98 12th Street Site

Zoned for a tower to rise up to 250 feet in height and the development of high-density residential, offices, retail or a hotel, the three corner parcels at the intersection of Otis and 12th Streets, including the two-story A&M Carpets building at 98 12th Street and the three-story building at 14 Otis next door, have just hit the market.

Plans for developing the site have yet to be drafted or filed with the city, but with plans to develop the Tower Car Wash site to the south, the Goodwill site to the east, and the Honda site to the north in the works, the offering touts opportunity and a rapidly expanding “Mid-Market” local.

54 thoughts on “From Carpets To Condos, Offices Or A New Mid-Market Hotel?”
  1. Great. The Van Ness-Market – Mission area should be one of the most important nodes in the city, based on its geography and location on a State highway and two of the city’s most important through streets, slew of Muni lines, etc.

      1. I’m not exactly sure what the subterranean track is through there, but there definitely should be a station added above it in the area between Civic Center and 16th Street.

  2. I think these properties were in contract before, although with big contingencies. I know people who looked at this and the piece next door (30 Otis, which is also on the market).

  3. Given the limited amounts of office space that will be available to be built due to the cap , I say its a no brainer to take this residential.

  4. Love the aerial shot…still so many parking lots! Although it’s probably not very feasible, I’d love to see the alleyways developed with lowscale townhouse/livework type uses with the streetfaces developed with towers. I don’t know what the Market/Octavia plan said about this block.

      1. Agreed, I hardly want to rush headlong into redeveloping every square inch, but all of South Van Ness could be bulldozed and rebuilt from scratch and it’s hard to imagine that anything would be worse than what’s there now.

        1. Hardly the case. There are numerous wonderful Victorian residences in the blocks from 17th to 26th. A couple recently on the market asking $4 mm÷.

      2. Amen!

        As a western SOMA resident, I welcome the change. I love seeing abandoned buildings with blight replaced with something useful.

  5. I think of how fantastically this area would come along once the last remnant of the Central Freeway comes down and Division becomes a boulevard.

    1. Amen Concerned!

      Or leave the elevated Central Freeway — upzone the endless one-story blocks around it and convert the elevated highway to increasingly needed green space. Reroute cars. Think >50,000 new units within next 10 years (within a few blocks of the Freeway).

    2. And then what happens at street level when all of the vehicles on the elevated freeway come down to grade? There are reasons, in this case, that the elevated portion works well.

      1. They go away? What do you think happened to the thousands of vehicles that used to use the Embarcadero Freeway? Most simply went away, and we’re left with an astoundingly better city.

          1. Agreed, there are many parallel routes to the Central Freeway, hence even fewer “problems” to mitigate when it’s gone.

          2. I would rather have all that traffic up on a freeway and not crawling through my neighborhood. As a cyclist, the less cars on the surface streets the better for my safety. Let the cars have their freeway!

        1. They did NOT got away. They have caused gridlock on Gough St and nearly on Franklin. It used to be an easy cruise down Gough from Pacific Heights to Market St. Now it’s block by block crawl. That’s all the cars that used to be on the freeway.

          1. You can’t seriously claim that the traffic counts in those areas match what was on the freeway previously. It isn’t even close.

        2. The traffic that used to use the elevated Embarcadero Freeway now primarily use a mix of the Embarcadero surface street, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Streets to connect to 80 and the Bay Bridge. Hang out on any of those streets during peak commute and you can see for yourself. Also, 19th Ave saw an increase in traffic. Yeah, some people used to commute between Marin and San Mateo via Lombard/Broadway/elevated fwy. Now about 5k/day use 19th ave.
          The two-stage teardown of the Central Freeway north of Market shifted traffic onto the north/south surface streets of western SOMA (6th to S. Van Ness) and north of Market from Webster to Jones.
          The freeway teardowns also helped to push up prices in Noe, Bernal, Potrero, and Glen Park at the expense of north of market neighborhoods.
          None of this is controversial in outline, though many other factors contribute to the details. I think the net outcome was a great improvement for SF, but it wasn’t painless and did benefit some areas and hurt others.

