As proposed by Brookfield Properties and newly rendered above and below, the refined plans for redeveloping the 41-acre Stonestown site would now yield nearly 3,500 residential units, up from around 2,900 units as originally proposed, with the existing 775,000-square-foot Galleria and additional commercial development still serving as the “Town Center” for the bisected neighborhood(s) and buildings rising up to 190 feet in height.

At the same time, the proposed office space component of the project, which had been envisioned to total up to 200,000 square feet, now totals under 100,000 square feet; with 160,000 square feet of new retail space (which is down from around 200,000 square feet of new retail and amenity space as originally proposed); over 60,000 square feet of new community space/ueses; six (6) acres of park, plaza and open spaces; 4,861 parking spaces (which is up from 3,700 parking spaces as originally proposed and over 1,000 more than currently exist on the site); and the plans for a 200-room hotel having been dropped.

If the plans are approved and the ground is broken, the redevelopment is currently slated to be completed in six phases, with Brookfield originally aiming to secure approvals and break ground around 2024, a date which is likely to slip.  We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

35 thoughts on “Refined Plans for the Proposed Stonestown Redevelopment”
    1. What is the newest building at Park Merced and do they offer many amenities? Is there mixed use/active ground floors in Park Merced with coffee shops, restaurants, or other community needs? I doubt that the tenancy of Park Merced has much overlap with the folks this type of development will be looking to attract.

      1. Hunter, it really doesn’t matter much if Park Merced offers similar amenities or ground floor space, and the executives at Brookfield Properties probably laugh about your conception of “community need” when they are walking up the back nine at Pebble Beach.

        Daniel and the editor are assuming, perhaps wrongly, that readers of this site understand how real property development happens in the (late) capitalist system given that Brookfield Properties is not a non-profit nor a government entity.
        When Brookfield attempts to get some phase of financing for this project, they will have to submit a pro forma to whatever lender they are working with, and that lender will look at the state of the market and try to determine, on their own and using their own models, whether or not Brookfield will generate enough revenue from the planned residential units and the retail space to make a profit from the development in a given time frame if it’s built. They’ll have their own “hurdle rate” to approve the loan(s), and they’ll take into account the vacancies at Park Merced when they get around to projecting how likely that profit is to come to fruition even if the units are not completely fungible.

        If lenders come to the conclusion that the state of the market in San Francisco is such that the completed units won’t stay occupied enough or at a high enough price point upon completion, they’ll deny the loan and the project won’t even break ground unless Brookfield funds the development with 100 percent equity, which is extraordinarily unlikely.

    2. Why on earth would someone send out a memo like that ?? The way you sequenced the words made me think they’re trying to explain the latter statement by means of the first, but why give out that kind of detail ?? Someone must have raided the eggnog early!

  1. Why build only up to 190 feet? I love the # of new housing units, but developers are given an opportunity to build a neighborhood in a major world city from almost scratch here, and it’s going to look like Mission Bay 2.0……. Soulless.

      1. I guess Barcelona, Paris, [insert really great city here] are “soulless”.
        What is soulless about Mission Bay and many other master planned neighborhoods is not the height or uniformity of height. It’s the large scale grain of the neighborhood. There is little to no organic funkiness or intricate detail you get from blocks with many different smaller footprint buildings. A neighborhood where every building is the scale of a half-block or more is something that just can’t be overcome. Yes, an individual building can have nice detail, but where every building is a block long and built in the same era, it doesn’t feel so lovable.

        1. intheknow – I appreciate your thoughtful reply.
          However, I think you missed the gist of my reply to PD. I’m questioning the wisdom of building taller than 190 feet.
          With a floor-to-floor height of 11 feet, a building 190 feet tall equals a 17-story building.
          For reference, Barcelona and Paris residential buildings are generally 6 to 8 stories.
          How much taller is PD suggesting and how does taller deliver more soul?

          1. sockettome — I was agreeing with you!

            Height does not equal soul. It just makes a tall building that has a greater burden to be attractive and well proportioned. I predict the “tall” buildings here are most likely going to be banal broad boxes because that’s, well, cheapest to build, and this area doesn’t exactly command the higher rents in the city.

            All that said, having all the taller buildings at the same height of 190′ is going to make an equally dull skyline. It would be nicer if they weren’t all the same height.

