1245 South Van Ness Site

A formal proposal has yet to be made, but the Fortress Property Group has met with San Francisco’s Planning Department to explore the possibility of redeveloping the long-shuttered DeLano’s Market site at 1245 South Van Ness in the Mission with over a hundred units of housing.

Shuttered since 2010, Fresh & Easy was slated to take over the 21,450-square-foot grocery store back in 2012, but financial troubles have effectively killed those plans.  And while rumors of various other players interested in the store continue to swirl, we’d be surprised if anything other than a complete redevelopment of the parcel, a parcel which is zoned for development up to 50-feet in height, occurred.

As envisioned by Fortress, the grocery store would be reduced to 7,000 square feet in size (which would be too small for a traditional player and about a third smaller than the Gus’s Market in the works at Harrison and 17thand the remainder of the site would be redeveloped with around 125 condos.

Of course, the 1245 South Van Ness parcel sits squarely within the boundaries of Calle 24, San Francisco’s Latino Cultural District.  And if a housing “moratorium” for the district should happen to be adopted, all bets are off.

74 thoughts on “Shuttered Mission District Grocery Store Site Could Sprout Housing”
  1. I expect 1/3 on-site BMRs as a reasonable concession to get the neighborhood stakeholders on board. That said, I don’t think certain factions will be happy unless it’s 100% affordable. Ideological lines in the sand are a tough starting spot for productive dialogue.

  2. If these are high-end condos as others currently being built in the Mission, I would think high HOA fees would be a burden for BMR buyers.

  3. I live within a block of this site. Right now, this is skid row.

    This stretch of Van Ness and Shotwell has become an alcoholic’s paradise. Every day, I see someone urinating, or worse, on this stretch of street. There are at least 2 men asleep on the sidewalk at any given time of day, and women passers-by get cat-called on this block all the time. There was a bicycle chop-shop here for a for days last week.

    I don’t care if the development is 100% BMR. I don’t care if you have to be a left-handed bisexual Vietnam war veteran to live here. I just want ANYTHING to get built on this site. A development wouldn’t displace a single resident or business, and the only people who could be against it are ideologues who don’t care about their own constituents.

    1. “ideologues who don’t care about their own constituents” . . . . so you are familiar with Mr. Campos.

    2. Plan to be sorely disappointed. I have a strong feeling that sup Campos will get the new construction moratorium either on the ballot or straight up passed through the [Board of Supervisors]. And even if not, with all the reviews, protests, etc. this project would generate EVEN WITH 30 % affordable housing, which is much more than legally required, you’re talking a minimum of 3-4 years before the skanks are gone. So don’t hold your breath (figuratively speaking, at least.)

  4. Trader Joe’s with housing on top. That will get neighborhood support– not from Calle 24, but from neighbors.

    1. I’m with Dan! Would be SO much more excited by that proposal. Trader Joes would do SO well here.

  5. Why in the world would they want to shrink the retail from 21000 to 7000? Especially on one of the few lots large enough that the first floor could be a full-size grocery store. Please don’t tell me the goal is ground-level parking.

  6. There’s a parking lot there as well as the store There is room to have underground parking for residents, ground floor parking and room for a TJs, and condos starting on the second floor.

  7. I’m so over privileged people coming into this neighborhood and displacing the latino community. Latino market such as Mi Pueblo should be approved here, with housing for BMR units only.

      1. Just because an organization practicing “ideologue”-like behavior gets some traction doesn’t make them privileged. Christ, when a group trying to preserve class diversity in what could become a class monoculture tries to protect, they’re called idealogues. It’s such a cynical – not realistic – way to perceive their efforts.

        1. FACT: The Mission is more culturally and socioeconomically diverse than it was 5 years ago. This diversity just happens to run counter the goals of Calle 24 and Campos.

          IMO those organizations are doing the opposite of what you’re saying, and are actually working hard to preserve *monoculture*.

      1. should we have a city mandate that says Latino groceries must be accessible to all. What the heck is Latino groceries anyway? Can we also mandate african american, asian, middle eastern, indian, russian grocery stores as well

  8. I definitely do not believe gentrification is necessarily a bad thing, but I also do sympathize with the concerns of Calle 24so long as not exclusionary. I also don’t think many would want to “break up” Chinatown or Japantown, or, for that matter, see the “Italian-flavor” of North Beach diluted.

    I strongly disagree with Campos’ moratorium proposal. I don’t think that building housing which simply adds to the housing stock (think 16th & Mission) usually constitutes displacement. However, I think market rate housing of this magnitude in this particular location would likely spur such forces to an unacceptable extent.

    I do agree the current situation is also unacceptable. I think it should simply be returned to an active grocery store. With sarcasm noted, I think a Mi Pueblo would be an especially good addition here.

