1540 South Van Ness Site

The Mission District gas station site at 1540 South Van Ness and Cesar Chavez is in contract to be sold, having sought a $7 million payout. And the 13,000-square-foot site is zoned for development up to 65-feet in height.

But Flyers, which currently operates the station on the site which was built in 1960, has a lease that runs through the end of 2026 with a current rent of $8,600 a month. And the operator has two five-year options to extend as well.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    “But” is right: it’s under long-term lease. Sure we can assume the operator would take big buck$ to be bought out, but then again, maybe they wouldn’t. Or maybe their idea of “big” is much bigger than the (prospective) purchaser’s And at some point, when the station count is down to 132,131,…5,4,3 .and gas is $25/gallon due to the scarcity of locations, more condos won’t pencil out…as they say.

    • Posted by Alai

      The thing about scarcity of locations is– if you want gas, you’re driving a vehicle. Which can (and probably does) go outside city limits. Where there are more locations. People are willing to pay a premium for convenience, but probably not much more than the $1 per gallon or so that it is today.

      • Posted by SFrentier

        Screw that. I ain’t driving out of the city to buy gas. And this station almost always has the best prices, so I hope they don’t take a buy out and stick around for a long, long time. But forch, there are two other (crummier) gas stations nearby on C Chavez, which I could live with if I had to.

  2. Posted by observant neighbor

    Isn’t there a proposed elderly / affordable housing development a half block from here which (as proposed) would be 9 stories tall? I wonderful if the developer is betting on upzoning. It’s a good place for it.

  3. Posted by Just My Opinion

    No one is getting rich on that gas station. It’s history and should be. It is a terrible use of that very large site.

    With gas stations no longer “service stations” and payment with credit cards so no attendant really required beyond a small booth, there probably should be a new model for what a gas station looks like and the site that it takes up. Using prime corners so that big oil can advertise is just not something we need to support IMO.

    The lease needs to be honored, but there is a number that makes sense to all parties and my guess is that it will be arrived at.

    • Posted by OtherDan

      Excellent points, but I’ll still miss that gas station (weird, I know). Super inexpensive and easily accessible.

    • Posted by Brad

      Just an FYI, and not that I’m a fan of gas stations, but this particular gas station is quite busy, has a service center and there is almost always a line at the booth.

    • Posted by Brian M

      Most successful modern “gas stations” really make their off the alcohol, cigarettes, hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. Very few stations are built without a lucrative convenience market.

    • Posted by Adam

      On a trip to Rome I noted gas pumps placed directly by the side of the road, with a wider shoulder for cars to pull over and fill up. Maybe a small attendant booth, but no convenience store or garage required. Surely there are a few places around here where something of this nature could be tested.

      • Posted by Notcom

        It was common in this country at one time too, but there were – perhaps unsurprisingly – problems with having a gas pump adjacent to a traffic lane: too many people approaching it at too high a speed, or, conversely, slowing down too much in the lane, or just veering off the road and hitting it….or so I have read.

    • Posted by Dan

      It’s a good use of the site for the people in the neighborhood who use it. And it is a busy station. I hope they remain there for the remainder of their lease and options, if we are still using gas for the next 20 years.

    • Posted by SFrentier

      These modern little mini stations with just a pump is nice and all, but you’re forgetting one thing: the gas itself. It needs to be stored somewhere. Large underground storage tanks aren’t trivial, and hence why existing stations need to be respected for already having that. Imagine trying to get a new one approved in this town!

      • Posted by two beers

        I’m so sorry that the gentrification you support which has destroyed the lives of thousands of blue collar workers and their families might pose a mild inconvenience to you. Maybe we can write in a clause that says, all gentrification is to be vigorously encouraged, except that which might inconvenience sfrentier?

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Hands Off My Inexpensive Gas! The HOMIGs are the new NIMBYs. It is amazing how much we cling to a few pennies off of gas. C’mon. SF is only 7 miles wide. How much gas do you need in the city?

    This site could support five stories of much needed housing. Much more valuable than saving ten cents a day on driving.

    • Posted by BTinSF

      We are reaching the point where it isn’t about the cost but just the ability to buy gas at any price without burning 2 gallons of the stuff driving to and from a gas station in suburbia and spewing the resultant carbon into the atmosphere.

  5. Posted by BTinSF

    It is time for the Planning Department to do its job and ensure San Franciscans can buy gas conveniently, whether that’s in separate gas stations like this, gas stations integrated into larger buildings if that can be done legally and safely, or however they can do it. But we cannot become a city of a million people all of whom have to drive 15 or 20 miles on crowded freeways to another jurisdiction to buy gas.

    • Posted by Greg

      Hyperbole much? There are 3 other stations within 0.5 miles of this site. And 12+ within a 1 mile radius.

    • Posted by francis

      there’ll be an app, where a (self driving) truck comes around and puts gas in your tank while you’re parked at the store.

  6. Posted by Jake

    there are at least 20 gas stations within a mile and a half of this location, though this one may be the cheapest. SF has ~70 gas stations.

  7. Posted by jenofla

    Desirable gas stations (such as those with cheap gas) can create mini-traffic jams (which really only needs four more cars than a station can handle spilling into a neighboring narrow street). I don’t understand why people wait in those awful lines at Costco to save a buck or two, but they do.

    The gas station situation in SF is nowhere close to traffic jams, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Planning eventually let it happen 25 years from now.

  8. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    Quite a bit of “sky is falling” here. Manhattan only has 39 gas stations, for comparison.

    Anecdotally, we only fill up our car about once every 3-4 weeks (and we don’t even have a hybrid). We drive out of the city more often than that, and thus could (and typically do) fill up elsewhere. I’d get by if SF didn’t have a single gas station. Not advocating that – but there are higher, better uses for the land on which many old gas stations sit.

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