As noted by a plugged-in reader, Planning Department notices have been hung on the historic Mission District garage at 3140-3150 16th Street and a public hearing is in the works.

But having been thwarted in their attempts to build condos, convert the garage into a 20,000-square-foot restaurant and event space, or offload the property to a private elementary school (or another buyer), Mx3 Ventures, which purchased the garage for a record-setting $8.7 million back in 2013, is now seeking permission to simply refurbish the building’s shell and convert the structure into four “Design Professional” spaces (sans parking), a designation which would exclude any restaurant, retail or residential uses, as newly rendered below.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by L'Urbanista_SF

    The smell of desperation is palpable.

    • Posted by Notcom

      I like the smell…lemony, w/ slight hints of fig.
      (Notice the ominous phalanx of Arecaceae on the left, tho: they’re still moving into place and once the people have gone…)

    • Posted by Michael

      Reads like resignation to me.

  2. Posted by maurice

    This should have been condos. This has no redeeming historic value, and is in a transit rich corridor. Total waste of a great location

  3. Posted by bill

    Same owner of this garage trying sell a $28 million home on the Marina Green…

  4. Posted by two beers

    “Design Professional” spaces….

    SF is already glutted with empty, phony “creative” space that is little more than office space with lime green furniture and fewer walls.

    What SF needs, and what this building is absolutely perfect for, are individual RAW workspaces for artists, craftworkers, light industry, and the like. SF needs more spaces for this underserved sector, because most of the old ones have been converted into now rapidly-vacating cubicles for freshly-minted coders, and condolofts for foreign capital flight, AirBnB hosts, gamblers real estate speculators, and other launderers of wealth. It might hurt your feelings, but no one now wants what you’re offering.

    I emphasize RAW, because artists, crafts people, and light industry don’t need subzeros, granite countertops, valet parking, and fully-equipped gyms; they needed reasonably-priced space where they don’t have to worry about spilling a little paint on the floor.

    The sooner landlords and developers comprehend the upheaval now in progress, the sooner they’ll be able to benefit by supplying the type of space that is in demand. I know many of you feel entitled to the out-sized historical gains you reaped in this last run-up, but the market doesn’t care about your feelings. Find that need and fill it, and you’ll make money, just maybe not as much as you’ve become accustomed to.

    • Posted by Jake T

      All those people live in Sacramento now. The ones with some foresight moved to LA and New York 20 years ago.

      • Posted by two beers

        Although many members of the working class and creative communities you look down on were defenestrated so that landlords and developers could make a quick buck by destroying the tightly-knit fabric of certain SF neighborhoods, you’re wrong that they’ve all left. When you see other landlords and developers cashing in on this re-emerging market and you’re left trying to fill your “creative space,” don’t say “whocouldaknowed?”

        • Posted by Jake T

          Wonder what it is about San Francisco developers that makes them both financially less successful yet more ruinous to the creative fabric than every Asian city with lower prices, better housing stock, and higher land values relative to income.

          • Posted by two beers

            Although SF developers might pat themselves on the back and claim their success has been due to the Galtian heroics of bold and brave genius risktakers, they were simply in the right place at the right time to take part in a subsidized goldrush predicated on destroying a defenseless and unorganized working class. Any and every real estate shmoe in SF with access to capital made a killing over the last decade, because the trillions of dollars of quantitative easing and low-interest loans had to go somewhere.

            When there is limitless funding for endless startup pizza-delivery scooter IOT juicer apps, it doesn’t take any special talent or vision to buy a warehouse, blow out the walls, expose the bricks and beams, and throw in a bunch of lime green furniture and ping pong tables. I’m curious what you guys will do now that the music has stopped and the chairs are being whisked away. Will you keep chasing last decade’s now-vanished unicorn fairy of guaranteed profit (i.e. luxury lofts and “creative” space), or will you provide buildings that people who (still) live here actually want and need?

          • Posted by sockettome

            Exactly – well said, two beers.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      No serious aspiring artist or craftsperson would look for a large studio space in this part of SF. Even the low rent spaces in Hunters Point are full and probably waitlisted. Better leases can be found to the east, Richmond, Vallejo, and beyond.

      • Posted by two beers

        “Even the low rent spaces in Hunters Point are full and probably waitlisted”

        If there’s a wait-list for this kind of space, that proves my point! And even though you can’t see the artists for the condos, there are still a lot of artists. musicians, and craftsfolk here (just nowhere near as many as there used to be). There is a serious lack of supply of this kind of space, because most of it was turned into now-empytying condos and offices. How shortsighted do landlords have to be to think they’re still going to get top-dollar for useless, fake “creative” space? Where is your landlord/developer “vision”? Or are you just a herd-follower, and going to wait until another developer gets in on this first?

        Look at the listings on craigslist. There’s no end to office and fake “creative” space, but you can count artist spaces on everal fingers. Doesn’t that tell you that there is a glut on one hand, and a demand that needs to be filled on the other?

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Hunters Point is quite a different place than the epicenter of the Mission. Rents are significantly cheaper in HP.

          Aspiring artists need low rent. The higher the rent, the more time you have to spend on your day job and the less you can spend on your art.

