Plans to redevelop the used car lot on the northwest corner of South Van Ness Avenue and 15th Street have been refined and are now closer to reality in the Mission.

As we first reported back in 2016, the proposed development could rise up to eight (8) stories in height, with 188 units of “group housing” averaging 200 square feet apiece and a corner retail space, assuming a state Density Bonus is approved for the site which is only zoned for development up to 58 feet.

Each unit would be outfitted with a convertible murphy bed, compact fridge, sink, microwave and private bathroom. But the toilet sinks have been eliminated from the proposed floor plans by Prime Design.

From the project team which has now submitted their formal application to proceed:

“The proposed group housing project is a modern day version of the affordable SRO hotels that were populated by San Francisco’s working class, transient laborers, and immigrants during the last century.

The same dynamics that attracted the working class to these SRO hotels 100 years ago are at play with the current development.

The efficient, well designed spaces offer affordable market rate, private living spaces that are located within easy walking distance to a variety of public transportation connecting residents to employment and recreation opportunities.”

And with that reminder of how fortunes, needs and desirability can change, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Johnny

    The prior toilet sink layout would seem to make the space seem less cramped.

  2. Posted by Notcom

    What a shame: we’ll be deprived of knowledge of whether/not those seemingly Onion-inspired devices really work (or even it they truly exist)

    • Posted by Zig

      They do indeed. I put a powder room in my house and we considered a combo for about 1 minute and decided to demo a wall and grab space from another closet instead.

    • Posted by Freeloader

      They do exist. A friend put one in her Castro condo (she lived in Japan for 7 years, and I think was inspired after seeing them there).

      • Posted by Pablito

        Pretty much the whole country of Japan has toilet sinks. They work great.

        • Posted by Notcom

          Doesn’t not being able to stand in front of the sink cause inconvenience?

        • Posted by Hunter

          And help to waste less water! California should start putting them in public restrooms.

      • Posted by redseca2

        One thing about toilet sinks in japan is that although they do technically save space, the Japanese tend to then go the opposite direction with a decadent bath.

        One friend’s apartment I have stayed in Shinjuku-ku over the years does have a toilet sink in a small 1/2 bathroom. But she also has a large (8 by 10 foot+) bathroom. The floor is open wood decking for drainage. For cleaning up, there is a wall shower and wall mounted faucet with a couple low stools and small buckets. The teak soaking tub sits in the middle of the room – you can walk completely around it. So much for space saving.

  3. Posted by excuse me while i kiss the burrito

    Awesome build it!

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Dropping the toilet sinks is a good call. Though recycling gray water is a great idea in a city that imports its water from a hundred miles away, the toilet-sink idea is easily misunderstood and ridiculed by the ignorant.

  5. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    “The same dynamics that attracted the working class to these SRO hotels 100 years ago” might be “at play with the current development” but I’d be willing to bet that these units are going to be a lot more expensive in inflation-adjusted terms than SRO hotel rooms circa 1918 even once you account for things that are now mandated by the building code. Few working class or transient laborers are going to be living in these units. I’d also bet that the developer’s going to make money hand over fist on this.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      You’re right. Like for example, $2000/month in 2018 is the equivalent of $113/month in 1918. There’s no way an SRO unit cost anywhere near that in 1918. because the average for a 2 bedroom in 1979 was like $435.

      • Posted by folderpete

        Even less than $435 @ 15th & SVN, as it was less @ 17th & Dolores.

        That said, SROs of the era did not have, as standard, the luxury of in-room toilet, kitchenette or shower. Nor were they likely to have seismic safety standards, fire-suppression systems, or, I suspect, heat and insulation.

        And, of course, with SROs of the era, workers worked for less and developers donated their efforts.

    • Posted by zig

      Does this argue for more or fewer SROs then?

      We even have old SROs in the downtowns along the Peninsula. Maybe we need more

  6. Posted by Enneahedron

    Looks good to me. Build it!

  7. Posted by scott f

    Glad the Elsey brothers are still trying to make this happen. (They’re from Kansas and seemed in over their heads at the raucous pre-app meeting.)

    This is an option that makes a lot of sense. I was just reading in the Chron how the UCSF medical school has a shortage of student housing. Well, it’s a quick ride from here to campus on the 22/55, so for a budget-minded student who wants their own space, this could be perfect.

  8. Posted by Cynthia

    scott f, no student will be able to afford this housing.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Their parents might be able to afford these apartments. Back when I was in school some students lived large in 1BR apartments to themselves, financed by Bank of Mom and Dad. Those were the same students driving new cars.

      • Posted by Cynthia

        You don’t make decisions based on what 1% of a group will do.

  9. Posted by haighter

    This is awesome. Many young single people in the city never cook anyway so it’s great to give them an option not to have to pay for a kitchen they never use

  10. Posted by zig

    Back in the day working class bachelors lived in SROs and the more well off lived in hotels like those in lower Nob Hill. Seems more normal actually than living with strangers as roommates in shared flats which is hippie stuff

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