CFAH

A sister project to the proposed SRO development to rise up to 86 feet in height on the southeast corner of South Van Ness Avenue and 15th Street, with around 150 above-ground micro-units and 65 underground “sleeping units,” the refined plans for an eight-story, 85-foot-tall building, with 225 beds of group housing, to rise on the northwest corner of 15th Street and South Van Ness Avenue are slated to be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission tomorrow, July 22.

As with the project across the street, the refined plans for the 1500 15th Street project include 65 below grade sleeping units (along with 160 group housing units above, shared living spaces, with a communal kitchen and dining area on each floor, a below grade courtyard and a 3,751-square-foot roof deck).

The ground floor of the building includes 3,798 square feet of retail space and a storage room for 52 bikes as proposed.

And with the project team having met with both the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) and San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) to secure preliminary assurances that the plans as proposed satisfy both local and state building codes, in particular with respect to the below grade floors, San Francisco’s Planning Department is recommending the project be approved, noting that “the Project is, on balance, consistent with the Mission Area Plan and the Objectives and Policies of the General Plan” and proposes “new residential units and ground-floor commercial uses which is a goal for the City.”

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by twin peeks

    Great news. And even better – the residents of this building will get to live on a calmer street, rather than the dangerous four-lane traffic sewer that is SVN.

    • Posted by Tony

      South Van Ness might be getting a road diet soon!

  2. Posted by two beers

    Guantanamo in the Mission. Dispensible worker-drones as cattle. These will nicely complement the Saitowitz Maximum Security Complex across the street. And there’s a UCSF campus one block down, which will come in handy considering that this building looks optimized to generate and spread covid variants faster than a wedding party held in a small, windowless sports bar during a Buffalo blizzard.

    The developers would be advised to look at similar upscale coder SROs in the Mission: they’re all over zillow and craisglist, and for some reason, they seem unable to find tenants. Maybe, just maybe, this model – as deliciously profitable, exploitative, and dehumanizing as it is – just might not be the cash cow the developers think it is.

    “[…]he dangerous four-lane traffic sewer that is SVN..” Hey, if you want to shut down the luxury tower construction that has made central eastside commercial streets so sketchy, that seems a little overreacting, but hell, why not?. I’m sure you’ll eagerly lead the charge to bar construction vehicles from our streets.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      Using a high concentration of buzzwords in a deranged, classist as hell rant probably isn’t going to do much to endear anyone to your position — insofar as you even have an identifiable and consistent position. And you know, maybe don’t accuse housing of being dehumanizing after you very directly refer to potential residents pejoratively as poor/dispensable/criminals.

      • Posted by Tony

        Seriously, they could have just said “I hate people” and left it at that…

        • Posted by two beers

          I hate gentrifiers whose means of acquiring wealth destroy the lives of working class people.

          • Posted by Anonymous

            More buzzwords mashed together into a completely unsubstantial statement. My dude, you posted a manifesto above about why you hate poor people and how they shouldn’t have housing options and how they’re basically all criminals.

          • Posted by two beers

            Nowhere did I say I hate “poor people.” The coder “interns” starting at 100 large who are the intended occupants for this covid box are/will be by no means “poor.” As for “criminal,” perhaps a mirror will be of use?

            But I appreciate your misconstruing my statements, putting words in my mouth, and generally responding with weak ad hominems.

          • Posted by Clyde Benke

            Gentrification is a REAL human right, housing is not.

          • Posted by jimbo

            but these will be much cheaper than average units, so presumably more available to working class people

          • Posted by two beers

            jimbo – these will certainly be more expensive than the “average” SRO.

          • Posted by jimbo

            twobeers, understood they will be more expensive than average SROs, but they will be cheaper than average or median apartments in general. not saying its perfect, but isnt it better that they will be accessible to more middle class people than whats currently available?

      • Posted by two beers

        Unlike most posters here, I am not a salesman, not trying to “endear” myself to anyone else, and not looking for positive reinforcement of a worldview that benefits me at the expense of others. I am only posting a counter-narrative to that of the real estate industrial complex. It’s curious how minions and cadre of a multi-trillion dollar industry get worked up over over random internet cranks who simply point out that the emperor has no clothes.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          Oh okay, maybe this is satire since you are referring to yourself as a crank here, and could indicate that you just have an extreme commitment to a really strange bit. Increasingly difficult to tell at this point.

