Former Site of ‘Home’ to Host 7-Story Apartment Building

Home is no more. Bulldozers finished the demolition in March to make way for construction of a new apartment building with retail leases.
Photo: Steven Bracco on Instagram

By Brad Bailey (Castro Courier)

New changes are coming to the corner of Church and Market in the Castro. The site was previously the location of “Home” restaurant, and construction has begun on a new residential and retail space.

2100 Market St. will soon be the location of a seven-story structure with 60 new residential apartments and two ground level retail spaces. Brian Spiers is a local business owner and real estate developer for the project.

Visitors to the area can already notice the bulldozers on site. Demolition of the original building was earlier this year. “We have broken ground,” Spiers said. “We expect to start to move forward on the foundation and some of the excavation as early as next week.”

Spiers forecasts that construction will last about 18 to 20 months, which puts an opening in 2019 or 2020.

The former restaurant “Home” closed in 2011, and a Preliminary Project Assessment was submitted to the San Francisco Planning Department in June 2014. During that preliminary proposal the developers called 64 dwelling units, on grade parking for 15 cars with car lifts, and 4,700 square feet of retail commercial space on Market, 14th and Church streets. Several changes took place after a review of that Assessment in 2014 to the present day. The number of units was dropped to 60 and residential units were moved to higher floor to make space for ground floor retail.

“As you find out what you need for your ground floor space, sometimes you lose or gain units based on your final formula for those areas,” he said.
When asked about what type of retail space will go in the building, he stated that a restaurant/bar or bar will occupy the larger of the two spaces. The other space is still undecided.

The building will also have affordable housing units and will fall in line with the city’s inclusionary housing law. “All of our BMR’s (Below Market Rate) will be to requirement on site,” he said. “We’re picking up much needed apartments in the neighborhood.”
Spiers was born and raised in San Francisco, which may give him an insight into the potential changes of the project for the Castro and the city at large. In addition to 2100 Market, Spiers also owns the Lucky 13 bar at 2140 Market Street and the Bitter End Bar and Grill at 441 Clement Street. He also owns the ground floor commercial space at 280 Valencia Street.

“I feel it’s a positive change for the neighborhood,” he said, “It had been vacant for 5 years, so in less than two years it will go from a vacant, obsolete, run- down building to a new apartment building with ground floor retail in excess or matching the existing ground floor footprint of the prior business.”
After years of planning, Spiers is optimistic about the development so far, and the changes coming for the building and area. “We’re pleased with our progress up to date,” he said.

Upper Market St. Development May Offer 96 New Apartments

Upper Market St. Development May Offer 96 New Apartments
Changes are afoot at the corner of Duboce Avenue and Market Street.

By Brad Bailey (Castro Courier)

A proposed mixed-use development at 1965-67 Market Street is one of the many in recent years that could soon be changing the Upper Market landscape. The highly visible site is currently the location of a FedEx Office outlet. David Baker Architects designed the development for Keller Grover Properties, and when finished will have 96 residential units, retail space, and an underground parking garage. Fourteen of the new units will be designated for affordable housing.

The developer still needs the Planning Commission to approve the project but they are optimistic they could break ground as early as next spring.

According to city and state regulations, all buildings constructed over 50 years ago that possess architectural or historical significance can be considered historic resources. The current facade on Market Street fits this requirement, and will remain intact while the new development will be built around it.
David Prowler, project manager of the new development, discussed the projected impact. “We worked very hard to learn from the Market and Octavia plan, [and] that the city and neighborhood associations worked for years to develop a plan that meets the goals of neighborhood residents,” he said.

The Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan covers Market Street between the Van Ness Avenue and Church Street Muni stations and along Octavia Boulevard. The Plan has been in effect since 2007.

“We’re really happy to say that the project complies with the Market and Octavia Plan,” Prowler said. “We’re working to further the neighborhood’s goals of creating a gateway in that corner, and creating a scale that relates to the buildings around it and to the width of Market Street.”

Prowler said the project preserves the significant elements of the historical building and creates housing at all levels of affordability at a time when the neighborhood needs it most.

Currently, any building along Market Street at that intersection is zoned for development up to 85 feet in height. However, the current parking lot, along Duboce Avenue, is only zoned for 55 feet. Therefore, the project team is utilizing the state’s Density Bonus Law, passed in September 2016. The law enables an increase in height or configuration in order to increase the number of units that are created on a site. This will allow two additional floors to the Duboce Avenue side of the building, making the new structure 75 feet tall.
“What it enables us to do is to push the addition that goes above the historic building way back in order to create a setback that honors the existing building. We’re set back from Market Street property line 35 feet, more than the width of a typical building lot,” he said. “The state density bonus allows us to recapture what would be lost by increasing the height above the existing zoning.”

The current FedEx Office Outlet will be converted but the amount of retail in the development will stay the same, Prowler states. “It’ll go from office and retail to residential to retail,” he said.

Originally, the development was projected to have 80 units. San Francisco’s Inclusionary Housing Program requires developers of projects with 10 or more units to pay an Affordable Housing Fee, or to instead sell or rent a percentage of the units to low or middle income households. The required rate for BMR (below market rate) units for this project is 14.5 percent. However, the additional space allowed by the Density Bonus Law allowed for the addition of 16 units to make a total of 96 units.

