606 Capp Street Site

Five months ago the Inner Mission parking lot at 606 Capp Street, between 21st and 22nd, sold for $3.3 million on the open market.

Plans to construct a four-story building on the site have since been drafted by Leavitt Architecture. And as now proposed, the development would consist of 20 apartments without any off-street parking except for twenty (20) bikes, the individual lockers for which were designed to front the building and street.

But the proposed bicycle parking is not an active use as required by Code. And as such, while the City’s Planning Department lauds the proposed project for providing no parking for autos, their preliminary review of the plan notes that the building will need to be redesigned, with the bike parking “located in the interior of the building as close and conveniently accessible to the residential lobby as possible.”

And for those of you keeping track at home, the effective land cost for the 606 Capp Street parcel, which includes 8 two-bedrooms as proposed, works out to $165,000 per unit versus the record setting $256,944 per unit that the City paid for the fully-entitled 490 South Van Ness Avenue parcel five blocks away.

43 thoughts on “Less Parking, More Apartments and a Mission District Reality Check”
  1. “But the proposed bicycle parking is not an active use as required by Code”

    Active use meaning retail on the ground floor?

    1. In order to qualify as an “active use” in a residential district, building facades “shall comply with the Ground Floor Residential Design Guidelines which are intended to supplement the Residential Design Guidelines,” which “should result in a fine‐grain rhythm of the urban environment, a scale of larger buildings that are consistent with the smaller typical lot pattern, a varied and changing pedestrian experience along the length of a block and emphasize the recognizable presence and delineation of the individual residential units.”

      And per Planning Code Sections 144 and 209.4, “to assure the ground story of dwellings as viewed from the street is compatible with the scale and character of the existing street frontage, visually interesting and attractive in relation to the pattern of the neighborhood, no less than one‐third of the width of the ground story along the front lot line and along a building wall that is set back from any such lot line, shall be devoted to windows, entrances for dwelling units, landscaping, and other architectural features that provide visual relief and interest for the street frontage.”

  2. a bike “garage” is an interesting concept, but at the end of the day it’s still as unsightly as a garage and plagued by the same security concerns

    1. I think the car owners should be compensated for the psychological pain caused by this displacement. There should be a city entity erected to help those poor owners.

  3. And this is how we got into a housing crisis in the first place. SF just isn’t serious about building new housing, not before and not even now.

    A Transbay lot for housing is now DOA due to 35% affordable housing requirement, the seismically unsafe city offices at Market/VanNess that were to be sold to a developer got sunk by Peskin, and now Planning complains that a car lot in the Mission ready to build on has bike parking that is not as pleasing as it should be.

    The building cycle will end in 2016 and we’ll be left with two empty lots, some old city offices, and complaints that there’s not enough housing (again). The City the knew how can’t even find its’ way out of paper bag these days.

    1. uh, how do you figure the building cycle will end next year? office towers, sure. residential towers? no possible way.

    2. “…the seismically unsafe city offices at Market/VanNess that were to be sold to a developer got sunk by Peskin…”

      The Board of Supervisors rejected the deal because it wasn’t going to bring in enough money. From what I’ve read, the buyer was playing hardball, lowballing the City in the hopes that our desperate need for housing would force the Board to accept an amount that was $7,000,000 lower than the floor the Board had explicitly set for the negotiations.

      Insisting on a strong sale price…isn’t that a nice capitalist notion that you can get behind?

  4. No parking for cars!!! What will all the entitled motorists and deniers of global warming do? How will they get around our tiny compact city without driving from place to place? Does this mean that some people may have to incorporate physical movement in their transportation plans?

    1. Please, get off your high-horse.

      SF is very dense and compact but walking EVERYWHERE is not practical for many people and for various reasons.

      In addition, Muni is an utter insult to anyone who has ever used it.

      Newsflash: You are NOT better or more responsible than others for not driving a car.

      1. With just a few exceptions, eg disabled, elderly, shuttling a kid – driving a car is a luxury that most global cities worldwide have abandoned decades ago. And if you are driving a car for luxury, well just judge yourself.

        If you wish to be stuck in 1950s Americana, that is your choice … But changes are coming. All you have to do is to start taking account of the world population and its growth, the rate of immigration, and the number of job openings in the Bay Area. Welcome to your new reality.

        1. @backtotheburbs: I think you need to have a bit of a reality check; a car is hardly a luxury (look at most of them around town). Given the limited scope and unreliability of the City’s mass transit system (to say nothing of getting of getting outside of the City), a car is a necessity for many, many residents of the City.
          It is really tiresome to constantly read these arrogant, morally superior rants from people who have no understanding of how anyone else in the City lives or what their legitimate needs are. It would be nice to have civil discussion of people’s transportation needs, but the anti-car activists are just too stuck in their ideological purity (which makes them feel so good) to actually care about others.

