1801 Mission Street Site

In the works for over a decade and originally proposed to be developed with 36 affordable housing units for seniors, new plans for a seven-story, market-rate building to rise on the southeast corner of Mission and 14th Streets, on the seasonal Sundance Christmas Tree lot across from the Armory, have been granted a plan-based exemption from additional Environmental Review and the project is close to being permitted for construction.

As designed by Stephen Antonaros, the 1801 Mission Street project will include 17 condos over 1,110 square feet of ground‐floor retail space, approximately 740 square feet of second‐floor office space, and seven parking spaces accessed from 14th Street (five of which would be housed in a mechanical stacker).

1801 Mission Street Design

The project also includes storage rooms for up to 28 bikes.

Construction on the 1801 Mission Street project is currently slated to begin by summer and will take 18 to 24 months to complete.  Any appeals of either the environmental review exemption or permits will, of course, result in delays.

55 thoughts on “From Christmas Tree Lot To Condos At 14th And Mission”
  1. I’m guessing that with all of the bike storage space that it’s no longer going to be senior housing?

  2. Wow. There used to be several surface parking lots around this area and almost all of them are under contruction, have been built on, or are planned to. There was the lot at 14th/Valencia that’s now a 5 story condo. The Cathedral is rising on the lot behind that. The city lots under the freeway got replaced with the skate park / dog park. And the large lot on 14th/Stevenson is starting to work it’s way through planning as well. It’s amazing how much this particular micro-hood has changed so much in such a short period of time.

  3. Never gonna happen…as mission residents prefer mission to stay a ghetto littered with vacant lots, blighted buildings and drug dealers by the dozen.

  4. More vacant retail coming soon!
    What retailer will locate in a 9′-7″ high space?

    The Market-Octavia plan calls for a minimum 15′ retail height. Is this area not covered by that plan?

    [Editor’s Note: As linked above, this project is governed by the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan.]

  5. Yes, this micro hood has seen significant change over the last decade. Sure am glad I picked up a building here in 2005. That was perfect timing. It’s nice to see literally all the nearby lots getting built up. That Volvo (or Audi, I forget) modern building dealership is interesting too…

      1. Likewise. Gotta keep fighting the good fight against that SF drug so many of our residents are addicted to- rent control!

  6. Why is planning intentionally allowing so many short structures near both BART, 14, 14R, 47, and 49 lines? Do people that work for the city hold a lot of real estate or something?

  7. In case anyone is wondering, this parcel is zoned for 68 feet max height (namelink). Except for the blocks along Mission immediately adjacent to the 2 BART stations (one block north and one south of each station), there are only a few parcels in the Mission District zoned higher.
    And it is not just the Mission. With the exception of Park Merced, there are only a scattered handful of blocks and legacy buildings in SF with residential zoning taller than 68 feet anywhere west of Steiner north of Market or west of 101 south of Market.
    This great tall city some people want is by design/plan almost entirely north and/or east of this location. That is actually what most of the citizens want and have always wanted. Will of the people, my friends.

    1. “Th[e] great tall city some people want is by design/plan almost entirely north and/or east of this location…”

      I’m good with that. The way the rest of the tapestry of the City hugs its fantastic topography makes for as beautiful a skyline as you’ll find.

      1. Sometimes people need an example of what they don’t want before they summon enough political will/votes to stop any more of it. The response to Fontana Towers led to a 9-1 vote by the BOS to impose a 40 foot height limit along the northern waterfront about 50 years ago. Still in place, still popular.

        Our recent ‘no wall on the waterfront’ ballot initiative in response to the recent building boom, the effort of the Latino community in the late 1960s that stopped the ‘urban renewal’ of the Mission after the horrors of what they had seen in the Western Addition, International Hotel, “manhattanization”, prop M, freeway revolt, bay fill. There is a long long list and a long history in SF of popular will resisting big developers and central planning.

