As we first reported last year:

Plans to redevelop the southwest corner of Potrero Avenue and 23rd Street, across from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital in the Mission, have been in the works since 2013.

But having been built in 1925 and identified as a potential historic resource, the former gas station building and its porte cochere on the corner, which is currently home to the M Toich & Son auto shop, is a complicating factor.

As previously envisioned, the 168-square-foot structure was to be dismantled, restored and re-assembled atop a new three-story residential building to rise across the entire site, serving as the new development’s sunroom. But those plans have since been abandoned.

And as newly proposed, the 168-square-foot structure and its porte cochere will be rehabilitated and remain in place, connected to a new four-story building to rise across the rest of the 1100 Potrero Avenue site with four new condos over four stacked parking spaces and roughly 670 square feet of ground floor retail space including the rehabilitated gas station structure.

And as newly rendered by Topetcher Architecture below, with one two-bedroom and three threes over 660 square feet of retail space and a four-car garage as expected, the revised plans for the 1100 Potrero Avenue project could be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission in a weeks time.

In related news, have we mentioned the bid to add the 10-acre Laurel Heights campus at 3333 California Street to the National Register of Historic Places?

13 thoughts on “Raising the Roof (And Not) on Potrero Avenue Take Two”
  1. I live a couple blocks from here, and love this little gas station. But the site is underutilized. Good to see it being used. That said, I’m really tired of these faux-preservation projects, where an old facade is preserved, while there is an entirely new building behind. (This one is kind of a cute compromise.)

    Legitimate historic preservation has its place, but preservation seems to have become a mania and has taken over the entire city, via the Preservation Planners at the Planning Department, who, in my opinion have way too much power and discretion.

    1. Use to live a block from this site as well, very happy to see the little station being preserved. It will make a great coffee shop with some outdoor seating and add to the charm and desirability of the neighborhood.

      As an architect myself, Couldn’t disagree with you more about saving facades, it’s not faux preservation, it’s just plain preservation. Unlike other places where they are building fake fascades, we have the real deal. These facades create a street scale, sense of history and charm that financially isn’t viable to build anymore due to material and skilled labor costs. SF is desireable in large part because of our old buildings, It’s part of why people want to live here opposed to other cities. So why would we loose the part of these buildings that most people experience in favor of budget driven designs with mass produced materials that can be found just about everywhere else?

      Besides, retaining facades and completely changing what’s behind it, has been going on all over the world for hundreds of years if not more. I understand why only saving one wall may seem silly but any full renovation to a building is really no different and most people seem to accept that as preservation. Seems like an arbitrary line is being drawn here when the end result is the same.

      I have a lot of complaints about the planning department and the draconian building process in this city but preservation should IMO be fundamental in.a city who’s charm brings in millions of tourist dollars a year and where many historic buildings will most likely be lost in future earthquakes.

      1. Transplant here. I moved to San Francisco for my career, not old buildings and especially not a crummy old gas station. Try again.

        Am I wrong? Then I would love to see which tourist maps include a marker for this gas station, can you show me pictures? What page will I find the gas station on in the Lonely Planet guide to San Francisco? I’ve got friends visiting next month—can you recommend a tour bus company to use so we can make sure this jewel is on the route?

        On a sad note, I have to say that until I started following Bay Area development discussions two years ago, I would have assumed your comment was a parody. I was unaware that the notion of a historic gas station could elicit anything other than laughter, and my ignorance was bliss. I pine for my lost innocence. We are actually having a conversation about whether to preserve a gas station. What even is my life. It would be better to preserve nothing than take it to such absurd lengths.

        1. You really don’t appreciate San Francisco, do you? It’s strange to me that we should consider your opinions on our lovely city when you a) just moved here for a job and b) clearly despise everything about it. Why don’t you go tear down your own town?

    2. If we don’t preserve neat stuff in SF it will begin to look like West Hollywood, a curse I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  2. While I don’t think it’s necessary to preserver this, like Torger I do love this little gas station. And I kinda don’t hate this option, particular as it will re-used it for retail. Directly across from the hospital, it would make a good lunch spot.

    This is preferable to the scheme that placed it on the roof. But, still, I’d just tear it down….we don’t really need to save every archaic building type just because it’s old.

  3. Past-their-prime farm animals are – proverbially at least – sent out into the pasture; I’m wondering if we can’t do the same with these overly-cute but otherwise underwhelming types of structures: buy a few acres out in the country – Marin or somewhere similar – and move them there. Probably the several hundred thousands (or millions) of dollars that would entail make the idea impractical, but I agree with the others…this is a picture I would have expected to see 26 days ago.

  4. Surprised no one has commented so far on the low density. Even with the silly gas station being preserved, which I agree is not necessary, this could accommodate 12-18 apartments were it not for the RH-3 zoning. The Home-SF density bonus would make that possible in return for 30% of units being below-market-rate, but doesn’t apply here because this is part of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan area.

    According to the city, the goal of MAP2020, a new plan being advanced for the Mission District, is to increase Affordable Housing partly through density bonuses:

    “1H. Examine and develop zoning strategies to produce more affordable housing. The Planning Department will look into feasible zoning changes (e.g., height limits on key sites, density limits, etc.) to produce more affordable housing, both greater inclusionary and 100% affordable. This work began in Summer 2016 and is expected to conclude in Spring 2017, with any legislative changes requiring environmental review taking longer to come into effect.”

    But no such proposals have yet to be announced. Allowing Home-SF within the Mission District is an easy tweak, and this is a case study of how it could get us up to 5 below-market-rate homes on just one small site.

  5. The nice thing is that retaining the porte cochere (these things sound so better in a romance language) is that the cortner is opened up a bit. This project is not built wall to wall, de rigeuer in SF, and that is good.

    The building itself is nicely done. Setback at the top floor, roofline overhang, a mix of façade materials and window styles. The result is an interesting structure worthy of a second glance – rare as that is in SF.

    One negative – the porte cochere defines this building and should be further defined itself. The roof material needs to be improves upon and the flanking spaces need greenery to set them off. Shrubs would be perfect – many do well in shade areas as this will be.

    Kudos to the architects for trying to make “civic artistry” – even though their hand may have been forced by historical building issues. Such a contrast and juxtaposition to the 4840 Mission project. Basically that project is a Soviet era housing block with it’s own enclosed “marching area”. The architects of this Portreo/23rd project are to be further commended on this project as it is small. Architectural fees a larger factor to the bottom line. 4840 is a huge, by comparison, project and its architects phoned it in – or left it to the interns.

  6. I am an architect in SF for 10 years , previously in NYC, and I think this “preservation” nonsense they pull here is absolutely ridiculous. Did James Dean get gas here before driving off the ledge? Even still, there is not one shred of preservable entity from this gas station. This was done by the planning board to appease some salty old folk that had their 5 min of fame crying at the podium foreshadowing how a gas station’s removal would stunt their life. Why is everyone afraid of new building development, and suddenly appeased with some ridiculous sanction like this?

    I’m so tempted to register pseudo-egregious claims about the very house they live in (the complainers) and tell them how it should retain the house’s ‘original color’ , how the paint color they currently use has ripped away a swath of the very fabric of the neighborhood that holds us all together, how their removal of the old, original plumbing fixtures (including the overhead tank toilet) are an abomination and merely succumb to the tech-infiltration of this fine city without considering it’s past. For shame. I demand that these folks return it to the condition it was when new, at their cost.

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