          1. Again, traffic counts show that MOST of the traffic simply went away. Some diverted to other routes, but not even close to all.

          2. ANON. can you show us where the traffic counts “went away” its so hard to beleive having used the central freeway on oak and fell and now being stuck with the crap octavia blvd that is way way more crowded

          1. So then you’re amending your previous statements about it not impacting Muni? We should now work to reduce congestion for Muni to operate properly?

          2. no, anon i think we should build subways and at the same time support specific streets where we can speed car traffic.

    3. I’m all for teardown of 280 back to CC but will defer here to the traffic engineers. However, it’s clear there should be a massive upgrade to the adjacent surface streets both in terms of utility and aesthetics. In particular, the Market and Mission intersections should be given a grand treatment. With respect to the latter, a roundabout with center art piece seems a natural. Think Columbus Circle.

      1. Exactly! Looking how all the main thoroughfares are connected, I also thought it would be a great opportunity to put in a grand traffic circle! A large fountain…..an obelisk, a large sculptural art work in the middle maybe?

    4. Lots of folks depend on the Central Freeway. It would be stupid to tear it down just for the sake of having yet another “boulevard” in a basically random area.

      1. Getting from anywhere north and west of Civic Center to the Bay Bridge would become a nightmare without what’s left of the Central Freeway. And there were endless community meetings to redesign traffic patterns based upon tearing down the section of freeway north of Market. Some of the proposed designs tore down even more and were rejected as unworkable . . .which they were.

        1. Words like “nightmare” should be reserved for what the people of Syria, Gaza, and Iraq are experiencing. “inconvenience” would make a better substitute for traffic congestion.

  6. I live withing a stones throw of these parcel in SOMA residential enclave (so named in the western soma plan). I have nothing against monster tall buildings provided there are resources to serve the people living in them as there will be little if any parking provided. The experience with the residential being built on Market has been that some people continue to own cars…they happen to do endless circling and searching for on street parking in our neighborhood. With it comes more auto congestion, pollution and at times people driving way too fast down the alleyways.

    1. People circling the block, looking for parking? CIRCLING THE BLOCK???? And sometimes driving fast? In a big, dense, crowded, city? Unheard of! It certainly wasn’t the norm before this current round of construction. Ten years ago, parking in SF was like a magic carpet ride, with no problems ever! And if you rode Muni long enough back then, you would reach the end of the rainbow and find a leprechaun and a pot of golf!

      In all seriousness though, why are there so many city dwellers who get worked up over the minor inconveniences that inevitably come with big city living? Traffic, difficulty parking, shadows, crowds, blocked views, etc…get over it. And while the city overall is noticeably more crowded than it was 20-30 years ago (lifelong SF resident here), it’s not that drastic a difference. I’ll agree that parking was at times much easier back then (the city did have 100k-150k fewer residents, afterall), but it was often just as much of a pain in the ass as it is now.

      Rant aside, Muni and BART do need work, more so than ever now, with the current building/population boom…and I’m also glad to see more housing proposed. At least the area in question here is one of the best served parts of SF when it comes to public transit.

      1. traffic is much worse than it was, just 2-3 yrs ago. circling looking for parking has gotten worse as more cars are being added to the city than actual parking spots.

        1. Traffic is worse throughout the entire Bay Area. Even country roads like Highway 37 are now gridlocked expressways from 2pm to 8pm. There’s no escaping it.

        2. I dunno, some other guy named spencer has continually told me that we shouldn’t do anything to help Muni with street congestion because there is no street congestion. Good thing you’re not him.

        3. All the lanes handed over to a few hundred or a thousand daily bike commuters and the loss of both the Central and Embarcadero Freeways have certainly made things worse. What we got in return may have been worth it (or not–it’s arguable) but that these choices have made driving in the city worse is clear.

