1394 Harrison Street

The long-standing 10th Street Car Wash at the corner of Harrison and 10th which has occupied the Western SoMa site since 1969 is in contract to be sold and plans to develop the parcel have just been submitted to Planning.

As proposed, a five story building with four floors of single-room occupancy “efficiency studios” atop a ground floor commercial space and parking for bicycles, but ironically, no cars, will rise on the corner.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

61 thoughts on “Plans For Little Studios To Replace Long-Standing Car Wash In SoMa”
    1. Believe it or not!. This worked for the Tenderloin Neighborhood Association which took existing parking between the two hotels on Taylor St. to build the Curan House which we toured by bicycle during the AIA Gems of City. ~DG

  1. Agree. Concrete blocks evoke post-industrial urban transformation with security cameras reminiscent of English surveillance services in an oblique reference to our Eurocentric city evolution. Corrugated tin roof alludes to both our rural farming past and Jamaican coffee plantations. Shipping container box toppers represent forward thinking material re-use. Please bump this back on CEQA concerns.

    Can we get limit the automobile permitted hours of it somehow to deter excessive car use?

    What kind of soap have they been using? Consider toxic cleanup report request.

    1. [soccermom] one of the best poster on this site with the best comment. Thank you for the laugh. From now on, I will no longer butcher the English language. I will spell out laugh and rolling on floor.

    1. Joseph A. – your comments are good but punctuation errors distract the reader. Hence, it affects your credibility (unintentionally)

  2. Is this the last car wash west of Twin Peaks? I mean, are those of us living in large buildings with no driveways and hoses of our own condemned, now, to drive dirty cars forever?

    1. Last I checked there were plenty of carwashes in the rest of the Bay Area. Seems like you may just need to drive a bit if you’re that concerned with image.

    2. This is east of Twin Peaks, but you can go to the one by Cesar Chavez and 101 or Market & Hillside Daly City if you want a wash rack, or Touchless at Divisadero & Oak is fine for the machine wash thing. I’ve heard bad things about the SVN/Mission car wash from people who care about their paint.

    3. I saw firsthand the efficiency of Taiwan. They kept their cars clean without water, minus the gallon in the trunk, using a super long feather duster. Takes one minute to dust off the car. Yes I have one in my car, living on a dirt road in SF. Ha! Take that dirt.

  3. This is what we get when we neuter density and height- tiny, sardine living quarters. I’d prefer the units be twice as large, as well as the building to make up for it. But I guess preserving “charm” while making people live like criminals is the new normal.

    1. Don’t see why developers don’t amass larger sites and build real buildings. Quite the energy expenditure for these tiny little buildings by buildings. Oh, that would require FAR zoning which I guess is moot over here.

    2. Do you think everyone in Japan lives in a prison? What the hell is wrong with living in a small space? You own less stuff. Americans own entirely too much crap.

        1. There are already too many Americans with too much stuff. Tiny residential cells may solve both problems!@

  4. contextually, can we define SRO here? I only know of SROs down in the Mission.. and I can’t imagine this is what the developers are planning.

  5. I’m all for more housing in SOMA. I have mixed feelings about the SROs, but overall I’m in favor of more housing. Very glad to see this plan includes ground floor commercial space. I own a small loft less than a block from this location and I want to see more retail in the neighborhood. I will miss this car wash though. I use it regularly. Where will I wash my car now? Potrero between 16th/17th isn’t too far, and sometimes the one on Marin (Bayshore/Cesar Chavez) is convenient.

    [Editor’s Note: From Car Wash To Condos (And Upscale Architecture) On Potrero Ave.]

  6. The SROs in the Tenderloin run by all those well-meaning NPOs have certainly worked out well.
    Now they are expanding in to SOMA. Hooray. What could go wrong?
    But at least there will be no cars, those evil things.

  7. The City should go slow on the SRO and micro-efficiency movement until the recently approved buildings are completed, and occupied.

    I don’t see this new SRO being occupied by any different caliber clientele from the current slum-like SROs seen throughout the City.

    Yes, I am aware of they are “targeting” the new Market Street tech types, but why not wait to see if this market develops first?

    1. The current slum-like SROs are income-restricted and very cheap. These are not. Even if they “fail”, it just means that the developer will drop the rent to $2000 a month.

      The city should use a new name for these though other than SRO, since most folks here can’t understand the difference between market rate and subsidized and how that impacts who lives in the buildings.

  8. Y’all are jumping to conclusions about the type of tenants, and for that matter, the form of ownership proposed. For all you know it could be another Cubix, and actually be for sale housing (Cubix was unsuccessful initially, due to market timing, but is very stable these days). Even if rental, it is very clear that it will rent for quite high rates to the usual tech types. I think maybe no one should ever mention “SRO” instead of Studio, because people jump to conclusions that it’s going to be akin to a fleabag hotel in the Tenderloin.

    1. you dont share bathrooms in a studio. big difference. why does everything think rent will keep rising forever and there is an insatiable demand for tech jobs. what do you think will happen to these kind of places in the next big downturn.? SLUMs

      1. Shared bathrooms? Where in the world does it say that? These might have shared kitchens – big, big difference.

        If the next downturn turns these into slums then the whole city will be slumified.

        1. Just looked it up – shared bathrooms are not permitted for this type of dwelling. Since 1996, SROs must contain separate bathroom facilities in each unit. So there ya go Jill, your concerns are covered.