    • Posted by Chris

      The owner is not going to take a loss renting this out as an artist space or any other use. They are in the business of making a profit, not running a charity. That said, there is absolutely nothing that would prevent an artist from leasing design professional space to use for an artistic workspace, so if there is a demand as you believe those artists can certainly make an offer when these spaces come up for rent.

      • Posted by two beers

        Why would the owner have to take a loss renting to artists? Are you saying that the only valid measure is being able to charge historically-high, distorted rents that obtained two years ago? A reasonable rent in line with what current demand will pay is by definition a loss?

        This is still raw space. No developer has put in the lime green furniture, ping pong tables, and drop ceilings that any sentient artist will take a hatchet to. Once a developer has put in their fake “creative” space, the developers will think they’re entitled to class A office rates, rates far beyond what artists will pay.

        Why not skip the whole fake “design office” B.S., and offer raw space to artists at lower expense to you and the artists? Why not actually, you know, rent the space out to people who will use it, than put a lot of money into, only to sit vacant for another decade?

        • Posted by Adam

          As an artist and musician, I really appreciate what you’re saying Two Beers. I miss the days of raw warehouse spaces along 3rd St and throughout Oakland. That said, I can’t imagine the developers who bought this for 9 Million dollars will be able to rent even undeveloped raw space like this for anything close to making sense. Sigh.

          I’m not sure who the “design professionals” would be, but I have to assume that would mean architects, interior designers, design firms, maybe a small ad agency.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Per Section 890.28 of San Francisco’s Planning Code, the Design Professional classification is defined as: “An office use which provides professional design services to the general public or to other businesses and includes architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, interior design and industrial design services.”

            The Design Professional classification does not include: (1) the design services of graphic artists or other visual artists; (2) the services of advertising agencies; or administrative services, financial services or medical service activities.

          • Posted by two beers

            The story shows that the developer is already willing to take a loss by trying to cut bait, but there’s already a massively-swelling glut for what they propose to build. Instead of four bespoke 5000 sq ft spaces at $4/ft doomed to 25% occupancy at best if they’re very lucky, they could serve up smaller (say, 200 to 500 sq ft) raw spaces at $2-$3/ft at 100% occupancy, and enjoy the good will that comes with serving the community while avoiding the economic and public relations disaster that their current proposal bodes.

            Bringing in a hundred or so artists would be great for the neighborhood, and I’m sure the Roxie and the bars, restaurants, and coffee houses would all agree.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Office space in San Francisco has been running closer to $7 per square foot on average, with a vacancy rate of around 10 percent.

          • Posted by JDR

            This “investor” is going to lose his ass. Greed doesn’t always work out.

          • Posted by Adam

            “The Design Professional classification does not include: (1) the design services of graphic artists or other visual artists; (2) the services of advertising agencies; or administrative services, financial services or medical service activities.”

            Interesting, thanks for clarifying. Wonder why these sorts of differentiations are codified so specifically. It seems this sort of “prejudice” wold have repercussions economically.

  5. Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

    should’ve been 10 floors of residential over retail

    no parking. preserve the facade

    • Posted by Melissa Burnley

      Not great for people that live here.

    • Posted by kris

      I live four doors down from this build and would be fine with that.

  6. Posted by john parker willis

    Having been a real estate developer for 35 years and at one time wanting to own this building but now focused on other things, I question whether the highest and best use, from a community perspective, is still more condos.

    The housing crisis in SF is not merely due to the lack of, just more housing, but due to the income disparity between that of the newly affluent, thriving, and largely tech, portion of the population and the struggling segment that in many instances serves that affluent segment but who are often clinging to the anchor of rent control as their last hope to stay in SF.

    • Posted by Jake T

      Wrong. Income disparity is not the reason 3 new graduate techies bid up dilapidated 3 bedroom Victorians to $5k a pop to shack up together like they’re 18. Even if they made a fraction of what they do, there’d still be hundreds of thousands of displaced households that have moved on to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Dallas to thrive on $80k of household income.

      • Posted by two beers

        Classism doesn’t convey as much dignity as those who exhibit it seem to believe.

      • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

        Normally, I’d concede that it is common for people working at tech companies who are fairly young and just starting out in S.F. to bid up what used to be family housing by combining incomes with roomates. But what is the impact on prices of that practice? Do we have any survey data that would tell us if that phenomenon is moving the market meaningfully more than developers and flippers removing existing housing, redeveloping them and pricing them for higher income workers?

        Now, I’d say that this is a comment that is mostly relevant to The Before Times, and it would be interesting to survey folks who graduated in Spring 2020 and see if they are shacking up with multiple strangers, two or three to a bedroom like they’re 18 in dilapidated 3 bedroom Victorians. If they are working their first job out of college, they are working from home and because of Zoom and tools like it, they don’t need to work in S.F. so they can save all that rent money by living and working out of their parent’s homes. That’s what I would do, and I am kinda jealous I didn’t have that opportunity to save up all that cash toward an eventual down payment on a home of my own.

  7. Posted by Ken m

    “design professional”? These developers are having a hard time accepting the fact the gogo 2010s are over.

    Many many many of these jobs are never coming back

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