CFAH

Purchased for a breathless “$1,700 per square foot,” or “$1.65 million for a tear down(!),” in the third quarter of 2019, plans to raze the uninhabitable 950-square-foot Portola District home that sits on a nearly 10,000-square-foot lot at 666 Hamilton Street have been drawn.  And if approved by Planning next week, the parcel will be subdivided into three equally-sized lots and three new single-family homes designed by Mason Kirby could rise up to 32 feet in height on the site, each with a ground floor “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (ADU) as well.

While the original plans had called for removing all the existing trees on the site, the plans have since been refined with a setback, in response to neighborhood concerns, to allow the prominent redwood tree to remain in place but rendering one building without a garage.

And as designed, the three modern homes would range in size from 1,837 to 2,158 square feet, not including the ADUs (which would range in size from 672 to 1,045 square feet).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Mutal Kudi

    I think it should say “uninhabitable” in the first paragraph, although granted in SF the definition of “habitable” is quite wide.

    [Editor’s Note: Since corrected above…]

  2. Posted by phongpei

    Wow-this design is completely in character with the neighborhood.

  3. Posted by maurice

    these look like really nice houses. I wonder who wants this house in this neighborhood?

    • Posted by haighter

      I was thinking the same thing. I wouldn’t want to own the best house in what’s still a marginal neighborhood.

      • Posted by Miraloma Man

        The Portola is so much better than so much of San Francisco these days. Why? McLaren Park, few techies, and a friendly multicultural population. It reminds me of what San Francisco used to be like. It’s real.

    • Posted by jimbo

      people who want to live next to a really large park

    • Posted by SFRealist

      This is a terrific neighborhood. I would love to live there.

    • Posted by jenofla

      Huh? I took my kids out for a walk to check out the greenhouses before they’re gone and then wandered through MacLaren Park. This neighborhood is sleepy, quiet, clean (that I could see), residential, and well-maintained. It was super cute! Reminded me of the Sunset from 15 years ago. This is totally ripe for gentrification (unfortunately for current residents?). It’s a hidden gem. It might not have the greatest retail/public transport around but for families who have one car (target customer for the new dev) who can’t afford a $2mil SFH, it will probably be the new “middle-class for SF” neighborhood.

    • Posted by Alex740

      I think we will be hearing a lot more about Portola in the coming years. The SFH’s are good sizes, well-built with large backyards and it’s well located in the sunny part of town, close enough to downtown with easy peninsula and east bay access. Plus a giant park, lots of schools & churches, vibrant but funky Main Street that appears to now be getting murals and greenery signaling an involved community and early stages of gentrification.

      The lynchpin in my mind will be Bayview given the proximity of these areas. When 3rd street condo development takes off, the Portola is the walkable & quite SFH residential neighborhood just far enough away with defined borders (freeways & park topography) that will help maintain a village within a city vibe. Very much a Bernal/Mission type of relationship.

  4. Posted by Panhandle Pro

    A couple of thoughts…

    – This area has sneaky potential for value increases / gentrification: residential but with access to a commercial strip, very close to McLaren Park, near that abandoned flower garden that will become (more) high end housing, good weather and freeway access. I’m bullish.

    – Is it me or is that one of the ugliest redwood trees you’ve ever seen? Not worth saving.

    – I know, trying to avoid NIMBYs, but this really should have gotten a lot more density. Townhomes at least.

    • Posted by Notcom

      It’s not you but are they?
      The tree in the photomontages looks completely different from what’s there (it doesn’t even look like a redwood)

    • Posted by SocketSite

      “I know, trying to avoid NIMBYs, but this really should have gotten a lot more density.”

      Not quite. The block is zoned for single-family homes (RH-1), not multi-family buildings. But the subdivision and ADUs as proposed would allow for the development of six units across the site (versus only one home as currently configured and zoned).

  5. Posted by MDG399

    Why they don’t just cut down the tree and plant 4 more instead of reconfiguring a house is a great example of SF uber lefty touchy feely overkill overreacting to everything nonsense

  6. Posted by Aaron

    The problem with this rendering is they don’t show the wires. There is no way the developer will pay to bury the wires but in my opinion that is a major deal breaker in the look of the finished product. I wish more neighborhoods would bury the wires. It is far more appealing.

    • Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

      Isn’t the existing queue of Rule 20 projects in PG&E territory already 50+ years long? You’ll be waiting a long long time to see these wires buried.

      • Posted by That Guy

        Not just the queue, but the velocity of undergrounding. How much is even being done today?

  7. Posted by SF SF

    It really should only be two houses since it looks like a double lot. This neighborhood will be recoiling when they develop the greenhouses into the proposed monstrosity. The Greenhouses should be kept as just that, an urban farm and an extension of McClaren Park since there isn’t a topography or room to put an urban farm over there. Really disappointing to see this current wave of recent development across the whole city right now where they are building things just too large of a scale for the neighborhood.

    The Portola will forever be ruined if they rehab the greenhouses and use it as an example of an urban farm. The developers should be selling it to a land trust for that purpose with the help of the city. It’s been there so long it should be grandfathered in.

    As far as this packed multi unit on a quiet road if I were the neighbors I’d be saying not on my street or the greenhouse housing block development either. The streets may be sleepy now but with more and more planning like this it will only add to traffic or congestion.

    If the city of San Francisco is willing to save a redwood tree than they can at least put forth an effort for the greenhouses to be an urban farm. The neighborhood should be fighting these out of scale projects that are popping up on any square inch of land that becomes available when the whole Candlestick Park redevelopment has stalled and a dusty wasteland right now. Yes but please to the powers at be in SF planning department, please stop proposing all this out of scale building especially in the Portola District where so far mostly been steered clear of.

    Also I wonder if there is any way the unit can be set back where the old oak or maple tree is and then just have one garage entrance for all the units. The oak tree looks to be a heritage tree as well so should be saved. Still this looks like a two house lot max with regular height relative to the other houses.

    • Posted by Plugger

      Agree traffic will be a nightmare once this is built, backed up for hours.

      Just like you, I’d like to see more housing, just Not In My Back Yard.

  8. Posted by puff#2

    I agree with Alex740 above. The Portola neighborhood is the best kept secret and it just keeps getting better. Recent winner of most street trees planted, creative and beautiful green spaces popping up everywhere and a downtown that is reimagining itself into something vibrant and beloved by very active and commuted neighbors. Buy now and buy low(ish) before the word gets out. The Portola District is San Francisco’s Garden District and greenhouses are just the beginning.

    • Posted by gohan

      Its OK, but it’s just average houses packed together with not much special about the commercial street and bad transit. You can get that all along the peninsula. You’re paying for a SF address without much SF. Bayview and Visitation Valley next door are pretty rough, worse than the Mission. And the quality of the houses means you’ll never get the streetscape of a Noe so I don’t think this will gentrify like Bernal/Noe did. It’s big sell was suburban style living with easy access to downtown. But with less interest in getting downtown that appeal gets lost

      • Posted by mae smith

        You are on target. A lot of insight for desirable characteristics that are lacking. Add terrible schools, poor political representation,Poor police response (if any) especially for property or vehicle crimes, cemented over lots with green space loss & many, many inlaw units. Often multiple inlaw units within one home. Illegal units are using community resources without contributing anything except unsafe density & congestion.

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