CFAH

Supersized plans for redeveloping the landmark Sloat Garden Center site at 2700 Sloat Boulevard have, in fact, been drawn, plans which now envision a 12-story rising up to 125 feet in height across the Outer Parkside block, as newly rendered by Korb and Associates.

The new plans for the site would now yield 400 condominium units (a mix of 128 studios; 96 one-bedrooms; 131 twos and 45 threes, ranging in size from 350 to 1,080 square feet), with 9,700 square feet of corner and Sloat Boulevard-facing retail space, an interior courtyard and two large roof decks for the building’s residents, and a basement garage for 200 bikes and 56 cars.

From the architects with respect to the preliminary design:

The building’s facade is a result of studying the surround neighborhood window patterns commonly found in the Sunset District. The window patterns translated to a more modern façade made of high rise appropriate fire resistant materials such as metal panel, glass with some stucco in the courtyard facades. In the more glassy areas above 65′ the use of colored metal mullions were designed as a nod to the colorful neighborhood context. The base of the building uses a sandstone tone tile inspired from the surrounding cliffs of nearby Ft. Funston.

While the garage entrance for the building would be by way of 46th Avenue, a port-cochere on 45th Avenue, across from the United Irish Cultural Center, would lead to the building’s lobby and allow for drop off-offs, pick-ups, deliveries and move-ins.

As the block is only zoned for development up to 100 feet in height, the project team is planning to invoke San Francisco’s HOME-SF program for the additional height and density as proposed, in exchange for which 120 of the units would need to be sold at below market rates (BMR). And in the words of Planning, “it is the Department’s priority…to encourage the direct building of more affordable housing and the maximization of permitted density,” as was explicitly stated for this site. But as referenced in the Chronicle, the supersized project as proposed has already raised some neighborhood hackles. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    If LRV lines are not fixed, this project will, alongside the ocean beach masterplan changes, cause more gridlock. With zero transit changes this project like the other D7 mega projects all promise the moon but give you a kick of sand….

    • Posted by Mark

      You’re talking extending early 20th (not 21st) century streetcars which run slow and in mixed traffic in a supposed tech capital of the world. No one who lives here spending market rate for a condo is going to spend an eternity riding the L to downtown (and then beyond if that person doesn’t actually work downtown). Gridlock will worsen throughout the entire Bay Area region because transit investment not only hasn’t kept up, but the projects that have been built (over budget and delayed) are not improvements.

      The ire lies in that a 12-story building out here in a transit desert gets the green light but a 12-story building in central SOMA or within spitting distance to the Market St. subway does not.

      • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

        Guessing you’re referring to the approved 400 unit building on Natoma that the BOS killed a month or so ago. Spot on – though I doubt this gets Planning approval while the SOMA tower did have such. Nice that your qualified tech capital with “supposed”. The tech capital of the world is the Silicon Valley.

      • Posted by Aaron Goodman

        I actually proposed a hyper loop link from San Jose to Daly City Bart via I-280 and a zoo tram or modern westside shuttle faster than bus service direct link between mall areas stonestown and Serramonte malls etc 😉🧐 west side sunset Blvd was the ideal location for density due to parking and traffic lanes and long length. The site proposed may be underwater eventually and liquefaction will make the building nixed post an EQ so best to have insurance for the building as it will need to be able to rock-n-rolla.

      • Posted by Daniel

        To understand Muni – it’s an employment program first and foremost. Once you get accustomed to look at it that way, things start to make much more sense.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          An employment program that is having trouble filling positions?

    • Posted by Jose Guevara

      I understand why transplants to SF would like this idea. The structure may fit the “Dolger” homes of the Sunset but does not reflect the character of the City. The Sunset homes are functional but have never been representative of SF.

      56 parking spots for 400 units is ridiculous considering the minimal transportation options in the area. Street parking would be horrific for visitors, tourists and residents. For those who visit the Zoo, the beach and some of SF’s iconic historic sites, seeing this structure would be an insult to our character. We should be improving on what we have and who we are.

      Those who like this look should move to Miami. I will fight to not have this characterless structure across the Street from our Zoo and Beach.

  2. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    55 chumasero in parkmerced had structural issues due to being built on dunes. This one is closer to rising sea levels and liquefaction 😉

  3. Posted by Rob

    Build this and 10 more like it. 12 story buildings should be the default height in all of SF. If you want low density move to Carmel. Hopefully the old Mc’D in the Haight gets a project like this or bigger.

    • Posted by mike

      I want low density and the neighborhood I grew up in to be left alone by [people] like you who advocate for high density. You want high density move to downtown that’s where it belongs, not in the Avenues.