          1. that study is simply not correct. There is ZERO chance that traffic is moving faster. congestion is worse and commute times are slower. ive been doing the same commute for 18 yrs, and it is worse now than ever. i work for a very large company on the peninsula and everyone complains about the exact same thing. I would truly like to see a real study of this and doublecheck the methods and statistics of the study. Im a scientist and debunking poorly designed science is what i do for a living. Any of us can build a study to say exactly what we want it to and use statistics to support it. There are times when anecdotal data is just as important, especially when its anecdotal from hundreds of people.

        4. Traffic always gets worse when the economy is booming.. have you all only lived here for a couple years? Remember 1999? As soon as the economy settles down, so will traffic..

          1. R is right, in fact there should be some type of economic index related to the backup at the Bay Bridge toll plaza. During poor slow economic periods, the wait time at the toll plaza can be almost half of what it is during periods such as this.

    2. Maybe there should be some sort of parking policy to address that, then. Making it a free for all and then complaining when people use it just doesn’t make sense.

  7. It’d be great if they cleaned up that intersection of 12th/South Van Ness/Mission: cut off 12th’s access to mission, curving it instead where it meets South Van Ness. Safer, 90-degree angles and no travel routes would be obstructed.

  8. I don’t know where you got the idea that traffic counts didn’t find the traffic diverted when the Central Freeway was closed, but they did find almost all of it. There is really no dispute of this, at least not by the well-informed.
    The following quotes are from a study of the closure of the Central Freeway entitled “Closing a Major Urban Freeway with Minimal Traffic Congestion” (pdf at namelink).

    “Where Did the Traffic Go?
    Primary Detour Route Volumes – Traffic counts conducted by the City of San Francisco and Caltrans revealed that Central Freeway traffic was distributed over a much wider area than project planners or anyone else had envisioned. In the first few weeks after the freeway closure, the three primary detour routes carried about 39,000 additional trips, or 42 percent of the traffic that the closed portion of the freeway had previously carried. By the sixth week of the closure, usage of these routes had increased to 48,100 trips over the pre-closure volumes, representing 52 percent of the freeway’s volume.

    Increases on Other Routes – Figure 3 shows traffic increases outside the primary detour area. Increases of 10,000 trips per day were identified on the 1-280 freeway, which was a viable detour route for some traffic but not formally identified in the TMP. Although traffic volumes on freeway ramps leading into and out of downtown San Francisco were not expected to increase because they were already very heavily used, an additional 7,700 trips were recorded on them. The largest increase in traffic occurred on Highway 1, a north-south roadway through the western part of San Francisco located several miles west of the Central Freeway. The average daily traffic on this state highway increased from 94,000 trips per day prior to the closure of the freeway to 112,000 trips per day, an increase of 18,000 trips. Other freeway ramps showed a total increase of 3,500 trips per day, for a total increase of 87,300 trips on non-Central freeway ramps. Therefore, all but 5,700 of the 93,000 diverted Central Freeway trips were “found” on alternate routes. Complaints from motorists about increased congestion on several of these routes were received shortly after the Central Freeway closure and steadily increased over the following weeks.”

    “The Central Freeway experience does not provide any evidence that would confirm the theory that taking away roadway capacity will cause traffic to disappear. In this case, the major impact of removing the roadway was to spread traffic to a wide variety of alternate routes, and only small percentages of trips (less than three percent) were diverted to transit or were no longer being made”

    1. um, that report is woefully outdated. Traffic changes don’t happen in terms of weeks or months, but years or decades. No one informed, as you say, looks at the numbers today and sees similar numbers to what would be expected with the freeway still there (and the current city population/economy).

    2. oh, so now you tell us it can take decades for your “traffic counts show that MOST of the traffic simply went away” to be true. Rather foggy crystal ball you have there.
      How can a complex process in an urban area affecting the lives of so many thousands that takes decades to unfold be downplayed as “simply”?
      And during these decades of waiting for the traffic to simply go away, we all have to live with the not yet gone away traffic from the long gone freeway.
      BTW, the lead author of that study that I quoted from and linked to is still on the staff at SFMTA. Perhaps you would like to contact him to see if his conclusions are “woefully outdated” or still relevant.

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