3620 Buchanan Street Site

As we first reported last year:

With the redevelopment of the adjacent gas station site underway, plans to raze the historic San Francisco Gas Light Company’s former garden house and workshop at 3620 Buchanan Street, which shares a parcel and 75-foot-wide garden with the landmark Gas Light Company building at 3640 Buchanan Street, have been drawn.

And as envisioned by Sutro Architects, a four-story building will rise on the southern end of the Marina District lot, with six residential condos over two floors of commercial space and a storage room for six bikes (the garage entrance is for the development next door):

3620 Buchanan Street Rendering

And while the proposed development wouldn’t touch the Gas Light Company building (which is also known as the Merryvale Antiques building and is San Francisco Landmark #58), it would shrink the common garden by 15 feet.

The formal applications to move forward with the project as envisioned have just been submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department and the paperwork to secure the necessary demolition and building permits has been filed as well.

7 thoughts on “Plans to Redevelop Gas Light Company’s Garden House Formalized”
    1. If you look at the map (pp65) someone attached you will see that yes, it’s w/i the boundaries of the remediation area (although it looks like the specific site wasn’t actually the location of a structure)

    2. probably, as PG&E descended from the San Fransisco Gas Company, and thus may have inherited responsibility for it’s predecessor firm’s activities.

      I was poking around and noticed that before 1893 this same company had facilities at first and howard. The following newspaper text from 1892 contained a rather interesting description of this section of town called the ‘Tar Flat’, as well as mentioning the ‘new’ company location which is undoubtedly the same as here (I corrected a few typos in the image-to-text generator):

      “Gas Works Shut Down: The pioneer gas works of San Francisco, those on the corner of First and Howard street., have been shut down, as it has been found that making gas out of oil Is less expensive, and the new works have been located at Fillmore and Bay streets. The oil works were established early in the ’50s by Peter and James M. Donahue, and others who took an interest were J. (J. Eastiauti. the late John Parrot!, the late Daniel T. Murphy, J. B. Haggin and the late Charles McLaue.

      The establishment of the gas works at this point is what gave rise to the name “Tar Flat,” being -applied to that portion of the city bounded by First, Mission and Folsom streets and the bay line, then being at Beale street. The tar and refuse from the gas works was allowed to flow into the water of the bay, consequently there was always a strong smell of tar in the vicinity of the works, and It was not long before the name of Tar Flat was applied to that section, a name it has retained since 1853.”

      It seemed like it was perfectly acceptable at the time pollute the bay and shoreline in this way. I doubt they cleaned up their act in the ‘new’ facility. For anyone pining for the old days I shall refer them to this.

      1. I wonder if the “Call” was subsequently flooded w/ letters to the effect that “Good! We need more housing built there!”: First/Howard was a pretty primo spot to be wasting on something like a gasworks…even in 1892.

        1. This wikipedia article goes over all structures needed for a Gas Plant. It truly was one of the most toxic industries of its day.

          Reading that article, makes you wonder if such a site can ever be truly cleaned up.

          1. According to Department of Toxic Substances, the site will not truly be “cleaned up”, but will be “contained”. 1598 Bay St., which is condo’s built on top of the site, expected completion in 2018, will sit on top of toxic soil, but contained soil. And probably anything built on this site will have the same verbage.

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