CFAH

Plans to demolish to the two single-family homes, three apartments and Twin’s Armoire building which span 842-860 California Street and back to 119 Joice are in the works.  And as envisioned, a modern 7-story building could rise up to 65 feet in height upon the aggregated 842 California Street site.

As designed by Cass Calder Smith, the development would yield a total of 24 residential units, with 21 market-rate condominiums, 3 market-rate rental units to replace the 3 which would be razed, and a combined 12 one-bedrooms, 10 twos and 2 threes.

A basement garage with its entrance on Joice would provide parking for 9 cars and 24 bikes. And a shared rooftop terrace with built-in seating, a communal fire pit and an outdoor kitchen/grill would yield sweeping city views.

Expect some pushback from the University Club up the hill which overlooks the site.  We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    It’s the existing short buildings which are not in character with the rest of the surrounding area. The opinions of the University Club shouldn’t have standing.

  2. Posted by RIPTwinsArmoire

    So if I buy a condo in this building am I also signing up to be part of an HOA that is the landlord to the three rental units? If so, this sounds messy and will inevitably involve high legal bills for the HOA. If not, who is the landlord for the three rental units? Will the rental units be subject to rent control if they are replacing three rent controlled units that are being demolished?

    • Posted by ST

      I have seen this before, where the HOA owns a couple of rental units. So if you buy a condo, you are entitled to a slice of the rental units. Of course, you will NOT see rental income coming to you, but will offset the HOA dues. It is an interesting setup for sure.

      • Posted by RIPTwinsArmoire

        Interesting? Sounds like a headache. A tenant is habitually late with rent, demands repairs, makes an uninhabitability claim, etc. and everyone who owns a condo shares the problem. So when you buy a unit here, you get the trifecta: the challenges of homeownership, the tyranny of an HOA, and the hell of being a San Francisco landlord. There are not enough “sweeping views” in the City to compensate for that.

        • Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

          How dare those serfs demand a habitable dwelling, amirite?

        • Posted by MDG399

          MY MY MY – Such a dark view of just about every aspect of property ownership, renters and life in general. I’m a property owner AND a landlord. Yeah, It has its moments. But TBH, my tenants are pretty awesome. Not all of them… But 90+% is a number I’d take any day. Cheers!

  3. Posted by ST

    I am predicting a $1600 per sf price tag, which does not help the affordability issue in SF. But, of course, it will be a much better alternative to those SOMA highrises, IMO

  4. Posted by leningrad

    “a communal fire pit and an outdoor kitchen/grill” is interesting in a city that bans natural gas in new construction.

    • Posted by Notcom

      Well now “community heating element” just doesn’t have the same flair …does it ??

      Any number of times I’ve walked by this property – which would be unremarkable on most any other street, but is notable here for it’s ‘holdout’ status – and wondered if it would still be there the next time I did so; guess the forces of darkness have caught up with it at last.

    • Posted by Martin

      I’m not sure why natural gas ban has to be a full ban. Leaving it available for restaurants and rooftop BBQ seems like a decent compromise. The alternative to a natural gas grill is a propane grill which burns roughly equally cleanly. Delivery of propane is likely more dirty due to need to fill and transport tanks.

      • Posted by Notcom

        The problem with your approach is that it presumes a continued infrastructure to support it: would it make sense to run a gas line into a building, then up to the roof, just for that one feature ?? and then from ever further mains as old ones wear out and (presumably) aren’t replaced ??
        Of course, that mainless future is a long ways off…quite possibly beyond the lifetime of this latest fad.

      • Posted by leningrad

        Martin: while I agree with you and your compromise, the law is the law. I am no attorney but what I read- “New homes, offices and restaurants in San Francisco will soon be powered by electricity alone.
        The city’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban natural gas in new buildings, …” emphasis on “new homes” and “restaurants”. I guess they can ban propane tanks in San Francisco also, but then we’d have to drive to Oakland or down the peninsula to buy them.

        • Posted by jimbo

          powered by electricity which ironically is generated by natural gas. it’s a virtue signalling policy which has no impact on the environment, but impacts homeowners and construction

          • Posted by SFRealist

            It has a huge impact and is not virtue signaling at all.

            #1. Natural gas pipes leak inside homes. Not much, but it doesn’t take much of a leak to cause serious health concerns.

            #2. Electricity will be generated less and less by natural gas and other fossil fuels and more and more by wind and solar. The price of renewables is dropping so quickly that within 5-10 years they will be the dominant source of electricity.

      • Posted by BTinSF

        Where I bought my condo 40 years ago they told us the building code in SF didn’t permit natural gas above the second floor. Hence we have electric kitchens in my building and no gas fireplaces or other uses of gas in the residences but the water is heated with gas in the basement and so is the pool.

