Photo by Lydia Chávez

The Urban Group Real Estate announced the sale of 3140-50 16th Street, a former auto body shop, for $8.7 million, according to a press release.

Louis Cornejo, president of Urban Group, represented the seller, Jesse Henry, who grew up in the projects in Hunter’s Point and ran Superior Automotive in the Mission for 32 years. He closed it in September and began looking to either sell or lease it.

 wrote in November on Mission Local about Henry’s history with  the building.  The 56-year-old former Air Force mechanic first opened an auto repair shop in Bayview.

…but his business grew and he needed more space.

Walking on 16th Street one day in 1994, he passed by the two-story, 1920 Beaux Arts complex and saw the owner place a “for rent” sign on the door. He inquired about renting the space that day and ended up renting it for years before paying $2.5 million to buy the building in 2004.

Cornejo said in the release that the 20,400 square foot property received multiple offers and the selling price represented  one of the Mission’s largest commercial sales of the year.

The buyer, whose name was not disclosed, plans to “repurpose the building from its current use as an auto body shop,” according to the release.


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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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  1. Congratulations and good luck to Jesse Henry, who worked hard, and invested in himself and his business and his city.
    We should read more about people in the Mission who are doing well now. Many have invested in the neighborhood for years and decades, and it’s paying off. Let’s have those stories too!

    1. Yes, I have suggested to ML that they should feature more stories about those who are doing well, rather than focus on the hard luck stories.

      For every eviction, there is a new home for someone. For every business that closes, a new business opens.

      There are two sides to gentrification, and balanced journalism tells us about the winners as well as the losers.

  2. ^ yup. Especially cassette tapes of Air Supply and Climax Blues Band.

    Think Bayview. The new (old) mission. (Though you may have to sub Air Supply for Parliament or Chicago cassettes 🙂

  3. Damn, now the constant flea market on the street outside won’t be there anymore. Where am I going to buy stone washed used jeans and cassette tapes?

  4. Awesome. Hopefully we will get high-quality housing in this location (no, not a housing project) to improve the area. A trendy hotel would also be great.

  5. I used to live around the corner on Albion (circa 1992). The garage was never anything I thought much about then, but it was representative of what the neighborhood felt like at the time. But if it does go high-end condos, I guess 16th Street will soon become even more like Valencia or 18th Street.

  6. ‘I’m going to miss this place, and it was an important part of the neighborhood.”
    -No one

  7. Quick. Check the zoning height entitlement for that lot under the Destroy Eastern Neighborhoods give away to real estate interests. Then figure out the number of luxury units that will fit into that volume. That’s what we’re going to get, if not something higher. Why not try for 15 stories and hire the acclaimed architects that are designing the enduring abominations like Vida, Vara, 15th/SVN or Maximus Disgustus at the 16th BART Plaza?

    Ever look closely at the Linea near the Mint? Looks like a UFO took a shit and it landed on Market Street.

    1. Architectural appreciation is evidently a very subjective matter, since I find all of those cited structures to be worthy, exciting additions to our streetscapes.

      In any event, car ownership in SF is declining, while demand for housing is increasing, so such re-purposing is as desirable as it is inevitable.

      We have too many auto shops where we don’t know them.

    2. Why not go for the whole (E)NEMA?

      When it comes time to assess responsibility for Eastern Neighborhoods destruction, ask who had the power to organize to stop it but decided it was in their best interests to take the money (crumbs) and run?

      Ditto for Market and Octavia. The gold plating of Hayes Valley comes at the expense of the massive up zoning in the area between Western SOMA and HV.

      All Planning and the real estate booster industry need to do is to find some patsies who will pimp their neighborhood in exchange for a trickle of concessions to provide the fig leaf of cover for a massive land grab.

      We need some public art of these sell outs, spies, saboteurs bronzes of them all on the scaffold as villagers with pitchforks and torches call for the blade.

      1. Insofar as these development are proceeding, they are a testament to how ineffective the arguments of you and your little ragged gaggle of whiney regressive NIMBYs have been.

        A majority of voters do not support your vision of a city that never progresses andwhich is anti-business, anti-growth and anti-development.

        You lost because you could not command a majority of voters. The people want new homes, new businesses and new stores and restaurants. They do not want to freeze the city in time like some ghastly theme park and throwback to a grimmer, poorer, scrubbier past.

        1. Oh don’t fool yourself. It’s still going to become a theme park. Go out on the weekends and see all the entitled kids frolicking around the “New Mission”.

        2. Not paying close enough attention to a corrupt city government who dismantled a city for greed is not the same as having lost an election. No one was prepared for the mind-boggling assault that appeared in the form of nerdy tech industry looking for trendy diggs in the bohemian Mission. These projects were pushed through before anyone knew what was going on. The battle may be lost, but it wasn’t a fair fight and the war isn’t over. No one likes these hideous buildings or the equally hideous suburbanites that move into them. It is a sad time for this city.
          The people that live here do not want new homes, new restaurants and new stores. If we did, we’d move to the suburbs, the people what want those things are the people from the suburbs and the realtor/ developer class. They want these things whether or not it destroys San Francisco. They are parasites destroying the host.

      2. Marcos once again not realizing his anti-growth NIMBY is what has actually CAUSED this situation were in.

        Keep it up, genius.

        1. It will take 100K new housing units dropped into San Francisco tomorrow to begin to see downward pressure on price. It takes years to produce that many units and there will continue to be demand, so housing production will never lower price.

          Housing supply in San Francisco will always in inelastic relative to demand hence it is impossible to build our way to affordability. Building to a bubble has to be the most short-sighted and mechanical planning policy ever.

          If we go down the increased supply route and that does not work then we will have traded our livable human scale city for an unlivable anonymous cold and windy concrete jungle based on some hair brained neoliberal theories.

          1. We’ll see how the voters weigh in when they’re asked questions along these lines over the next few elections. Note how Ed Lee is not opposing Prop B. That means that the developers and their boosters are on the defensive for the first time in more than a decade. Good times!

          2. whew! i thought we were going to go for an entire day with out you blathering about neoliberalism. #tiresome

          3. marcos, the fact that one building was stopped with the help of a billionaire does not in any way imply that the voters have suddenly gone anti-growth in the time period since they gave Ed Lee a alndslide election victory running on a pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-development platform.

            Do you see all those cranes around you for a mile in any direction? Those are fingers being raised to the NIMBY losers.

          4. The election results scared the beJezuz out of Ed Lie. Joust at the strawman of “no new housing” all you want. The voters want a better deal when housing is entitled.