CFAH

135 Townsend Street

Built in 1911, the five-story industrial building at 135 Townsend Street, between Second and Third in SoMa, is currently a self-storage facility known as Storage Pro. But as proposed, the entire building will be converted into office space with a little 1,400-square-foot retail space fronting Townsend.

And as proposed, the existing curb cut in front of 135 Townsend would be removed and the building’s garage and parking spaces would be converted into office space as well.

135 Townsend Design

The conversion would take around six months to complete. And while the project has yet to be approved and a timeline established, those currently storing items in the building might want to start making alternative plans.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    Looks like it’d make great dwellings: the window, the location, could even tech below and condo above. I wouldn’t think zoning would be an insurmountable obstacle.

  2. Posted by haighter

    Finally a more productive use for that valuable land. That part of Townsend will be so much improved in the next few years: this storage space and the parking garage across the street being converted into offices and the McDs bulldozed for a hotel. Now I’m just wondering how much longer the self storage at 2nd and Brannan will be there.

    Hopefully DPW will finally repave this block of Townsend too – the pavement is like the surface of the moon

  3. Posted by Oh Dear

    Great reuse….way too much self storage in soma

  4. Posted by Elitist Pig

    That street seems pretty dead for street level retail, but in the coming years it could be a great location.

  5. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    “the building’s existing garage space would be converted into office space”

    Don’t convert the garage! Garage is the favorite location to bootstrap tech startups 🙂

    • Posted by Alai

      That’s true, but I think that only works with private garages. Nowadays the only garages being built are multi-space garages (as is this one presumably), so they don’t have the same potential.

  6. Posted by Hunter

    Self storage is such a common + underutilization of space. Would love to see more go this way, like the huge one on Second Street and the other near Otis / Duboce /101.

  7. Posted by alberto rossi

    I recall reading long ago (the last boom? the one before that?) that self-storage is actually very profitable, as “underutilized” as they may appear, and therefore they weren’t prime targets for development.

    • Posted by Jake

      urban self-storage, the other parking garage. They can be a relatively low effort way to bank a building or lot until the time is right to sell/develop.

  8. Posted by Dave

    Will this have to compete for the Prop M cap? I’m guessing so as it is “new” office space. How much office space will be created?

    I’ve heard that, within the commercial real estate market, storage is one of the safer bets.

    Isn’t there a storage building on Geary? Across from Target. There used to be one there. Maybe its been converted to other uses, but its one of the “tallest” buildings on Geary from that point all the way to the end of Geary.

  9. Posted by alberto rossi

    And then’s there the self-storage next to 280, where it’s been proposed to add housing in new floors above the storage while keeping the storage below.

  10. Posted by SFrentier

    Is this thing considered PDR? Whatever it is, I don’t think it’ll be easy converting to office use. Prop M, anti tech cry babies, etc. I’m sure will make this an arduous conversion. Otherwise, yeah, sweet deal going from boring low use storage to trendy techy space. Easier said than done though.

  11. Posted by Jake

    This shouldn’t have any problem getting approved. South Beach doesn’t have much anti-tech sympathies, quite the contrary.

    This is zoned Mixed Use-Office, SEC. 842.: “The Mixed Use-Office (MUO) runs predominantly along the 2nd Street corridor in the South of Market area. The MUO is designed to encourage office uses and housing, as well as small-scale light industrial and arts activities.”

    This has been the plan for this area since it updated ~1990. This is one of the few remaining buildings near 2nd St that has not been converted to office or housing.

    This counts against the Small Allocation of Prop M because they have applied to build less than 50k sqft of office space. It is on SFPlanning’s list of pending projects and there is plenty of available small allocation for all the pending projects. Shouldn’t be a problem.

    BTW, zoned for 105 ft. Don’t they know there is an office space crisis?

    • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

      And 842 allows the 1400′ of retail to be general retail, formula retail, bar, liquor store or large fast food (whatever that is…).

      Also, oddly 842 does not permit self storage.

      • Posted by Jake

        Yeah, I have a vague memory of some pushback against conversions to self-storage in SoMa back in the mid-90s, before the dotcom boom gave the owners of derelict PDR buildings higher ambitions. Maybe that’s when someone scribbled in an “N” next to the “P” on the usage matrix. But then I also remember turning down a full scholarship to West Point, sometime before my book tours, speaking career, and late onset megalomania.

        Anyway, SF is a highly refined permissive society. We permit the unpermitted, but not the impermissible; though your semantics may vary.

  12. Posted by alberto rossi

    Every time I walk by 2nd and Brannan, I think, “What a beautiful old warehouse! How dare people house their wares in it!”

    • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

      Well, see above. If you were to put your wares in that beautiful old warehouse, you might have a problem. Apparently, for the last 25 years, that building has been out of compliance with its zoning, which states that self-storage is not permitted.

  13. Posted by JP

    Lhow much money would it take to force the Public Storage facility at 10th (between Natoma and Howard) to move? What a piece of junk that has brought the neighborhood to its knees for years.

    We visit our friends on that nice alleyway all the time, and that business doesn’t give a darn. Just a 24/7 of urination, defecation, copulation, garbage, drug abuse and just general disgusting conduct.

    I think that Public Storage is a fairly huge publicly traded company and it’s criminal that the city let’s them do whatever they want. Hopefully, for my friends who have lived there for almost 20 years — not tech babies — someone will buy out that spot and do something halfway interesting with the space. Prime corner lot – that’s seen it’s prime.

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