2140 Market Street Site

As we first reported earlier this week, a new set of plans have been submitted to Planning for a proposed five-story residential building to rise across the Market Street site which includes the Lucky 13 bar and adjacent patio and parking lot.

In order to make way for the development as proposed, the existing one-story building on the site would be razed, a building with a historic and storied past, including being the site of Harvey Milk’s election night celebration when it was a bar known as Alfie’s.

Early discussions with the Planning Department in 2013 did include a design which would have incorporated the existing building, but those plans appear to have been abandoned.

And the current plan, as drafted by Forum Design below, would include 31 condos over 1,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and a 600-square-foot storage room for 32 bikes, but no parking for any autos.

2140 Market Draft Design

While the plans are preliminary and haven’t been approved, much less submitted for their environmental or formal review, they have been drafted in detail, with elevations, floor plans (29 one-bedrooms, 2 twos) and schematics.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in as the plans evolve.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by AnonArch

    Last night I got out some “old school” large architecture monograph books with gorgeous glossy pictures. One was on the work of Bernard Maybeck and another was on the work of Julia Morgan. I had a bit of a cold, so I even brought out one on Greene & Greene and Irving Gill. How did we go from that to THIS?

    I have read comments before on this site to “build it!’, and it might be “better” than what is there now, but the state of commercial architecture is very unfortunate. Market Street should be a boulevard of premier iconic architecture, instead it is becoming a very unmemorable collection of buildings. Is this the best we can do on Market Street?

    • Posted by ElitistPig

      It’s called time. If you think we should fill SF with buildings that look like they belong in 1920, I think I know what your problem is.

      • Posted by AnonArch

        I do not want to go back in time. I DO want to encourage better architecture on streets like Market. I do NOT want a Bernard Maybeck at this location, but I do want a MODERN design that could someday be as admired and memorable as a Maybeck. Most of the new construction on Market is very ordinary and not worthy of the great city we hope to become. The façade and window system of the building is what I would see in the San Fernando Valley on a side street. We can do better.

        • Posted by Chris

          So, what is better? I keep reading vague criticisms like your comment that lack any specific direction as to what would be a better, but still financially feasible apartment/condo building? Specifically, what would you change about the facade or window system. Specifically, what would you change about its height, massing, landscaping, building materials, etc? And, also remember it has to be something that is financially feasible for a small apartment building or condo.

      • Posted by sausalito_res

        @ElitistPig–I didn’t read that into the comment by AnonArch. If you visit London or any of the other great cities of Europe where development is happening, you will find good-quality new construction in the central cities. As a city, we set a very low standard for design. Much of what is being proposed and built in San Francisco is mediocre and this is a mistake that will persist for 100 years, or longer.

        One property at a time, we are dismantling our legacy built-environment. Some commenters have stated that Lucky 13 is an unattractive building and an under-use of the site. The same could be said about Red’s Java House, which I know has many supporters on this site. It’s a tiny worn-out building situated on some of the most valuable waterfront property in the world. Certainly, that site could be put to more profitable use. But there should be some public value placed on keeping bits of what makes San Francisco a great place to live and to visit.

        • Posted by ElitistPig

          So we should live inside a postcard?

          • Posted by Matt in Uptown

            No, but we should be building an environment worthy of a postcard.

          • Posted by Amelie Phaine

            There is a difference between constructing buildings that are a copy of the past…. and constructing buildings with some warmth and variety and design conviction. Market street is slowly but surely becoming a sea of lazy postmodern derivative copy+paste apartment buildings. In 20 years it will look like this to us.

          • Posted by Mark

            Developers are in it to make money and could not care less about quality, design, aesthetics or the neighborhood. They know there is a huge demand for housing in SF and plenty of people willing to pay cash over asking price to get it.

            For the record, not every building has to be an award-winning architecture, but the copy-and-paste method of construction should be scrutinized. But, as I pointed out above, it’s irrelevant because there are buyers already lined up.