    1. It’s so odd that you quote Japantown and North Beach. Neither of them have an appreciable number of Japanese or Italian residents. What they have is a continuing retail “theme” that appeals to city residents, tourists, and (more Japantown than North Beach) a regional diaspora of Japanese and Italian Americans. It is likely that even with on-going gentrification, the Mission District will maintain exactly this kind of “Mexican-flavor” for many many years, with Mexican restaurants, bakeries, and markets serving a diverse clientele of local residents and folks coming back to the “old neighborhood”. This is the nature of neighborhood dynamics (the exact same thing is happening to the Castro now, for instance). Whether the housing developed here is market rate, or all BMR, I don’t think the fundamental nature of the Mission district is going to be altered. The bus has already left the station.

      Calle 24 would better serve the entire community by focusing on strengthening retail along lower 24th street, which is still remarkably spotty. The “old time” merchants they vow to support need help, not fighting gentrification, but developing markets.

      1. Wouldn’t that be interesting. Like J-town and North Beach you would even have other ethnic groups running the businesses

        1. Good point, Zig, even if meant in jest. That’s miles down the road though…..at this stage in its evolution North Beach is really a parody of an Italian neighborhood, and Japantown is a mall. The retail Mission will remain strongly Latin American for many years I expect.

        1. there are significantly more chinese and caucasian people in japantown than there are japanese

          1. I don’t think of any Chinese in J-town other than running businesses. Just white peoples around J-town and some Japanese seniors. Could be wrong though

        2. I don’t know if there is much more than some Japanese seniors now but am too lazy to look it up. Where is Jake? San Mateo used to have a relatively large Japanese population but I was reading the other day it is now 2%. I also know Japanese have a relatively high rate of interracial marriage and of course there is no longer a high rate of immigration so many are Nisei and Sansei and beyond now.

          My point was just a lot of those businesses in J-town are now run by Koreans

          1. You’re right, Zig, and more or less the only Japanese-Americans in japan town live in senior housing. In the 2010 census, 1.3% of San Franciscans were of Japanese ancestry.

      2. I agree with much of what you say and, as noted, I’m sympathizing with its concerns, I’m against Calle 24’s means if they are exclusionary and Campos’ proposed moratorium. However, I think this proposal in this location could prove a tipping point which could lead to wholesale displacement which should be discouraged.

    2. I like to see more Caucasians in or around Chinatown please. Preferably blonde. And Dutch. Campos could move to Venezuela for all I care.

  9. A Trader Joes with full market rate condos is my vote. A full-size Mi Pueblo would likely put the small corner bodegas out of business. And the margins on grocery stores are so thin and with a dwindling Latino population, the business case for a full-size Latino grocery store don’t measure up. Don’t force something on a community if the economics aren’t there.

    That being said, any timeline for the South Van Ness street calming/beautification project?

  10. Folks, I grew up in the Mission (25th & San Jose), I am Irish-Mexican. My girlfriend lived @ 26th & Folsom, she was Irish. My best friends were German, Chinese, Italian and Latinos, only thing we didn’t do was describe ourselves that way. We were 1)from the Mission. 2)San Franciscans. 3)Californian 4)American 5) Our heritage was discussed only when asked. What Campos and his ilk are doing is trying to codify something that is part of an ever evolving city, the Mission was once Irish, Italian, German, had 4 theaters and two dept. store. Campos needs to play to his base, so looking forward to him and Avalos and Mar to be termed out. District elections have not been good for SF

    1. The distinction with the ethnic groups who populated the Mission 60-80 years ago is that they largely left voluntarily for their own reasons. The gentrification process we are seeing now is forcing people out of the neighborhoods they and their forefathers grew up in. Again, I do believe we should strive for and can accomplish aspects of gentrification without undue displacement maintaining a diverse population. This proposal, it seems to me, would be a commitment in the wrong direction.

      1. Can you please explain to me who this proposal displaces? It’s an abandoned, fenced in lot without a single business or resident on-site.

        1. Wholly recognized. As would be the case with the 16th & Mission proposal which I vigorously support. However, this property is at such a critical junction that it could very well spur significant changes resulting in displacement. OTOH, it could be a vehicle to do just the opposite to solidify the Latin character (both commercial and cultural) of the neighborhood. And not for purpose of tokenism but a true multicultural populace. There are plenty of other properties (some already subject of proposals) upon which to build housing for new residents.

          1. What is your proposal for the former Cala site on South Van Ness? If something is to be built there, who will pay for it? Or should it be left as is, garbage, graffiti, people sleeping there at night?

  11. There is an excellent book, “Neighborhoods in Transition – The Making of San Francisco’s Ethnic and Nonconformist Communities”, by Brian J. Godfrey, University of CA Press, 1988. While seriously out of date today, it is a longitudinal study of the locational whereabouts of the Japanese-Americans, Blacks, Chinese-Americans, Filipino Americans, smaller Asian and Pacific Groups, Hispanics, and Beats, Hippies and Gays. It has the stats, and some very revealing maps.

