Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.
I don’t have much of a play-by-play housing-bubble update this week except that messages continue to be mixed: On one hand, housing prices are starting to plateau, and this is attributed by some analysts to increased supply. On the other, a UCLA study says it’s not enough and rents will stay high because we’re still not building enough.
So instead, here’s an update on three interesting sites in the Mission: The Elbo Room, the former Rolling Stock tire shop on 16th and Shotwell, and a building on Folsom where a group of artists is being evicted.
Years after the owners of the building that currently holds the popular Elbo Room first proposed to put housing on the corner of Valencia and Sycamore streets, the Planning Commission has made a recommendation to tweak the design of the building, sending it off for further review.
You might recall that owners of the surrounding homes had requested a discretionary review of the project back in April, citing concerns about shadow impacts and that the development would threaten a tree in the rear yard between the two buildings.
The building owners, who want to add seven units to the top of the Elbo Room building, have created a sort of wedding-cake shape on the building to comply with requirements that the new parts be essentially less visible than the historic ground floor. Well, here is the compromise that the Planning Commission worked out: Slide the top floor of the wedding cake five feet away from the rear yard and toward Valencia.
That compromise is contingent upon approval from the the Planning Department’s preservation staff. If they don’t sign off on the tweak, five feet will simply get lopped off the back end of the fifth floor to try and let more light into the neighbors’ windows – something at least one neighbor wasn’t convinced will make a difference.
The backyard tree, which didn’t seem to be of much interest to the Commission, and which the project’s sponsors argued was actually one of the primary culprits of the backyard shading, is unlikely to make it through the construction.
Folsom Street artist studios
Hoodline recently reported on a building on Folsom Street where artists are losing studio space to an eviction. From the landlord, they say they’re hearing that the eviction is because the leaky roof needs to be replaced. While they agree that yes, the roof leaks, they’re not clear on why exactly that means they need to leave for ever (though the artists I talked to indicated that they understand the building owner might not be able to keep low-rent artists in a commercial building).
Which has raised some suspicions that Everlane, the mostly-online clothing retailer that has a retail spot in the ground floor of the building, might be a candidate to move in.
Everlane, however, told me in an email that they don’t have any plans to expand in that building.
Remember how right after the fire that consumed this tire shop, people jumped on the landlord for telling a news crew that he’s thinking about building condos there instead, which resulted in some backlash? Well, while Planning records do indicate that the landlord met with Planning staff ages ago to discuss the possibility of building residential there, the zoning prohibits housing. What’s just been filed is a permit application for commercial parking on the empty lot.
Except, huh? There’s been parking there for months. The Conditional Use application the owner is filing is simply a response to a notice of violation he was sent by Planning in March telling him he needed this approval to keep using the lot as parking for a local Honda dealership that is in the process of moving its operations around.
The Palace Steakhouse, which suffered a fire in late 2015 that damaged the apartments upstairs and resulted in the steakhouse’s closure, is becoming “Francisca’s,” reports Capp Street Crap.
Also, on the other end of the Mission, zoning rules on 16th Street that were originally implemented to encourage retail have been adjusted to instead encourage light industrial uses to either return to or remain in the area. You can read more about that proposal, now implemented, here.