        2. intheknow, you just described Barcelona and Paris
          “A neighborhood where every building is the scale of a half-block or more”… “where every building is a block long and built in the same era”

          1. That is not correct. Just look at Google maps aerial photo of the Eixample in Barcelona (the characteristic area of the city with the prototypical block pattern designed in the 1800s by Cerda) and you’ll see there are 6-10 buildings on the typical small block face of less than 400′.

            Yes, there are blocks in Paris with one or two buildings, but that’s not the characteristic pattern in most of the central city that everyone loves. Most blocks, especially the residential ones, have multiple narrower buildings per block, and the key feature of the pattern is that it is heterogenous in terms of width of buildings and even length of blocks — it’s just the general scale and richness of the detailing and fenestration which is consistent. In Mission Bay, a 400′ block would have at best two buildings on it and the whole thing is uniform with nothing narrower or smaller scale in terms of footprint.

            And what also sets apart those older cities is the difference is that the quality of materials, attention to detailing and construction methods, and the important fact that those buildings were not built as slaves to the auto, make them texturally rich and durable in a way that today’s prevailing American construction methods, costs and architectural conventions just don’t.

            The one thing that can overcome the thinness and lack of good materials and detailing in our buildings is a smaller scale of building to allow more organic richness. You can have really poor/non-architecture with cheap materials, but if the buildings are small and there are a lot of them that are set in a dense walkable pattern, then it creates a really lively and dynamic environment that can evolve over time.

      1. Agreed.

        Having lived in the Sunset for years, the weather in this area is hardly outdoor friendly most days of the year. What a complete shame that there isn’t a BART line running down 19th Ave to Daly City with a station at Stonestown.

    1. It’s just yet another redevelopment in the Sunset (well Parkside / Park Merced). Thats all. Just like the first one were it went from the original outdoor mall to an indoor mall. A major world city? You’re joking? SF forty / fifty years ago felt and looked like a major national even international city. Now its just yet another mid sized regional city. Dead after 9pm. Anyone who remembers Lower Market / Soma / North Beach etc before the 1990’s will remember just how big city it was back then. Large areas still buzzy until the a.m’s. Now even North Beach is tumbleweed by 10pm.

      The fact that SF is now very much a regional city is shown by people trying to compare with Barcelona or Paris. Anyone who knows both those cities well will just roll their eyes and laugh at the comparison. Its the same as Merced or Salinas trying to compare itself in some way with San Francisco. Ludicrous. SF’s peer cities are now Portland and Seattle. Not NYC or LA. And definitely not Barcelona or Paris. Although 40 years ago Barcelona had a real small town dump feel. Still Franco era run down.

      Stonetowns heyday ended when Emporium was taken over by Macys, and the Good Guys, Tower Video and later Borders disappeared. The new rebuild, not going to work. Plus removing the one great advantage of Stonestown, easy parking, will kill what remains of its foot traffic. Sticking in random residential wont save it. Even if they rent it all to foreign ESL students at SF State. Which wont save retail either.

      So a very Fashion Island Mall vibe about the whole situation. Now that was a real Twilight Zone kinda place.

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more. This development looks like a total mess. Why would anyone go to a dead mall with little to no parking. Stonestown should have been demolished decades ago after losing most of their prime tenants. The Serramonte mall in Daly city has completely eclipsed Stonestown and I honestly have no clue why the owner dumped money into this place after Macy’s left.

        San Francisco is over. The local government is corrupt and look around at all the businesses that have left. The office market will never recover and San Francisco will lose its two main shopping malls. All, that will be left is a slum town filled with corrupt politicians, weirdos, thugs and homeless people of course.

      2. “Anyone who remembers Lower Market / Soma / North Beach etc before the 1990’s will remember just how big city it was back then.”

        The reason SF was lively in the 1980s was because it had been shrinking for decades, was empty, and the housing didn’t cost much. It certainly was not a “big city” back then, at its post-war population nadir.

        1. I was talking about the vibe on the street. How it felt to walk around the city streets back then. In 1985 San Jose was bigger than San Francisco yet downtown San Jose felt more like Santa Rosa. On a bad day. Despite the population drop from 1950 onwards the San Francisco of the 1980’s and its street feel would still have been very familiar to anyone from the 1950’s. Or even 1930’s But San Francisco of 2000 on onwards was a shell of what it once was.