          1. Yes, because clearly small units become slums by default. That’s the reason that most of Tokyo is so slummy. lol

  9. Perhaps the city could work toward the same goal of serving the would-be SRO clientele in a far more efficient manner. This group, and the city as a whole, might be better-served by leaving the place as is, but re-branding it from a car wash to a free “bum wash.”

  10. The last thing San Francisco needs is more SROs. They are magnets for drug addicts and felons. Oh, they may rent to desperate young working people right now, but in the end, they will be an unpleasant addition to the lovely cultural experiences that are 6th street and the worse parts of the tenderloin.

    1. ???. The small apartments on Mission between 6 and 7 have been here a while now and they’re still hitting the very same demographic of young techies.

    2. Tsk. SRO =/= bedbug and hypodermic needle studded, slumlord-run vortex of subsidized human misery. It means small. There’s a height restriction and the developer is likely trying to maximize profit by packing in lots of units onto the land footprint.

      I lived in a very small studio when, as a whippersnapper, I moved to SF. Others in the building were: other young office workers, a couple very sweet elderly folks, and a couple of food service industry folks. I don’t recall shanking anyone who lived higher up the hill, and I doubt the ppl who’ll eventually be living here will shank you.

      I agree w/anon, above – the term SRO just lathers people up needlessly. Let’s call them studios and unclench.

  11. “Efficiency” studios, aka glorified hotel rooms.

    Fine by me. We need density, and it cannot all be spacious glass boxes in the sky. Demand is there for young professionals looking for entry level.

    Plus comments about SROs are ridiculous. Care Not Cash programs capture welfare monies. We should be roughly at more 4 times the typical welfare payout on these units. The demographic for these units should be 70K-90K/Y income. Put 2 together and you’ll have couples who can afford a starter 2/1 condo. It’s a great way to et into the City.

      1. Or in Hong Kong and China (two highly populous places) where cremation is the only option. No room for burials.

  12. This will lead to a Ghetto in this area after the next crash–which will come as they always do, whether one wants to believe it or not, bubbles are fundamental to the theory of capitalism.

    This project, along with the the huge proposal at 12th and Harrison (includes building a blank wall down a third of 12th street and blocking off the street to benefit a business and not the people) must be stopped before this once charming, small nab is ruined by the greed of developers in search of a fast buck Where is our supervisor


    1. #1 – Can you point us to an area in SF that has become a ghetto following the greatest recession in 80 years? I agree some parts of other cities are not coming back. But in SF it’s a bit of a stretch.

      #2 – Bubbles are not fundamental to capitalism, but the ideology behind the implementation of capitalism. For instance in 2002-2003 a decision was made by the Bush administration and the crazy Greenspan to NOT apply Keynesianism to pull the economy from the 2001 recession, but to use easy money and therefore blow a bubble. Today we are doing the same thing, not because capitalism is forcing us to do it, but because Obama doesn’t have enough votes in Congress to apply the Keynesian policy he wants with massive government intervention (infrastructure, social progress, education, …). Cheap money / inflating assets are the only solution he has. That’s not not optimal, but that’s as good as we’re gonna get until we have a decent majority in Congress.

      #3 – Anytime I cross this area the words that come to mind are not charming and small, but funky (good and bad) and seriously underbuilt. But that’s the thing, it’s an area that many people will cross. Maybe things are different for people who live there, but don’t you think adding people will make this area more a neighborhood?

      1. Why are you assuming Obama wants anything? He is a creature of Wall Street just like Bush and Clinton. Once we get Hillary the War Pig into office, then we can use Military Keynesism to falsely inflate the next bubble. At least until the Chinese stop buying our debt and the Russians and Chinese get together to remove the dollar from its role as the only real reserve currency. THEN you will see a recession, despite the app companies making apps that turn your cell phone screen colors to reflect your mood!

        1. That was an epic rant by SocketSite standards. I am counting 6 speculations and 5 conspiracy theories in these very short lines. Is that a new game/craze like a necknomination or the recent ice water bucket challenge? In any case, you are missing the Bohemian Grove pact in your insightful post. Never forget Bohemian Grove. Never.

    2. As someone who has lived in the area for almost 20 years I almost spit my coffee out at the word “charming.” It’s many things. Some good. Some bad. But charming isn’t one of them

  13. There’s a big difference between “SRO” as I translate it, and “Studio”. SRO is a small, sparsely furnished room with no kitchen or bath facilities other than a wash basin. I’ve stayed in hotels like that back in the “bad old days” when I traveled as cheaply as possible. Studio implies more permanent living quarters, with a compact food prep area and probably a 3/4 bath (shower stall rather than a tub). Although many of us would find a “studio apartment” rather cramped, some folks have developed compact living habits (for example, “live-aboard” boaters and “full-timing” motor home owners) and don’t need spacious living quarters.

  14. Amazing amount of correspondence engendered on this one … regular readers will know I’m not fond of the micro-unit trend myself, but for FSM’s sake, anything has to be better and more appropriate for this location than a *car wash*!

  15. UPDATE: The proposed five-story building would contain 76 single room occupancy studios with individual kitchenettes; a shared kitchen and dining area; 3,000 square feet of commercial space; and one parking spot in the building for a car-share service.

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