2600 Harrison Street Site

In an attempt to assuage concerns that the proposed four-story building to replace the shuttered Western Plywood warehouse at 2600 Harrison Street in the Mission is incompatible with the “design, scale and mass” of the neighborhood, Kerman Morris Architects has redesigned the project.

2600 Harrison Street Rendering 2016

The new design reduces the street-level wall along Harrison, includes a more open Production, Distribution & Repair (PDR) space, and adds an area with benches and raised planters along the street.

2600 Harrison Street Rendering 2016

But rallying behind a “rash of Big-Box supper (sic) structures” slated for the neighborhood, not to mention their potential loss of light and views, a group of neighbors on Alabama Street remains opposed to the height and mass of the project and are calling for the development team to eliminate a floor and reduce the development’s footprint to 65 percent of the lot and leave 35 percent for open space.

At the same time, “United to Save the Mission” (USM) is calling for the developer to either add a few floors of affordable housing or sell the entire property to USM or an affordable housing team.

All that being said, San Francisco’s Planning Department is recommending the Planning Commission approve the redesigned 19-unit development next week.

46 thoughts on “Mission District Development Redesigned but Opposition Remains”
  1. Anything that reduces visibility of the “Atlas Stair Company” cottage is a crime against humanity and should be reported to the World Court for prosecution. SF may have never had anything as eclectic as the House of Gnomes Bakery, but this is a good substitute…fat chance we’ll ever see anything like that built again (or even imagined)

    1. I can appreciate your sarcasm and wit, but basically this little building is a Disney façade stuck onto a box. Cute? Yes.

      Venturi and Denise Scott Brown would love it. It will be just fine with the new building proposed adjacent to it.

      1. A saving grace is that it appears the building is proposed as a wedge – at least at the end – so the field-of-view from Harrison will remain large. Whether this is b/c the alleyway is historic – it’s the former SF&SJ RR ROW – or simply public property, I don’t know, but will accept any good fortune offered.

        1. It’s not an alley…it’s still the rr row parcel. Once this building is built, I would think the only reasonable use would be to create a linear park from Parque ninos unidos through to the corner of Harrison and 22. I always thought it would have made more sense to square up this property by developing both together for housing….the wedge is incredibly inefficient.

        1. My opinion is that: though a city of necessity will mostly be made up of mundane background buildings, it should preserve the few iconic – yes even kitschy – ones that give it character; that a city should be of benefit to not just the people who live or own property there, but also those who visit, now or in the future; that it’s wrong to scream “build it!” with every condo, freakishly-fenestrated or weirdly shaped office building proposed on the nonsensical assertion that increasing the percentage of the world’s population who can live/work in SF from .010% to .015 somehow constitutes “affordability” or automatically justifies the negative externalities that such increase will bring about; and that once an older building is gone it’s gone so caution should be exercised in removing (even) those mundane buildings.

          If that fits your definition of “typically myopic” then that’s what my statement was.

          1. I find the Atlas Stair company a joy as well, and would love to see it a bit more lovingly taken care of. Not ready to jump on the notcom train, but it does make me smile.

          2. Ok, in all fairness, to me “myopic” just means a very narrow view. But, that aside, where is it anywhere in this article that the cute little is going to be demolished? No where.

            I feel that you’re projecting fear into a future where nothing is left but “mundane” background buildings. And that’s simply not true or fact based.

  2. Loss of light and views? Of what? The massive network of overhead wires?

    Sorry, folks. It fits in just fine. In fact, to the left of the plywood building it appears to be a 4-story building.

    1. Please, how can you make out the needles and garbage in the railroad right of way when you have a skyscraper blotting out the sun?!

    2. It appears to be no higher than the adjacent structure on Harrison, or the one across 22nd. So whatever NIMBY group is opposing it is crazy.

  3. people will say and invent anything to promote their vision and communicate their hysteria – I say add 2 more floors….

