When the gas station at 20th and Valencia closed in 2004, someone spray painted “Anything But A Parking Lot!” on top of the old pumps. Then it became a parking lot.

The parking lot that the development will replace.

But not for much longer. The 11,000-square-foot parcel at 899 Valencia Street will house a five-story mixed-used building, with 18 condominiums and three retail spaces, if the Planning Commission approves the development on Thursday.

The proposed project is one of six housing complexes built or in the process of obtaining permits on Valencia Street. Collectively, the projects would provide the corridor with 74 housing units between 15th and 22nd.

The projects include the already-constructed buildings at 700 and 736 Valencia Street. A 17-unit development on 19th and Valencia is already approved and awaiting construction. A 24-unit project at 411 Valencia Street, near 15th, and a 16-unit project at 1050 Valencia, between 21st and 22nd, are awaiting approval.

Most of these proposals have been in the works for years. Some were stalled by the Eastern Neighborhoods zoning scheme, which passed in 2008. Others were weathering the bad economy.

The proposed 52-foot-tall complex at 899 Valencia will house 18 three-bedroom units and 18 basement-level parking spaces. Fourteen spaces will be designated for residents and four for the three businesses on the first level.

The project has wide support from residents in the area and the Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association.

The sole opposition to the development is from long-time anti-development attorney Sue Hestor, who filed an appeal to the project’s mitigated negative declaration on behalf of the Mission-based nonprofit People Organized to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights. The mitigated declaration is a step below an environmental impact report, which outlines measures that need to be taken for the project not to have adverse affects.

In the last few years, infill development, often in former parking lots or single-story commercial buildings, continues to transform the section of Valencia around the 16th and 24th Street BART stops into a high-density residential and commercial corridor, in accordance with the Eastern Neighborhoods zoning. “It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood, and it seems quite a few business are coming,” said Tuija Catalano, a land-use attorney who represents the developer at 899 Valencia.

If approved, the project could be completed as soon as a year from now, or as long as 18 months. The owner of the property, Tim Brown of San Francisco, is committed to funding and building the project, Catalano said.

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday at noon at City Hall, Room 400.


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