Planning Angles for Housing Atop the Old Bro’s BuildingDecember 1, 2020
As we outlined back in September, plans to add four new floors of office space atop the old Roos Bro’s clothing and gent’s furnishings building at 2 Stockton Street, which Forever 21 had most recently occupied, have been drafted and submitted to Planning for feedback.
The proposed addition would yield 49,999 square feet of all new office space, which is one foot below the mark at which a coveted allocation from the City’s limited pool of allowable Large Cap office developments would be needed. But the draft plans call for converting 8,060 square feet of existing administrative space into designated office space as well, an approach which Planning has flagged as a de facto conversion. And as such, the project as proposed “would require authorization of all 58,058 square feet of office use” and require an allocation from the aforementioned Large Cap pool, a pool which currently contains 24,949 square feet of allocable space with nearly 5 million square feet of Large Cap projects on the boards.
In addition, the project would need a Conditional Use Authorization (CUA) to proceed as proposed and Planning is “encouraging” the project team, “to look at ways to eliminate the need for a CUA by either reducing the size of the office tenant spaces, or looking to other uses that could be principally permitted.”
Speaking of which, as also noted by Planning: “Please consider that housing is principally permitted in [this] zoning district, and that this zoning district has no dwelling unit density limit.” And as such, “the addition of housing to this property would require neither a Conditional Use Authorization nor an Office Allocation.”
We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
How fortunate Planning caught this “innocent mistake” before it was actually built out and became one of those oops-but-it’s-too-late-to-go-back controversies. (Or maybe it’s really fortunate that the plan bolted clear over the 50K limit and spared us a debate about 50,003gsf vs.49,999 (depending on whether/not a broom closet should count as “office space”).
That having been said, one wonders if perhaps the developers didn’t propose housing because they know something we also know – or at least suspect: few would want to live here.
And yet, one block away, at the corner of Stockton and Geary: Plans for Condos Atop Iconic Union Square Building Progress.
Ten stories up.
Across from a park.
On streets w/o the constant grinding of trolley wheels.
I meant ‘here” quite literally, as in that particular building, not just “downtown”, in general.
Or as some might say: “location, location. location”
And yet, there’s housing on the block across the street. On lower levels. On a Cable Car line. And not across from a park.
OK, And please get back to me w/ an explanation of “Yelpers report this location has closed.”
The Yelpers would be wrong. Go figure.
Indeed; you quickly learned what I did. Nonetheless, ‘yelp!’ – which IIRC is HQ’ed in a building that was going to be condo’ed, but was ultimately retained for office use instead – can tell us something: if [apartments.com] is correct – admittedly always iffy – then the going rental rate for said ‘Odeon’ (~$36sf) is quite a bit less than what offices will fetch (even accounting for the differing service levels required b/w residential and commercial). So maybe there are more than 29 people in DTSF willing to live in a noisy former dept store, but not so many as to risk finding out….and not for less money.
That, methinks, is the developers take on it.
We are talking about 8,000 square feet, which is negligible amount. If Planning, pushes on the issue, the developer can easily use it for retail, building services or something else. It’s not a road block at all, unless the developer is somehow insistent about getting that 8,000 square feet for office space.
One wonders why the Strada Investment Group didn’t propose to demolish the building completely, since it’s been remodeled so much it’s lost any connection to it’s original design, and build a residential condo tower. Perhaps it’s because they know something we also know – or at least suspect: it’s much more profitable to convert an existing building to office space and lease the result out to an operation like WeWork.
Would you seriously develop a project that was dependent on ‘WeWork’ as the tenant (or perhaps more importantly, if you were a lender, would you loan to someone who saw THAT as the revenue stream)? Or maybe you just meant “like” in the most general of ways.
There probably are more “adventurous” lenders out there who would be willing make a play like that. My guess is that they would charge usurious interest rates, and not be as averse to foreclosure as a more conservative lending institution might be, especially if they get to foreclose on a piece of SF real estate that’s located in such a prime location.
I wouldn’t say it’s lost connection to its original design. The arched windows are the most distinctive feature and they are still there. It’s still recognizably the same building (which isn’t the case for, say, the Call building’s deco remodel)
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