    A few things for Mr. Campos and Calle 24 to note: Mission Dolores was an Irish church, as were all the other Catholic churches in the Mission. (aside: it is only recently that the pastor of Mission Dolores is Hispanic not Irish). (another aside: the Lutheran church across the street from Mission Dolores still has services in German).

    Before WWII, the ethnic groups populating the Mission were Russian, Slovenian, Irish, Italian, German, Scandinavian. There were no Hispanic neighborhoods in the city, save a very small area in North Beach/along Broadway. It was only by the 1970 and 1980 census that we see a concentration of Hispanics in the Mission and extending out Mission St into the Outer Mission/Campos country. If the maps were redrawn today, we would see that Campos’ District is heavily Asian, and he is an historic relic.

    The point is that cities are living organisms that grow and develop and change. Immigrants come into the central city where they can rent cheap apartments and socialize with their peers. And Hispanics, or Latinos if you prefer, are daily making the same choices that others have made – moving to the suburbs where they find larger houses, parking, good schools, good parks. Just like my white working class parents did in the 1940s. Then their next-generation, assimilated, educated offspring move back into the central city, just like me. And when I can no longer afford to live where I do, I will move and someone more economically successful will replace me. Get over it.

    1. How do you so conveniently avoid the fact that Mission Dolores (and San Francisco) was founded by Mexican Spaniards in 1776?

    2. Your final paragraph is riddled with misstatements if not outright lies about the current Latin populace living in today’s Mission.

    3. I doubt it was only in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Part of my family is Mexican and from the Mission and they came right after WWII and I am pretty sure they were not alone. My mom went to Mission HS in the 1960’s and according to her there were enough Mexican Americans to comment on as a significant presence. She went to High School with Carlos Santana also a Mexican. I would agree that Hispanics in the outer Mission areas is a newer thing. In fact the Irish and Italian all did not move to the suburbs from the Mission after WWII. Many went to the Excelsior.

      Curious if the book specifically mentions Slovenians or is it Slavs in general? Many Dalmatians in SF although maybe they lived more in North Beach

  12. The analysis in Jim’s final paragraph is a good example of being both seriously out-of-date and seriously out-of-touch with reality. I’ve posted links recently on SS to the demographics of the Mission, the recent patterns of residential migration/turnover there, and the organized resistance of the Latino community in the Mission to gentrification dating back to the 1960s. FWIW, the census tracts in the Mission around the proposed cultural zone are majority latino.

    The recurring attempts on SS to liken the 20th century white migration to the suburbs (which in SF was mostly a 1960-1980 phenomenon) with the contemporary economic pressures on low-wage ethnic communities and the outright racism that pushed Japanese out of SF in the 1940s and has at other times been directed at other racial groups is beneath contempt.

    1. After WWII a large number of returning GIs from the Mission bought single family homes in the Excelsior and Sunset and areas like that so the area was to a small extent abandoned anyway. I’ve heard stories that in the late 1960’s early 1970’s one could pay rent and move from flat to flat hardly working in the area because it was so cheap and full of flop houses

      The cultural zone is nonsense but I agree the analogies with the past are strained. The fact is we are losing a blue collar centrally located area with high density diverse housing. This is really a sad development. I don’t see why it has to be framed around an ethnic group

  13. Hispanics and Latinos moving in droves to cities like Richmond and Oakland. Hispanics and Latinos are already the largest ethnic group in the city of Richmond.

    People move, people adapt. In a few years, people will relate Hispanics and Latinos to Richmond rather than Mission.

    1. The Latino or Hispanic population grew by more people from 2000 to 2010 in SF than in Oakland. SF has three times the L/H population of Richmond. The L/H population of SF is larger than the entire population of Richmond.

      FWIW, the Latino population of the city of San Jose dwarfs any of these and is larger than the total of all of Contra Costa County, including Richmond.

      For at least 25 years the L/H population of San Jose has been more than twice the total population of Richmond, including the non-latino majority of the city of Richmond. Even the Gilroy/Morgan Hill area has as many L/H as Richmond.

      I’m not sure what you think just slinging a bunch of numbers around means. And waving your hands around the keyboard to send us platitudes about people moving and adapting is a real waste of time.

      There isn’t only one center for this community now or ever. It has many significant, vibrant centers. For two generations, one of the centers has been in the Mission around where some want to create this cultural zone/district.

      1. Jake said: “The Latino or Hispanic population grew by more people from 2000 to 2010 in SF than in Oakland.”

        So Latino or Hispanic population are moving into SF and displacing the non-Latino or non-Hispanic from SF. Why do they claim the opposite?

