400 Divisadero Site 2015

Plans to demolish the Divsadero Touchless Carwash and Shell gas station on the northeast corner of Divsadero and Oak are in the works.

As currently conceived by the development team working with Roy and Patty Shimek, the owners of the property, a four to six-story building with 160 market-rate condos over parking for 78 cars and 8,000 square feet of retail space would be built across the 400-444 Divisadero Street site.

And as noted by a plugged-in tipster (tips at socketsite.com), the proposed project would include razing the residential buildings at 1048-1052 Oak and then moving the historic two-story Victorian at 1060 Oak Street fifty feet to the east in order to provide more room for the development.

1060 Oak Street

The northeast corner of Divisadero and Oak circa 1959:

444 Divisadero circa 1959

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in as plans for the prominent NoPa corner evolve.

UPDATE: Designs And Details For 152-Unit NoPa Development

78 thoughts on “Big Plans For Prominent NoPa Corner And Car Wash Site”
  1. sounds like a good use, although for slefish reasons, sad to see it go. great carwash and they probably employ 40+ people

  2. I’ve been waiting for one of these gas stations to go.

    Have they announced many below market rate units are planned?

    1. hopefully all market rate. the only way to bring precies down for middle class is to build enough housing to fulfill the demand at thehigh end. BMR housing just makes housing more expensive for everyone, except for the few lottery winners.

  3. Those 40+ people are not getting paid much and are likely not legal citizens. There will be much better jobs building these structures and in any retail/restaurant businesses that occupy the ground floor.

      1. Useless to the city, which should be encouraging highest use for all parcels within its boundaries. This is equivalent to opening a new graveyard on Market Street.

        A car was would be fine on the ground floor of a larger and more appropriate 12-15 story building.

          1. A form of it, sure. (living off investment income from stock options cashed out in 2010)

    1. Electric is the future anyway. Hopefully this will just encourage more plugs in more parking spaces. Don’t tell the anti-car people.

    2. I’m happy with whatever the market decides is necessary, and clearly the market is showing that we have a ludicrous number of gas stations remaining in the city compared to the low demand.

    3. There are two gas stations one block away. Probably the highest density of gas stations in the country. Calm down sir.

  4. Excellent to see this property considered for infill, carrying the potential for significant positive change to the neighborhood. This block of Divis is rather bleak and hostile from a pedestrian perspective. Cars are already well-enough served by the two existing gas stations. While the car wash will be gone, it’s impossible to argue that highest and best use would be served by one if nothing were there in the first place.

    Already lots of people are concerned about height and bulk. 6 stories for this location seems quite reasonable to me, but concerns over a rather generic, bland box seem well-founded if comparable developments throughout the city are to be judged.

    Fantastical vote: build a (modernized, taller-with-setbacks) take on the building that occupied the adjacent corner @ Fell/Divis 125 years ago (ref: The Lower Haight of Yesteryear, Part Two).

    1. Second this motion. There are too many bland boxes (the contemporary version of the Richmond District Special).

  5. Hope it is at least 6 stories and a good use of space. It’s a terrific spot for housing units and an extremely walkable (with transit options) area.

  6. Bye Bye gas stations – I agree with the previous comment…Seems llke very gas station is SF is under contract and/or attack…..

    1. Under attack? Many former gas stations have for decades been closing up shop of their own accord, most of which sit abandoned (as opposed to cases like this where an active gas station is being redeveloped into housing). I don’t know what it is, but there seems to be something about the business of operating a gas station that has been unattractive for quite some time. Also, for what it’s worth, the gas station on this site was clearly not their primary business (the fuel was outrageously more expensive than nearby stations and the pumps were rarely busy).

      1. I used a poor choice of words….”Under Attack” – I mean that combining the value of the land, the low margin business of selling gas and the pressures to develop AND SF City attitude towards cars in general makes owning a gas station a P.I.A. …… cheers

    2. I have often thought that the logical place to put all of the gas stations and car repair shops would be under the elevated freeways.

        1. Freeways are owned by the federal or state governments, i.e. they are public land, and can’t be rented out for private business. That’s why you occasionally see parks under freeways, but not commercial use.

          1. There are commercial uses underneath freeways all over the place, not sure what you mean here. Even in SF there are loads of privately run parking lots underneath freeways.

          2. that’s not true. Federal, State and local governments rent out or lease land, government buildings assets etc for everything from ice cream stands near National park entrances to oil & gas leases to gas stations to 99 year leases to build high rises for low income housing. Your comment is 100% wrong.

