Purchased for $1.25 million last July, plans to raze the little 1,196-square-foot, two-story home at 714 Rhode Island Street, on the north slope of Potrero Hill, are in the works.

As proposed a 7,234-square-foot, six-story duplex will rise upon the site:

And in terms of projecting who might object to such infill, we’re guessing the neighbors at 740 Rhode Island.

And perhaps the neighbors on Kansas who could lose some views of the Bay. Keep in mind that views aren’t protected in San Francisco, especially when it comes to lot-line windows, but an argument can be made for the loss of light and air.

25 thoughts on “Plans for Building up on Potrero Hill and Foreshadowing a Fight”
  1. Bummer for 740. Not. Do you think they gave any consideration for those next to them when they built that monstrosity? Nope.

    Enough with that douglas fir siding treatment. How dated is that? Not to mention it doesn’t hold up well at all in this climate.

  2. Does “7,234-square-foot, six-story duplex” imply that the new building will have two units, each of about 3,600 square feet? If so, this seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. 3,600 square foot urban units are GARGANTUAN to the point of being too big for most homebuyers and likely unafffordable for all save the executive class.

    Zoning variances aside (looks like the site is RH-2), it seems like it’d be better to have four large 1,800 units — probably more money for the developer, and more badly-needed housing units to put a dent in SF’s housing crisis.

    1. It’s not a missed opportunity for those homebuyers who want a 3,600 sq ft residence and are willing to pay top dollar for it. Turning 2 to 4 units won’t make a dent in the supply issue. As for a housing crisis, it’s only a crisis for those who cannot afford to rent or buy. A developer could put in 100 sq ft micro units but they would still command market rate.

      1. By that same “logic” there’d be no healthcare crisis under Trumpcare. It would only be a “crisis” for those unable to afford healthcare.

    2. For the record, there are neighborhoods filled with large homes throughout the city, many built a 100 years ago, and those who live there seem satisfied with their size.

      1. The argument is not whether some handful of extremely rich people are happy in the McMansions The argument is over whether its the most appropriate use of scarce land in a housing strapped city to use that lot for a mere 2 units.

        1. “Mere two units” is one more that’s currently there. And I’m sure there will be folks complaining that the neighborhood charm will be comprised if this little house gets torn down. While we’re at it, let’s turn those oversized painted ladies into more units.

      2. My mother actually grew up in one of those old enormous homes (5,000 square feet) out in St Francis Wood. She had four siblings though; somehow I think the demand for housing for large families like hers is way down. And at the price point these duplexes will likely be offered for, I don’t think very many families with 3+ kids are going to be in the target market.

    3. I partied on the roof deck at 740 Rhode Island a few years ago. It was being rented by an overpaid, young techie who only really cared about the view from his hot tub on the seriously oversized roof deck. Sucker!

    4. Totally agree. We should do away with RH-1, RH-2 and RH-3 zoning and upgrade them all to at least RH-4. More if close to rail transit (like around Glen Park BART).

      The market would be very unlikely to produce this outcome on its own. Both progressives and libertarians alike should oppose a government regulation that artificially holds down the cost of a luxury good for rich people (huge 3,600 square foot homes) while making normal-sized homes more expensive for everyone else. That’s what RH-1, -2 and -3 are doing here and across the city.

      1. So now you want to control the square footage of new homes according to the buyers/owners income? Really?

        1. That’s not how zoning works. It sets a maximum. If you really want to build a huge single family home on an RH-4 lot you can. I don’t think that’s what developers would do given the option, but if I’m wrong there’s no harm to doing the upzoning.

          1. What I’m referring to is your insistence that “rich” people cannot build a home of the size they want and can afford to build.

  3. Wow, that’s insane. Regardless of the size of the units, the overall design aesthetic is garbage. I hope the developer gets blown up by the neighbors and the planning department just on this basis alone. Perhaps planning could force the developer to hire an architect with a little talent? Yikes.

  4. I think the writing’s on the wall, this little guy is surrounded. Might was well complete the ugly trio.

    1. The north-most building was completed in the last 5 years. I believe it was open lot before then (with serious grading). It was only time for the little forgotten bungalow to get the tech bubble treatment.

  5. I’m sure the owner of the little bungalow is not complaining about getting $1.25 million for his house.

  6. I live on this block and I think it’s absurd that the building is so tall, blocking significant light and air of neighbors and in service of creating .. 2 stupidly huge units. They seem within the letter of what’s allowed in SF and so it’s unclear how much there is to fight. I’m guessing at best, 740 might win a bigger setback from the property line?

    1. The building meets (as far as I know) the intent and code of the Planning Dept.

      And why are you and others so concerned with the “stupidly huge units” anyway? It’s simply not the business of any neighbor.

  7. The developer is probably just proposing one story higher than he/she intends to build. I’ll bet his project will settle for one less story so the objectors feel like they have won.

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