To keep the original number of affordable units at the rate of 14.5 percent, they voluntarily added two additional units, making it a total of 14 units that qualify as affordable housing. “We’re applying the local requirement to all the units, even those attributable to the state density bonus, even though we’re not required to,” he said.

Prowler states that the management team made presentations to six or eight neighborhood associations to solicit their input. “Some people have critiques of the design and we’ve made some design changes in response to those critiques,” he said. “The basic use, the scale, the residential mix- we’re doing exactly what it is that people called for in the community-driven Market and Octavia plan.”
Prowler said a crucial component of the development is that the management team are residents of the area. “Just about all of the project team lives or works in the neighborhood,” he said, “One of our goals is to create a project that we can all be proud of.”

Elixir, one of SF’s oldest saloons, has changed with the city

Ladies and gentlemen, let us drink to history. Let us toast San Francisco as a drinking town, and let us celebrate the life and times of one of the city’s oldest saloons.

That would be the Elixir, an establishment at 16th and Guerrero streets in the heart of the Mission, the oldest neighborhood in San Francisco. The Elixir first opened its doors — under another name — in 1858, which makes it the second-oldest bar in San Francisco, after the Old Ship on Pacific Avenue, which dates to 1851.

read more in the San Francisco Chronicle


FUF Tree Planting in Castro & Mission Dolores May 20th

Friends of the Urban Forest is having a tree planting event in the Castro and Mission Dolores neighborhoods on May 20th. They need volunteers and sponsors for trees. Please contact FUF or see maps on their site for details on tree planting locations that are already planned in the neighborhood for the May 20th planting.  Contact FUF to volunteer to participate in the planting.

Friends of the Urban Forest makes it easy and affordable for San Franciscans to get new trees in front of their properties. Street trees beautify and improve neighborhoods, increase property values, reduce storm-water runoff, and clean the air. Friends of the Urban Forest pays most of the costs. Please see the Tree Planting forms page for more details on how to sign up for a tree.


SF LGBT historic site downgrades federal landmark request

With President Donald Trump in office, an LGBT historic site in San Francisco has dropped its request to become a National Historic Landmark, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

The leadership of the Women’s Building in the city’s Mission district had been working with Donna Graves, a public historian based in Berkeley, to fill out the paperwork for the structure to secure a landmark designation, one of the highest honors at the federal level a property can receive outside of being named a national monument or park site.

Graves had secured a grant from the National Park Service’s LGBTQ Heritage Initiative, which earmarked funding specifically for LGBT historic nominations, as the B.A.R. first reported in March. The Women’s Building was founded in 1971 by a group of women that included a number of lesbian leaders.

read the full article  in the Bay Area Reporter



Chip Drop – a free mulch program for gardeners and homeowners in Mission Dolores

Bryan Kappa recently started a free mulch program for gardeners and homeowners in Mission Dolores. It’s called Chip Drop, and it connects people with local tree companies who are willing to drop off whole truck loads of wood chip mulch for free.

For more details, see the Chip Drop press page.

dump_1 dump_5

Median parking on Guerrero & Dolores: SFMTA Board of Directors decides on 12-month pilot that leaves things largely unchanged

median parking darkMEDIAN PARKING ON DOLORES AND GUERRERO HAS ALWAYS BEEN ILLEGAL, but the SF Metropolitan Transit Authority (SFMTA), which is in charge of parking regulation and enforcement, has looked the other way for decades. While the official word is that this practice has been tolerated to accommodate the neighborhood’s faith-based organizations, in reality, the vast majority of parkers in recent years are there not to attend services, but to avail themselves of Dolores Park and other local amenities. The parking is a great convenience for many but a source of considerable unhappiness among most local residents. As the Mission Dolores Neighborhood has become increasingly popular, so have the traffic congestion and safety issues associated with turning these two-lane thoroughfares into a single-lane gauntlet.

Last year, SFMTA convened a 9-member “Median Parking Advisory Committee” composed of local residents, business owners, and members of local religious organizations, in an attempt to arrive at some concensus about this contentious issue. After meeting for over 9 months, the Committee came up with a narrow but final recommendation to abolish all median parking (Note: SFMTA claims that no such consensus was reached due to a technical quorum issue). The agency  also did a survey of some 3,766 locals. 74% of respondents said they were either “completely (64.9%) or somewhat (10.8%) unsupportive of median parking conditions.”









On August 14, SFMTA’s Board of Directors met to come to a final decision. While the results of the survey appeared unambiguous, the Board concluded: “the survey is neither the determining factor in the SFMTA’s final decision on median parking nor a statistically significant random sample of the stakeholders.”

Instead, SFMTA decided on a 12-month pilot program that would keep things pretty much as they are now, but would provide more enforcement against clearly unsafe practices based on yet-to-be-determined guidelines. (To date, there is no evidence that enforcement has changed in any way. As the photo attests, cars parked long after dark are not being ticketed on any regular basis.

Stay tuned for further developments.