Speaking of bonus-sized infill buildings poised to rise in the Mission, the refined plans for a 65-foot-tall building to rise on the San Francisco Auto Works parcel at 1021 Valencia Street are slated to be approved this week.

While the parcel is technically only zoned for development up to 55 feet in height, the project team has invoked the State’s Density Bonus for the extra height and mass.

And as such, the development could yield 24 residential units, a mix of 12 one-bedrooms and 12 twos, over a ground floor retail space, as recently refined and newly rendered by BDE Architecture below:

And while a Discretionary Review (DR) was requested, based on a projected loss of light, privacy and quality of life for a number of adjacent tenants, and the development as proposed would result in the loss of neighborhood Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR) space, San Francisco’s Planning Department staff is recommending that the City’s Planning Commission approve the development and density bonus as proposed, noting that “the Project is, on balance, consistent with the Mission Area Plan” and would yield “a substantial amount of new housing,” two (2) units of which would be offered at below market rates (BMR).

27 thoughts on “Challenged Infill on Valencia Street Slated for Approval”
  1. Too bad it isn’t the blah looking one story building on the right being replaced instead.

    1. I love that 50s building to the right.

      I always admired it when my car was serviced by Moss Motors over the years which I believe is the site of this proposed building.

      1. From a design standpoint I get it, 1950s design has a lot of cool modernist shapes, and they are often more open and enjoyable spaces than their predecessors. My issue with that era of construction is its materials and finishes. The design wants to show off its clean lines and edges, but now there’s 70 years of watermarks and those thin lines are starting to warp and bow because the waterproofing was never perfect. It’s a shame how much those buildings show their age because they really do look nice when in perfect condition, but failing to account for real world wear and tear is a design problem.

        Also, this is more of a matter of personal taste, but as much as I love the good parts of that style I really can’t stand the aversion to height. So many of these buildings look awkwardly truncated. It was intentional, people though short flat roofed buildings looked cool, but why? Where’s the rest of the building? Or worse you’re viewing the building from a vantage point where you can see their sprawling flat roofs full of wasted space.

        1. Have you checked out any of the ground floor crap built in SF over the past 30 years? From Live/Work onwards, quality is for sh*t. Look at 1234 Howard, Saitowitz back of the refrigerator building for askew louvers or the sad, worn panels adorning 1515 15th Street. See Joe O’Donoghue’s slackers mixing stucco, cement and metal at astounding 1/2″ tolerances to conceal their live work luxury condos.

          If we make getting permits easier, then all we’ll see is more and more of this cheap ass crap selling for luxury prices.

          1. As opposed to old unmaintained buildings going for luxury prices? Permitting is already difficult to get and is very subjectively based. Making permitting “hard to get” without any other changes will only make housing more expensive and construction budgets more tight. If you want standards that have teeth they need to go into the building code, and then stop punishing firms that try to follow those rules in good faith.

  2. I’m sorry but what is that? Who did that rendering, 1990’s CAD software? Is an architect even involved? Chicken-egg: dumbed down people or dumbed down everything around them? Including this absolutely awful building. We have too much bro-quitecture in California right now.

    1. It almost has the appeal of a dental office building in Reno.

      The architects have clearly read their Revit for Dunmmies, so I don’t know what more one could want.

      OTOH, the original building is a nice example of a rapidly disappearing style that, if/when they come up on craigslist, are touted as “classic,” and “rarely-available.” When they’ve all been turned into creative bro-bunkers like this proposed turd, people will wonder where all the nice buildings went and why we let the banker/builder/landlord/used house salesperson mob use the east side of SF as their toilet.

  3. I like the design and I am glad it is getting built. I hope the city continues to build more apartments of this size and continue expanding the supply of BMR apartments.

  4. I’m all for building more housing, but do we really need to tear down a Victorian-era horse stable to do that? There are so many places in the city to build that don’t involve demolishing part of the city’s history to do that. Whatever happened to infill in surface parking lots, for example.

