One Stanyan Street Site

It took a few years to find a buyer, but the gas station site on the southwest corner of Geary and Stanyan finally traded hands for $2.85 million in July. The 76 Station on the site was summarily razed. And the building permits for a four-story structure, with 13 condos over 14 parking spaces and 1,700 square feet of ground floor commercial space fronting Geary, have been issued.

In the works since 2007, the project site is on the State’s LUST (Leaking Underground Storage Tank) list. But according to approved documents for development, the cleanup of the site isn’t expected to take more than a couple of months.

And while the former 76 Station operated with a 3501 Geary Boulevard address, expect the new development to be marketed as One Stanyan.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Orland

    Let me be the first.

    A 1:1 parking/ratio right on the heavily-used 38-Geary line? Though I fully recognize that some family units understandably choose to own a car, this does seem a bit excessive for the residents but will almost certainly find a use.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Not only that, while I’m not axiomatically among the “build it higher” crowd, 4 stories along Geary is a bit silly – could easily support a couple more without in any way overwhelming the neighborhood.

      • Posted by Serge

        Agreed. A few more stories here would not hurt at all. Just hope it won’t look hideous, but odds are it will.

        • Posted by cleverpunhere

          One step at a time, folks. We are not going to see a skyscraper built at Stanyan and Geary any time soon. But we are going to get 13 residential units where there used to be none, which is good. I am strongly in favor of density, but let’s be realistic. And perhaps a touch less negative?

          • Posted by anona

            A few more stories now equals “skyscraper”?

          • Posted by Elitist Pig

            13 units is a drop in the bucket, yes it’s more than 0 but providing 26 or 39 would be even better without hitting your “skyscraper” limit.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            Who said skyscraper?

            The old folks’ home (as they used to be known) a block away, at Geary and Palm, is 6 stories (and with a high first floor and parapet, it’s really equivalent to 7 stories). So this location could easily be 6 and not look out of place.

          • Posted by Serge

            How is adding a few more stories a skyscraper? Look at corner buildings across the Richmond and Sunset built in the 1920s that are in excess of 8 stories. Hardly skyscrapers.

          • Posted by cleverpunhere

            “Skyscraper” is a bit of hyperbole. I realize you are not proposing an actual skyscraper. But do you think you can turn 13 units into “26 or 39” by adding a “couple more” floors?

            Four stories is above average for this area. And that’s good. Would more height be better? Maybe. But getting that project approved and built would be so enormously difficult and expensive that it probably would not happen at all. I just can’t embrace the impulsively negative attitude about projects like this just because things would be different if we lived in an alternative universe.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            Sounds like the first floor will be retail and parking (and entry lobby), so they’re going to have 13 units in 3 floors … therefore they could have 26 units in 7 total floors – again, equaling the height of the senior center just a block away.

          • Posted by Alai

            Plus, at 24000 square feet total, it sounds like these units are going to be on the large side. Possibly because of the 1:1 parking requirement, since you can only fit so many cars on the ground floor. Without that, there could be more, smaller units.

            [Editor’s Note: The approved plan includes ten (10) two-bedroom units and three (3) ones.]

          • Posted by cleverpunhere

            If any of you owned this property, would you attempt what you are actually proposing? Shrink the units, go below 1:1 parking, add BMRs, and go through the process to build a project way beyond the existing zoning?

          • Posted by Alai

            As far as adding more units, and potentially replacing parking with more rentable space: don’t you think that would increase your return?

            As far as going through the process: maybe not, but if the result of the process are mediocre, I’m going to criticize it.

          • Posted by anona

            @cleverpunhere – the process is the problem, we all admit that. I absolutely think that with an easier process every developer in town would do the other things, as it would net more profit.

          • Posted by V. CC

            It is all another big Real Estate scam coming to Richmond District.

      • Posted by ohmy

        Agreed. Spread the wealth of the 600 foot tower monsters on so Van Ness. No reason Geary street corner lots can’t hold 6 to 8 levels.

      • Posted by Freeloader

        4 stories may mean they can go solely with wood construction, which will be much cheaper than going concrete, right?

        • Posted by anona

          You can go all wood higher than four floors.The only reason they’re choosing four is government fiat.

