Designed by the O’Brien Brothers and built to serve as a public garage back in 1925, the three-level building on the northwest corner of Franklin and Pine was recently identified as “one of the best examples of a public garage in [San Francisco’s Historic Auto Row] area, due to its longevity, integrity, and capacity” and likely eligible to be added to California’s Register of Historical Resources, making it a Category A historical resource per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

That being said, the corner site, which had been leased to “The Stable,” which specialized in servicing Porsches for over four decades before shuttering a few years ago, is zoned for development up to 130 feet in height.

And with that in mind, 1601 Franklin Street, which has been short-term leased to another auto repair shop, is now on the market and positioned as an “excellent investment opportunity located in the highly desirable neighborhood,” without a printed price.

25 thoughts on “Historic Auto Row Resource in Play, Zoned for 130 Feet in Height”
  1. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy of how we seem to have a historical desire to save obsolete, ancient parking garages / auto repair businesses but then we at the same time have a pressing desire as a city to try to remove every single parking spot and traffic lane possible to vehicular traffic in this town.

    1. Agree, old garages, dealerships, and autobody shops—unless they are particularly spectacular buildings like a couple of the old dealerships—are not worth protecting during a homelessness/housing crisis in a *transit first* city. Yet, SF also created PDR zoning that protects autobody shops from being converted to housing! So many hypocrisies.

      1. But in fact, this parcel isn’t zoned PDR (nor are most service buildings in Commercial Districts). This site is actually zoned NC-3 which encourages housing development over a floor (or two) of active commercial space (or even a complete residential conversion if conditionally approved).

        1. Yeah, I wasn’t suggesting this lot was zoned PDR, just adding to the nonsensical hypocrisy of our planning department. My understanding is that many autobody shops in SoMa and central SF are zoned for PDR.

      2. “transit first” is one of the stupidest phrases ever invented for San Francisco. This is not Paris. SF may have become “Lyft & Uber first”, but automobiles are and will remain the main method of transportation for a substantial proportion of the residents, at least until the end of the second term of Barron Trump.

        1. Transit still moves an order of magnitude more people than Lyft and Uber, and that’s not going to change, for some pretty fundamental reasons.

          1. What’s your source here?

            According to this, Uber/Lyft take 170,000 trips/day. According to this, MUNI’s daily ridership is 162,500/day. If these numbers are anywhere near accurate, it’s not an order of magnitude.

          2. I have no numbers to share, but if yours are correct, then transit is indeed moving way more people than uber/lyft because Muni is not the only transit system operating in SF: AC Transit, BART, Golden Gate transit, etc. all operate here.

    2. The historical protection is of the structure, not the business, right? And PDR zoning doesn’t limit the businesses to just automotive. There’s no reason why a new tenant cannot convert a former auto repair shop into one that produces architectural features.

      1. My understanding is that zoned PDR space has to be replaced if it is destroyed or the use is changed (separate from the issues with this structure’s historic designation).

    3. They city is trying to remove *every single* parking spot and traffic lane? I look out the window and see parking spots up and down the block, and the streets are still dominated by vehicular traffic. Are you really that threatened by some bike lanes and mass transit improvements?

    4. Brilliant – it’s beyond hypocrisy. It’s all because the garage-savers and car-eliminators want to turn the second-densest city in the US into Bolinas (while at the same time driving up hosing prices so middle class people can’t afford to live here).

    5. This makes no sense. The entire purpose of historic preservation is to preserve interesting examples of buildings which are obsolete– functionally, structurally, even aesthetically– which would otherwise be destroyed in favor of something modern. That doesn’t mean you don’t want to embrace modern best practices when constructing new ones. If cars are obsolete in SF, that’s all the more reason to save interesting examples of car-based infrastructure (mind you, there’s a good argument to be made that we enough examples of historic garages.)

      We saved the cable cars, too, but not every line, and we’re not adding more.

  2. Maybe move the 888 Post navigation center here? Much better deal than 888 Post, they want $11 million for this site. Not to take away from this Post but will be a major disappointment if the city leases 888 Post at the rents they are considering. The buyer only paid 10 million, they would not sell for 29 million, if the city doesn’t take that building it will sit vacant for years.

  3. I believe the building is owned by the noted pornographer, Peter Acworth (DBA Cybernet Entertainment LLC). Reportedly, he moved his operations from San Francisco’s Armory building to Nevada because of California’s new law requiring condoms to be used during the filming of adult videos.

    Potential buyers touring this property may also want to don hazmat suits, as well as commission biological testing during their due diligence period (no pun intended).

  4. as a 4th generation italian american sf born, who had the unfortunate experience of moving to the peninsula when I was 6. I love the city and die a tiny death each time I come to the city, it is so beautiful/ ugly, elegant/despondent. I don’t know, but I feel the pain of trying to keep it still the city and attempting to appease all the factions out there. it is sad, but I do love the conversation here.

  5. The city has accepted PDR protection is a failed experiment and are loosening their criteria in an attempt to keep up with reality.

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