      • Posted by Fishchum

        And I want people like you to understand that building nothing on the west side and preserving the suburban aesthetic of neighborhoods like the Sunset isn’t helping. Quite the opposite. Want low density? Move to the ‘burbs.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          So you want to change existing neighborhoods, and force people there to move if they don’t like it, whereas Mike’s position is yes build, but where there’s already density (and at least some transit to support it). Gee, how … “neighborly” of you…

          • Posted by sparky-b

            This is a tough one for me. I know the city needs more density, so I’m generally for this. But, the transit does suck and people will have cars in those units. I don’t think those extra cars are gonna have a big effect on the traffic if they have a garage. Plus, there isn’t a great way to get good transit there and there isn’t enough commerce to be car free once you get home either. I think the Stonestown development for example works better for less parking than this; public transit is better now and has more opportunity for the future as well. I also think there are plenty of places besides downtown where high density belongs. West Portal could easily handle much more, so could inner Irving

          • Posted by Notcom

            How ’bout you free yourself from what you know…as in maybe SF- one of the densest cities in the country – doesn’t really “need” more density ??

          • Posted by sparky-b

            Notcom: I know that college grads coming home and recent high school grads can’t afford the rent and there isn’t enough housing for them. I mean these are NATIVES, the most important group. Certainly you can agree we need a little more density for them.

          • Posted by Notcom

            That’s certainly the sentimental answer, but it seems we’re quickly running into competing priorities:

            – Natives (Repatriots?) Certainly THEY’re an important group
            – New (would be) residents (aka: people who want to move here) Certainly THEY’re an important group
            – People who actually live here now – I believe they’re called “residents” (or “voters”) – who don’t want 12-story buildings next to their 2-story houses: Certainly THEY’re an important group

            I don’t see how we satisfy all these disparate groups…but I believe the legal system gives priority to the latter.

          • Posted by Michael

            Growing up in San Francisco doesn’t guarantee anyone the right to return. Recent grads that grew up in Manhattan often have to live in a borough or NJ until they have the means to return. The same goes for every other top tier city.

    • Posted by a different Rob

      I agree. This housing is desperately needed and will be an important addition to a neighborhood that has not been doing it’s share of building new housing as the city grows. Adding more than 100 BMR apartments in this neighborhood is a big win.

  4. Posted by SFRealist

    Given the neighborhood opposition, no chance this gets built as proposed.

    • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

      ITA. If nothing else, the neighborhood will get an initiative on the ballot to stop it if Planning approves. Ot they will go to the BOS to stop it – the BOS has recently blocked 800 units of approved housing.

      • Posted by What- A-Town

        Will the BOS block a project that uses the exact legislation they supported unanimously?

        • Posted by buildmore_housing

          Knowing San Francisco BOS, yes. 🙁

      • Posted by Anonymous

        The BOS is being investigated by the state for illegally denying those projects. And they are required by law to submit their plan to meet RHNA goals, which they will utterly fail to do if they keep denying projects and keep a huge percentage of the city zoned for single family only. And when they fail, the state will strip them of their ability to impose restrictive zoning and this project and many, many more like it will be fast tracked.

        • Posted by Aaron Goodman

          And when the building collapses due to improper height and density on dune fill who will be held responsible for negligence ? The density at parkmerced was negligent as they failed to adequately review the 11 towers that have NOT been retrofitted to current building standards. 🧐🤨

          • Posted by SFRealist

            It’s not going to collapse. There are very tall buildings built along beaches all over the world.

            (That being said, it’s moot because it’s never going to get built this high.)

          • Posted by Anonymous

            Imagine believing we can’t build on sandy soil…. like what year do you think it is? I bet you think every single building that’s built on filled land downtown is going to collapse, despite some having survived 2 major earthquakes and most having survived at least 1.

          • Posted by Aaron Goodman

            Sf Realist: building does not need to collapse to be red tagged and sit empty for a long time. what was that recent condo collapse? Oh never mind about cheap shoddy construction when we get to the value engineering portion of any project…

          • Posted by Big D

            IDK, Aaron sounds like he’s a structural engineer so maybe we should listen to his rhetoric and pump the breaks on any reasonably scaled projects? 🧐🤨

          • Posted by SFRealist

            AG, are you a structural engineer? A construction engineer? What is the background of your knowledge?

    • Posted by Aaron Goodman

      That’s what usually occurs / developer goes to max / BOS or community proposes happy medium and project sails through unless it’s a complete sinking ship…

  5. Posted by AY

    I hate to say it but that looks out of scale for the block. Hope the backlash doesn’t result in anti-development measures that end up harming the cause.