          • Posted by Bogie

            Also known as zoning. Which many people are fans of.

      • Posted by Chris

        The developer is building the project in its current form because it requires the least amount of approval hoops to jump through and it will encounter the least amount of neighborhood resistance.

        I read comments like yours, and I ask myself, “Has this person ever set foot in San Francisco? Does this person understand the nightmare that is trying to get ANY project entitled, permitted, and built in San Francisco?”

        If you want taller buildings, less parking, etc., then do not look to the developer. Look to the city government, the crazy NIMBYs, and the angry “anti-gentrification” crowd that throw up one obstacle after another to building anything in this city.

        It is a miracle that anything is getting built on this lot.

        • Posted by V. CC

          That Building will not help anyone here in the Richmond District but the Real Estate lobby and will lead to another small business displacement and displacement of lomarkcal residents.

    • Posted by condoshopper

      because the 38-line can serve every transportation need and muni is so fast, reliable, and plesant to use?

    • Posted by Sabbie

      What people fail to realize is that “transit friendly” requires a convenient transit connection on BOTH SIDES of the trip, plus everywhere in between. We have a long, long way to go.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      transit sucks here. only direct access to downtown but still takes 35 minutes on a MUNI thats supercrowded. I know at Geary and Arguello, i often see 3 buses drive by in the morning before one stops because they are all so full. BRT on GEARY is a joke with little improvement and a lot of collateral damage. I hope it never gets built. What we need is a subway. Until that happens, 1:1 parking in this area seems reasonable.

      • Posted by busrider

        The Geary corridor (with the 38 and 38 R) has some of the highest ridership of any bus line west of the Mississippi. Of course, many of these riders (as well as many non-riders) would love to have a subway option. Until that happens, BRT is the fastest solution to improve transit. (To counter your “transit sucks” comment, please allow me to mention that despite the lack of dedicated lanes, the 38 R today is able to regularly deliver riders to and from the Inner Richmond to Market Street downtown in 20-25 minutes, depending on congestion.)

        1:1 parking, without dedicated transit lanes, helps ensure the 38 and 38 R is too often mired in congestion. Since 1:1 parking (especially along such transit rich corridors) negatively effects public transit service, it ironically necessitates costly improvements (like BRT or subways) as a remedy.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          BRT is litte improvement . i live on 2nd ave. never made it all the way to end of Geary line from arguello to downtown in <35 minutes. i ofter wait for 2-3 busses to pass in the AM before there is one with enough space.

  2. Posted by BuildHighAndDense

    This area is slated to get Geary BRT, which could easily handle the additional residents in this building. 4 stories is not an appropriate use of this site. Great location otherwise, can’t wait to see the renderings.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      “This area is slated to get Geary BRT, which could easily handle the additional residents in this building.”

      Ha ha, thanks for the laugh. Even the promoters’ own rosy forecasts only predict a few minutes’ less travel time from the ocean to downtown. In reality, by removing lanes (and decreasing opportunities for 38X buses to pass regular 38 buses), the improvements may be non-existent, while the loss of a travel lane will make traffic on Geary worse for the rest of us, not better.

      • Posted by busrider

        One bus can easily replace fifty automobiles. Transit lanes, especially a la BRT, make sense on a major street. Short of a subway, Geary BRT is the best way for the Richmond district to have a fast transit link with eastern neighborhoods, downtown, and the Muni Metro and BART network. Already, the 38 R is providing fast and reliable connections for thousands of daily riders. These numbers will only grow and nearly all road users stand to benefit.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          The buses are already there, so saying “one bus can easily replace fifty automobiles” is meaningless. And anyone who calls it “fast and reliable” has never ridden it.

          (source: live 2 blocks south of Geary)

          • Posted by busrider

            The buses are already there but they are not running as fast and reliably as they can. BRT with dedicated lanes and other improvements will optimize transit along the Geary corridor. BRT is an attractive alternative to driving so the congestion you fear may never materialize. (The best and only lasting way to combat congestion is with improved public transit.) Speaking for myself and many co-workers (we work on Geary and ride the 38 R), the 38 R is fast and reliable (and with BRT it will further improve).