      1. Just wait, there will be a “neighborhood group” lobbying for that any minute now…

  7. Among all locations in the city, middle Oak/Fell has a legitimate claim to being a good location for gas stations.

    Eventually the next two will be under redevelopment pressure as well, and honest question: other cities, particularly abroad, do “inset” stations, with pumps at street level with housing built above. Is there some reason this type of configuration would be procedurally infeasible in SF?

    1. I can’t speak for others, but I wouldn’t want to live above a gas station. One drunk idiot filling his tank decides to light up a cigarette, and Kablam! There goes your home.

      1. Despite gasoline being one of the most volatile and dangerous materials we commonly use, gas stations are surprisingly unlikely to burst into flames. You can thank well crafted building and safety codes for that.

        If you’re looking for danger, watch out for the two ton machines piloted by amateur drivers that gas stations attract.

  8. I guess if we get rid of the parking (except for city employees of course). Then get rid of the gas stations, the cars will just go away. Sounds like the folks at city hall know what they’re doing (saracasm).

    1. Another communist wanting the city to step in and stop the market from delivering what people clearly want (housing not car washes).

      1. Judging from the number of cars getting washed every time I go there, “people clearly want” that, too.

        1. No, that just means that they’re using what’s there. If they’re not willing to pay enough to keep the place open as a car wash instead of being redeveloped for something else, they don’t really want it. Watch the wallets for what people actually want.

  9. Is this really NoPa? That would be like calling the Ferry Building SoMa.

    In any event, that’s a popular car wash (less so a gas station), but it not surprising there is more money in condos in that area. It’s a good spot to live.

    1. Depends on where the beginning of The Panhandle is. If you go with Oak, then sure, it’s just to the north of it. But a lot of people refer to the Divisadero Corridor as NOPA.

      1. I’ve never heard that. The Panhandle begins at Baker (a N-S street), and so NoPa should be the area west of Baker and north of Fell.

          1. Agree w/ @moto – if SFAR is the basis for the definition, then I feel even better in rejecting it. It’s like that stupid “Tendernob” name – which I refuse to use.

      2. Putting aside the fact that the Panhandle does not extend east to Divisadero (which is its own issue), I think there is still a problem with calling anything south of Fell “NoPa.” North of the Panhandle does not mean north of any point within the Panhandle — it means north of the Panhandle itself. Therefore, one must be north of Fell to be in NoPa. This gas station sits south of Fell by one block; therefore, it cannot be in NoPa.

  10. Good plan. There are two other gas stations just a block away. And the gas was so ridiculously overpriced here that nobody actually bought gas there unless you just happened to fill up at the same time as a car wash for an indulgent convenience.

    My wife brings our car there to be washed once in a while, but that, too, is overpriced, so I won’t miss it. My only complaint is that this is not enough parking. One spot for every two units means we’ll have about 50 more cars circling the streets looking for parking. I never park around here, so this won’t affect me directly, but it makes no sense to pretend people don’t have cars.

    1. this is the last neighborhood I would move to if I had a car and no dedicated parking. It’s always been hard to park there, even during the recession(s). I’m sure people moving into this building will feel the same way.

    2. Or people who must have a car will not buy here? Who are these supposed idiots who buy a place and then figure out afterward that parking is terrible? Certainly no one I’ve met. My friends/acquaintances that have bought in SF fall into two categories:

      1. Those who have cars and bought a place with parking.
      2. Those who don’t have cars and bought a place without parking.

      I’m struggling to find that third group (to be fair, there are renters in that third group, but typically that’s because they don’t do enough homework first, and then later move to a unit or neighborhood that more closely fits their needs).

      1. that third group definitely exists. Tons and tons of renters have cars with no parking, and the same is true for owners. Many couples have 2 cars and only 1 spot. People who commute outside of SF need cars.

        1. I’m not sure what your third sentence has to do with anything. People who commute outside SF would clearly be in my #1 group.

        2. My neighbors fit this. Both in tech, super smart and with MBAs. Two cars, and no garage in the house they bought about two years ago. He commutes outside of SF to the peninsula in one of the cars. She has a second car that she wants to be able to tote their baby. I suspect there are tens of thousands of people in a similar situation with one or more cars and no parking. A lot of SF homes have no parking.

