540-552 De Haro Site

Plans to raze the two-story industrial building at 540-552 De Haro Street in Potrero Hill, adjacent to the Saint Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church and across the street from Anchor Brewing, have been granted an exemption from additional environmental review, helping clear the way for a 17-unit residential building to rise.

540-552 De Haro Design

As proposed and will still need to be approved by Planning, the four-plus-story development would include four (4) one-bedrooms and thirteen (13) two-bedrooms, with 16 parking spaces and storage for 17 bicycles at the partially below‐grade ground floor level. A 1,480‐square‐foot common roof deck would occupy the fifth level, along with private terraces for four of the units below.

The existing building on the site, which was rezoned to allow for development under the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plan, was constructed in 1975 and is currently occupied by Moto Shop.

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Comment

    Too bad. We are losing a lot of simple, but beautiful industrial buildings, for generic housing projects. This wont look good from day one let alone 10 years done the road. #sorrynotsorry

    • Posted by Zig

      This is satire right?

    • Posted by Futurist

      Simple? beautiful?
      Seriously?

      You need to educate yourself on architectural design.

      • Posted by Brian M

        He is right about “design that won;t look good from day one” but I don’t see the glory in the as generic tilt up box that the genericondos are replacing. 🙂

        • Posted by Futurist

          No, he’s not right. He has an opinion about the design, but it’s not about being “right”. He just doesn’t like it. Architects don’t have to please anyone, except the owner/developer and the building/life safety codes.

          It’s also not a “generic tilt-up box”. Most likely a steel frame on concrete foundations with steel stud or wood stud infill. Just to be clear.

          • Posted by Brian M

            I do ultimately agree with you, futurist. And thanks for the precision.

  2. Posted by anon

    Nothing remotely beautiful about the current building. Bring on the housing, it looks fine.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      it could use at least 2 more floors. why so short in this locale?

  3. Posted by lasertag

    Housing is a much better option compared to what is currently there.

  4. Posted by Boojum

    If housing were disallowed because it’s “generic,” 98% of all housing ever built would not exist. Most housing and indeed, most buildings, are generic, even in cities famous for their beauty. Every building cannot – and should not – be a bespoke standout. In this case, a generic though handsome and desperately needed residential building will replace a small generic, even nondescript, industrial building. That’s not only OK, it’s an excellent swap!

    • Posted by seriously

      even victorians were “generic” when they were built. it was THE style at the time.

      • Posted by BTinSF

        They could be odered as kits from the Sears Roebuck catalogue.

    • Posted by Comment

      You’re right, “generic” was a bad word choice. I should have used “fake” “tacky” “cheap” “hollow” “looks like its falling apart the day it opens, just like most of the new construction in SF” “has bay windows”

      • Posted by Futurist

        Why not just say it? You just don’t like change.

        • Posted by Comment

          I love change. Just not this architecture.

          • Posted by BTinSF

            What San Francisco needs is more affordable housing. I am not using “affordable” as a code word for subsidized as the city does but housing built as inexpensively as possible in as great a quantity as possible to be sold at market rate. That almost of necessity means it will be “generic”, meaning architecturally undistinguished for the most part and built of inexpensive but durable materials. It is not where you would want to live if you can afford custom Italian cabinetry, rare hardwood flooring, granite surfaces everywhere in kitchen and bath and built-in custom appliances, but it is shelter, hopefully built to comfortably house the unwashed with 5-figure incomes.

            Buildings like this may come as close as San Francisco can come.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            until we can soak up the pent up demand of people who car afford $1M+ condos, people will pay a lot no matter what the construction materials. there is just too much demand at the high end for a tiny supply at all ends.

          • Posted by phil

            Moto, We have a surplus at the high end, 202% of “need” as per 3rd Qtr 2014 pipeline, with deficits at the mid and low ends. What logic leads you to the conclusion that we must build more to fill the “demand” for luxury units?

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            i dont think we should build to meet the demand of any group. All im saying is if you build any ugly building with cheap material, if its market rate, it is still going to be expensive and sell for more than someone with <200K income is going to be able to afford. My point is that there are so many HNWI who want to buy that they will still buy cheaply made units and driving up the price. building low quality units will not lead to cheaper housing until the demand of HNWI has dried up.

