Photo by Kathleen Narruhn

Lucca Ravioli Company has been serving salami sandwiches on the corner of 22nd and Valencia for 93 years. But soon, it may be serving up something else: housing.

Its parking lot at 1120 Valencia Street, which is connected to piece of property that includes Lucca on the corner and a 15-unit apartment building at 22nd and Valencia Streets, is on sale for $2.995 million.

The property’s owner, Michael Feno — who also owns Lucca — said, more than anything, he envisions six to eight housing units there. Feno said he is still “exploring” a potential sale, as developers still must determine whether it’s possible to build on the land. He acknowledged it could be a lengthy process.

“You put a lot up for sale, and by time you get through city planning, it could be two years down the road,” he said. “Not like a house, where you could be in escrow in 30 days.”

The land, measuring 4,132 square feet, is zoned for a structure of up to 55 feet. Per the Valencia Street Commercial Transit District, commercial space is encouraged on the ground floor and housing is encourage above it.

Although he says it’s important for Lucca to “take care of the middle class,” he does not expect any developer to include affordable housing at that scale.

“That would never happen,” he said about the prospect of below-market-rate housing on the lot. “Any developer will look at it … and they’ll run with it like no tomorrow.”

Yet, Feno said, adding even a small number of units to the neighborhood’s housing stock will help out. “As long as you’re short on housing, what are you going to have is every house with a multi-millionaire,” he said.

But, he said, his hoped-for six to eight units “is not even a drop in the bucket — we would need hundreds.”

Feno’s family has been running Lucca on the corner since 1925. The ravioli maker and delicatessen was founded by Feno’s great uncle, Francesco Stanghellini. Sometime in the 1950s, Feno said, his family bought the apartment building next door as well as the parking lot.

Since then, Lucca has been one of the enduring vestiges of the old Mission — preserved from an era preceding even the area’s boom of Latino culture — on hip Valencia Street, no less. By Mission Local’s assessment, Lucca is the only spot in the neighborhood that has more than 10 different salami options and serves its sandwiches with only three ingredients: meat, cheese, and bread.

A Lucca manager, who did not give his name, said he’s worked at the deli for 14 years — but had no idea about the sale. “It’s news to me,” he said, unpacking pasta from cardboard boxes at the store Monday afternoon.  

At $2.995M for 4,132 square feet, Lucca Ravioli Company’s parking lot is priced at $725 per square foot. The focaccia costs far less.

He added that the parking lot was a big draw for the shop. “We need the parking,” he said, as many of Lucca customers drive to the store.

No matter, Feno said: The sale of the lot is contingent on a developer incorporating parking into any potential project. “As long as the store is there,” he said, “the contingency would require parking.”   

Julian Mark

Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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14 Comments

  1. Typical small business owner, always looking out for #1. The only reason Lucca’s (which I love) still exists is because they own their building. They’d be gone if they didn’t, because most other folks have the same “I’d like to do the right thing…BUT….” attitude as well. Time to get some real solidarity with the “middle class” and oppose luxury housing. How bout you sell the land to MEDA, Lucca’s?

    1. I know. Can you believe it? A small business owner who has put in decades of hard work to run a business, pay employees, and stay alive through recessions, the birth of online / app based everything, and ever tightening rules and regulations in SF … now he wants to cash in, and all you can do is shit all over him. Good for Lucca’s and shame on you.

      1. There is no shortage of decades-old, financially successful and beloved businesses that are forced out of the community simply because of soul-sucking rapacious real estate speculators. Lucca’s is fortunate that they own their property or they might be gone already. All I was saying is they shouldn’t go on about “taking care of the middle class” when they’re just going to cash in on their real estate for the purpose of building luxury housing, which is BAD for the middle class.

    2. Andy, this is your opportunity to change the perceptions of small business owners! You seem like a smart guy. Why don’t you go to a bank with your business idea, get a loan and start up your own small business? You can pay your employees a living wages, benefits, 401K etc… and then when you decide to retire, sell your property at a discount to local non-profits. you know, lead by example buddy.

      Just curious, since you mentioned they should sell to MEDA, I’m assuming you mean at a discounted rate since MEDA is allowed to purchase the property just like anyone else, do you have a price in mind that MEDA should pay?

    3. Hey Andy, how about you pay to the Lucca’s owner the difference between far market value and the piddling amount that MEDA would pay?

    1. Robert, was your use of “far market value” a Freudian slip or is that just the new term you are using to describe the amount of money you want for your property on 25th and Mission? You know it’s possible that developers don’t need to be so greedy that they feel the need to squeeze every last dollar out of their properties. You could sell your property at less than “far market value” and still make a handsome profit. That might be something that’s win-win for everyone. Might even give you a good feeling that you are helping your fellow men and women and win praise for your humanity. You ought to give this some thought.

      1. Lou, how about you list all of your charitable contributions so that we can see if do yourself what you advise others to do?

        1. Robert, it seems you’ve chosen to not consider my suggestion that you could sell your property for less than top dollar while still making a handsome profit by changing the subject. Hmm, who else do we know that regularly changes the subject rather then deal with an issue? Initials DT? I was being serious by the way: it could be a win-win. You ought to consider it.

          1. To quote from the lawsuit: “Despite this critical problem and mayoral commitment to build more housing, certain members of the Board prioritize arrangements with neighborhood housing activists over responsible planning and deny multifamily residential projects for reasons unrelated to the law that the Board purports to apply. In this case, a single Board member allied with special interest groups in the Mission District seeking to acquire the property at a below-market price, or otherwise to block it entirely, single-handedly killed the project after Petitioner refused to sell the property to the activists at the discounted price demanded by those groups.”

            In short Lou, I do not like being shaken down for a forcible “charitable” contribution by people like you.

  2. More housing is good for all of us and something San Francisco desperately needs. There is not enough tax payer dollars to build enough affordable housing but market rate housing also helps reduce displacement. There is a parking lot two blocks away for people that need to drive and they should paint a handicapped space for people that can’t walk two blocks.

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