          1. Are you starting to wonder if perhaps the global warming deniers might be on the wrong side of history?

          2. i highly doubt there are any climate change deniers here. Many of us would love to get rid of cars if there were via alternatives. Thats always why the bay area has the highest % of hybrids anywhere in US. We care about environment, but we still need to get around outside of our 3rd world public transport. IF you want to tackle global warming, there are also bigger fish to fry and a lot more low hanging fruit than getting everyone out of their cars. reality sucks

          3. Well maybe not climate deniers but perhaps climate “what can you do?”ers. There are alternatives but they require a little lifestyle change to accommodate. Many are unwilling to make those small changes.

            (Hey NVJ – Do you ever eat at Fresca on 24th? I was there a few months ago and saw a guy dining with his family: wife and two girls. He was tall, short hair, and wore glasses. Could that have been you? I was at the table with two tall guys and a shorter woman.)

          4. USA is driving more not less. VMT has been going up, according to the FHWA (namelink). The most recent 12 month number was an all-time high. It did drop during the severe recession 2008 on, but now we are humming on all/most cylinders again.

            SF has more vehicles registered than ever, according to the CA DMV. And the US Census also estimates SF has more vehicles than ever before. More wealth in SF and we buy more cars. Lower gas prices plus stronger US economy, more driving.

      2. Actually, you ARE better and more responsible than others if you don’t drive a car if you acknowledge the fact that cars create pollution and contribute to global warming. I can’t claim that level of virtue, sadly, but I acknowledge that anyone who makes the effort is indeed doing something very positive.

        Also, I’m not a big MUNI fan either, but this site is really well served by BART as well. Glad to see it proposed for development without parking.

        1. Look at a BART map — Does it come close to solving the transportation needs of most people? yeah, it is great for getting downtown and to a few points outside the City, but beyond that it is pretty limited.

    2. When it takes 2 hrs round trip to take your kids to school on public transportation and two hours round trip to pick them up, public transportation here is not reliable or practical enough to work for most families. The progressive social engineers would need to align all their different social engineering projects in order to make their Utopia actually practicable.

      1. Then you pick any one of the dozens of other buildings that include car parking. Not every unit has to be designed for every use case. There are 20 potential households that want to live in the Mission, ride their bikes and don’t have a car. Let’s build a few housing units for them.

        1. The problem is that 15 of those 20 owners will own a car or two. And they will just end up parking them all on the street. So the developer pushes the parking costs onto the public.

          1. honestly, in that location, your assertion is very doubtful. But even EVEN if your assertion is correct…curb space is public; you don’t get any special right to it by virtue of owning or renting a home in the neighborhood. If you want private parking you need to buy or rent it yourself.

          2. “curb space is public”

            Exactly. So the developer is pushing the parking costs onto the public for the units it is adding rather.

          3. Then the city should sell/rent the street space at market price, send that money to the general fund, and cut taxes on other things. Problem solved – the cost would be fully borne by the users of the parking, and market pricing it would allow easier access for anyone who actually needs it (rather than the moochers using it for free now as the city subsidizes the cost).

          4. “Then the city should sell/rent the street space at market price”

            Agreed. But state law prohibits that.

          5. Ok, then we should push to fix state law. Also, not sure what state law you’re talking about? SFPark already does exactly what I’m talking about, albeit on a small scale for metered spots only. I’ve never heard that it couldn’t be rolled out everywhere because of some state law.

      2. From what spot in the City does it take two hours to get to any other spot via public transportation? I know I can get anywhere in The City from my (centrally located) house in 35 minutes via bicycle.

    3. The developer is actually proposing no parking cars and the city supports its. The issue has NOTHING to do with cars. The planning code require an “active use” on the first floor, and bike lockers fronting on the street are not an “active use.”

      1. Chris, that’s true. But certain commenters bring this issue up for every project that propose no (or less than 1:1) car parking. Despite the fact that it is actually the choice of the person buying or renting the unit whether they can live without a car or not, not the commenters on this site.

  5. I agree with Alai. I understand that technically this may not meet design guidelines, but the fact that the bike lockers are only about 4 feet tall means that it’s essentially the same as a fence, and the passerby can look at the windows. I think it meets the intent of the guidelines.

  6. A very bold position that could be taken to solve the housing crisis would be to prohibit *all* parking from *all* new developments. Those that are car dependent will self select to the suburbs. It would also reduce traffic within the city center. Talking points such as “if you can’t afford to live here, then go somewhere else” can then be directed to car operators as “if you can’t get along without a car, live somewhere else.”

  7. If you want to have a personal car, buy a condo/rent an apartment with a garage. For 50 – 60 years every single housing unit built in the city (even elderly affordable projects) was required by the City to have 1:1 parking. No one will have any problem finding a unit in the City they that has parking (or move to the 99.99% of cities in the country that have 1:1 parking or more). If you don’t want to have a car, buy a condo/rent an apartment that doesn’t have parking. Its really so simple.

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