200 Potrero Avenue Site

Built in 1928, the two-story building at 200 Potrero Avenue which now abuts the Potrero Center was originally a sales and administrative office for the International Harvester Company.

200 Potrero Avenue circa 1951

The building is now occupied by Golden Bear Sportswear, which was founded in San Francisco in the 1920’s to make jackets for local longshoreman and has produced Varsity jackets, Bomber jackets, and Motorcycle jackets in the city since the 1950’s.

Golden Bear currently employs around 30 people, with 95 percent of the 25,000 jackets it produces each year made in San Francisco, which had included all the varsity jackets for David Letterman’s staff before he retired earlier this year.

But as proposed, the 200 Potrero Avenue building will be gutted and converted into a 30,000-square-foot Club Fitness gym, complete with a pool, spa and multiple areas for weights, cardio and classes.

200 Potrero Avenue Plan

In terms of parking, “most customers and employees are expected to access the site on foot, by bicycle or by public transportation,” according to the application. And to the extent that parking is needed, “it will be accommodated by parking already existing at the Potrero Center – no new parking will be added.”

The proposed project would not alter the historic elements of the building façade, which would be restored, but it would result in the permanent loss of 28,000 square feet of space currently devoted to production, distribution, and repair (PDR) uses.

While gyms in general are an allowed use for the site with a Conditional Use Authorization, if approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission, the property falls within an area covered by the Mission Area Plan which is specifically meant to encourage and retain PDR space in the city.

And yes, the existing 24 Hour Fitness on the other side of the Potrero Center would remain.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by ProgressNotProgressives

    Because the 24 Hour Fitness isn’t Gym-ey enough for the area?

  2. Posted by curmudgeon

    Very close by are ALSO Fitness SF (nee Golds) and World.

  3. Posted by Torrey

    not to mention Fitness SF right on the other side of the central freeway/division street. That’s A LOT of gyms.

  4. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    The lights of the long gone Seals Stadium (current site of Safeway) can be seen in the background of the historic photo.

  5. Posted by Sierrajeff

    … meanwhile not a single decent gym in the entire Richmond. #marketfailure

    • Posted by Mark

      Or Parkside.

    • Posted by johny

      That is because the Richmond has NOT gentrified and likely never will. Its for the most part, families and elderly folks, who are more likely to go for a walk to GGP than be in a gym environment.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        you obviously haven’t been in the inner richmond lately. Many singles, couples and young families.

        • Posted by PPC

          I agree. Since we bought our house on Lake about 3 years ago, the entire area, west of California, up to Presidio Heights are families. The Mountain Lake Park playground is being redone and the entire park, and lake, is maintained very well. I expect even more young families to move in the area.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            california runs east and west

          • Posted by PPC

            North of California

    • Posted by Alai

      Why would you pay for a gym when you have the Presidio and GGP next door?

      • Posted by Brian M

        Some of us LIKE lifting weights. And no, doing push ups and pull-ups in the park is not the same.

      • Posted by sf

        All those frisco bottoms need to get their squats in!

    • Posted by mdg399

      So open a gym in your ‘Hood. Sounds like a lovely business opp’ty 🙂

  6. Posted by redseca2

    Huge Deja Vu.

    At some point in the 1980’s I prepared interior design drawings for this Golden Bear facility. I am not even sure which architecture firm I was with then. I remember I salvaged the butcher block counter top being demo’d from the employee kitchen and it was a big upgrade for my rental apartment kitchen at the time.

  7. Posted by Hunter

    Why would planning let a gym replace PDR in an area where that use is specifically encouraged?

  8. Posted by Marten

    What is happening with Golden Bear?

    • Posted by Orland

      I’m assuming its leasehold is expiring and the gym made an offer the “owners” of the property couldn’t refuse thus leading to its ouster. How nice. I say deny the conditional use!

      • Posted by Dr. House

        Why is “owners” in quotes?

        • Posted by Orland

          Because “ownership” as it seems understood here is a phantom notion.

          • Posted by Elitist Pig

            Right, it’s really a shell corporation for ISIS trying to undermine the economic stability of San Francisco. That or the actual owner (no quotes) found a tenant willing to pay more.

  9. Posted by Xander Harrison-Ford

    ….”In terms of parking, “most customers and employees are expected to access the site on foot, by bicycle or by public transportation,”

    Oh, you mean like the 9 bus where a passenger was just beaten to death?
    Thanks for the tip!

    • Posted by Brian M

      Because there are never any problems with people in private cars, like mangled bodies from car crashes?

      Or carjackings. carjackings never occur in the United States or the Bay Area.

  10. Posted by Dan

    Secure bike parking would be great. If you bike to the gym, you’ve already started your cardio workout.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      The plans include secure parking for a total of six bikes (and racks for twelve others along the sidewalk out front).

      • Posted by curmudgeon

        Well that is very unfortunate. Fitness SF had to develop a secure bike parking inside because bikes were getting stolen off the racks by folks in the homeless encampment/chop shops under the freeways. A LOT of folks ride bikes to the gym, and there needs to be some serious accommodation. If they are suggesting that people can park cars in Potrero Center than there also needs to be some bike parking there. Can you walk through the Potrero Center parking lot to this building? I’m not clear.

      • Posted by Dan

        If they are expecting people to bike to the gym, they need more secure parking spaces than 6.

  11. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    We need a fitness center in the Excelsior….
    Why not relocate there…

    Instead put a jobs related project, that will incentivize manufacturing in the area locally.

  12. Posted by unlivable city

    Its right across the street from one of the most notorious street population-serving places in the city. Notorious because they take no responsibility for their impact on the neighborhood (making it a major 24/7/365 congregation place for some very rough characters). This could get interesting…

    • Posted by Brian M

      Ah…all innocent victims of tragedy, of course.

  13. Posted by neighborly

    i heard equinox was looking for space in this neighborhood. could this be them?

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