        It seems like even that now ancient code (assuming we were told the truth) would have precluded a natural gas BBQ or fire pit on the roof, though.

        • Posted by jimbo

          we put in a natural gas fire pit and BBQ on our roof 3 years ago, all under code

          • Posted by jimbo

            the alternative is propane, which is even worse

  5. Posted by Tracey

    I will miss seeing the Wiebe twins, Rozzalynd and Josephine, who always scared me, and the Twins Armoire boutique. The twins and their boutique were some of my favorite old, weird San Francisco memories living in Lower Nob Hill in the 90s. Also RIP Vivian and Marion, my other favorite San Francisco twins.

  6. Posted by Bluntcard

    I’m not one to tell someone what to do with their own property but to be responsible for removing beautiful, older buildings and replacing them with a charmless monolith that will look dated within months is disheartening.

    • Posted by Zyzzx Road

      I would actually be curious as to how the Victorian Structure is not protected, it’s hard to imagine it’s removal being approved by planning? I could see them taking a similar approach to 200 Dolores maybe, and forcing them to preserve it and make it a part of the project.

      200 Dolores is rather successful from a histroic preservation perspective, albeit the contemporary portion of building is incedibly boring.

    • Posted by CalCulver

      ITA. I lived on Joice St. for 2 decades. The unique size and look of those buildings…..their history and story…..mixed in with their neighbors made this area special to me. Now to see them replaced by a faceless, dull, LA looking nothing condo is very disappointing. It’s like the charm and life of SF is purposefully being erased.

      • Posted by stevenj

        I lived on Sacramento St (1200 block) in the early 70’s when the Twin’s Armoire had only been open for a few years and walked a lot in the neighborhood frequently, especially the quiet alleys. Did you know that Gary Kamiya’s new book, The Spirits of San Francisco, features the fascinating history of Joice St in the first chapter? I’m going on 52 years in the City. So much of our architectural history has been wiped out.

    • Posted by Scott F

      Cities change. The new building may not be your taste, but it’ll be treasured one day by a future generation that has fond memories of growing up amid such buildings – just as you may feel today about Victorians, which were the tacky, cookie-cutter housing of their day.

      • Posted by Matt C

        People change cities. Sometimes for the better and sometimes a new development is just an extraction of resources. Though when built some thought Victorian and Edwardian architecture was tacky -clearly many did not as they had a clean slate in SF and chose to build with interpretations of Victorian and Edwardian styles. The primary function of the proposed structure’s non-specific design is to appeal to international wealth… so it’s a building meant to extract resources, not provide an asset to the people of SF.

  7. Posted by Drew

    It would be a shame to tear down that beautiful Edwardian, destroying our town bit-by-bit in the name of capital appreciation. Apparently we’ve learned nothing from the 1950s.

    • Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

      I like how you amateur preservationists can’t get your story straight about whether this frightfully ugly building is an Edwardian or a Victorian. Either way, it’s a structure of no particular merit. An eyesore really.

    • Posted by Patrick

      Agreed. This is a super-cute block, which I always enjoy seeing when I ride by on the cable car. Sad that it will be replaced by yet another faceless condo tower.

  8. Posted by Dixon Hill

    Most likely, the three rental units will be condos with rental restrictions. They will be sold-off by the developer to an investor.

    • Posted by RIPTwinsArmoire

      So someone can buy those three condos to rent out but they are forbidden from living in them?

  9. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    Instead of the demolition of the Edwardian flats I’d rather see the developers acquire the surface parking lot a block further down on California and Sabin Pl. and double the height of their proposal. Phenomenal view of Coit Tower to be had.

  10. Posted by SweetiePie

    I shopped at Twins Armoire for its last 15 years, this was after walking and driving by for 15 years, looking in the windows and feeling too intimidated to go in. Finally got up my courage and to my delight the Wiebe Twins were welcoming, friendly and made me feel comfortable.

    I’m not the feather boa type but now have a collection of one of a kind pieces of jewelry you’d never see anywhere else, scarves, jackets, sweaters, coats, wraps etcetcetcetc. Never wore a hat before Josephine got me started with “Fascinators” and I now have a collection of the most fabulous and outrageous hats…..always get compliments.

    I miss “The Twins” very much. In earlier years, they were the very beautiful Glamour Girls of Nob Hill. It is sad to see that property replaced with another faceless building — no charm, style or personality.

  11. Posted by SweetiePie

    Thinking it over, I can see the new buildings more as a FACELIFT, instead of faceless.

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