301 25th Avenue Site

Plans to raze the Union 76 Station on the southwest corner of California and 25th Avenue are working their way through Planning, adding to the growing list of endangered gas stations in San Francisco.

And as proposed, three four-story buildings, each with three three-bedroom units, will rise up to 40-feet in height across the Richmond District site.

301 25th Avenue Rendering

Designed by Ian Birchall and Associates, the plans for the 301 25th Avenue development include one parking space per unit and 1,400 square feet of retail space on the corner.

And as noted by a plugged-in tipster, the environmental review for the development is underway with approvals for the project pending its completion.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Marcia Tampoon

    Noooooo!

    What’s up with the disappearing gas stations? Is it just that we get better gas mileage than we used to and don’t need as many? I like this one.

    • Posted by Alai

      Well, here’s my theory:

      Land is expensive here, and stations need quite a lot.
      Gas is low-margin.
      If they try to increase the margin, they have to compete with other stations outside the city, and people who need gas have cars to drive there.
      If they try to make money on other things like snacks, they have to compete with other shops that don’t require the real estate.

      So it’s just not a very good return on investment.

      • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

        Alai’s theory is pretty obvious.

        It does not look like there is any significant decrease in demand of gas. Same thing also happens to parking lots. It is not that there is less demand for parking. But residentials are so much more profitable it does not make sense use the land as parking lot.

        • Posted by Mark

          Watching the lots disappear downtown it occurred to me that parking is primarily a real estate play. Acquire site, pay for the property via a low capital operation then profit!

    • Posted by Hunter

      I also think gas stations tend to be congregated along certain arteries, and since there’s generally no wait for a pump, two to three stations within a few blocks isn’t good for business. That said, this one does seem to serve an area without many close by – I would think those in the inner richmond area would be more competitive, and have one or two shut down.

    • Posted by NOPA

      Higher residential prices put pressure on other spaces to be converted/redeveloped. A similar trend in London (which also has strict zoning laws stifling the supply of new housing stalk) is occurring with pubs being converted into housing units.

    • Posted by Mark

      Why do we care that gas stations are disappearing, again? There’s still a ton in the neighborhood.

  2. Posted by soccermom

    The one-story Bikram Yoga place across the street is another prime candidate for reconfiguration.

    • Posted by Mark

      Yeah. That used to be a liquor store.

    • Posted by Serge

      Very much so. I’m surprised the Yoga place is still there (then again, the demographics support it). That location has been notoriously tough and when I lived in the area, I saw constant turn-over at that space.

  3. Posted by eddy

    Busy intersection but a great area. They should go a little higher and the top units might get a peek at the bridge. More density out that way will pull more businesses into the area and pull the gentrification of the Outter Richmond farther along.

    • Posted by soccermom

      Rochambeau playground. The Kittredge School is a lesser-known gem for K-8. Burke’s. Steps to Baker Beach. I could go on.

    • Posted by Mark

      Agree it’s a great area. Dummies always be dumping on the Richmond, but they really don’t know.

  4. Posted by EM

    We need stop the trend of eliminating gas stations in the City

    • Posted by ElitistPig

      It’s their land, they can do what they want with it within the boundaries of the law.

    • Posted by anon

      No one’s eliminating anything. Owners are simply exiting an unprofitable business and selling the land to be used for a higher use.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Maybe you should start a petition to have a moratorium on gas station conversions. Or better yet, two birds with one stone – move all the gas stations to the Mission, since they don’t want more housing; that should pretty much guaranty an end to Mission District gentrification.

      • Posted by Mark

        Save San Francisco’s historic gas stations!

  5. Posted by EM

    We have zoning for almost anything, at this rate we will be out of gas stations in the City. Should the City not have an interest in answering the needs of 87% of households that have at least one vehicle???. One may entertain a conspiracy theory that the City has an interest in getting rid of all cars within city limits.

    • Posted by anon

      You’re suggesting zoning that would require gas stations to stay in business? Sounds about as draconian as rent control.

    • Posted by jsimms3

      No, about 65-70% of households in the city own at least one car. And that number is shrinking.

      The real problem isn’t eliminating gas stations – in all my time in the city I don’t think I’ve seen one major line or backup out of a station, ever…which can be a commonplace occurrence in sprawled out cities like Atlanta or Dallas.

      The problem is increasing density without significantly improving transit. Clean, safe, modern, and *effective* public transit is a commodity that everyone can use and appreciate. We don’t have that now.

      • Posted by formerly%whatever

        Then you have not seen the line that forms out of the Arco station on Fell and Divisadero.

        • Posted by R

          Only because they sell cheap gas, not anything to do with lack of options.

    • Posted by Mark

      Relax, there’s like twenty gas stations in the Richmond. No one is going without gas.

  6. Posted by EcceMorons

    Someone should create UberGas – a roving gas tanker that takes online orders for fill ups. Send them your car model, license #, and exact location. UberGas arrives overnight, fills your tank, and debits your bank card.

