The proposed purchase agreement for the City’s acquisition of the beleaguered McDonald’s at the corner of Stayan and Haight Streets, which includes the entirety of the restaurant’s parking lot which stretches to Waller Street, has been approved by the new Mayor of San Francisco, Mark Farrell.

The effective purchase price for the 700-730 Stanyan Street parcel, upon which the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development is planning to develop up to 186 units of affordable housing, is $15.9 million which includes a $400,000 “relocation” fee to the operator of the McDonald’s.

The sale should close escrow around the first week of April.

And as we first reported last month, the City will have 60 days to demolish, raze and remove the existing building, a task for which $200,000 has been budgeted and the remediation costs for the onetime gas station site are expected to be minor ($10,000) and shouldn’t have a material impact on the proposed redevelopment of the site, unlike the expected push-back from neighbors.

40 thoughts on “Mayor Approves Acquisition of Controversial McDonald’s Site”
  1. Accordingly, if we simply follow the Planning Code and the mandates of recently-passed State laws e.g. SB-35, we will be able to achieve about 300 units of family-sized unit of 100% affordable housing within an 85-foot high building on this site.

    We should not allow the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) or any other NIMBY “neighborhood group” to preemptively attempt to down-zone this project.

    We should be achieving the maximum amount of housing possible at this location.

    1. I don’t always agree with Kraus, but when you’re right, you’re right. There’s no reason at all not to max out to the eight stories permitted. It makes sound financial sense too: it’s the tallest you can go while still using wood (for the top 5 floors).

    2. i think it should be upzoned. there is absolutely no reason a 10 story building would not look good her if done tastefully

  2. So if an area of the city becomes a problem, the city purchases the area and puts up housing? Next: 16th/Mission, 6th Street at Market?

    As reprehensible and incorrect as it may be, tourists visting GG Park and Haight Street have few cheap and familiar places to buy meals. McDonalds was one of those places.

    You come from out of town, possibly from your home in a rural area or a small town, and you have tired, hungry children and you have no idea where to take them. All these kids want to do is sit down and have some fries. You might venture down Haight Street past the housing that used to be a Mickey [D’s] to find something, walking past some of the lovely characters who hang out on the street…

    1. Did you ever step foot in that McDonalds?

      It was absolutely terrifying. No rural family visiting Golden Gate park would go in there – ever.

      1. Forgive me father for I have sinned. I have been in that McDonalds several times. The assumption that someone would advocate keeping a fast food place on the site has never been in that fast food place is presumptious attitude that is the real trademark of San Franciscans.

        Every time I went in there there were “rural” families in there. I didn’t see any plows or squirrel guns at their tables and they were all wearing shoes, but I think they were from out of town. To San Franciscans, anyone not from Northern California is immediately thought, condescendingly, to be a hayseed AKA “rural.” The real “rural” people are the ones with prejudging, closed minds. Sounds like the locals to me.

        1. Nobody is implying that the TOURISTS at that McDonald’s were the problem. That location was rife with drug dealing, drug using, overdosing, crime, and blight. They averaged over two police calls a day. Any poor tourist who wandered in there was probably bewildered by the filth, drugs, and crime.

          1. Correct. Nobody is implying that the TOURISTS were the problem. I don’t see any comment in this stream that is blaming the tourists.

          2. Please. Filth, drugs and crime affect many parts of SF, not just the Haight. Speaking of the Haight, there’s a huge difference between 60s hippy culture and squatters shooting up and committing crimes. Many tourists leave the Haight disillusioned…definitely not what they read in the brochure. Instead of headbands and incense, they encounter needles and aggressive panhandling.

    2. The last thing I want a tourist doing is eating at McDonald’s in the Haight. And a slice at Escape from New York, or a burrito from Zona Rosa (among many examples), is no more expensive (and much more interesting to Floyd and Edna from Des Moines) than yet another Quarter Pounder.

      And if a tourist today is visiting that McD’s, then they’re already walking by ample examples of the “lovely characters” you reference, whether on Haight Street or Hippie Hill. (Not to mention the entire rest of the city … it’s not like someone can visit S.F., and walk away saying “The entire city was pristine, except a few blocks of Haight Street that I wish I hadn’t had to have walked – if only there had been an eatery at Stanyan and Haight .. (besides the Whole Foods takeout counter, and the coffee shop next door, and the Thai restaurant on Stanyan, etc.)”

      1. I was walking up Pine in the FiDi. There was a tourist family in front of me, with a little girl about 5 years old. She looked very apprehensively at the tall buildings and bustling crowds. Then her eyes lit up. She broke into a big grin, pointed at a sign and exclaimed “McDonalds!”

        1. And can you imagine the trauma suffered by a poor Massachusetts tourist family if all they wanted was a Dunkin Donut? Oh the humanity! We should protect their right to comfort in our scary foreign city!

      2. The question is not the number of places to eat. It’s where tourists feel comfortable and where they can immediately take their tired, hungry children. They’re from out of town/out of state; they don’t know about all of those places foodies list here.