          • Posted by busrider

            As to one bus replacing fifty automobiles, that’s the beauty of transit. Geary has the capacity to transport many more buses than is currently the case. Geary BRT upgrades the boulevard and vastly improves its carrying capacity. Although the buses are already there, many more can be accommodated.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            Again, did you even read the SFMTA’s own boosterism study? Even the SFMTA’s rosy report says that only a few minutes’ time will be shaved off the entire cross-town time. And in the meantime, displacing a travel lane currently available to all, and forcing pedestrians to wait on islands in the middle of the street, instead of safely on the curb.

          • Posted by busrider

            A few minutes’ time quickly adds up. That could be 1/2 hour or more per week per commuter. From an operations perspective, those few minutes (per run) also quickly add up, enabling Muni to operate more trips with the same number of buses and without any labor cost increase. This is smart for transit riders, smart for nearby residents and businesses, smart for Geary traffic management, and a wise use of public dollars (by optimizing resources, enabling Muni to deliver more service and generate more farebox recovery with a negligible increase in operating cost). The travel lane that BRT repurposes will continue to be available to all, provided their transportation choice is environmentally-friendly transit. Instead of Muni riders being “forced” to sit or stand in a crowded bus, slowed by the congestion of thousands of single occupancy vehicles, these same riders will be able to safely wait at protected transit stops in the median and then enjoy a faster rider. These same transit riders won’t block the sidewalk, inconveniencing wheelchair users, people with strollers, etc., as they wait for their ride.

            Please don’t forget Geary BRT’s benefits in providing cleaner and more sustainable transportation, available to all. In this era of mounting climate change, it’s increasingly critical that environmentally responsible transportation be pursued. The status quo has already caused grave harm, including to our beloved Sierras.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            I used to ride the 38. It never gets stuck in traffic in the Richmond ever. The lights are timed during commute hours and it works great. The problem is when it gets around Union Square, then it gets stuck in traffic. The buses all become crammed together. So by the time they get back to the Richmond, you get 5 buses in a row, then none for twenty minutes. This is just basic stuff that can be observed by a seventh grader, how can our overpaid city employees get it so wrong again and again?

          • Posted by ess

            because it’s a hard problem.

      • Posted by randyw

        Sierrafeff – 10 to 15 minutes does NOT equal “few” –> Say the time is half the low end projection (because most people don’t go end to end.) 5 minutes savings per trip equals over 4000 hours of riders NOT sitting on the bus everyday. (1.5 Million Hours per year)

    • Posted by redseca2

      I had limitations on a Geary project due to the imminent Geary BRT during permitting in 1997.

    • Posted by Chris

      The area is zoned for 40 feet. So, that is why you are getting 4 stories. All these tiresome comments about how something should be taller, denser, etc, are similar to saying, “It is not appropriate that it is cold and windy in Chicago in the middle of winter.” It is what it is, and the developer is just following what is allowed for the site.

      Moreover, if you want a taller building there, then ask for a rezoning of the area from: (1) the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, the (2) Insane NIMBY crow, and (3) the angry “anti-gentrification” crowd. Good luck, as you will definitely need it!

  3. Posted by scott f

    It’s in a 40-X height and bulk district, so not allowed to go higher, unless the developer builds on-site BMR and applies for the recently strengthened (by AB 2501) state density bonus.

    Beyond that, you’ll have to lobby to change the zoning for the next set of projects.

  4. Posted by DM

    Everybody seems to hate cars in the city – especially those who don’t or are unable to have one. Traffic, traffic, traffic, Parking, Parking, Parking. Show me a city without traffic and no parking and I’ll show you a dead city.

    • Posted by busrider

      Inner-city Vienna, Austria has removed automobiles from many of its streets. In essence, automobiles are banned from these streets, yet these streets are thriving and are very much alive.

    • Posted by Stop Driving

      London is as anti-car as it gets and London makes San Francisco look like a cemetery. Hong Kong charges a hefty fee just for the privilege of owning a car and Hong Kong makes San Francisco look like a truck stop. You seem to think it’s about poor people being envious of car owners when it’s really about normal people adapting to urban life. Nobody wants to live in a city where everyone drives a car for a multitude of reasons. If you cannot grasp that, you might be happier in Orinda.