    • Posted by Aaron Goodman

      If you have a super slide on the west side direct into the sea it would be an attraction for surfers to get further out quicker vs paddling out? We already proposed a zoo air zip line for the south side of the Irish cultural center post drinks on the deck the free admittance to the lions den may actually be some top rated TV show quickly due to the new tv shows that seem to enjoy putting people vs nature…

  6. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Nice that the illustrator chose to use SF’s natural fog to blur out the surrounding buildings to give emphasis to this project. That’s an inspired approach. Most illustrators simply use photoshop’s “blur” tool for the same effect.

  7. Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

    The Sunset is generally a bleak area and not just because of the fog. The row homes with cemented in fronts and the absolute dearth of green makes for among the most unattractive neighborhood of any city I’ve visited. . On a foggy summer day, it is bleak and depressing.

    The Sunset could be so much improved if the blocks of row homes were replaced with 10 or 12 story condo and rental buildings atop townhomes. Center the “towers” in the middle of the block and away from the sidewalk. Place parking underground below the buildings. Complete the look with a significant amount of open space on each block. Throw in a few 25 story towers and voila! The total number of housing units could be upped several times from what it is now. Green/open space would complement the area and. on a clear day. imagine the views from the “towers”.

    Yeah, I know – it’s a pipe dream. It’s what would have been done today if that area had been all open and it was being developed for the first time.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      And, of course, the reason that many of the homes in The Sunset have front lawn areas paved over is to create space for parking. But never mind, according to our resident real estate boosters, if we just build more and denser housing, magic will happen and people will stop owning cars. That part is the “pipe dream”.

      If public transit approached what is present in, say, Tokyo, then sure this project and others like that suggested above by “Rob” would make sense. But the actual residents opposed to it are dealing with the real world, not some urbanist utopia that will never happen.

      • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

        Sadly, folks generally do not park their car in the garage (and most households have 2 plus cars) hence the mess that are the streets of the Sunset. I parked 4 blocks from Noriega yesterday. Closest I could get to the hardware store. Not only did many homes have a car parked on the paved over grass but some had two and, in my 4 block walk, I noticed two boats “parked” on the paved over area. Not to mention the curb space was 95% parked. A very shabby, tacky look.

        The new state zoning laws eliminates single family zoning. Pretty much – you won’t see it applied to Sea Cliff, Pacific Heights and other upscale areas. Imagine if those Sunset homes are turned into duplexes. Disaster in the making – though there is a petition gathering effort to repeal the state law and return zoning control to the cities.

        • Posted by John L.

          Imagine if those Sunset homes are turned into duplexes, you ask? The “disaster” you fear is already here, and the only reason it’s so disastrous is because the zoning regulations have not been allowed to evolve with the actual living conditions on the ground.

          Despite conveying the appearance of a traditional suburban neighborhood of single family homes, a substantial portion of buildings in the sunset have been surreptitiously converted into multiple unit dwellings. Either that, or they effectively serve as co-living spaces between 4 or more roommates who each occupy the bedrooms, living room, dining room, etc. as their own separate living space with a shared kitchen and bath, kind of like a dorm or SRO hotel.

          As a child, I myself lived in the downstairs unit of what otherwise appeared as an elegant single family detached home in West Portal. At the time I didn’t understand why I didn’t have a stove in my kitchen. But now I realize it’s because the lack of a stove is what kept the apartment I was living in from counting as a second unit under the zoning code.

          Also, a lot of people in the Sunset and other western neighborhoods don’t park their cars in garages because the garages are being used as living spaces, and not always in a strictly “legal” sense.

          • Posted by 12345

            this has been true for a long time. i’m always surprised more people dont discuss this aspect of the sunset.

          • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

            It’s not just the Sunset. I live on Mt. Davidson and 70% or so of households don’t park in the garage. A few rent the garage out as living space but mostly the garages are filled with “stuff”.

          • Posted by parklife

            Filling garages with junk is a citywide phenomenon. And with residents allowed to use curb cuts as their private on-street parking space, this is unlikely to change. However, a simple yet politically unpopular fix is available. Merely increase the cost of parking on the street to reflect the benefit received. The cost of a parking permit is absurdly low as it’s currently structured.

          • Posted by John L.

            @parklife The last time I checked (admittedly it’s been a while) SF’s zoning code expressly prohibits residential setbacks from being used as parking spaces. Can you imagine the kind of uproar that would ensue if the Planning Department actually cracked down on all these “violations”?