  4. The opposition wants to eliminate a floor? – its 40x zoning for crisakes! That is not a tall building. And it has the requisite PDR space in there. SF NIMBYs: please get over yourselves!

  5. Handsome project. Lots going on here that might be missed with a quick glance. I love it when buildings do that.

  6. “At the same time, “United to Save the Mission” (USM) is calling for the developer to either add a few floors of affordable housing or sell the entire property to USM or an affordable housing team.”

    Hmm maybe I should start a group called “Federation for Housing Freedom” and demand all new housing in the mission is given to me. I’ll decide what to do with it later.

  7. To promote density and affordability SF also needs to impose requirements and/or rewards for max sq ft per unit, in some proportional way. 1000+ sq ft studio or 1 br units are not going to solve anything… This hits directly at the definition of luxury housing, but doesnt seem to be actively discussed. Most of the rest of the world figured this out a long time ago.

    1. Where are you seeing 1000+ sq. ft. studios and 1BD as a norm? 1000 sq. ft. should be a 3BD with the right amount of window line…

    2. Ironically the city limits small units. When we tried to lower the min allowed square footage there was outrage at the idea of cooping people up in inhumane conditions.

    1. Nope, nor do I need to since I’m not opposing construction: my comment was that it’s unfortunate that this will diminish the view of the building behind it (technically I said this should obstruction prosecuted, so if the World Court does in fact take this up and whoever is charged ends up acquitted I’ll chip-in to cover their legal fees)

      On a more serious note, and in anticipation of what you may be thinking – does this mean I would be happier if the same footage was achieved w/ more floors and a smaller ground plan?? – perhaps so…if that is actually proposed, I’ll comment then.

      1. This sounds like a new “low” to me in complaining about how a new project will “diminish the view of a building behind it..” Really? Diminish the view?

        Jeezus….. you can walk around and stand DIRECTLY in front of the Atlas Stair building and see the whole damn façade. so now it appears you want views of existing buildings preserved from multiple vantage points.


  8. With its linear design it evokes its predecessor — the rusted half-buried railroad track. Our entire architecture and planning community should be forced to submit all projects to the city of Copenhagen for approval.

    1. You can blame the wealthy hilltop dwellers of San Francisco for this sort of ugly architecture. The reason Mission Bay, and much of the Eastern Neighborhoods, are full of uniform ugly squat boxes is because strict height limits were imposed by the residents atop the hills so as to preserve their precious views (and property values). Mission Bay does not have a skyline, it is a wall on the waterfront….the sort of wall on the waterfront the hilltop dwellers purport to dislike. Hypocrites.

  9. I don’t disagree that these huge footprints are eyesores at street level. Look at Mission Bay vs. Nob Hill. I prefer the narrow/ taller architecture over fat and stout.

  10. 40% of our greenhouse gasses come from people stuck in traffic driving from their homes in places like Manteca to their jobs in San Francisco and the Bay Area. We cannot reduce our carbon production and stop the ice from melting unless we build more infill housing in our core urban areas and job centers. Yet so called San Francisco progressives are more concerned about aesthetics? about light? WTF people??? do we have a climate crisis or not??? Climate deniers aren’t just hillbilly Trump voters, they are liberal San Francisco hypocrites too.

    1. 40% just from driving from Manteca to SF? Who knew?

      Actually, according to the US EPA, transportation sources only account for 26% of total US GHG emission (yes, still a big number). The largest single GHG generator in the US (30%) is the burning of fossil fuels for the generation of electricity.

      1. According to ABAG and our regional planners the Bay Area’s GHG production is severely out of whack with the rest of the nation. We are tied with LA with the worst traffic congestion and the longest commutes and as a result our GHGs from cars and light trucks is 40%. California also has a 25% soon to be 50% renewable portfolio standard and we don’t even include non carbon producing hydro power in that number, so our fossil fuel use is much lower than the national average.