          They have plans to add a garage, but that is very expensive and requires jumping through a lot of hoops. People want and need cars, and new construction should include enough parking for the expected number of cars the relatively well-heeled (if they can afford to buy in SF) residents will have, not the pipe dreams of the no-car crowd. Otherwise, the builders are pocketing all the profits while foisting added costs onto the public.

          1. These people sound like idiots, and will likely leave after a few years. No one in their right mind would waste hours per week parking cars. The city should encourage what is best for the 100+year interests of the city, not fleeting interests of the day. Adding more parking than the roads can handle is terrible policy.

            We have plenty of room for more people, but our road capacity is nearly maxed in many places.

          2. (I’d be fine with the market determining the amount of parking as long as all minimums/maximums are removed, and preferably all max heights as well – we need substantially more resident density so that we can work on good transit solutions, and that’s clearly what the market is looking to provide, rather than more garages, which make very little money and are thus in much less demand)

          3. lol, wasting multiple hours a week circling for a parking is a special kind of smart.

          4. That’s funny. If you met these two, you’d quickly see that they are as far from an “idiot” as one can be. Fact of the matter is that a ton of homes have no parking, and people buy them even though they own one or more cars, because they need their car(s) and often the home they can afford has no garage. Fortunately, on-street parking is actually not that hard in our neighborhood, but it is getting worse with all the new construction (which, if course, does not have sufficient parking for the car-owning “idiot” buyers).

          5. no, they don’t sound like “idiots.” they sound like normal people. why are you so overly judgmental with harsh words on the internet? learn how to write better.

          6. People who aren’t able to accurately value their time are lacking some pretty basic smarts, imo.

          7. People, including extremely smart people, make trade-offs between time and other aspects of living all the time. They buy a home with no garage because it is less expensive or because they really like the place, despite the time that will be required to locate parking. They live far from work because they like the home better or because it is cheaper, despite the time that will be required to commute. They decline to pay for a private cook or maid for a variety of reasons, despite the time it will take to cook and clean on one’s own. They fly commercial instead of on a private jet for cost reasons, despite the added travel time. Everyone is an “idiot” by such a ridiculous standard.

            Time is very important to me. We paid more for a home that is an easy commute and with parking. But I fly commercial. My wife and I cook and clean (with somewhat more help from the kids as they get older). I maintain our yard and garden instead of hiring someone. I could go on and on about the “idiot” lifestyle choices I make, and that all of us make, that take up some time.

            Bottom line is that there are more homes in SF without parking than there are households with no cars. Very silly imho to add to the problems by building even more of them.

          8. Bottom line is congestion is a major problem in a dense city such as ours. Seems very silly imo to suggest that we make that problem worse because some people can’t figure out how to properly value their time.

        3. Group 4: my downstairs neighbors, a son and his parents in a rent-controlled 2BR with one space who have been there since the 70s. They have four cars.

          1. in my first apt, there were 5 of us in 1 unit with 5 cars. Its still common for each roommate to have a car. SF nowhere near low car phase. No public transport to support it, unless you live very close to your job

          2. Those are not buyers. Buyers have VERY different behavior than renters, because they typically value their time much less.

          3. You should know from all of Jake’s data that SF has one of the lowest auto ownership rates in the US, which is even stranger considering our higher incomes.

    3. Blame the city planing people for lack of parking as they routinely force developers to reduce planned parking spaces. Part of the city’s “Transit first” policy which functions more like “We hate all private autos and love double parked trucks.”

      1. Um, what? The city has been continuously forcing developers to build more parking than they’d like for 60+ years. There have been dozens of high profile cases this year in SOMA where developers have requested variances to build less parking, only to be squashed by the heavy hand of government forcing them to overbuild.

  11. They’re going to put a Trader Joe’s there. (Guess, no proof. Please don’t ask for proof. I have none. Seriously.)

    1. It’s a terrible car wash. It used to be okay, but as of the last year it has gone downhill. The people who dry the car has been doing a shoddy job and barely putting an effort into it. I routinely see them drop drying rags on the ground and then pick them up and continue to dry. Once you drop microfiber rag on the ground, it picks up dirt that scratches the clearcoat and gives you swirl marks. I spent hours using a rotary polisher on my car to get rid of swirl marks. Then after just two trips to this car wash, it’s swirl mark city again. Glad to see it go away.

    2. If you’re ever in South Bay, Lozano’s in Mountain View does a great job. I’ve lived in SF 8 years now and *still* only wash my car when I drive down there. The places in the city — this one included — seemed lame and overpriced in comparison.

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