          • Posted by two beers

            Your lack of self-awareness is amusing. This crank is honored to be taken down by the world-famous authority, Anonymous. Unlike most sellers of used buildings I have encountered, I don’t have a gigantic yet fragile ego that must constantly be stroked, so I can indulge in self-deprecation without cracking up. Try it some time, you might like it!

        • Posted by Miraloma Man

          I don’t always agree with you two beers, but you argue both passionately and rationally, which I appreciate. And it is nice to hear an alternative perspective to the typical heartless realtor prattle that is so common on this site, which I otherwise find very informative. Well done.

          • Posted by do the right thing

            +1 for two beers. Grateful for the perspective and wit.

      • Posted by Matt in Oakland

        There’s so much to rebuff in two beers comment, because I think it’s satire. Anonymous had to go all Jackie Chiles as usual.. but maybe their comment is satire, too? If they’re both being serious, then our ridiculous polarization has reached the level of satire.

        • Posted by two beers

          I have a hunch most of what you think can I said that can be “rebuffed” is directly connected to your source of income and/or wealth.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          It’s not satire. Some people just believe insanely immoral and contradictory stuff like that.

          • Posted by heynonnynonny

            It’s like you’ve never seen an internet troll before.

      • Posted by two beers

        A curious aspect of empathetic humanity is that one can have a low opinion of a cohort yet recoil from demeaning treatment of said cohort. I know, I know, empathy is hard.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          This is unhinged. You literally advocated for them to not have housing options that could very well be more affordable. And that came in the same post where you directly and explicitly demeaned them.

          • Posted by two beers

            I’m against this building chiefly because it carries on the tradition of local gentrification through which the real estate industrial complex has fattened itself while waging war on variously-overlapping underclass cohorts. I am also against it because it is a fawning mirror to the neighborhood-insulting Church of St Stanley across the street. I am also against it because it is a horrible waste of land that now can’t be better purposed by future generations. These covid dormitories are a disaster – they’re emptying out all over SOMA and the Mission. But because this building is so cynically designed to extract maximum profit from a now-drying up cohort of coder kiddies, it will be very difficult and expensive to repurpose when it is inevitably foreclosed on and resold.

            The only housing the city needs is affordable family housing, not more of these vacant covid boxes. This cynical project removes one more possible site for future affordable family housing, while the implicit gentrification puts upward price pressure on nearby housing.

        • Posted by Chris

          Beer, bear, bare, bore, I am a bit confused how a building can both be harbinger of gentrification (as if the neighborhood wasn’t already quite gentrified) and also doomed for both obsolescence and foreclosure in the very near future. Also, you might want to check the science behind Covid transmission.

          Assuming the residents get vaccinated, which is generally the case for the vast majority of SF residents, and follow other normal health protocols, they are no more likely to contract Covid living in one of these units than anywhere else. You are sounding dangerously close to a Q conspiracy theorist. Let’s keep the discussion focused on real estate.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      If you think this is like Gitmo, then you don’t know much about Gitmo.

    • Posted by Bluntcard

      Can they just call them art studios? That should make you happy.

      • Posted by two beers

        But they wouldn’t be art studios (and they certainly wouldn’t be affordable, either). That kind of deceptive nomenclature might come easy to sellers of used buildings but doesn’t sit well with people who do honest, productive work for a living.

    • Posted by Michael

      These kinds of comments (smug, uninformed, nasty & cheaply cynical) are why San Francisco is slowly dying.

      • Posted by two beers

        Yes, SF is slowly dying because of the smug, uninformed, nasty & cheaply cynical comments of random anonymous internet crank, and not because of a thirty year war on artists and largely black and brown working class people waged by a real estate industrial complex high on the Fed’s supply of eternal ZIRP and infinite QE intended to increase the asset values held by a small number of already very wealthy people and institutions.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          And yet here you are, ranting like a lunatic about why there shouldn’t be more housing, including more affordable housing. Absolutely clownish.

          • Posted by two beers

            If dormitories are housing, then this is housing, but let’s not be snake oil salesmen and pretend it’s anything other than a dormitory.

        • Posted by tfourier

          As a matter of interest how many years had you actually lived in SF before the mid 1990’s, when a City not that much changed since the 1930’s (outside of the Financial district), started to completely change?

          SF of 1990 was recognizably the same city as the one of the 1950’s. By 2005 it was a very different place.For a start the white working class was gone and the non white working class was following it out the City.