    2. Your argument kinda falls apart because IF we built enough housing for ALL of the Manteca residents who now drive in to SF, then why not add enough housing for all of Stockton, Walnut Creek, Modesto, et al. Why stop there? Turn SF into a Hong Kong housing slum.

      You get my point? Cramming up more housing in SF will not solve any greenhouse gas problem. What if those drivers ALL had electric vehicles? Problem solved for the greenhouse gas issue.

          1. i dont want SF to be hong kong and i have no desire to live in Hong Kong, but i have been there for work about 10x. it is far from a housing slum and if you think so, you have never been. its very nice. much better archictecture than here, and certainly the buildings are in better condition. the only thing worse than here is units are smaller and much more expensive on a per sq ft basis., but buildings are way nicer.

          2. Both SF and HK have people living in slum conditions but neither is a slum. Both also have people living very luxurious lives in superb housing. Both have high and similar gini coefficients.

            HK population density is about the same as SF, but they have a smaller percentage of buildable land due to the steep topography. The residential areas of HK are about the same size as the residential areas of SF, but with nearly ten times as many people. Two-thirds of all of HK is uninhabited woodlands, wetlands, etc. These uninhabited areas collectively are half the size of Marin County.

          3. What I’m essentially referring to is the (what I call) slum approach to housing masses of people: Endless supertall high rises packed in very densely, with little open space and very crowded units. That essentially is Hong Kong except for the rich.

            SF doesn’t need to be that, nor most people want it to be that.

  11. The Bay Area doesn’t need to build housing for the whole world, but we should be able to get somewhere close to our peer metro areas. Since 2010 our region has added 3.2% to our housing stock. Seattle has added 7.3%. Charlotte 9.5%. Nashville 9.6%. Austin 15.1%.

    We can’t claim to be a place that cares either about equity and the poor or the environment if our biggest policy decisions favor only rich homeowners and result in our service sector workers, the people who froth our lattes and shake our martinis, having to drive 2 hours each way to work every day.

    Giving poor people in Manteca Teslas would definitely solve our GHG problem, but is that a reflection of our values??? Hey poor Latino people who make my food, you go live far away where I don’t have to look at you….and I don’t care that you have no time to spend with your family, help your kids with homework, or get to see your doctor occasionally…I need my beautiful view preserved. Enjoy your nice car. You’re welcome.

    1. Wow, you are really pulling a Trump on us. REALLLY expanding a lie that people who work in coffee shops or bars ACTUALLY drive 2 hours each way to work.

      More scare tactics, more fear mongering with zero basis for truth.

      1. Where in San Francisco do you think people who work in restaurants and shops live, the marina?

        FACT: 170,000 people a day (and growing) are driving into the Bay Area to work from their homes in the Central Valley. These are ABAG statistics and are in the Plan Bay Area performance report.

        I challenge you to go to the top of the Altamont Pass any weekday morning and look east. You will see headlights to the horizon.

        I challenge you to drive to Lathrop which is just south of Stockton on Highway 99. there you will see the largest home development in California. They are being marketed as “a short commute to the Bay Area”. That’s where Bay Area liberal elites have exported our affordable housing. You evoke Trump and you are right to, because we have built a regulatory wall around the Bay Area and said nobody else is welcome.

        1. thank you Stater. In a macro sense you are absolutely correct….we have horrifically long commutes in the Bay Area, and many people are driving from the central valley for Bay Area jobs. Does every barista drive in from Manteca? Of course not. But Futurist would be surprised how many San Franciscan workers do drive from quite far away….fewer barista types than lower middle class strivers who are desperately trying to find a safe affordable place to own a home and raise a family. It’s the old “drive to qualify” phenomena.

          1. I still stand by my comments. Yes, a lot of people commute far away into SF. But I seriously doubt VERY few if ANY baristas or bar tenders drive from Manteca into SF.

            Others with higher paying job? Yes, a lot into the East Bay and some into SF.

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