As we first outlined earlier this year, plans for a 7-story building to rise up to 75 feet in height upon the St. Mark’s Square and Martin Luther Tower parking lot parcels which front Ellis Street, between Franklin and Gough were in the works, the formal application for which has now been filed with Planning and building permits have been requested and prioritized for processing.

Once again, the proposed Ella Rohlffs Place will yield 94 units of below market rate housing for seniors, with a mix of 19 studios and 75 one-bedroom apartments, a new community room and administrative space, and a landscaped courtyard which will connect Ella Rohlffs Place to the existing Martin Luther Tower at 1001 Franklin Street, the St. Mark’s Urban Life Center at 1101 Franklin and St. Mark’s Luther Church at 1111 O’Farrell to the north.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by two beers

    How are land pirates supposed to make economic rents by building affordable housing for seasoned citizens? This crime must not stand! Surely this valuable real estate is better suited for condos for foreign capital flight, money laundering opportunities, and millennial style-sheet coders with stock vested at sketchy unicorns that mumblemumble break things mumblemumble scalable mumble. Won’t someone think of the speculators?!

    • Posted by Fishchum

      Your schtick is really wearing thin.

  2. Posted by two beers

    So are housing prices that have been overinflated by decades of policy aimed at transferring wealth from the workers who create it to the [people] who own it.

  3. Posted by Panhandle Pro

    I wonder what the population of SF would be if every surface parking lot become a 5-over-1 (5 residential stories over one floor of commercial). I’d love to see SF get closer to Brooklyn’s level of density, which ~36K/square mile, vs our 18.

    • Posted by Paulish

      You’d need to generate Hong Kong-level density to fill up all of that retail.

      • Posted by Panhandle Pro

        You’re right. 5 over 1 works / worked for Paris for a long time, but retail demand has changed. Perhaps it’s more like 10 over 1.

    • Posted by iiii

      I would also like to see the surface parking turn into housing, but someone needs to come up with a better street-level default than more empty storefronts.

    • Posted by Mark

      only if it gets a Brooklyn level of mass transit.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      How do you — Panhandle Pro, or like-minded folks — propose to get the owners of the surface parking lots to either build the five stories of residential or sell their lots to someone else who will actually build them?

      In case you haven’t been following the macro story of surface-level parking lots in S.F., planning can’t event get operators of certain Transbay District parking lots, which are a temporary, non-conforming use, to proceed with building on a lot with entitlements after six years worth of extensions! And that project, which was sold after it had entitled plans for a 495-foot-tall tower approved, presumably offered a higher ROI than five residential stories over one floor of commercial.

      In order to make those lots “become a 5-over-1”, we’d have to have laws in place to allow The City to sue developers who have entitled projects for specific performance to complete entitled projects (there’s an idea for a future ballot initiative).

      • Posted by SFRealist

        I would start by drastically simplifying the permitting process, so that it doesn’t take years, and so that everyone doesn’t have a chance to object. This would make it cheaper to build housing on parking lots.

        • Posted by Bobby Mucho

          And by adjusting the tax code for un-developed property being used as vehicle parking, making it cost prohibitive to stay a flat lot for car storage or storage of any kind.

      • Posted by sparky-b

        If you follow planning you will also see that sometime they deny projects on surface level lots on a whim as well. So who sues who in that case? and who pays a new higher tax on a property the owner want to develop?

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