          Talking about the urban core around Lower Market heading north towards Broadway and south to the 280 at Fourth. Visiting Portland and Seattle back then it was very noticeable just how second tier these cities were compared to SF. Despite Seattle’s pretensions. But in the last 10/ 15 years all three are very much peer city’s now. What SF had been for almost 150 years, very much a national / international big city, the dominant city on the West Coast and Western US., is now just another fairly generic regional city. On the plus side Los Angeles has fallen even further. Still a national / international city due to its sheer size (which it has been since the 1960’s) but compared to its dynamism and self-confidence of 30 / 40 years ago it is now more like a bigger sprawling San Jose. But with less charm.

          1. @Fishchum
            I say this about LA as someone who knows SoCal for so long that I still give directions using freeway names. And have to translate freeway numbers into names to understand directions. So its Ventura East to San Diego South to Santa Monica East then second last exit before you hit the Golden State / Santa Ana..

            LA in the 1980’s when I knew it best was still a very vibrant city. Had an amazing energy. While San Francisco back then was very much a prima-dona of a certain age well past its prime. But the recession of the early 1990’s gutted large parts of the LA economy and it never really recovered its old luster. It was nt just aerospace that disappeared. It was whole manufacturing sectors than had been the building blocks of the local economy since the 1920’s. Not just the 1940’s. Sure you can see the Hollywood sign from more than half a mile away most days now. And most of Downtown is no longer straight out of RepoMan. But there is an underlying San Jose’edness about LA that was never there before. Well at least not since the 1920’s. When it was Iowa by the ocean. Still love the Southlands. Always did. But LA has been a seriously hurtin’ city for the last few decades. Compered to what it had been before.

  2. I live in Parkmerced, and they do not send “memos” to their tenants. They send emails and, very rarely, USPS mail. I did not receive a memo to inform me that 25% of the units are vacant. Why would Parkmerced do that? If it’s true, it’s bad news. Did Daniel send you a copy of the memo as proof of that? I don’t believe it. Most new tenants have been Latino immigrants.

    A good number of Parkmerced’s tenants have lived here for a long time, because they have rent-controlled apartments with relatively low rents. I met an older resident who told me he has been living in Parkmerced since the 1950s. He was in his 80s. I enjoyed listening to him talk about how much Parkmerced has changed over the years.

  3. To help this project succeed (and to improve transportation in this area in a low cost manner), one of the two left turn lanes from northbound Nineteenth Avenue at Winston (the one shared with the inbound M track) should be removed and should become a Muni-only lane. As it now stands one motorist can delay a trainload of passengers for an additional minute or two as they wait for a left turn signal while the light rail vehicle is blocked from utilizing the green light to travel straight. This is inefficient and expensive by design (and the opposite of transit first). This project should not be approved without such a simple and overdue improvement – especially in light of a proposed massive expansion of parking spaces at Stonestown.

    1. Counterpoint – this would lead to epic backups on 19th Ave. Muni should have long been moved underground on this stretch. Cheap is as cheap does.

      1. While you’re tunneling, move the highway traffic underground all the way to the GG Bridge, making 19th for local traffic.

    2. Having taken that turn at Winston many times over the decades my first reaction was, huh? What you talkin bout Willis…
      Given the synchronization of the traffic lights on 19’th in both direction the only thing that would be achieved by removing that turn lane would be to move the streetcar blocked by traffic signals / traffic from Winton a few blocks north to Rossmore. Thats its. Plus I have nt seen a detailed breakdown of transportation usage patterns for that part of the SF for quite a while but I dont suspect it has changed much. Were almost 90% of all local passenger miles travelled is by private motor vehicle not public transit. And no amount of magical thinking will change that number. Of course the real solution to the 19’th Ave mess is to build one of the two original GG Bridge North / South connector routes. Either the Brotherhood / Sunset Blvd, Lincoln, Park Presidio route. Or the Junipero Serra , 7’th Ave, Lincoln, Park Presidio route. But that will never happen. Because of the Single Local Crank Veto in SF city planning.

      1. The M has roughly twelve consecutive blocks of dedicated right of way along this stretch, with the exception of the dual purpose left turn lane in question and intersections. Except for red lights and transit stops, it makes very good time along this section of its route. The time savings of a Muni-only lane at 19th and Winston multiplied by the number of riders is huge.

        As to lasting traffic solutions, regional rail (from Daly City BART north under 19th up to Geary and beyond) would be transformative and, I believe, the best option to sustainably accommodate projected population growth.

        1. “projected population growth”.
          It is probably a good time to take a closer look at this. The trend over the last few years has been the opposite, population decline in CA, the Bay Area and SF. The LA Times is running an interesting article on this today.