        • Posted by Chris

          Lucky 13 is not part of San Francisco’s “legacy”–drama queen comments abound. It is a neighborhood bar (and spare the overused and boring hipster “dive” bar description) that is the sort of bar you can find throughout San Francisco and in cities like Indianapolis, Denver, and anywhere else. I used to go there fairly often about 15 years ago, it is a fun little place, but it is not “what makes San Francisco a great place to live and to visit.” San Francisco is a great place for many reasons, and some bar along a strip of other bars is not the reason, or even one of the reasons, this city is great.

          There are hundreds of buildings in San Francisco with real history and architectural merit that are protected by local law. This building is not one of them, nor should it be.

          Also, I have traveled extensively through Europe, including London, and there are some great modern/contemporary buildings and also lots of nondescript and even ugly buildings.

          Without referencing expensive public buildings or big corporate funded headquarters what specific sort of financially feasible neighborhood residential buildings would you suggest be built on Market (and not just vague comments like “better” or “European”)? What is a building that would look good 100 years from now? Do you even have a concept what life will be like 100 years from now and how tastes and living needs will have changed?

    • Posted by seriously

      No, it’s called labor and material costs. Back then they had abundant forests and ethically questionable labor. Now everything is unionized and outsourced and shipped around the world. Design tastes haven’t changed as much as market forces have.

      • Posted by thedude

        Nailed it

      • Posted by BrisketLover

        Come on, we’re not comparing today’s economy with the slave labor that built the pyramids. Well designed buildings are still being built around the world that are economically profitable for the developer. Its not so much the materials, but the sameness of the DESIGN of all these buildings that is depressing.

        • Posted by Chris

          Specifically, what sort of design would be better? What different shape? What different height or massing? What different materials? What different facade? What different position of windows? Simply putting “design” in caps does not make your comment any more profound or clearer.

          • Posted by BrisketLover

            Oh, so no one can’t give an opinion on the design of a building without having to draw up alternate plans for the project? Just give me your email and I’ll send them over. But if you want one of those scale models with the little trees and miniature people it’s going to take me an extra day. Ridiculous.

        • Posted by Chris

          Brisket, being super-defensive when someone asks you a legitimate question is not very mature and it certainly is not cute.

          I never said you could not have an opinion, nor did I say you had to draw up alternative design plans. I asked for more detail in your remarks, not architectural drawings. My comment was perfectly valid, not “ridiculous.” What is ridiculous is your reaction to my comment.

          Take off your drama queen hat and put on your grown-up hat, then try responding to my comment like an adult, not a petulant child (and then I might actually give you my email address once I realize I am corresponding with a reasonable adult).

          • Posted by Memo-san

            So which of you is the defensive drama queen again? I’m confused.

        • Posted by iknowsnow

          When you add in the cost of workplace safety regulations (OHSA), worker’s comp, benefits, unionization, etc. as compared the situation in the 1920s – no workers safety, no workers comp, no benefits, very little taxes, etc. and one was freely able to exploit the labor of the time – it was a LOT cheaper to built back then.

          Same thing for materials costs – we had veritable oceans of old growth forest to mow down and get CHEAP high quality timber from. Let alone the much lower costs of iron and steel and other raw materials. It would 50 more years before we even had an EPA!

          I’m not arguing a return to that era – but it is a big factor.

    • Posted by Adam Greenfield

      AnonArch, you are completely right. We are all standing watching as bland architecture is popping up around the city, watering down its heritage of quality buildings. It is time to get active about this. If you are interested in doing something, let’s discuss; I’ve some ideas. You can catch me at

    • Posted by SFR

      Agreed. This is a soulless template piece of architecture replacing a kitschy 100 year old building. This belongs in Walnut Creek not SF. No architect here, only a draftsman

    • Posted by Savvy

      Thank you. Well said. When will this nightmare end?

  2. Posted by Sierrajeff

    I’ll have to stop by Lucky 13 tonight, just so I can cry in my beer over the banality of this plan.

  3. Posted by anon

    Way too short for the location, but the amount of parking’s right and the no curb cut alone will help heal the horrendous pedestrian experience there today.

