850 Bryant Street Site

Another McDonald’s is slated to be razed in San Francisco, this time to make room for a new County Jail.

As part of a larger program to relocate City agencies from San Francisco’s seismically deficient Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street, the proposed Detention Facility Project involves the construction of a 110 foot-tall building (95 feet to the roof plus a 15-foot mechanical penthouse) directly east of the HOJ.

850 Bryant Street Massing

The new Detention Facility would replace the jail facilities on the 6th and 7th floors of the HOJ building and provide capacity for up to 640 maximum security beds, 30 percent fewer than the facilities it replaces, along with administrative offices and mental and medical health services for the inmates.

In order to make room for the new building, the city will acquire all the parcels and existing buildings on the block, including the Western SoMa McDonald’s at 820 Bryant Street and the 14-unit single room occupancy (SRO) building at 480-484 Sixth Street.

While the McDonald’s will be razed, the SRO building would remain in place (as would the corner three-story building) but its occupants might be displaced and the building converted to commercial/office use.

850 Bryant Street Expansion Design

Interestingly enough, “although housing demand at all income levels has outpaced housing production in the City, the residential displacement of 14 SRO housing units would not be substantial enough to necessitate the construction of replacement housing,” according to the City.

And if needed, a relocation plan for the tenants of the SRO – which would include moving expenses and social services, but not necessarily any new housing – will be prepared by the Real Estate Division of the San Francisco General Services Agency.

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Serge

    Dollars to donuts the new jail will look just as good as any of the apartment/condo buildings being churned out today.

    • Posted by Doug B

      They should get Saitowitz on board… another version of 8 Octavia would make a perfect jail!

      • Posted by Serge

        My thoughts exactly! The shorter side of 8 Octavia looks identical to the Oakland Jail. Those vertical slit windows must be nice to look through.

  2. Posted by Joel

    So the city is ok with converting several SRO units to serve it’s own needs, but heaven forbid you try to merge dwelling units in your own home…

  3. Posted by BobN

    Uh… so the jail we just built a little while back isn’t big enough?

  4. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    Wasn’t the jail already rebuilt after the Loma Prieta quake (at great expense)

  5. Posted by

    Why is this structure shorter than the adjacent building it is intended to replace? If anything there is an argument to be made that height restrictions should not apply to a jail house. The impact on surrounding infrastructure and services from doubling its height is negligible.

  6. Posted by moto mayhem

    Lets make it taller, so we can make room and start enforcing open container, open drug use, and public intoxication laws

  7. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    I guess they could have a decorative plaque on the new jail, stating something like, “And guess what? You don’t deserve a break today!” (aka, past McDonalds ad tune) And no bay windows?

  8. Posted by seriously

    How is 850 Bryant not seismically stable? It looks like it was built in the ’80s.

    Also why does the new facility have fewer beds? Can’t they just add another story to accommodate more?

    • Posted by Turin

      They must be referring to the older wing (the rectangular part), which has been there since at least the 60’s if not longer. The curvy glass part is much newer and hopefully seismically safe. I didn’t realize there were cells in the older wing though.

      • Posted by Serge

        Same. I always thought the curved section that fronts 7th St was purely for the cells.

    • Posted by SOMAEngineer

      850 Bryant was constructed in 1958. It is on fill and is not seismically safe.

      The curvy addition was added in 1994. The smoked windows are supposed to look like fog, but I don’t think the look works too well. It houses jail #1 (holding cells) and jail #2 (females and medical/psych).

      The replacement facility has fewer beds, but it is intended to replace jails 3, 4, and 6. Jails 3 and 6 are currently closed, so the new facility will be a decrease on paper, but will result in an increase in actual, useable beds.

  9. Posted by sassyboyfrisco

    eXcellent…SF city is kinda sorta doin ELLIS ACT by taking over and kicking peeps out.
    Next stop, Mission street / 16th, please!

  10. Posted by BrisketLover

    Will there be enough bike parking for me and my family to roll up and visit the inmates.

  11. Posted by Former Native

    Will 850 Bryant be razed and replaced? Will the newer, and disgustingly ugly jail facilty facing the 80 freeway be torn down? It seems to me that the entire block should be redone, modernized and made fully capable for the present and future needs of San Francisco.

    • Posted by SOMAEngineer

      Yes, 850 Bryant is scheduled to be demolished. The newer jail by I-80 will remain as Jail #1 (holding cells) and Jail #2 (females and special needs). Various departments have to be relocated from 850 Bryant:
      * Police HQ – relocating to Public Safety Building 2015
      * Office of the Chief Medical Examiner 2017
      * Traffic Company and Forensic Services 2019
      * Sheriff’s County Jails #3, #4 2020
      * Adult Probation, District Attorney’s Office, and Police Investigations 2022
      * Demolition of west wing of Hall of Justice 2023

      • Posted by Orland

        What about the criminal courtrooms which comprise a large portion of 850?

        • Posted by SOMAEngineer

          The courtrooms are under the jurisdiction of the State of California. After the west wing of 850 Bryant is demolished by the City, the State will construct a new courthouse on the previous location of the west wing.

          • Posted by fogfanatic

            @SOMAEngineer Thank you for the detailed info on this. I’m a current court employee and was wondering where the courts factored into this. Any idea when the State would even start to break ground on a new courthouse?

  12. Posted by Pablo

    California = Highest imprisonment rate in the World.

    If it was a private developer building an office building – the City would require the housing units be replaced.
    Hopefully some affordable housing group will sue the hypocritical kleptocracy bureaucracy (City Govt.) to replace the housing units.

    The City needs more housing – it does not need more jail cells.

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      California does not have the highest imprisonment rate in the world. It is only about half that of Louisiana, for example. It is even a little below the U.S. average. And the prison rate of SF residents is only about 1/4 that of the statewide average – about the same as England or Spain.

      And the jail population rate in SF is well below the state average.

      I’m not a big fan of more jails or prisons. But SF does not have an incarceration rate that is out of line. This is one of the things that SF actually does quite well.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      jail cells are housing

  13. Posted by anon

    Not Mickey D’s !!!

  14. Posted by Sage Phoenix

    Must be anticipating more arrests when the Giants win again

  15. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    potential lawsuit? One could say the city’s project “desecrates the culinary bastion of the socioeconomically challenged, flattens their homes, and coercively threatens incarceration next door,”

  16. Posted by sflawyer

    While I don’t try to eat at McDonald’s, the destruction will mean that you will have almost no where to eat when you are stuck down there all day.

    • Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

      i think just south of there, on 8th or 9th street or so, there are a few eateries, between, say, 850 bryant, and the design center over at 16th and henry adams; i worked down there years ago.

  17. Posted by Natalie Barnett

    The units in that residential building are not SROs, they are studio and 1 bedroom apartments.

  18. Posted by John Straub

    More money for new jails. Just doesn’t sit well with me.

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