          1. To be a bit more precise, the L.A. Times’ article is about “new state-to-state migration data show[ing] that for the last several years, thousands more high-earning, well-educated workers have left California than have moved in.” In general, California has experienced lopsided out-migration for decades, but the impact on The State’s been cushioned by people moving into the state who earned more money than those who left.

            If this trend holds up and becomes prevalent in S.F, that means gentrification strategies won’t work a well, because buyers of homes/potential tenants won’t have as much money to pay for shelter. Hopefully, the flippers, high-end focused developers, and other hangers-on who have arrived here from elsewhere to make their fortune in the S.F. real estate “game”, will get the message and leave as well, leaving S.F. to those who live here and can build units San Franciscans can afford.

          2. That LA Times article is the worst of that paper, an editorial running as news. There is absolutely no data that links taxes to domestic migration. According to the FTB’s report for tax year 2021 (the latest report) only the highest tax-paying cohorts continue to grow, while the fastest-shrinking cohort is those with negative tax liability, people the state was literally paying to live here. Cost of housing is the one and only push factor that makes people leave.

          3. Well, far be it from me to defend the Los Angeles Times, but here is what I think is the nutshell ‘graphs, in terms of actual data to base their story on:

            In 2021 and 2022, about 750,000 more people left the state than moved in, according to recently released Census Bureau data. That was about as many as the total net loss of residents for all five years before the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
            But it’s not just the sheer numbers of people who have left. What’s different is that in each of the prior two years, more than 250,000 Californians with at least a bachelor’s degree moved out, while an average of 175,000 college graduates from other states settled in California, according to an analysis of census data by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.
            In prior periods over the last two decades, that balance was about even or slightly in California’s favor, even though the state consistently lost many more residents overall to other states than it gained from them. The recent out-migration has been particularly pronounced among Californians with graduate and professional degrees.

            In the tax filing years 2020 and 2021, the average gross income of taxpayers who had moved from California to another state was about $137,000. That was up from $75,000 in 2015 and 2016, according to migration and personal income data from the Internal Revenue Service. IRS and other data show that Texas has long been, by far, the top destination for Californians. And in the years 2015-16, an individual or couple who had moved from California to Texas reported an average income of $78,000, about the same as Texans who relocated to California. But by 2020-2021, California transplants in Texas reported an average income of about $137,000, while tax returns from former Texans who moved to California showed an average income of $75,000.

            The articles goes on to quote Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi analyzing Equifax credit data for moves in and out of California and Eric McGhee, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

          4. So in short it’s a question of updated data. This is frequently a tease — “this just in” “everything’s changed” – so I can empathize with Mr. Baker’s dubiety…then again his persuasive powers suffered a WeWork-like downgrade with this ill-considered remark Cost of housing is the one and only push factor that makes people leave. (emphasis added)

  4. A) Parkmerced ignored transit with a dog-leg into parkmerced (poor idea)
    B) SFSU-CSU ignored transit with removal of shuttle system and stops on 19th gator pass but that ignores traffic impacts as well, including dangerous parking of RV’s along 19th.
    C) 800 Brotherhood Way project got approved with a bus stop and 2-3 car garages not the most commuter friendly solution.
    D) The M-Line undergrounding went nowhere
    E) the L-Taraval and Sloat proposed projects all jointly impact these projects.
    F) when they all get built around the same time or not, construction vehicles and deliveries will increase (not decrease) so what real transit planning was involved SFMTA? SFBOS? anyone?
    G) the real solution for stonestown and parkmerced and sfsu-csu involves a more serious bi-county discussion on paying and planning for transit, and getting it built alongside the major housing proposals. or carmageddeon ensues.
    H) we talked about it ad nauseum back in 2007-2023 but nobody still “gets it” in terms of how to solve for transit capacity, and housing growth on the west side… (See Pacifica and Daly City, and I-280 and hyperloop and start connecting dots and lessen car impacts on SF?)


    1. The M-Line undergrounding didn’t get anywhere because, simply put, it was estimated to cost around $3 billion in mid-2010’s dollars and we all know about how common cost overruns are in public transit projects in the U.S.
      For comparison, in 2012, the cost of the Central Subway had reached $1.6 billion, from an originally estimated cost, in 2000, of $530 million. When the main contract for construction was awarded in May 2013 to the lowest bidder, Tutor Perini, the $840 million contract was up to $120 million over the budgeted amount, which took up nearly two-thirds of the entire project’s contingency.
      I don’t know why you even bring up hyperloop, that is a cruel, sick joke.

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