            The only way people with low or middle incomes will be able to afford is through subsidized housing

  5. Posted by garrett

    makes sense. seems like an underutilized lot in a sizzling hot part of town.

  6. Posted by Thought

    On a side note, that is a beautiful church, both inside and out. I fully support the condos, but hope they can incorporate some of the church design/touches into the exterior so it isn’t such a contrast. Doing so will elevate both properties.

    • Posted by Futurist

      I would certainly NOT want to see this project “incorporate” some of the design aesthetic of the adjacent church. there’s no logic or reason behind that type of thinking, except to dumb down all new projects to, in essence, copy what is already there.

      Talk about loss of creativity and varied neighborhood character. This is as bad as the Nimby groups in some neighborhoods to have all new buildings include “some” Victorian trim to the front façade.

  7. Posted by j_blu

    Having attended school a mere few blocks away I can attest that this area needs as much new housing as possible – students at nearby schools (UCSF, CCA) are desperate for proximal places to live. Glad to see this going where it is.

    • Posted by phil

      Of course most students won’t be able to afford it.

  8. Posted by Dan

    I support replacing the Moto Shop building with housing. I also agree that the proposed condo building is ugly and cheap looking, and not a great addition to the neighborhood. Architecture can enhance or detract from a neighborhood in a big way. What SF needs is an architectural review board that prods developers into producing attractive designs that benefit the neighborhood, not crappy designs intended to maximize the developer’s profit.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      unfortunatly when architects come up with beautiful designs , the city makes commetns that dumb down the design, give less flair or simply make it much uglier. The city exacerbates the problem you are referring to. they are the problem, not the solution.

    • Posted by Futurist

      We absolutely do NOT need an architectural review board. We already have the comical and oft personal biased Planning Commission trying to design as it is.

      Think about it. So you and many others (at times) do not like the architectural solutions currently being built in SF. So now you want to appoint a specific group of people to decide for ALL of us what is and is not “good” architectural design. It will do nothing but give us a particular architectural bent that is the PERSONAL BIAS of that review board.

      Good design, excellent design cannot be legislated or defined. What we should encourage is for developer/owners to hire the best of the best local and national firms to design projects here in SF. Many developers will end up hiring a firm based on the firms LOW fees, as opposed to their portfolio and design ideology. That’s a mistake.

      Just to be clear, I suspect there as many buildings built or being built in SF now that are both liked and disliked. You cannot force everyone to “like” everything. To you this building (in discussion) is cheap and ugly. To me, it simply reflects a particular and yes, repeatable, design expression; one that most likely reflects the construction budget (in part) and a particular developers choice.

      • Posted by Comment

        They already have a review in planning, Urban Design Advisory Team (UDAT).

    • Posted by morio

      Sure, let’s add another 100K of cost per unit. That will make housing really affordable for middle class families.

      On a less snarky note I don’t see an issue with the design here. It’s built to contemporary code using affordable, available materials and tries to reduce labor cost by keeping it simple. The times where we had access to cheap local redwood and labor are long over.

      • Posted by Michael

        “Sure, let’s add another 100K of cost per unit. That will make housing really affordable for middle class families.”

        That sounds like developer FUD. Spending more on design WOULD increase the developer’s cost and reduce profit margins but it WOULD NOT cause a unit to sell for any more than the going market rate.

  9. Posted by More buildings, please

    Another building meant for singles or roommates. Where are the 3+ bedroom units? We need more people who stay in the city for the long term, and there is no where for them to live. This will be another building for young single folks to rotate in and out.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      13 2 bdrooms, compared to 4 1bdr is not bad. most of the new buildings have more 1bdr than 2bdr

  10. Posted by Neighbor

    Sad to seem more PDR and local small business being replaced for greed. The current building may not be beautiful, but it’s beautifully utilitarian. The current business is a good neighbor – imagine a motorcycle shop getting this complement! Potrero was built on PDR, now another one is to be replaced by another zombie hive.