  4. Posted by wc1e

    Leave Lucky 13 and build on the parking lot wrapping around it.

  5. Posted by MOW

    Leave Lucky 13 and add a couple of stories to make up for the lost space.

  6. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    Uninspiring, to say the least. This looks like a new version of a crappy SOMA style sweat-box lofts.

  7. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    well you know, at least the developers could put-up a plaque, that says something like
    “Herein laid the Lucky 13, a bar of many eras and incarnations, where Harvey Milk celebrated his mayoral election. Gay men from all over the country danced here: some fell in love. Many died of aids while the Regan administration turned it’s back. Here history lays. Here life transpires.” History has value, after all, if for no other reason than because we’re smart enough to learn from it, and it defines our species, and times.

  8. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    It is the right height for that area. But I agree this is very bland. That said, much of Market Street is really, really ugly, so these condo boxes being constructed along this corridor are a step up. But it is too bad that there aren’t any really eye-catching designs. 31 condos means this will bring about 30 cars. No parking is ridiculous unless the deed comes with a restriction stating that the owner cannot own a car.

    • Posted by SFCitizen

      It would also help if the MTA refused to issue RPP to residents in buildings with no auto parking.

      • Posted by Jake

        if RPP were only for residents of buildings with parking, then it would reward the people with more than one car that happen to live in buildings with parking, regardless of whether they use any of the off-street parking in their building. It would penalize their neighbors that have no cars by making it more difficult for anyone else to visit them. Seems a perverse disincentive. Much better and simpler to raise the price to reduce the cars than try to pick winners and losers based on some feature of a property.

        • Posted by SFCitizen

          Jake – I suggested to Supervisor Wiener to increase the annual RPP fee to $1000. He said that there is legislation that limits the fee to a program cost basis. I agree with your idea to increase the cost of street parking to reduce the number of cars in the City, but it sounds like we can’t do that.

          • Posted by anon

            Um, sure we can. We can change the “legislation that limits the fee to a program cost basis”.

          • Posted by Jake

            I don’t see that in the CA vehicle code (namelink), but thankfully I am an amateur at reading it, so maybe I missed it. From what I read, there is a limit on the fee for a permit to park in front of your own driveway, but no mention of a limit for the right to park overnight in a designated “residential district”.
            Nevertheless, they could probably get one of those Leno law specials passed that only applies to cities that are counties – SF being the only one in CA. Couldn’t imagine that the rest of CA would object to us raising our parking fees on our own residents.

    • Posted by anon

      The idea that government should force a person not to own a car based on where they choose to live is absurd, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised in big government SF.

  9. Posted by Jon Schwark

    I have to agree… I ‘m usually all about “build it”, but when we lose these treasures, let’s at least build something beautiful to replace it. The cost is so high, it seems a shame to squander it on a 5 story shrug. There is no REAL reason they couldn’t put 10 stories in the parking lot and leave the bar alone. Just zoning. I guess we tie our hands and then it allows us to wash our hands while we cry.

  10. Posted by Matt in Uptown

    Is there something to see in that second image box? I’ve grown blind to sketches of blandos.

  11. Posted by BrisketLover

    Yaaawwnnn. Oops, I fell asleep for a minute there, now what was I looking at again? Oh right, Yaawwwnnn.

  12. Posted by Mark

    Shoddy construction, insane prices. People will buy it, regardless.

  13. Posted by SFNative74

    Build on the lot next to it and leave Lucky 13 alone. Then put up good soundproofing so the new residents don’t complain of night life that has been there for decades and makes this city a place worth living. Not everything needs to be the same height, the same bulk, and so homogeneous. A small building with character among taller buildings breaks up the monotony and tells a story.

  14. Posted by Ron

    Yes. Build something of beauty and distinction. Set a new standard for luxury and quality. The developers will surely be rewarded with even higher sale prices.

  15. Posted by 4th Gen SFer

    It’s way better looking than Lucky 13. I agree there should be better designs being built but, was it on 48hills, SFG, Hoodline or here that someone said it’s the fault of the planning commission as they have no taste.