    Slogan — “We don’t need no stinkin’ gas stations!”

  7. Posted by Hank

    Well in the Marina and Cow Hollow, there are gas station lots sitting empty at Bay and Buchanan, Lombard and Pierce, Union and Van Ness, and Union and Greenwich. Why does it take so long for these spots to be developed?

  8. Posted by roberto

    Gas stations are a waste of land. Selling gasoline can be accomplished with a fraction of the real estate. Look to Europe for examples.

    Perhaps it is time to authorize alternatives; micro-stations with fuel pumps only or the above mentioned roving fuel delivery service.

    • Posted by DontfeartheREpa

      A gas tanker outside my window at 2am because someone decided to park their car there and order overnight gas? No thanks…

  9. Posted by J

    The problem I see with the disappearance is that the economically optimal number of stations may be a number that creates micro-local monopolies and higher prices across the board (putting the profit on par with real estate development). IF we ever end up with too few gas stations (such that an economically rational person would want to develop one), I suspect the development would be blocked thus keeping us from getting back to the “right” number of providers.

    • Posted by Alai

      …so, exactly like what’s happening with housing?

      higher prices across the board — check
      economically rational person would want to develop — check
      development blocked — check

  10. Posted by invented

    Can’t gas and charging stations be installed in massive surface parking lots? Not sure why they need to occupy their own land and building as historically is the case. Why not incorporate into any of the large surface lots for ex: Safeway anywhere, Stonestown or Best Buy in SOMA and on and on. In Europe….

  11. Posted by BTinSF

    Is it not the responsibility of the Planning Department and Commission to ultimately see that San Franciscans have an adequate supply of places to buy gas? IMHO we are reaching the critical minimum of such places and they need to stop approving their removal.

    • Posted by anon

      Last time I checked it’s not illegal to build a new station…so if the market recognizes that there aren’t enough stations, the market will buy some apartments buildings, tear them down, and build gas stations in their place. As it is, not only are gas stations being torn down for apartments, but some are simply going under and not being redeveloped. That suggests that we still have a TREMENDOUS oversupply relative to market demand.

      • Posted by Orland

        No, what it means is that owners are making decisions in their best self -interest and will continue doing so until there isn’t a station left if allowed to do so. The price of gasoline is never going to correlate with the use of SF real estate in any market.

        • Posted by anon

          Seems to have done exactly that in the past.

        • Posted by Alai

          Sure it is. Once there are few stations, and little competition, gas station owners will be able to charge substantial premiums for gas– enough to cover the cost of rent. Lots of people will just buy gas elsewhere, but it’s not practical for everybody (taxis, service vehicles), so they’ll always have some customers.

          You may as well say “the price of vegetables is never going to correlate with the use of SF real estate”. Or lumber. Or anything!

          Gas stations just have it a little harder because their customers obviously have the means to travel elsewhere.

  12. Posted by Joel

    I get that there are three separate buildings, but why do they need two separate curb cuts?

    • Posted by soccermom

      I think it is because there are two separate garage entrances. If there was a common curb cut it would be really wide. Regardless, it will be a huge improvement for pedestrian safety over the high vehicle flow from the current gas station.

      We’ll not get bonus parking on California given the bus stop either way, and on 25th, maybe an increase of one curb space as I expect planning will want the doors 10′ or narrower.

  13. Posted by JayJay

    Gas will eventually be replaced by electric charging, but in the meanwhile, this will mean much higher price per gallon for consumers as gas stations sites get replaced by housing.

  14. Posted by Mark

    Come to think of it, where do people get gas in NYC? You don’t see many gas stations.

    • Posted by Jake

      There are 50 gas stations operating in SF and 30-40 in Manhattan, though the number is declining in both and for similar reasons. You are never more than a mile and a half away from a gas station in SF and never more than two miles away in Manhattan. From an article last year about gas stations in Manhattan:

      “The number of gas stations around the country has been declining in recent years, and one place that’s been hit particularly hard is Manhattan.

      In 2004, the borough had more than 60 places to fill up, but now there are just 39. Fuel prices and consolidation are driving the nationwide trend, but in Manhattan, it’s all about real estate.

      “It’s kind of like the gas station has a red flag on it that says: ‘Call me. I’m the next site,'” said Adelaide Polsinelli, a broker with the real estate investment firm Eastern Consolidated.

      Thanks to skyrocketing real estate prices, Manhattan gas stations are worth much more than the money the owner can make selling gas. Last year, a Getty near the High Line sold for $23.5 million. A few months later, another station in the borough went for $25 million.

      Developers love gas stations because they’re on corners and along major thoroughfares, and in a town of skyscrapers, their one-story buildings are easy to tear down.

      “You see everything that was once industrial — auto body shops, garages, gas stations — and now they’re all holes in the ground with cranes in them,” Polsinelli said.

      A recent analysis by the Wall Street Journal showed that more than 20 Manhattan gas stations have closed since 2003, almost all of them on the West Side.”

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