          All those “artists” whose loss you lament only arrived because the City had been in serous demographic decline for decades. Nothing like losing over 100K population to keep those rents down. “Gentrification” only really started in the late 1990’s when the long term population decline was very obviously over and the rebuilding of the projects greatly improved blighted neighborhoods.

          As for the building in question. It has my whole-hearted support. Because I remember when the blocks were the Moscone Center now is was still full of SRO’s. Many many thousand of residential units were lost not because of “gentrication” but because of “urban renewal”. Very much driven by the “progressives” of the era.

          Want to get the marginal street people off the streets, they rebuild the SRO units which had given them a roof over their head since the founding of SF. SF from the very beginning always had a large residential hotel population. Mostly removed by the early 1990’s. To the streets, or elsewhere.

          • Posted by two beers

            I’m all for housing that is affordable enough for people to get off the streets, but this project is the opposite of that. You are conflating the two very different user markets for these covid boxes and the old SOMA SROs. The only things these upscale SROs have in common with the old SOMA SROs are the extraordinarily cramped living spaces, shared baths, and lack of kitchens. These are most emphatically not SROs for the type of marginalized people who were defenestrated by the Moscone Center urban renewal (aka “class war”). That cohort included a wide range of economically, psychologically, physically, and sociologically marginalized people; the SOMA SROs, run-down as they were, were poor, sick, and elderly people’s last stop and hope before the streets (and by some very odd coincidence, the SF homelessness epidemic started shortly after the SROs were torn down…). OTOH, these SROs simulate the college dorm experience for recently-graduated style upper middle class stylesheet coders who start at $100,000.yr.

            They’re not remotely fungible.

          • Posted by jimbo

            2beers. are you seriously arguing that these units wont be cheaper than average units, and therefore more accessible to middle income people. i cant argue that young coders and other professionals might move in, but isnt cheaper housing better for the middle class, or do you think large luxury units would be more preferable?

          • Posted by Ted

            Artists have lived in San Francisco since the 19th century. Yes, the 60s and 70s had an especially colorful bunch, but the 1950s had the San Francisco Renaissance, the 40s and 50s were the era of the Fillmore Jazz Clubs, the 30s had the WPA muralists, the 20s was the time of Dashiell Hammett, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and many others, before that Jack London, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce and all the literary societies.

            The artists didn’t arrive because of demographic decline, they have been here the whole time. In recent years they, along with all the other working class people, are being swept aside in favor of coders.

            BTW Moscone center was blight facilitated by corrupt developers in city hall in the name of redevelopment, so case in point tearing things down and building anew isn’t always for the better.

          • Posted by Chris

            To clarify, the only shared facilities are the communal kitchen on each floor. Each unit would be outfitted with a convertible murphy bed, compact fridge, sink, microwave and private bathroom.

    • Posted by Clyde Benke

      Someone will have shelter in what ever gets built. Why are poor people more entitled to said space than people of means. What makes poor people so deserving, that they must be placed at the head of the line and specially catered too?

  3. Posted by Panhandle Pro

    Great news. I chatted recently with a twenty-something transplant from NYC who commented that SF needs more of what NYC has: humble units/rooms at more reasonable prices.

    Also, I hope the other commenters are right that South Van Ness gets the beautification treatment. It desperately needs what Masonic, Cesar Chavez, Potrero etc have gotten in recent years.

  4. Posted by redseca2

    Much of 19th century progressive city planning and building code innovations were put in place to eliminate tenement conditions such as these new innovations.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      That’s not even close to true. You seem to think these units would have no fire safety measures, no electricity, no indoor plumbing.

  5. Posted by Noah

    With the world becoming more vulnerable to massive flooding, it does not seem like a good idea to house folks underground.

    • Posted by Ben

      As bad as climate change is, I doubt we’re going to see many hurricanes rolling through SF anytime soon. And if so, most modern buildings have suitable pumping systems.

      I’m be more worried about blocking urban infill housing like this and instead forcing new homes to be built far out in wildfire prone areas.

      • Posted by two beers

        It’s not like this building would be la little over a block from a buried creek that floods with every substantial storm, as any business and resident between Shotwell & Harrison and 16th & 18th could tell you.

        Maybe those 65 below grades units will come with complimentary scuba gear in addition to the complimentary foosball?

        Describing dormitories for freshly-graduated transients as “urban infill housing” is a cynical and disingenuous distortion of what the latter is generally understood to mean. Would you be employed in the real estate industrial complex by any chance?