    [Editor’s Note: The original debate: Damn That Planning Department To Hell! Oh, Wait A Minute….]

  16. Posted by bike trike and baby carriage parking only

    As long as they name the building “Lucky 13 Estates” I am down with it.

  17. Posted by UpMark

    Quality and aesthetic debate aside, anyone else think the building grossly exceeds the height of it’s surrounding neighbors? It’s really dwarfs those lovely Victorians, feels like a wrong note.

  18. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    DESIGN: I’d need to see the elevations in color. Second, adjacent to the sidewalk, if there were 2-3′ of solid mass before the glazing began vertically, the place would look more solid; to me, it looks like the bays are on the verge of crashing down through the storefront(s) windows. Similarly, on the far left side, first floor only, solid walls for a width of at least 3′ would help (oft things are pleasing to look at when the look like something that won’t fall over/down). In general, floor one is “too glassy,” there are bays right atop plate glass windows, I’d say continue the “masonry” running horizontally over the garage opening all the way across the building’s front. Also, I notice a new tendency in construction to “put up some real wood that obviously isn’t structural.” It looks nice now, but we went through this in the 70’s with “pecky cedar.” It went out of style by ’82. So I tend to wonder how all the currently vogue wood inset panels will look in 20-50 years. And it looks like the window mullions might be black. IMHO, all these finishes and mullions in black and gray tend to make things look sadomasochistic: as if the structures shout “You may get spanked here.” Ditto for the jet black kitchens.

  19. Posted by Sam

    The thing none of you transplants understand is that at times, culture and identity are more valuable for a city’s “growth” than profiting from the construction of overpriced, aesthetically unappealing condos. Does one dive bar really make that much of a difference in the grander scheme of things? Most likely not but at the same time this is all part of an economically unsustainable citywide development that is stripping the city of its character.

  20. Posted by soccermom

    What’s the difference between hipster xenophobia and white supremacist xenophobia?

    In one case you have a person with a pseudo-nativist claim, a bunch of tattoos, and a general case of anxiety about how his position in the world is changing in ways in ways he cannot control. He reverts to makes ambiguous claims about how his locale’s character and culture are being eroded. In the other case… oh wait.

    This comment is a too flameworthy and I don’t really mean to quite equate NIMBYism with white supremacy, but the comparison holds some weight. WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH HOUSING IN THE CITY. Prices are a simple reflection of that imbalance. Are dive bars awesome? Yes, often. Is it sad to see an ‘institution’ go under? Sad for sure. But the city has to grow and adapt. If we keep out others, if we cover ourselves in a cloak of “us vs. them,” we’re adopting the same tactics that groups with premises very anti-San Francisco Culture would do as well. We are keeping people out (and forcing people out) by failing to build enough housing.

    The great irony is how much less money would be made by developers if the city made peace with actually building more housing.

    Check out my namelink for a recent presentation in San Francisco that a guy from Austin gave. His concept of ‘Abundant Housing’ is really a better way forward for how to deal with housing in San Francisco. If we simply had more apartments or condos available for renters and owners, we would have more reasonable housing prices…

  21. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    I’m no expert, and trained more as a designer, but what I’ve heard is the majority of buyers for most of the condos are foreigners, that make a pile of money in either places with unstable governments, or doing something underhanded, like money laundering or drugs. Then, they more or less “park the cash” in our real estate, and so the supply and demand thing is out the window, because what’s happening instead, is that San Francisco, and probably the United States in general, is functioning as the Switzerland of the twenty-first century.

    • Posted by anon

      @ Zugamenzia Farnsworth: If you actually heard that, which I kind of doubt, know now that it is nonsense and move forward with your life.

  22. Posted by Chris VerPlanck

    Uggh. More of the same old low-bar, easy-to-entitle, warmed-over Dwell schlock. We need this boom to end. Now.

    • Posted by anon

      Dwell didn’t create contemporary, rather the opposite. We need better words from the internet. Want to help?

      • Posted by atila unchained

        we need better names from the Internet, want to help?

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