1567 California Site

Plans to raze the Polk Street Boxing Gym, Fashion Exchange and adjacent Out of The Closet Thrift Store buildings on the southeast corner of Polk and California Streets are being reviewed by Planning.

As proposed, the two-story buildings would be demolished to make way for a new seven-story Polk Gulch development with 47 condos over new retail on the ground floor and an underground garage.

From the Planning Department with respect to their early thoughts about the development:

The Planning Department supports the overall scale of the project at this important transit dense intersection but prefers that the larger bulk of the massing be shifted towards California Street as the street is wider and lined with taller buildings.

The Planning Department also would like to see the project support and help define the existing midblock open space on the rear corner of the property [Editor’s Note: Out of the Closet’s current parking lot] by providing a significant setback at the upper levels [of the proposed development].

An environmental study for the development, the next step towards seeking an approval, is underway.

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Mark

    If it’s such a transit-dense part of town why include any underground parking? Oh, that’s because our transit sucks.

    7 stories is great.

    • Posted by david m

      i live in the area and don’t own/use a car, it’s perfectly doable if you work in the fidi or civic center/mid market. plus i hate the curb cuts and cars on california, as everyone does. a really gutsy developer would save the money he’ll save on parking construction and just go ahead with the development that looks like the rest of the neighborhood, and hope for normal residents like me instead of transplants and commuters.

      • Posted by Conifer

        “normal residents like me instead of transplants and commuters.”

        Those evil transplants and even more evil commuters. Must not do anything to encourage such a low element of humanity to soil the purity of “normal residents.”

      • Posted by Mark

        “normal residents like me instead of transplants and commuters.”

        Speaking as a “transplant” from DC and NYC, where transit is superb compared to the Bay Area, I am proud to shoot down your smug remark by stating that I do not own a car yet I “commute” on SF public transit from Parkside/Sunset to SOMA every day for work.

        • Posted by david m

          i just meant building with garages for people who would not consider moving in if they haven’t auto storage onsite. longtime neighborhood types who work in the fidi like myself or somewhere else nearby, getting set to purchase, non-car owning, not particularly attracted to outer neighborhoods, priced out of the mission/haight/diviz/etc, a project like this is great for our demo. the people we’d be competing with are new people who buy before they get a sense of the city and those who’re never there because they’re commuting all the time to work.

          • Posted by Nob Hill Resident

            I live in the neighborhood and have a car b/c I don’t like to spend 24/7 in SF. I love this city, but there are so many amazing things outside of it. I mountain bike/hike in Marin and snowboard in Tahoe on a consistent basis. I can’t imagine paying the amount of money that these are going to cost and not having a parking spot.

          • Posted by Spencer

            i think you are oversimplyfying the types of people who are looking to buy. there are many many of us with cars, live and work in the city for decades and are competing for the same places. we have a sense of the city and thats why we own cars. some of the transplants coming from places with better transit like NYC, chicago, boston, wash DC, philadelphia are probably the ones more likely to be suckered into buying a condo without parking because they dont know yet how bad the transit sucks compared to their former city.

          • Posted by BTinSF

            For 20-some years I was a pretty normal resident except for one thing: I lived near you but I worked in a part of Oakland with very little transit and needed a car. I chose–in 1982–to live in the city because I new evenings and weekends I WOULD be there and wanted “a sense of the city” (and to be able to walk to the opera because I am a fan). I could not have considered a building with no parking. Now that I’m a senior, I still couldn’t. I can’t schlep as many bags of groceries on Muni as I used to nor the occasional larger/heavier purchase. Give me a beak!

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            So you think every new building in San Francisco should have parking included because you prefer to have parking? Strange logic.

      • Posted by Fishchum

        Take your BS nativism and cram it. Most of the people who live in San Francisco moved here from somewhere else.

        • Posted by jlasf

          Come to think of it, most people who live in the United States moved here from somewhere else.

