While plans to merge the 3 lots at 2419-2435 Lombard Street and develop a 4-story building, with 12 condos over a ground floor commercial space, were approved back in 2014, the plans as proposed would have blocked an easement for a neighboring building’s fire escape, a life safety issue which was uncovered by the city when the requested permit for the development was undergoing a pesky review.

Since redesigned to account for the aforementioned fire escape, the newly proposed plans would now yield 15 dwelling units, with a two-car garage and 985 square feet of ground floor commercial space, as newly rendered by HC Design.

And while Planning’s preliminary review of the revised plans for the site didn’t uncover another red flag, “the Department estimates that roughly 17 units could be reasonably provided on the site” by way of a density bonus and would like the development team to “work with Planning staff to understand all available options that maximize residential development on the site in a manner that meets all other applicable requirements and standards, including available density bonus programs,” in an effort to increase supply and help drive the cost of housing down, at a time when developers are struggling to offset a natural drop in values despite a slowdown in building activity.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged in.

29 thoughts on “Building Up Lombard Take Two (More)”
  1. The appearance of this – i.e. the disparity of the floor heights compared to the neighbors – is weird (akin to using, say, an HO-Scale buidling on an S-Scale layout). But….
    but, of course that’s not really why this is on here is it?? It’s on here because of ALMOST A FULL FRICKIN’ DECADE. Almost a full decade of ineptitude; first on the part of the development group, who apparently hired designers who can’t plan for what should have been obvious – fire escape egress…isn’t that readily apparent?? – and now on the part of Planning, who apparently now want to be helpful; helpful as in further delaying something which – again should have been obvious – really doesn’t seem like it’s their business. What’s going to be next, not approving a restaurant b/c they don’t like the menu ??

    1. Good catch about the floor height. I’m not detailed enough to have noticed that but it looks like they’re cramming three floors into the space of two on either side. Ineptitude and deception – the marks of a great project.

    2. The neighboring buildings have ground-floor retail with higher ceilings – particularly the one on the right, which looks to be almost a story and a half.

  2. Awesome to see Planning staff proactively brainstorm with developers to build more density. How far we’ve come!

    1. Hardly. Planning could have brought up the 17 units in preliminary meetings before the architects designed the building, but they decided to wait until the design was completed.

      1. Not to mention that they’re going to hold up the construction of 15 units, in the hope of getting 2 more units…. something something perfect being the enemy of the good…

        1. They want the 2 extra units because they would both be BMR. they just dropped the BMR requirement but now will push for density requests that get the BMR percentage back up.

  3. Um, WHY are they allowing a garage entrance on a major throughfare? They could probably get 2-3 more units in there without a garage. It’s on a major transit corridor in a very walkable part of the city.

    1. Why not? Its a fairly delusional to say that someone willing to shell out million plus apartments would not own a car.

      1. Almost anyone that’s bought a home in SF over the last 5+ years likely “shelled out a million plus” and the vast majority (that I know of personally, including myself) neither cared about parking nor owning a car. It’s completely realistic to pay the market rate and not need, let alone care about having a parking space.

        1. It appears you’re a minority: Approximately 873,965 people live in San Francisco according to the 2020 U.S. census. 65.7% of SF residents (574,962) have a driver’s license and only 54% (472,409) own a car.

          (tho they put “only”, I’ll concede it isn’t as big a majority as I thought)

          1. 2020 was 3 years ago when the mass migration out was starting. The US Census Bureau’s July 2022 population was 808,437. Number’s I’ve recently seen are between 810K and 815K. The number of registered vehicles in SF according to the DMV website shows in 2022 a total of 465,896 registered vehicles but that includes autos, trucks, trailers and motorcycles. Cars = 386,770. Trucks= 50,764. Having a driver’s license doesn’t necessarily mean you currently own or use a car. Motorcyclists need them but they don’t necessarily need a garage to park at. The SFMTA says there are about 275,500 on street parking spaces available of which 10% are metered. My experience when I do drive around the city is that there is generally less traffic than precovid. My experience riding Muni, because of less traffic, is very good. The lines I use most are in general much quicker these days.

        2. This is probably highly susceptible to the way you frame the question. Sure, a homeowner may not need a car (or parking), but may have it available anyway, especially since having a car is a status symbol for the wealthy.

          Among the top 10 U.S. cities with the lowest percentages of households that own vehicles, San Francisco places ninth, with 70.1 percent of households owning at least one car. Note that the scope described at that link is not “home owners”, but households. Even if the homeowner doesn’t have a car, someone else in the household might very well own one. And of course there are many households in S.F. where the homeowner is not part of the household (i.e. the household is renting).