        1. The Fontana certainly caused a backlash, but there are plenty of six- to ten-story apt buildings scattered around established neighborhoods (like Hayes Valley, Nob Hill) from the 1930s and 1940s. I don’t think they caused a backlash.

          Maybe what the City needed a long time ago was an air-rights law that would allow for occasional higher buildings instead of all the uniformity we’re getting now.

          1. The tallish buildings in Hayes Valley are not scattered around. They are within one block of Market or Van Ness. All the rest of the area is zoned 50 feet or 40 feet max. Even along Market they are limited to 85 feet.

            As I posted above, the tall city is by plan/design almost exclusively in the north east of SF, essentially the area within walking distance of the CBD. So, yes Nob Hill and the edge of Hayes Valley near City Hall, but not Noe, or the Marina, or the Mission, or even the Castro. Good luck someday replacing the Castro Safeway or the Mint with a One Rincon.

            Much of the fight now is how to manage height as the CBD stretches south replacing the old industrial waterfront and pdr districts. Personally, I would trade more height for more parkland in SoMa, Showplace, and eastern waterfront.

            In SF developers and development interests have been fighting height limitations since the early days of zoning back in the 1920s and they have been fighting land use restrictions since the 1860s.

          2. There are older moderate highrises sprinkled around – a couple months ago on another post, I noted a particularly striking group of Art Deco 10 to 14 story buildings along Vallejo or Green, a few blocks west of Van Ness – definitely not something that could be built today, yet they look great and are really nicely done.

            But that said, I do think that all these older 1930s and 1940s moderate high-rises probably contributed to an atmosphere that (i) initially allowed Fontana Towers (because higher buildings had been happening piecemeal all over, what’s one more), and yet (ii) simultaneously made Fontana Towers the straw that broke the camel’s back (because it’s so egregiously a wall, and so close to the water).

            For instance, there’s what seems to be a pre-war (10?) story at 25th Ave & Lake Street – it’s a nice enough building in its own right, but it looks egregiously out of place, and engendered so much neighborhood opposition that it stands alone and nothing like it is going to be built for decades to come – even though it well predates Fontana.

          3. Yes, 25th and Lake is a 1930 building. There are a few of that vintage and similar in size (7-story) on Irving. Cell phone antennas like to roost on them.

            What is more remarkable is how few modern buildings there are in the Sunset and Richmond on the scale of the Avalon Sunset Towers, which are only about 11 story. Not much elevator repair work out in the suburban neighborhoods.

            The older cluster along Pac Hghts east of Fillmore that you mentioned does give a good impression of what is possible. I think they integrate into the neighborhoods better than the newer clusters on Cathedral Hill and in Western Addition along Fillmore. All of these built west of the CBD are car-centric, not built because they were near transit (“build taller because BART”).

            One of the keys to the success of the Fontana Towers response was that it stirred up the Russian Hill Improvement Association, and they hired this wise guy lawyer politician named Caspar Weinberger who in 1964 said the 40-foot height limits “will preserve for future generations one of the priceless assets of San Francisco, the whole relationship of the city to the Bay… and particularly, the views enjoyed by the public from publicly owned lands, such as Coit Tower and other city-owned recreational spaces….The Master Plan has for years provided that the height of buildings should generally follow the contour of the land, and that low rise buildings should be built on the low lands, such as the northern waterfront, and high rise at the tops of hills so that the loss of views, etc., will be minimized.”

  8. There are locations where building tall is appropriate–and they are more than sufficient to meet the need–but this isn’t one of them. Besides eastern SOMA and Rincon Hill, I would build much taller along 3rd St (the T line) and possibly Van Ness, and put mid-rises (maybe 12 stories, not towers) along Geary. But I agree with those who argue the traditional residential neighborhoods–Mission, Noe Valley, Castro, Haight, Western Addition, Hayes Valley, most of the Richmond other than directly on Geary–should remain low rise.

    1. Understandably, but since the Mission is the hottest neighborhood in SF due to the weather and location we’ll either price literally everyone out or we have to build. And build up.