      • Posted by Jake

        In this neighborhood (census tract 111) there are currently 0.77 cars per owner-occupied unit. About half that many for the renter occupied units, which make up more than 80% of the total units. Also, these will be some of the more expensive condo units in the neighborhood. All of which implies 30+ cars would be owned by the occupants of this development.

    • Posted by Not a Techie

      Have you ever taken it?

  2. Posted by Ham

    Transit rich= 100 year old 5mph trolley system.

    • Posted by Mark

      5mph? I’m surprised it goes that fast.

      • Posted by Orland

        It can only go 9 mph as that is the speed at which the cable is pulled through the system.

    • Posted by Transit101

      The California Cable Car line began service in 1878, and the cable travels at 9.5Mph. In 1912, the average speed of the city’s public transit was approximately 8.5 miles per hour – slightly faster than the average speed of 8.1 in 2007. That cable car is faster than our modern bus system.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        The 8.5 MPH figure is an average including the time that the bus is stopped. The only way a cable car can maintain a 9.5MPH average is by not ever stopping. The true cable car average time is a lot slower than 9.5MPH because fortunately it comes to a stop before picking up passengers.

        • Posted by BobN

          The speed of the cable was 9.5. With that cable speed and stops, etc., the system averaged 8.5.

          Considering that buses are not tethered to a cable and can, in theory, exceed the speed of the cable, today’s average is pathetic. But we knew that already.

      • Posted by Mark

        Don’t forget, in 1912 there were few vehicles on the road to snarl transit and reduce overall speed.

    • Posted by Not a Techie

      It’s called a cable car, transplant.

      • Posted by Miguelito

        Omg the smugness is strong with this one.

  3. Posted by david m

    it’s a shame they couldn’t/didn’t pick up the disused grocery lot on the california street side, but overall it sound good to me. out of the closet will be a bit of a loss, and that gym is very well-used, borderline neighborhood institution. that gym will have a hard time finding a new equivalent spot on polk, particularly with such high ceilings. there’s a space on post street at larkin, next to where the new nopa restaurant is going in, that’d be a good fit though possibly a bit pricey. there are also several vacants storefronts on sutter, including the soon-to-be available home of the larking street youth services, but i’m not sure about ceiling heights there. if the haji’s hardware guy closes down or moves from his sutter street location, that would be an ideal place for the gym to relocate – you have everything there you might want and probably a break in rent as well.

    out of the closet isn’t a good fit in any of these and i’m guessing will either downsize and remain on polk or straight up close down.

    • Posted by JWS

      The gym will be a HUGE loss. But we need the housing…I’ll miss it considerably though.

  4. Posted by spencer

    good spot for new market rate housing. Though there has been some improvement, This area still needs quite a bit of cleanup, and a new development like this should help make the street safer. I was mugged with a baseball bat on the back of the head on this very corner a few years ago (2007), and at the time there were a ton of muggings on that stretch of polk

  5. Posted by sassyboyfrisco

    YES YES YES…raze these 2 story huts and raise in their place at least 7 stories!

  6. Posted by Joseph A

    lived in SF now for over 20 years , and those early years were without a car ,

    I see no issue with having a garage entrance on Cal st ,, what makes the city work is a mix of transit options

  7. Posted by MSTBLD

    My family came here during the Gold Rush. I consider anyone who wasn’t born here a transplant and parvenu and that includes all you “normal residents”

  8. Posted by dotpocalypse now

    sassyboyfrisco? Chortle.

  9. Posted by DoubleB

    What is the plan for Out of the Closet? It’s just a bit sad that we would be losing a second location (Duboce/Church closed this year) given what they do for the community (proceeds all benefit AIDS Healthcare Foundation). I feel like both locations have been consistently busy, both with donations and shoppers, that to see it go would leave a void. (The fact that Goodwill at Mission/Van Ness will also be departing also doesn’t help.)

    • Posted by chris

      Who knows? Maybe they will cash out on the millions being paid for the land. If they simply lease the space, then they will clearly find a new space if the market for their products is robust.

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