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Stevenson Street, the small alley off 14th between Valencia and Mission Streets, has seen better days. Since a fire in January shut down the warehouse at the end of the block that housed 21 people, the little street has been mostly vacant. The lot next to the fire-damaged warehouse is a fenced-in parking lot and the alley has become a congregating spot for the homeless.

If new plans for the block proceed, that parking lot will become a mixed-use development with 69 housing units, according to a preliminary assessment released this week by the Planning Department.

Designed by Axis Development Group, the preliminary plans for the lot at 344 14th Street and 1463 Stevenson include the construction of two buildings on the roughly 22,000 square-foot parcel.

One five-story building facing 14th Street would include the project’s housing, a mix of two- and one- bedrooms, as well as several studios. The ground floor would be taken up by two retail spaces sharing 2,490 square-feet and a landscaped courtyard.

The second building in the plan faces out towards Stevenson Street and would include three stories of space (roughly 14,000 square-feet) dedicated to production/design/repair (PDR) and “small enterprise workspace”—essentially, manufacturing and small office space. The two buildings would share an underground parking garage with 50 spaces.

Axis Development’s website describes the project’s design as “urban-inspired” that “extends beyond the individual unit walls to welcoming vibrant spaces throughout the building, up to the roof.” It also promises several luxury amenities such as a residential lounge and theater, indoor/outdoor fitness center and a 24-hour front desk attendant.

It’s unclear from these initial plans if the project will include any on-site affordable housing. The project’s sponsor Muhammad A. Nadhiri of Axis Development could not be reached for comment after multiple attempts. According to the Planning Department’s preliminary assessment, if the project does elect to build on-site affordable housing, as opposed to paying an in-lieu fee, it would need to include at least 10 below-market units.

Axis Development, which describes itself as specializing in “uniquely stylized urban infill,” is also at work on projects in Berkeley—at least one of which has run into trouble with the Zoning Board there. In 2013, Berkeley’s Zoning Board rejected plans for a project at 2701 Shattuck St., which included the city’s first building plan with so-called “micro apartments,” after the developer failed to respond to feedback from the city planners.

Axis Development's rejected plans for 2701 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Courtesy Lowney Architects.

Axis Development’s rejected plans for 2701 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Courtesy Lowney Architects.

According to Berkeleyside, which reported on the Zoning Board’s rejection of Axis’ plans in 2013, planners had asked the developer to bring down the building’s size. When Axis didn’t significantly alter their plans, several members of the Zoning Board responded with sharp words.

“I’m astonished at how fully the applicant has ignored our very clear suggestions,” said Commissioner Shoshana O’Keefe at the 2013 meeting. “From staff, from us. I was at the last meeting, I know what was said. I can’t believe you would come up here with a straight face and say you were confused as to what we were asking for.”

In its initial review, San Francisco’s Planning Department offered Axis many suggestions that would alter the original plans. They ask that the developer limit the building’s footprint to establish the required setback from the street and place a courtyard between its plot on Stevenson Street and the houses it would back on Woodward Street.

The project has a long way to go before it becomes finalized. A project of this size requires some form of environmental impact report and a large project authorization, among other things. For now, Stevenson Street is in a state of halted transition, with a building shuttered and still charred, awaiting an eventual rehab.
Read through the Planning Department’s full project assessment below (a previous version of this article had posted the wrong documents, these are now the correct ones):

Preliminary Assessment for 344 14 Street