    • Posted by Brian M

      While I am skeptical about the triumphalism of the technorati, this kind of silly hyperbole is not very useful, or becoming, either. “Zombie Hive”. That’s the kind of NIMBY langugage suburbanites use to disparage anything not a single family house on a 1/4 acre lot!

      • Posted by phil

        Ha ha, zombie hives. I like it!

        • Posted by Brian M

          I would look for the next Tea Party meeting, then. They are always holding meetings to discuss the perils of Agenda 21 and the Evil Stack N’ Pack housing that threatens their precious suburban Mayberries, errrr, crappy stucco industrial boxes.

    • Posted by Orland

      Now, if only the nearby proposal for Mariposa to 18th gets approved and built.

    • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

      No, actually Potrero was originally developed as residential, not PDR. Things change. Now if you’ll please flip back to page 3 of your NIMBY manual, you’ll find the talking point “out of scale with the character of the neighborhood”. Try that one.

      • Posted by phil

        No, actually that area of Potrero was originally developed as industrial, not residential.

        • Posted by Orland

          “That area of Potrero” is not actually Potrero as that term is commonly understood which the residents in the neighborhood on the eponymous Hill always so conveniently ignore when arguing that these multi-unit proposals are not in keeping with the character of “their” (SFH) neighborhood.

          As for the actual area in question (and I do agree it deserves a name of its own when built out), the ordered transition from a largely PDR region to a mixed-use one is what the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan (for which there was a lengthy moratorium on housing construction) was all about.

          This proposal complies with the Plan. BUILD IT!

          • Posted by phil

            Yes. Technically it complies with the Showplace Square/Potrero Plan. However it does not preserve PDR which was a key objective of that Plan. Historically the area was industrial and still retains PDR uses. Note that it is across the street from Anchor Brewing, which is zoned industrial. As a neighbor I can assure you that the area is in fact “Potrero”. There was a very funny attempt on this site to label the area LoPo.

          • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

            Except for this building and the church next door, everything on this block is residential and none of it recently built. Anchor is on an entirely non-residential block.

          • Posted by phil

            No! It’s almost all industrial. Since you obviously don’t know the area, use your computer to pull up google street view and you’ll see that the entire eastern side of the street is industrial. The only residential property is up on the corner of DeHaro and 18th.

  11. Posted by ph_goat

    Not attached to that existing building, though I’ve patronized various businesses there over the years. But the proposed replacement is just a generic box that adds nothing of quality to our neighborhood. Blame the builder, the govt., the process – whatever – but the result is a blandtastic C- at best.

    • Posted by wonkster

      This sums up my thoughts on a lot of these projects. As Comment says, I love change, just not this architecture. When they changed to victorians in San Francisco (brownstones in Brooklyn, etc.) that change was good. I think we should expect a bit more than just bigger, faster, cheaper architecture that reminds one of taller versions of SoCal’s “dingbats” (maybe those are considered “classic” now…).

      • Posted by Jake

        abloom of formula architexture, like the later dotcom lofts. efficiently boring. what they lack in imagineering qualities, they make up for in profit quantities. oh well, just close your eyes and think of income.

      • Posted by Orland

        Given the “quality of this rendering, I don’t see how you could have as strong an option one way or the other.

        • Posted by ph_goat

          We’ve seen this sort of “quality” rendering before, with the results sprinkled all over town. It’s become the default look for new construction. I suspect there is a sketchup file that just keeps getting copied, modified and pasted. As others have stated on various threads – it’s what gets approved with the least resistance.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            planning wont approve anything with style

  12. Posted by jwb

    This is more amusing juxtaposed with the other post about “maker space”. This existing building an actual, organically grown, free-range maker space. Every day there are people in there wrenching on their own motorcycles.

    • Posted by frog

      Yeah, but it’s for the wrong kind of makers.

  13. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Umm, it’s a wireframe.

    • Posted by Futurist

      It’s not a wireframe. A wireframe is a 3 D (dimensional) digitally created image of an object, showing all sides by looking thru the “wireframe”.

      This is a 2 D digital rendering of the façade.

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