  6. Posted by marvinsnephew

    No one has mentioned that this is also ugly. It goes well with the Saitowitz dog across the street. Oh wait, that’s an insult to dogs.

    • Posted by UnlivableCity

      Well the Saitowitz across the street was “reimagined” in response to the tasteless neighborhood absolutists (who argue for instance that the leggy, looming, towering ficus trees along 24th somehow are more culturally in tune than nice trees). Maybe we have a pic of the original proposal. Since it’s all land use apparently in that neighborhood and has been since the late 90’s, and now that the anti-car sect is preparing to remove still more street parking from an area whose residents actually drive with things they need to do their jobs – instead of cycling to Bi-Rite with Dad’s credit card to load up on overpriced craft cider and return home to wax Leninist… I remind everyone that the original sin of inanity around there was the decision to keep the belching freeway, dropping it on Market instead of appropriately close to the design center. That was a Tom Ammiano and Co “anti-gentrification” maneuver because you see, making Division St. and that end of SOMA livable would lead to bad things and so we can’t have nice things. Only brittle old arguments and housing blocks resembling fish tanks. So what were our amenities, supposedly, to ameliorate a clearly deleterious central freeway fail? A skate park and a real “parklet” over by McChopin, overrun by sketch. So now over there at S Van Ness comes the logical result: a soulless pile hated the most by the people whose own schemes led right to it, instead of to a nice, appropriately scaled neighborhood.

  7. Posted by phil dubb

    Give it a rest
    more housing – market rate will dictate the cost unless the city sets the rates.

    MORE HOUSING!! Lets get people indoors instead of on the sidewalks. If this plan will help that, nothing wrong!

    • Posted by two beers

      Once again…supply & demand theory is based on assumptions of equilibrium and perfectly competitive markets, and these assumptions rarely obtain. When LLs can choose to resist the downward pressure on rents and instead sit on vacant properties for months or years on end, both of these assumptions are obviated.

      Institutional LLs like Greystar can and do sit on hundreds or thousands of empty units in order to avoid the hit to paper that price discovery would bring (they also don’t want current tenants demanding lower rents!). Your “market rate” is an elusive chimera.

      And again, this project is aimed at well-paid bagel delivery app stylesheet coders, and won’t get any homeless people “indoors.”

  8. Posted by BobN

    I assume the rental listings for these units will crow about how Dickensian they are!

  9. Posted by Bluntcard

    Do you get to choose who you share your cell, oops, I mean room with?

  10. Posted by Karl

    Agreed.

    “two beers” suffers from a massive cognitive disconnect.

    One does not gentrify a desirable place (i.e., a place with economic, social and cultural opportunities) by building housing.

    The surest way to gentrify such a place is to NOT build housing — which has basically been the approach in San Francisco over the past 4+ decades due to the political hegemony of NIMBY homeowners and their fellow travelers.

    These “wealth-grabbing” / exclusionary / anti-housing policies have resulted in a chronic housing shortage which, in turns, results in runaway housing costs.

    One cannot claims to be pro-equity and anti-housing
    One cannot claim to be pro-environment and anti-density.
    One cannot claim to be pro-immigrant and anti-immigrant.

    “two beers” arguments betray a profound cognitive disconnect between their professed values and their anti-housing arguments.

    • Posted by two beers

      This is an impressive compendium of reductive Manichean imperatives, false assumptions, unexamined received wisdom, red herrings, and other logical fallacies. It’s funny that such an example of Sinclair’s Law in situ would accuse another of cognitive disconnect.

  11. Posted by Forhorn415

    wondering how this will work with units in basement as it is located in the vicinity of Folsom Lake and will flood area all the time

  12. Posted by Mark

    I simply LOVE all this back and forth. As someone who escaped the SF insanity after 20 years I find it humorous, and unsettling, that there are proponents of subterranean sleeping quarters as a “solution” to one of SF’s worsening housing problem. The views are always great from the top, but at the street level it’s a different story.

    • Posted by Chris

      Oh, my gosh, Dear, if you left 20 years ago, why are you on this site trolling? It seems you would be enjoying your wonderful life in Las Vegas or Phoenix or Des Moines or wherever you moved. Also, since the building walls will be excavated fully down to the floor-level of these units, calling them “subterranean” is more than misleading. Look at the pictures, they will have full windows that open on to a light-filled open-air courtyard. I had a distant relative who once lived in a multi-million home that was partially built into a hillside, I guess her fancy digs were “subterranean,” too, by your logic.

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