800 Indiana Rendering 2014: Building A and B

Having adopted an “Intent to Approve” AvalonBay’s plans for a 326-unit apartment building to rise up to 58 feet in height at 800 Indiana Street last month, San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to act upon its intent and formally approve the development this week, albeit with a new condition.

Bounded by 22nd Street to the south, 20th Street to the north, Indiana Street to the east, and Interstate 280 to the west, the proposed development of the 2.5-acre Dogpatch parcel upon which a warehouse for the San Francisco Opera currently stands includes three distinct five-story buildings with four private courtyards and three publicly-accessible plazas.

And as a condition of the Commission’s approval for the project, AvalonBay will be required to work with San Francisco’s Planning Department to refine the design of development’s west façade which fronts the Interstate, “to be more expressive of the building’s organization and layout.”

800 Indiana Rendering 2014 - Building A, B and C

Prior to the new condition being added, construction on the $92 million 800 Indiana Street project was expected to commence this June and finish in the fall of 2017.  No word on whether or not the development’s refinement is expected to result in any delay.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by San Francisco

    Potrero NIMBYs set to complain in 3…2…1…….

  2. Posted by pac hts dweller

    If anyone wonders why rents are so high this was filed back in December 2011 so 4+ years to get through the design and planning process with countless $$$ spent on design meetings, consultants, and other red tape. All to demo an old warehouse abutting a freeway to construct a bunch of shoebox rentals.

    • Posted by seriously

      +1! Serious question- what can we do to improve this? Is there a ballot measure we can try and include for 2016? Someone that needs to be elected/ voted out? How do we go about reducing the amount of red tape??

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      you mean its not the fault of the tech workers?

      the city planning process is a joke. Im currently planning a renovation and have been back and forth through pre-app process, disucssions with planning and architects for months. We finally submitted the final application in Nov and the city told us not to expect anything until march. then we have to talk to the building dept (post-planning depart). It takes more than a year to just get plans approved for a minor/moderate renovation of a private home. totallly bonkers.

      • Posted by pac hts dweller

        Agreed. – I have been in a similar situation with a minor remodel in the past. The Planning Department told us it would be a quick approval at the beginning and then changed their tune and made us jump through a bunch of hoops. Submitted final plans in the fall and haven’t heard a peep out of them since then. The embedded culture within Planning is to look for any possible way to trip you up as a homeowner and drag the process out as long as possible versus working with you to get something done that makes sense and move forward.

        And yet the politicians and tenant groups wring their hands about high housing costs. You need a ton of money, patience, and a masochistic personality to add a single square foot of livable real estate in this city and people wonder why it is “expensive” (hint: it is not compared to other global cities and is ridiculously under-built which is part of the charm).

        I can only imagine how much a sqft of real estate will cost 5 years from now once we begin approaching parity with other economic centers given the unrelenting and accelerating growth in tech and the employment base here. The supply/demand balance is so effing out of whack here and is only going to get worse which makes it a great asset to hold despite the development challenges though so we have to take the good with the bad.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      And then on top of that, almost 3 years to build – that seems awfully long for a project of this size.

      • Posted by Swiftamine

        +1 on figuring out a ballot measure or something to streamline the process!

        On another note, does anyone have any idea how much was spent on the Prop F campaign to approve Pier 70? I guess for some projects you also have to add campaign money on top of the countless $$$ listed above. Crazy

  3. Posted by anon

    Approve immediately. There is a Dept. of Planning? I thought SF gov’t is really just one big pension plan with a little bit office work on the side. If it doesn’t get done today, well there is always tomorrow or whenever retirement comes, whichever is earlier.

    Do away with EIR and discretionary review, automate the process by making everything online for all permits and fees, relocate/outsource all back-office city jobs to a low-cost state/India, scale back non-essential construction work to non-union workers, privitize gov’t sectors.

    It isn’t only me but many people have said how it takes five city workers to plant a tree or do anything else. One guy actually does the work while the other four just stand around. The other four jobs should be eliminated.