    2. I would make an exception in the Richmond and allow for a line of midrise (12-18 stories) residential buildings on Fulton the length of and facing GG Park.

      In fact, I think there was just such a proposal floated about 20 years ago. You see how it caught on.

  9. This is all well and good, but where will I get my Christmas trees? Wont somebody please think of the Christmas trees.

    1. There is a seasonal Christmas tree (and pumpkin patch) lot at 7th Avenue and Lawton Street called Clancy’s, or you can go to 19th Avenue and Sloat. There are probably others that I don’t know.

      I was in this neighborhood today on an errand. Parked by Valencia Gardens and walked around, looked at the mish-mash of old buildings and new buildings. Ended up having lunch at Pica Pica, a Venezuelan restaurant. First time and it was great. Lot of relaxed young folks enjoying their meals.

      I don’t know this Mission very well so where is the gentrified hipster part? Which direction should I be headed the next time I am there.

  10. I live around the corner. The Christmas Tree lot sells only a handful of trees so please do not confuse it for a booming and welcome seasonal addition. The large surplus of trees is just an abomination. When not empty or filled with trees that cannot be moved, it is a construction storage site for wood. Now it has Homeless Yard Sale around it. So like, MIssion and 15th, South Van Ness and 15th, the soon to be Shotwell and 15th, the hopefully South Van Ness and 16th I beg you to build it…anything is better.

    1. Where will the paragons of capitalism, the homeless sidewalk sales, go? Think of the sidewalk sales! I NEED my 1981 casette tapes!

      1. Amoeba Music? Rasputin Music in Berkeley? Ebay?

        All this Christmas tree talk is making me want to celebrate Christmas now. Yet, Christmas in July is three months away.

  11. Until Recently there was nostalgic old fashioned gym, Valencia Street Muscle Gym, located on Valencia between 14th and 15th across from Valencia Gardens. I think at one time it was a Gold’s Gym. It was in a 1950’s style office building and took up the entire first high ceilinged floor. An electric group of local men and women made it their workout home. Suddenly the the building was sold? or whatever, the rent was raised and the gym suddenly closed. A large space to be developed and gentrified. I really miss this old comfortable gym.

    1. I was a member there for several years and can’t agree with the nostalgic view. Almost all of the cardio machines were constantly broken, the ventilation was terrible and certain areas of the gym kept getting rented out to other groups and became off-limits to members. The vibe was great and it was cheap, though. But it’ll hardly be missed. The worst part was when the gym just closed up shop without ever telling anyone and people who had pre-paid their membership for the year got the shaft.

  12. I might have driven by the area of which you speak. I represented the owner of Gold’s Gym (on Market Street and the North Bay) for a faulty Stair Master twenty years ago.

    I am at the Flying Pig Bistro this morning on South Van Ness between 15th and 16th Streets. First time in this place and the young owner is friendly and so are the customers. Oddly enough, it has been decades since I wandered around here so in many ways, it is like being on vacation in a different city.

      1. Not that I could see but then again I was paying a little too much attention to the new Porsche @ Larkin Brothers Auto Shop. Spoke to the owner of the Porsche (price ranged from $80K to $130K fully loaded.) I told him not to park it in the street. He smiled and said there is a private lot @ work and he lives in San Mateo.

        1. Damn! I will be very happy when that project finally breaks ground. What an eyesore that corner currently is. Thanks for the response anyway.

  13. I was at The Flying Pig this morning also. Great people and really solid food. Another place is MIssion Local on 14th. Then the Sixth Course Chocolate on 15th and 4505 Meats on 15th and Mission…but to an earlier point what needs to happen in these new developments is have the retail come in. There are too many empty retail places.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll go walk around when I am in the neighborhood again. So far, I’ve only been to three places: Flying Pig, Los Yaquis, Pica Pica. I wanted to try Walzwerk but there is no lunch service. Ditto on more retail but it isn’t cheap or easy to open up a small business. I’ve seen one new retail at one of the many new developments on Market St. and it was an H&R Block office. 🙁

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