farm that grows naturally over time and allows participants (in this case, I think members of the neighboring affordable units planned near Folsom should have priority over the luxury buyers) to pick food for their tables at their leisure. This is copied from the website of Beacon Food Forest in Seattle that should give you a better idea:
    “The goal of the Beacon Food Forest is to design, plant and grow an edible urban forest garden that inspires our community to gather together, grow our own food and rehabilitate our local ecosystem.
    Join us to improve public health by regenerating our public land into an edible forest ecosystem. We work to reduce agricultural climate impact, improve our local food security, provide educational opportunities, and celebrate growing food for the benefit of all species. ”
    I would much rather see this, a benefit for REAL San Franciscans, than grotesque luxury housing for corporate techies. I think the area needs more green space and we have way too many tall structures. Look at the ugly monstrosity next to it…blech.

  26. Posted by anon

    Hm, sounds like an environmental catastrophe, since it will cause more sprawl on the fringe. Better to grow food on farms, where the food can be transported in bulk, and allow people to live closer together rather than driving miles and miles every day.
    Have there been actual environmental studies on this? Sounds very “feel good” though likely to have the exact opposite effect of its intended purpose in the real world – at least in terms of “reducing agricultural climate impact”.

  27. Posted by anon

    Food forest?
    Yeah, sure, that is a good use of valuable urban land. Far more efficient, both economically and ecologically, to grow food on actual farm land where economies of scale kick in. In my city, give me a park or housing, not a silly hippie “farm.”
    Hayes Valley Farm made sense as a temporary project before they started building — alternative was to leave it unused and vacant. But it made no sense at all as a permanent, inefficient “farm.”

  28. Posted by Hawkins

    Do your research, Anon, Hayes Valley Farm was taken over for housing and there were protesters that were ignored. Would love to see this as a replacement farm.
    If it can’t relate to farming, then a park would be nice. Just no more big buildings please! There are already a dozen skyscrapers under construction a block away, why on earth do we need more!

  29. Posted by anon

    And if I protest turning this into a farm, would I then be ignored if you got your way?

  30. Posted by anon

    Hawkins, hayes valley farm was ALWAYS set up as an interim use project as those parcels had been designated for development (after the central freeway was torn down), but there was a few years of lag time before the development began.
    It was not “taken over” for housing. Rather, a few nut jobs wanted to “take it over” as a permanent “farm.” Fortunately, the rule of law applies in this country.

  31. Posted by NJ

    But…but…if the Haight St. McDonald’s is closed, where will the homeless eat and congregate!?!?!?!?!
    But seriously, for selfish reasons, I actually don’t want to see the Haight St. location closed. Not because I’m homeless, but because I actually park and buy food there, despite the clientele that one has to wade through.
    No opinion on the SoMa location, since I don’t use it.

  32. Posted by Fishchum

    Hawkins – “tall structures”, “big buildings” – are we talking about the same neighborhood? I’m down there all the time – most of the buildings around this intersection are 4-5 stories, tops.

  33. Posted by Hawkins

    Then it should STAY 3 or 4 stories. Goodness. The anti-height brigade is out in full force…ignore the charm a neighborhood already has, it must be taller, taller, taller! There is no reason this parcel must go more than 3 stories if it indeed HAS to be developed.
    The building in the photo looks a bit taller than 3/4 stories to me, however, thus belying your claim.

  34. Posted by anon

    There are no “towers” anywhere near this location. Some midrises, sure.
    A an actual tower would be nice here. The neighborhood would benefit from some differing heights.

  35. Posted by Fishchum

    I’m not necessarily advocating for taller buildings at this site, just shaking my head in disbelief at your misguided notion that the buildings around here are “tall” or “big”.

  36. Posted by EH

    Hawkins must be trolling, this neighborhood’s “character,” such as it was, has been obliterated since before the ballpark opened.

  37. Posted by The wolf

    It should be taller in this location for sure. We need more housing

  38. Posted by AlfieJr

    well i see comments on the Dirty Harry clip are closed. which is a good idea given its flagrant racism (“you boys”).
    and it launched the Reagan Revolution.
    btw, it was 1973, not 1983.

  39. Posted by Fishchum

    Alfie – Eastwood was probably twice the age of the actors in that clip. Give the finger pointing and faux-outrage a rest.
    “Sudden Impact” WAS 1983, BTW.

  40. Posted by AlfieJr

    Fishchum – “boys” was a slur then as now – it has deep roots in the history of southern racism. and the scene setup with four black young adults terrorizing a cafe full of white people was a totally nasty stereotype, even then.
    were you around in the 70’s? black-white tensions were very high in SF in those days. the SLA, Death Angels, San Quentin massacre, Panthers, etc. Eastwood et al. certainly knew that context, and they used it.
    thanx, i confused it with “Do you feel lucky?” in Dirty Harry 10 years earlier. because that was another group of three young black adults terrorizing everyday citizens, with Eastwood delivering a catchy punch line to the sole survivor. funny about that pattern. but at that earlier time at least they had the restraint to use the generic “punk” epithet.

  41. Posted by Fishchum

    Wow, a big budget Hollywood film utilizing stereotypes and cliches – who would have thunk it?
    Give it a rest.

  42. Posted by Boo

    @Hawkins – I couldn’t tell if your first post was a joke or not considering what you had said on a previous post about saving artists in the Mission from the “techie scum”. But from your responses here it looks like you’re actaully serious and not just a troll. The info you provided about the project in Seattle contained one important detail you might have missed yourself. It was about using PUBLIC land for the farms, not private. Do you think it would be the best use of the City’s cash to buy this parcel from the owner at market price only to create a farm there? That’s just silly. It would be much cheaper just to buy the low income neighbors groceries for life.

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