            @Brahma, according to my stepfather who grew up in the Sunset, homeowners in the Sunset paved over their front lawns because they stopped watering them during the drought in the late 70’s. Of course, the fact that they now provide convenient parking probably keeps them from being turned back into a lawn.

        • Posted by Alai

          Sadly, folks don’t park cars in the garage?

          A garage is at least 250 square feet– typically more. The size of a small studio. If improved, it would collect rent of $1400+. If used as mere storage space, $500 at the low end.

          How much does it cost to park a car? A residential parking permit costs $13.33 a month, plus some inconvenience, and perhaps some security risk to your car. And you don’t even need that in the sunset.

          For most people, this isn’t a complicated equation, single family zoning or no single family zoning.

  8. Posted by Daniel

    Agreed with every post on the transportation situation. It is safe to assume that this building means 400 cars competing over parking in the area and neighborhood opposition will be much a function of that.

  9. Posted by Robert

    With a limited number of larger parcels in the Sunset District, it actually makes sense to go slightly bigger here to help the west side and San Francisco broadly meet its housing targets. The parcel is already zoned for a 100′ building, so adding 2 extra floors by leveraging HOME-SF program isn’t outrageous. I think the biggest issue (and where the project will get the biggest pushback from neighbors) is parking and transportation. The project should have at least a 2:1 unit to parking ratio, so ideally it would include 200 spots, but that will be a stretch. There is ample parking along Sloat after the the zoo closes, so I assume that will accommodate those who leave for the day and need parking overnight.

    As someone who grew up near the proposed project, it would be nice to have an option in the neighborhood to downsize to a condo. More housing options, the better!

    • Posted by Aaron Goodman

      That’s development land all those parking spaces on the south side Sf zoo or Caltrans right of way,,, can support some density if we think a little about what else will domino land wise along the route of sloat becomes the L taraval extension up to stern grove all parcels in either side go up to stonestown and ymca

      Do the math their and plan the transit and than build to your hearts content… but the transit cannot wait…

  10. Posted by jenofla

    Clever. Ask for 10 floors, maybe get negotiated down to 8, which was the original ask? Anyway, how come those condos next door still aren’t selling? Price range? I’m quite curious, because for everyone who says we need to densify in this area, it’s hard to believe there is demand for that when units sit unsold for years. Is the argument since these units will be cheaper this will actually pencil out?

    • Posted by DK

      The Westerly building looks a little tacky IMO and the units started at $800k (when first marketed, now probably even higher as the cheaper ones got snapped up) so I’m not surprised

  11. Posted by SF Native

    Basically a monstrosity way out of sync with the neighborhood. They are trolling the neighbors with this garbage. I wish we could just keep the garden center. They had a nice, thoughtful selection of plants that thrive in this difficult microclimate. The staff was very knowledgeable and helpful. I appreciate that doesn’t mean much for the developers and economic tourists of SFYIMBY intent on destroying our neighborhoods, but hopefully some lowly scribe in the Planning Department will take note. Maybe instead of vacant, trash-strewn neglected storefront, we could have another garden center with ample parking. PS the transit we’ve been waiting for decades has never arrived.

  12. Posted by Parkside Mike

    The Westerly SF down the street is still largely vacant with the exterior already showing signs of dilapidation due to the oceanside weather. And you do have to like the weather to live out here. It certainly isn’t for everyone, as the Westerly has found out. How long has that project been trying to sell its units?

    People out here in the Avenues do not rely on the L Terrible or, really, any Muni bus. They are not dependable, frequently late, the L is constantly switched back at 22nd Ave on outbound runs forcing people to disembark and wait out subsequent too full buses before they can actually get home, and after the first few stops they pass you up because they are full and all your rides are going to be longer, as you will still be living in the Outer Lands.

    If you don’t have a car in the Avenues and have a family ( school, games, large shopping runs, etc) you are screwed. So, basically, everyone out here has one – or two. Thinking your going to add 400 units with just 50 parking spaces shows you really don’t know anything about where you are building.

    Almost none of these new condo developments are that amenable to keeping families in the neighborhoods. Why is that? Most of the SFH in the Avenues still actually have families in them. Of course, home prices affect many new families moving in, but I don’t think smaller sq ft Condominiums, which are in no way that cheap, does anything to support families staying or coming here. The units seem only to target people qualifying for affordable housing and people with high incomes. There is a whole tweener group of younger families which nobody seems to care about. Hence, the school district is down 9,000 students in the last 10 years. WTF.

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