Undocumented Conversion Threatens Proposed Infill Project(s)July 7, 2021
As we outlined early last year, plans to raze the shuttered Quan Bac building(s) at 4110-4116 Geary Boulevard, a perennially challenged restaurant and lounge space with a second floor residential unit, were in the works.
And as envisioned by architect Derrick Wu, a modern five-story building with 16 residential units over a brand new 3,600-square-foot commercial space would rise up to 55 feet in height upon the two Inner Richmond parcels, a site which is principally zoned for development up to 40 feet in height, leveraging San Francisco’s rebranded HOME-SF program for the building’s height and density as designed.
But in order to qualify for the additional height and density that San Francisco’s HOME-SF program would afford, a project must not “demolish, remove, or convert” any exiting residential units, which brings us back to our first sentence above (and the draft set of plans that were provided to Planning when the project was first proposed).
While an application to convert the second floor of the building at 4110 Geary from a residential to commercial use was approved back in 1988, there’s no record of the conversion ever being permitted or completed. And once again, the draft set of plans that were submitted to Planning last year indicated the existing space was…residential.
And while a revised set of plans have since been drawn for the project, indicating that the second floor of the building is actually “office use,” and a previous reference to a residential unit demolition in the project application has been removed, unless an approved permit for the conversion can be located, the Department of Building Inspection will be tasked with determining if the second floor was legally converted from residential to office use.
And if the DBI can’t verify that the conversion was legally permitted and completed, a Report of Residential Record (3R) will be issued stating the second floor of the building is still a dwelling unit, which would disqualify the project as proposed.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
I don’t understand why the HOME-SF program has a requirement to not demolish existing residential buildings when replacing them with residences. It means it cannot be use to increase any density, right? (Like is that intentional? and for what reason?) I can’t take an old vacant apartment building and build a new apartment building?
The intent of the restriction is to prevent older, “naturally affordable,” units from being demolished and replaced with more expensive inventory.
..because S.F. has a surplus of flippers, developers, real estate agents and other associated hangers on in the real estate “game” from elsewhere with little to no long term attachment to The City who hope to turbocharge the gentrification of every S.F. neighborhood possible, and then escape with their winnings to Florida or Texas.
??This requirement is beyond stupid! Can’t remove possible illegally built residential units to replace them with a lot more legally built units. It’s unbelievable.
Illegally built residential units can be demolished, but that’s not the issue at hand. The question is whether the legal residential use on the second floor of the two-story building, which was originally residential, was ever legally removed.
Everything in this City is unnecessarily more complicated than it needs to be. Having said I hope they don’t paint the building pop outs in those primary colors and go for something more understated.
I like it – something different and unique. Especially when the Richmond is so grey so many days of the year. (cite: am a resident 7 blocks from here)
“if the DBI can’t verify that the conversion was legally permitted and completed”
Is it too late to pay “RODBIGO SANTOS” to get the verification done?
Hey, if you can alter names,
you can change dates…right ??
Seems about right. This sort of thing is why rents will go back up sooner rather than later. The entire planning code is Bartleby The Scrivener on sedatives.
“and exiting residential units,” any existing?
[Editor’s Note: That’s correct and since corrected above.]
I hope they can figure out a way to get this built, but does seem like a challenge under the existing rules.
I don’t understand why the developer would use home sf when they could use an individually requested state density bonus. If the unit wasn’t inhabited by a low income individual/family there would be no replacement requirement.
I firmly believe that the time and expense required to build in SF is one of the key drivers of real estate cost. The developer is ultimately going to have to pass much of these costs onto the eventual buyer or renter — assuming the project is ever even finished. It’s frustrating to watch.
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