  4. Posted by anon

    I had a roof completely replaced a number of years ago with proper permits. I stood around to wait and see how the City Inspector would sign off on the work. The inspector came and went, never brought a ladder to climb out to check if the roof was done to code, or if I (as a homeowner) was getting ripped off with a subpar roof. I don’t know what the inspector does all day if this was purportedly his job.

  5. Posted by frog

    My mom is currently buying a place in a very historic part of Pennsylvania and is considering some major renovations. (Historic = stone buildings from around the founding of this country.) It’s a town that is known for having a draconian review board and her property contains a historic structure.

    She hired a local architect and a local lawyer and it looks like she might have to wait as much as three months between when the project is planned and the start of construction. That’s including a couple of back and forth encounters with the local planning department and her architect.

    Yes, we’re comparing a single family house to an apartment building. But she’s in the center of town and this is next to a freeway! Our process is beyond insane. Kafka would be horrified by the process we created.

    • Posted by Orland

      May I simply point out that none of you have the slightest idea of what went into the timing of this particular project. It may have been entirely consistent with the developer’s time line or had to do with availability of the site. They will be replacing a longstanding facility of SF Opera after all.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Yes, because most developers enjoy investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in planning and predevelopment activities, several years before they might possibly start seeing income from the property.

        • Posted by Potrero Nimby

          Cry me a river.

          • Posted by frog

            Those hundreds of thousands of dollars come from somewhere. And if the developer is eating the cost, it’s coming from the architecture or the finishing.

            Also, it reduces the amount of construction, resulting in higher prices for everyone.

            So the next time someone complains about the architecture in this city, I’m blaming you.

          • Posted by Potrero Nimby

            Oh please… nobody’s forcing anybody to build these things.

          • Posted by frog

            No, but we do like people to have housing. I guess just not in your back yard?

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            Good lord. Complain about housing costs one day, say you don’t give a d*mn about developers’ costs the next. Which is it, are we at war with Eastasia or Oceana?

  6. Posted by BobN

    “to be more expressive of the building’s organization and layout.”

    It just warms the cockles to know that the folks at Planning are so concerned about the impressions drivers get while zooming by…

    • Posted by Orland

      How many times a day do you go by a “Richmond special” or, even worse, one of those godawful flat boxes with pebbled panels they built so many of mid-century and thought to yourself, “How could they have left them…?”?

      • Posted by parklife

        I would normally be in agreement with those who wish to expedite the planning process, but pointing out the flat front pebble buildings does strike a nerve. Every time I see one of these buildings, I have to shake my head in disbelief that anyone ever thought they were appropriate.

      • Posted by Orland

        … “flat boxes with pebbled panels”… There must be a more architecturally appropriate term for them, but I think we all know what I’m referring to. Just the worse made all the more streetscape busters by the fact they often extend to the lot line beyond their neighbors.

        Still, thrown up in the scores in the name of what, “expeditious exercise of ‘ property rights’ “?

        I wish we could go back and force the current owners to tear them down since the hallowed “Market” is no help having given life to them.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          some of us are trying to tear down their pebbled front flat facade. I have one that was pasted onto my 1908 Victorian home by a previous owner. Unfortunately, I have to go through the historic review committe to get this 1970 facade monstrosity off of my building, then environmental review, then all of the planning shenanigans, then building dept. This was the construction project I was referring to yesterday that will take over 1 yr to be approved by the city. so for those of us trying to restore a building that was pasted over by a flat pebble panel have to go through the same horrible and expensive process to remove it due to the planning dept. In fact my architect is now suggesting that i get the building reclassified as non-historic in order to do the work as it may be faster to get permits. so much for “forcing” the owners. Maybe we could force planning to speed up the process to allow for removing this crap. Honestly its just a facade and i could knock it down in 20 minutes with a sledgehammer. If we get another big storm with “high winds” i might just do it

      • Posted by Serge

        That is an incredibly accurate description of those architectural abominations. The problem is that we won’t be getting rid of them soon, so we are stuck with them for the long haul. What I laugh at more is when I see a row of beautiful Victorians and one of them has the clapboard siding replaced with faux stone. Who in their right mind thought that looked good?

        Although I sometimes wonder, will we long for these mid-century eyesores (note: some mid-century design is good) in a few decades just like we do for Victorian, Edwardian, and Italianate buildings?