        The typical SF attitude is look down one’s nose at anyone who might just want a burger, fries and a Coke with ice – no fuss – not taking a chance with an unfamiliar eatery – after going to museums and gardens and dealing with crowds in an unfamiliar city. From on high, San Franciscans dictate what they “want” tourists to eat. There is no kindness or understanding for anyone who is not like us, but that’s San Francisco.

        1. Escape from New York is a “foodie” place? LOLx10. And if you’re a tourist not willing to set foot in something that doesn’t feature a familiar logo, then why do you even travel?

          1. Escape From NY is not a foodie place, it’s the foodies (or people who think they are foodies) that are dictating the places to eat.

            Yes, everyone should stay home if they eat at chain restaurants. Perhaps a questionnaire at SFO to screen people from entering our kingdom if they don’t eat at the correct places. I share the disdain for people who don’t follow the San Francisco rules of behavior. How can anyone be a good person if they eat at McDonalds?

            Yes, there is absolutely, positively no reason to travel if a traveler eats at non-chain restaurants even if the traveler is simply looking for a familiar place to relax and is all “museumed” out. Tired or not, with or without worn out children, on a tight budget or not these terrible people need to spend more of their time to walk down an unfamiliar street to take the chance to search for just the right charming bistro so as not to sin by just chilling out with a burger and fries.

            San Franciscans – the new Puritan nannies – will judge and correct the behavior of the world. We all need someone to look down on, don’t we.? Eat a Big Mac/be put in a pillory.

    3. I agree that this is a strange outcome. Would this parcel have sold for $15.9mm on the open market? 85K per door for the dirt sounds reasonable, but why not apply the same logic to other problematic locales, per Elefun?

      Dollars to donuts this affordable housing gets filled with a demographically disproportionate number of Asian grandmothers.

      1. Note that under Supervisor London Breed’s neighborhood preference law, local residents at risk of displacement will get dibs on 40% of the homes.

        1. Where is a copy of the proposal for the housing project? I’m a former resident of district 5 who was displaced!

      2. It’s closer to $53K per door, since the Planning Code would allow an 85-foot building for a 100% affordable housing development and this would result in a capacity of approximately 300 units (assuming at least 40% 2-Bedroom and larger).

        Accordingly, London Breed and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) team has negotiated an excellent deal.

        Now all that needs to be done is to maximize the taxpayers’ investment by maximizing the capacity of the site and to not allow this optimization to be thwarted by the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) or any other NIMBY “neighborhood group”.

        1. We probably still have designs on file for another tall, densely-packed, city-owned affordable housing offering that was located at 333 Scherwin Street. A famous architect designed it. Maybe we could re-build that one and see what happens?

    4. I hope this is satire.

      Why should Haight Ashbury cater to tourists? It’s a residential neighborhood first, with real people, with real neighborhood bars, and a real affordability problem.

      1. haight ashbury has catered to tourists for 50 years. most people i know who actually live in the city don’t venture over there.

    5. That festering sore has been a blight on the neighborhood since the day it opened. The sooner it’s gone, the better. Only someone new in town or otherwise unfamiliar with the neighborhood would suggest that a tourist’s ‘need’ for junk food outweighs the neighborhood need for healing & housing. Save that bullsh*t for the burbs.

  3. Classic SF Sleaze the city would routinely ignore requests for police at this location, then declare it a “nuisance” and go to war with the Mc Donald’s corporation over a prime piece of property. Watch the city dangle this goodie in front of greedy out of state/country developers as a prize and watch them all collect campaign cash to auction off this goodie. Watch how nothing happens to make housing more affordable but you all can go on about how great you are in the meantime. Elitist entitlement ftw!

    1. You obvious have no idea what you are talking about.

      You are just lazily spouting random conspiracy theories based upon zero understanding of the actual situation regarding this property.

      The property will be developed by a reputable, local, non-profit housing developer (e.g. TNDC, Mission Housing, Bridge, Mercy etc.) into 100% below-market-rate (a.k.a affordable) housing via a transparent/public “Request for Proposal” (RFP) process as directed by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD).

      1. B. B. lives in a cabin he built himself from wood harvested (ecologically) from his own property. No “evil developer” ever had anything to do with B. B.’s housing situation.

        No developer responsible for B.B.’s home ever had to deal with politics, NIMBYS, the inevitable costs of development in a complex, expensive, urban development. No…in the good ol’ days which B.B. remembers so fondly, all housing was built by pristine philanthropists who made only excellent design choices with no impact on neighbors or the public.

        I am getting all teary eyed hear, folks!

  4. As a home owner who lives within one block of this development, I can say few in the neighborhood oppose the concept of affordable housing on the site.

    It is the refusal to include any parking spots that will have a material impact not just on residents but also on visitors.

    We can say all we want about reducing cars in the city but people moving in are going to have cars whether we want them to or not.

    1. Not if planning can increase the ambient unpleasantness of owning a car. You’ll stop driving. We’ll build adequate transit once people care more about it than housing.

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