    Another one of those historic horse barns just got cleaned up & turned into a beautiful live/work space around the corner from me on Shrader Street; another one, on Cole Street, is now shops & a medical clinic. It is quite possible to re-purpose these beautiful old historic buildings instead of destroying them. I’m shocked the city would let a developer get away with this.

    1. Its not a Victorian stable, but a 1922 automobile garage, but I agree that it would have been preferable to maintain the facade in any new development. Alas, that ship has sailed. I hope the folks at SF Autoworks have found a new location or acceptable exit strategy- they’ve been my mechanics for years and are super nice.

  5. Seems that a lot of contemporary architecture around here is automatically generated by some nineties app made in Bangalore. Beige, boring, and blah design to the max.

    P.S., who needs this housing anyway? All the koder kids now live in Tahoe or Boise.

    1. “who needs this housing anyway?”

      Apparently not anyone working for Salesforce (“Salesforce cuts back on S.F. office space, canceling lease at unbuilt Transbay tower“- SF Chron).

      If it’s anything like BSD’s ~80% vacant, windswept, cold, sterile glass wedge at 14th/Church/Market, the BMR units will rent, and the rest will be a ghost town. Future bank-owned. Future squat.

      1. I’m going to assume that two beers is referring to the building at the 2100 Market Street site.

        It’s been fairly widely reported in the local media that the non BMR units in that building are being long-term leased as a bloc to a company that specializes in medium-term, furnished apartment rentals, along the lines of an extended stay hotel. It will be interesting to see what the end-user company does with the units to maximize occupancy, but the developer is going to make out just fine, and won’t be exposed to any downturn in The City’s rental housing market.

        1. You’re behind on the news. Sonder, the company that had lease all of those units from BSD, sued BSD to get out of their contract after Covid hit. I don’t know what the status of the litigation is, but Sonder vacated the building last Fall, and so far as I can tell, the market-rate units are all sitting empty.

          Presumably once the litigation is resolved, the building owner/developer will need to hire a management company and rent the market rate units out as should have happened from the beginning.

          1. Thanks for the update. If and when the market rate units come to market as regular rentals (a big “if”) it will be fascinating to see what prices they command. The surrounding litigation will probably provide a plausible excuse for the owner to hold them off the market until prices recover to 2019 levels.

          2. Yes, Sonder went yonder. There’s now a rental sign in the window, so it looks like the building will revert to the assumed usage that got it through planning in the first place. Price discovery will be interesting…

  6. Maximizing both envelope and profit while minimizing every other consideration, dropping another architectural [mess] on a “vibrant” block.

  7. I like the little blue auto shop building and will mourn its passing. However when it was built I am sure it was considered nothing special, cheaply made and bland.

  8. Relevant article on this drek on Mission Local this morning.

    Hilariously, Planning insisted on ‘improving the quality of materials for the windows and expanding the amount of accessible open space for building residents. […] “We all know that vinyl windows will basically age and sag and will be more expensive in the long run,” said commissioner Kathrin Moore.’

    The recent approval of a similar lack of open space at 321 Florida cited here was used as a justification for no open space in this shoddy krapbox. Nice precedent set by incompetent and/or corrupt Planning! Take a bow, you clowns!

    Cubicles for coders. No family units. Thinly-disguised racism. Planning should be ashamed for letting this through, but shamelessness is apparently a requirement for getting on the commission.

    And one large retail space, because if there’s anything Valencia really needs, it’s another vacant large retail space that can only be filled by formula retail.

    Meanwhile, another PDR business will be run out of town (the article tells the poignant back-story of the current tenant).

    Ransacking San Francisco for fun and profit.
    Future squat.
    Class war never sleeps.

  9. Is there a point at which a neighborhood becomes to uncomfortably crowded to live? I’m all for building affordable housing, but packing more and more tech bro into a neighborhood to clog all of the neighborhood bars and restaurants in their non-working hours (vs. families that actually make a home) fills me with dread.

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