      • Posted by condoshopper

        so let’s get public transport here that is as superb as hong kong’s, and then let’s make the argument for why cars are not necessary.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      cars are necessary and will continue to be highly used in this city. people comparing to some northern EU cities is not apples to apples as those cities dont have a 8million person metro area.

  5. Posted by redseca2

    Regarding LUST (Leaking Underground Storage Tank), I had to provide mitigation of leaked fuel from a gas station for a project on Geary Blvd (the same project I mentioned in my post above). Leaked fuel can travel a great distance, so any developments near this site will also need to resolve this issue.

    For our project, the source was a long gone gas station on the opposite side of Geary (120′ wide) and several lot widths down hill from our project site . All of our site was at least 6 feet above the grade of the former gas station, but no matter, the below grade soil was infused with vintage petroleum.

    • Posted by jwb

      Why do you have to remediate such a site, if the groundwater is not a resource you’re planning to tap?

      • Posted by redseca2

        As in LEADED Gasoline.

        • Posted by jwb

          That didn’t really clear things up. What hazard is posed by underground plumes of dissolved lead? Does it matter whether the site will completely build over the ground or not? For that matter how does one remediate such a thing?

          There are many such sites in the East Bay but their problems are MTBE, not lead.

          • Posted by Peter

            Not an expert, but I imagine the underground lead products can evaporate and seep upwards. As for remediation, there’s probably fancier solutions, but for a new construction, you could just excavate all of the contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil.

          • Posted by soccermom

            The concern is prolonged exposure to carcinogens in gasoline via vapor transmission through the foundation. Soil and water are also potential problems, but, as I understand it, unless you have a well or a farm, these are less of a problem than vapor.

            Typical solution will be a vented membrane that would allow the vapors to pass from the ground up above the living space. Not overly expensive or time consuming.

            Here is a link to state water board site.

            Data for most nearby wells seems to have been last collected in 2001. Don’t know if that means there wasn’t much of a problem to begin with? Or perhaps the monitoring has been infrequent. Consult your friendly local environmental engineer.

          • Posted by soccermom

            The ground water is also problematic in that it allows the petrochemicals to spread and then evaporate up through the soil…

  6. Posted by Boher

    Seems like 13 units on such a large lot is a wasteful use of the land. I vote for twice that many and bet the building won’t look out of place.

    • Posted by Sabbie

      What benefit would that have, to what group of people?

      • Posted by Alai

        Presumably it would benefit the people who choose to live there. If an equivalent increase happened on every lot under construction, to the point that it had an impact on overall housing prices, it would benefit everyone who’s looking to buy or rent.

        • Posted by Sabbie

          Great theory. But have you ever wondered how many units we would need to reach that point? I think lately we’ve completed around 1,500(?) and prices continue to rise. About how many were you thinking?

          Also there’s a big difference between everyone who wants to buy or rent in SF, and everyone who can actually afford to buy or rent in SF. The latter group is already so wealthy, I’m surprised you’re so concerned about saving them a few bucks. I wonder how many more units you would have to build until not so wealthy people could afford one?

          • Posted by anona

            I’m willing to bet that if the site is built for 26 people instead of 13, we’ll be able to find 13 additional people able to afford it. Why deny them a place to live?

          • Posted by Sabbie

            I’m pretty sure those 13 people will find a suitable place to live, since they’re already among the wealthiest people in the nation. Also, you act as if upzoning the outer neighborhoods would have no negative ramifications for the many people who have already made sacrifices to live here, but that’s very much false.

          • Posted by anona

            The 13 people will find a suitable place to live outside the city, yes. And since they’re wealthy, they’ll get their pick. And then the 13 people not as wealthy as them will have to move down to another place. Repeat this down the line until you’ve removed 13 people at the lowest end from affordable housing and/or increased the cost to them. This isn’t hard.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            13 units does not equeal 13 people BTW> more like 30 people, depending on unit size

          • Posted by Sabbie

            It won’t necessarily push them out of the city, but perhaps to denser areas of the city, which is a good thing. And 13 units does not include all owner users, a lot of the buyers will be investors including foreign landlords, so no it will not necessarily enable 13 people to afford a place who otherwise could not. Thankfully the City agrees with me more than it does with you housing nuts, and is keeping some limits on density.