        Latino or Hispanic are humans just like other race. Everyone can move to a place one can afford, why is it impossible for Latino or Hispanic to move to a place that can afford?

        1. why did you insert “displaced”?

          the reality is latinos from central america moved to the city more, as opposed to mexicans, and they moved all over the southern parts of town and beyond, not just the mission. couple that with the recent market and the mission’s popularit,y which is resulting in the old wave of mexican immigrants who own property in the mission cashing out. there you have it.

          1. From 2000 to 2010 the latino/Hispanic population of the Mission went down. In every census tract, I believe. Jake can probably confirm, because he seems to have all the data. Citywide, it did go up. It went up because latinos/Hispanics have increased strongly in the Bayview, Excelsior, Outer Mission, Ingleside, etc….the southern swath of neighborhoods. In a sense this IS the suburbs, in the SF sense, where folks can find a single family home rather than an apartment. It’s also been clearly a much better value for the money. Hispanics, along with Asians, contributed to the “displacement” of African Americans in these neighborhoods, by the way. But that doesn’t fit into the racially polarized story of white yuppies vs. poor Hispanics.

          2. agree that african americans have been by far the most displaced, and that rarely gets talked about. our police force is busy sending racing texts and planting evidence, and the politicians don’t seem to care becuase they dont have a large voting block. as ive said on here before, SF is just aas racist as alabama. people just don’t do it publicly like ignorant people do there. here they text and whisper and dont stand up for african americans. city govt seems very complicit in this

          3. I would argue that working middle class whites are just as displaced as working middle class African Americans and the patterns are not much different (both moving on to Solano and far eastern CC and Alameda Countries or Sac) to form families and find housing. The difference being there is various other groups of white people who have been replacing working class whites and there isn’t the same for AAs and there is very poor AAs in public housing without the same among whites in the past.

          4. thats an ignorant comment. you might argue that, but you are clearly wrong. working class whites have been displaced but not because of their race. I dont want to get in a race discussion on SS. i will get too upset. i’ll stick with my truth. there is rampant racism against blacks in SF, in the general public, in the police force and in city policy. no other race has been treated as poorly, and continue to be treated as poorly. thats my last statement on this topic.

    2. The problem with Richmond, Bayview etc is they are full of single family homes. The Mission provides newcomers with more diverse housing options and is centrally located. It is not a Latino issue to me. It is a working class issue

      1. There is no issue at all. People move wherever they can afford. “Newcomers” is not a concern. How can new immigrant “newcomers” legally require US government to provide them with a subsidized housing prior to their arrival? Not to mention whether these new immigrant “newcomers” crossed the border legally.

        1. Who said anything about subsidized? It is not a free market with so much zoning requiring SFHs with excessive parking everywhere. And new comers can be from Kansas or Guadalajara as far as I’m concerned.

          1. By definition, “affordable housing” is subsidized housing. The reason they use the word “affordable housing” instead of “subsidized housing” is exactly to mislead folks. Only the lower income people are eligible for “affordable housing”. Unfortunately most of the folks coming here from Kansas are earning too much money to be eligible for government BMR programs.

            Think of BMR as another form of section 8.

    3. I don’t think anyone can adapt to living in Oakland or Richmond. With Oakland being one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

  14. In the city of Richmond, Hispanic or Latino of any race were 40,921 persons (39.5%).

    32,590 (31.4%) White, 27,542 (26.6%) African American, 662 (0.6%) Native American, 13,984 (13.5%) Asian (4.0% Chinese, 3.5% Filipino, 1.6% Laotian, 1.2% Indian, 0.7% Vietnamese, 0.6% Japanese, 0.4% Korean, 0.2% Pakistani, 0.1% Thai), 537 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 22,573 (21.8%) from other races, and 5,813 (5.6%) from two or more races.

  15. Affordable housing is available to residents that meet certain defined income thresholds – not based upon race or heritage. In fact, that would be illegal. Producing affordable apartments or condos in the Mission District, such as 16th & Mission Streets, does not translate into preserving any particular culture, even it were 100% affordable. The notion that building affordable housing on sites in the Mission will somehow result in the area retaining its Latino culture is a fallacy. Perhaps unfortunate, but it’s a fact.

    1. Are you sure that affordable housing only considers income level and does not give any racial or ethnic preference? Maybe they give preference to Mission residents, which implies a preference to Latinos.

  16. In Oakland, Hispanic or Latino of any race were 99,068 persons (25.4%). African American is only slightly more at 28.0%. Apparently Hispanics or Latinos are definitely able to live in other cities such as Richmond and Oakland.

  17. It’s absolutely not possible to offer housing units, whether market rate, affordable or government sponsored to any particular race. That applies to residents or non-residents of the Mission.

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