      • Posted by BobN

        I don’t see what Richmond specials have to do with it. Planning is engaging in design issues FOR A FACADE THAT FACES A FREEWAY. It’s stupid. It’s beyond stupid.

  7. Posted by stucco & ayn rand

    So the once lovely hamlet called dogpatch is now going to be just another crammed up little hole for boxes. History will not be kind to what is being done to this city by greedy developers.

    • Posted by Emanon

      Do you disagree that “greedy developers” built the original dogpatch?

      • Posted by Potrero Nimby

        It was mostly housing for blue collar workers in nearby factories and shipyards, primarily recent immigrants. The Pelton Cottages on Tennessee were built to help working class people live in affordable housing. In fact the architect provided the plans at no charge.

        • Posted by frog

          Housing built by developers. For people with jobs. Just like the new apartments being built throughout this city.

          • Posted by Potrero Nimby

            Built with the goal of improving the lives of workers and the common good, not greed.

          • Posted by Frog

            Clearly you are having fun with me. Everyone wants to be paid for their work.

          • Posted by Potrero Nimby

            I am having fun with you, it’s true. But I’m not making up the part about the architect doing the Pelton Cottage plans for free. The late nineteenth century was a time of growing social conscience and concern for the “less fortunate”, and a rather stark contrast to present day concerns with profit over good design and affordability.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            Given that “plans” in the 19th century consisted of “put one wall here, and another wall there”, it was pretty easy to provide plans for free. It didn’t require familiarity with inches of code regulations (accessibility, electrical, plumbing, structural, earthquake, LEED, etc.), and dozens of additional hours spent in neighborhood meetings and planning reviews and (despite those two) the inevitable NIMBY appeals. And even if the plans were provided for free, the actual occupancy either cost rent, or was provided as part of a job’s compensation (i.e., worker housing) – so someone *was* making money off of it. Sutro, Stanford, Strauss, and Giannini didn’t get rich by giving things away for free.

          • Posted by seriously

            do it for free? that’s cute. do you have any idea what it would take for a residential firm to do something like that today? architects aren’t exactly flush with cash. while it’s a nice feel-good historical anecdote, you can’t seriously expect anyone to be able to do that today. parading around like it should be the case is just ignorant and not helpful in proposing REALISTIC solutions.

          • Posted by Potrero Nimby

            Jeez, I’m terribly sorry things are so difficult for you. I was simply responding to Emanon’s post. “Do you disagree that “greedy developers” built the original dogpatch?”

          • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

            San Francisco in the 1800s certainly was no place for greed. Altruism built this city.

  8. Posted by Anon

    Can you point to any source material detailing the motives and recorded thoughts of original Dogpatch builders, Potrero Nimby?

  9. Posted by Potrero Nimby

    “Most houses in Dogpatch were built by working families, often with their own hands. Typical of the Dogpatch neighborhood homes are more than a dozen quaint Victorian-style houses designed by the architect Jon Cotter Pelton Jr. in the early 1880s. At the time, Pelton published his design specifications for free in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, so homes could be built at a price that was within the industrial worker’s reach.” (History of Dogpatch)

  10. Posted by Anon

    Thanks, but two things. First off, conflating epochs is an odd thing to do. Nothing is like it was 130 years ago. And to take one person’s actions, Pelton’s, and then defining an era as one of broadening social consciousness? Come on. It was also a time of great worker exploitation. This was the era of the Homestead strike in Pennsylvania, as well.

    Secondly, there’s no comparison. Pelton published plans so that people could take them and use them, themselves. To say that that’s not even close to being a thing today is a terrific understatement. I mean, really, Potrero Nimby. You’re making all sorts of odd anachronistic arguments and adding value judgments on top. It’s pretty silly stuff.

  11. Posted by Potrero Nimby

    Again, I was simply responding to Emanon’s comment, but I clearly hit a nerve.

  12. Posted by Anon

    nope, no nerve hit. it was just amusing is all.

    anyway your original response to emanon isn’t something you can back up. you countered with one small example. the worker housing and whatnot probably was actually done by developers who made tidy profits, and you probably know that.

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