          • Posted by anona

            If any of the 13 people are investors then one of two things happens:

            1. The unit stays empty, so your concern of more people is moot
            2. The unit is rented to someone, allowing exactly what I mentioned – someone without housing in the area will be able to afford housing in the area, since it would be occupied with someone that is paying.
            3. The unit is used by someone for free, which is even more affordable.

            Other options?

          • Posted by Sabbie

            Again, I don’t care about those particular 13 people. We keep building and prices keep going up, so clearly it’s not going to benefit the people I do care about, the middle class. And it’s not going to benefit me, the existing San Francisco resident. It’s all about cost/benefit, so let’s review: 13 more units in this location will benefit the wealthy, and create external costs for everyone else. I vote “no thanks” to that trade off.

          • Posted by anona

            We can look at almost any point in time in history and see that “we keep building and prices keep going up”. That’s why people keep building. If we didn’t keep building, the Bay Area would have a few hundred people rather than eight million. Are you waiting until we can build and nominal prices will actually fall? Good luck with that.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            Nope, I want to build smart. Like I’ve said before, demand fluctuates, but supply is forever. That’s why these things need to be done carefully, with the big picture in mind. Of course somewhere down the chain, 13 new units will benefit some middle class people too. But they are so far down the chain at this point, it won’t be anywhere near Geary and Stanyan. The large majority of the new construction should be in “transit village” type settings, like within a five minute walk of a BART of Caltrain station. That’s where it’s going to make a real difference in the big picture, that’s where you want to up the zoning, not in the SF outer neighborhoods.

          • Posted by anona

            Why not build the transit village and then extend the transit to it?

            Would you support a BART line down Geary if a condition of it was unlimited heights (or at least 250′) were zoned for everything within a half mile of each station?

            I hear calls for “transit villages” all of the time, but there’s little support for upzoning the area around the peninsula stations, or those in the Mission, or those in southern SF, or those in Oakland, or those in X. When we talk about upzoning those areas, the call for transit villages stops, and instead we hear talk that “BART doesn’t go everywhere, building dense here will cause too much traffic”.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            Why not build the transit village first, oh boy. That’s like building a city first and then hooking up the sewer later. How long have we been waiting for BART to extend to San Jose? I can’t answer for those who oppose upzoning around BART stations, but I think most planners support it, just like most support keeping the existing density limits in the SF outer neighborhoods.

          • Posted by anona

            Right, so what you’re really proposing is just a moratorium on any type of development. The old “you should build somewhere away from me, I’m totally supportive of that!” excuse.

  7. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    We’re seeing one of the classic circles of thought here:

    1. Building should be taller to house more residents –> 2
    2. but more residents need more parking than this site can support because —> 3
    3. transit is too poor. We should improve transit –> 4
    4. there’s not enough residential density to justify better transit –> 1

    Unfortunately the only politically viable way to break out of the cycle of Eternal Suburbia is to endure some transportation pain while density gets ahead of transit capacity.

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      AKA a Catch-22. It is a problem.

      There are a couple of other options:
      * Disallow taller buildings/greater density, or
      * Mandate sufficient on-site parking to reflect the realities of car ownership.
      * Another half-way option to get there would be a mandated transportation improvement fund into which developers must pay to partially offset the external costs they are inflicting on the public – which would (in theory) speed the development of the after-the-fact transit improvements necessitated by the added density.

      Public sentiment appears to favor simply disallowing greater density.

      • Posted by anona

        “Mandate sufficient on-site parking to reflect the realities of car ownership.”

        That’s what we’re already doing here? And people are complaining about increasing the density of the building (with associated increase of parking).

  8. Posted by JWS

    @Stop-Driving: Do you feel the speed, reliability, and reach of the tube and Hong Kong’s subway are comparable to the bus lines of Geary?

    If not, can you see how car ownership and usage would go down if residents had the same options?

    If yes to that question, then can’t you see how penalizing car owners based on transport speeds, systems, and reliability in other cities that we don’t have ourselves vs actually creating them yourself might strike some as misguided? And that many of those car users would convert naturally if they had those options? And that once, and only once, the transport systems were comparable would comparable fines make sense?

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