2785 San Bruno Avenue

Built for a baker and wagon driver circa 1906, the single-story home at 2785 San Bruno Avenue currently measures roughly 1,300 square feet, not including an unauthorized 400-square-foot in-law unit addition behind the main home, which has “passed through a number of owners and occupants throughout the twentieth century who held a variety of blue collar jobs.”

A recent Historic Resource Evaluation for the property has determined that no known historic events have occurred at the home, that none of the blue collar owners or occupants were identified “as important to history,” and that the building – to which the stylish permastone façade was added in 1953 – is not architecturally distinct nor within the boundaries of any identified historic district. As such, the home is not considered a potential historic resource or landmark in need of protection, despite its age.

And if approved next week, the little home at 2785 San Bruno Avenue will be demolished and a new four-story building, with three residential condos over two commercial spaces, the second floor unit of which is configured a lot like a residential unit, with two “private offices” and a kitchenette, will rise upon the Portola District lot which is zoned for the development of up to three residential units and 40-feet in height.

2785 San Bruno Avenue Rendering

16 thoughts on “Building Up on San Bruno Avenue”
  1. That’s some solid infill. Didn’t think they made these anymore. I guess the editor is implying that the second floor will be a secret residential unit, but most e.g. dental offices tend to have a kitchenette.

  2. Developers are targeting the outlying districts of SF. The problem is the faux-plain styled stucco and poor base floor designs for retail, with gated entries, and bars on everything. The investors are picking up properties, but failing miserably to look at any improved design efforts. San Bruno Ave had a great addition with Ferment Drink and Repeat, but needs more thoughtfull retail/housing efforts that look to break the prior non-detailed and poorly chosen material palettes of the stucco/marble/stone and blasé colors shown in the renderings…

    1. I agree with your style recommendations. It is amazing how much value could be gained by renovating some of the older buildings (Avenue Theater) and reimagining some of the newer ones. Home prices in Portola are around 900k so I can imagine the demand for brunch cafés and dinner restaurants is growing.
      Also, does anyone know what is up with the almost finished multi-condo development at San Bruno and Woolsey? work seems to have stalled for months.

      1. The Avenue Theater is about to have it’s facade renovated and marquee lit. While there are currently no plans for the full renovation of the interior (yet), this will be a huge improvement to the corridor. You will be able to see the neon marquee from 101 and it will transform the street at night. Should be a big boost to an already improving street and neighborhood.

        The condo building on San Bruno & Woolsey seems to be finishing up now. About two weeks ago PG&E started digging around the new structure, connecting it to the grid. They had to tear up a lot of San Bruno Ave to do this work and that may have been part of the delay.

  3. “As such, the home is not considered a potential historic resource or landmark in need of protection, despite its age.”

    This in itself seems remarkable …or dare we say it: historic?

    I recommend a plaque be erected on the new building to the effect:

    “On this site once stood one of the few buildings in the city’s history deemed to have no historic significance”

        1. I can’t take complete credit for the idea: I remember seeing a house toward the North end of Van Ness that had a (presumably facetious) plaque on the façade that said “On this site in 1900 (or whatever date) nothing happened”

  4. I like it. It looks very San Francisco without being faux-historic in appearance… and color is a subjective choice but I don’t have a problem with the gray. It fits into its environment. Not every building, particularly a mid-block residential-scale project like this one, needs to make a big statement.

    I just hope the building face is finished with high-quality materials and not just fiberboard or something.

  5. The devil is in the details and I assume the details here won’t be great unfortunately. But the general massing and bay windows look like a good infill project that will ultimately fade into the general streetscape.

    San Bruno Ave seems to be picking up so the addition of several nicer units of housing and another fresh retail spot will most likely help to further accelerate the upward trend of the street and the Portola neighborhood.

  6. Thanks so much Alex, you seem to be on top of things. I’ve also heard that a new pedestrian crossing between San Bruno Ave and the Alemany Farmers market is in the workings. This would be an upgrade too.

    I heared they got a community organizer a while back to help amp up San Bruno Avenue, but I haven’t read much since on upcoming plans. Thanks again!

    1. Yes, The Portola Neighborhood Association has spearheaded a campaign to create a more physical connection between Portola & Bernal which is being studied now by the city. Residents on the South slope of Bernal have been showing a lot of support for the idea and the beautification of the area which is encouraging to see a joint neighborhood effort.

      There are a handful of community organizers in the Portola, both hired and volunteer residents. The high level of involvement is what attracted us to the neighborhood. Same can be said about Excelsior, BV and Vis Valley. What’s happening in SE/SF is a grass roots community effort which I think is what makes this part of SF so cool and a solid investment.

      If you want to get involved check out the PNA website orFB page. There are other exciting projects happening in the background that aren’t public knowledge yet.

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