          1. Thanks for that link, DK! This ‘graph was the most relevant to the above discussion of homeowners, I think:

            Affluent residents are far more likely to own a car than residents of the Tenderloin or Chinatown where ≈85% of homes are car free.

            Clearly, a majority of the (wealthy) people who own homes in S.F. care about owning a car. It can also be true at the same time that such folks don’t need a car and/or parking.

        3. This completely omits ppl who are not in a position to finance million dollar plus homes while WFH or have a flexible work schedule. Workforce family housing will need to come with some level of parking or it’s a non starter for many who need to be on the job in the early hours, top of the hour sharp.

          1. Yes. I think it’s fairly safe to say that there is no workforce family (more than a single bedroom) housing available in The Marina district, and in the unlikely event this building actually is completed in the next three years, units here other than the potential BMR units will not reach the market priced at < $1 million barring a truly cataclysmic housing market crash.

            It’s fairly easy to search the real estate listings site of your choice using the 94123 Zip Code as a proxy for this neighborhood and verify that there is nothing on the market in The Marina district in the < $1 million price range with more than a single bedroom, and this is true regardless of the availability of parking.

  4. It amazes me that, with all of SF’s code compliance and design guidelines for new projects, that planning, et al, would allow for such poorly designed street level to happen. Bay windows (or kinda) all day long, but by no means should we expect to improve the quality of the exterior space humans directly interact with.

  5. @Notcom

    I see what you’ve dont there.. How to Lie With Statistics 101 stuff (a great book by the way)

    Actually 75% of adults over 18 in SF in 2020 had drivers licenses. And of those 75% around 80% owned a car.
    What we dont know is what percentage of the 16% of the population over 65 still have cars. Who I suspect are a disproportionate number of the 20% without a car.

    The journey miles mix for the City has not changed much over the last six plus decades either. Private car around 80%, public transit around 20%, and bikes a rounding error on zero. < 1%. Which has not budged much since the 1980's.

    Which is why I have never rented a place in SF without a garage. A necessity. Unless your time is not worth very much. As for people reversing out onto Lombard from garages. There are these things called traffic lights that stop traffic on a regular basis. Thats when people pull out of their garage. And people like me make space for them to pull out into.

    1. I agree…about the book. As for mypoint, I think you’re giving me too much credit; or maybe you just missed it: I was simply refuting ‘Bobby Mucho’s claim that “the vast majority (that I know of personally, including myself) neither cared about parking nor owning a car”(emphasis added). We might quibble, perhaps, that I didn’t really refute him , since I didn’t address the people he knows; but I never said that he was wrong about them, only that they weren’t representative.

      But now that we’re on the subject of car ownership – and misusing statistics – people who delve into the various links provided (not just by me but also ‘Brahma’ and ‘DK’) will soon discover a few things:

      (1) Non-ownership varies a lot: to the surprise of no one, I think – even those who aren’t plugged in – the rate is very high – approaching “everyone” – around the downtown core, but drops off substantially as one moves away from it. Translation: using a city-average for specific neighborhoods can be misleading.

      (2) SF, Berkeley, New Haven, Detroit and Cleveland all have similar rates of non ownership. Do we posit these cities are fundamentally alike? (For those who play cards, I suggest we have two pairs here…and a discard.) Translation: (simply) “not owning a car” tells us very little about someone – specifically age or income – and how they might behave, or what they might “want”, if they lived elsewhere.

      1. But the problem was you used the standard trick of using a gross total value rather than the actual relevant net value from a population. Car ownership rates only applies to those who can legally drive a car. So that immediately invalidates pretty much everything else you wrote. This whole subject only became politicized in SF in the 1990’s when a wave of Critical Mass bike cranks who moved here from (affluent) out of town suburbs decided that All Cars Are Evil because it cramps their current (and very transitory) life styles. Of course we’ve had the Tom Quinn CARB “All private cars are Evil, onto public transit you peasants – except for us Special People of course” cranks since the 1970’s – but that’s another subject.

        So best not play fast and loose with statistics. Some of us out there know all the tricks. Including some you probably dont know about.

  6. How about you all re-do the car statistics for people living in D2? This building could be good to target 20-somethings buying their first place but most people living on Lombard will want to drive to Marin for shopping, schools, etc given the trajectory of SF. I wouldn’t be caught dead holding this bag right now.

  7. Perhaps is decrying the inclusion of a garage because he thinks the well-heeled ultimate residents of this Marina district complex will completely rely solely on private car services, ride hailing “platforms”, and such to get around. If you look closely at the photo above, the car going past on the right-hand side looks like a twelfth generation Toyota Corolla that’s been stretched into a limousine configuration.

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