‘We are pursuing multiple angles,’ says Axis, after announcing abandonment of project


On Dec. 7, permits for a proposed $32 million, 117-unit project at 2675 Folsom St. were officially issued by the Department of Building Inspection. This came 28 months after permits were initially sought for the site — and, notably, four months after Axis Development abruptly walked off the fully entitled project and put the land up for sale.

Axis managing partner Theo Oliphant now says that, while the land was indeed listed for sale following the July decision to drop the hotly contested Mission development, “it’s not being actively marketed now.” Obtaining these site permits, he says, helps to “just keep our options open.”

Would-be bidders for the land were required to submit offers by Oct. 29. Based upon subsequent developments, it would appear a deal was not consummated.

Mission Housing and partner Related California were one of the bidding groups that came up short earlier this year. If the land were to come up for bid again, Mission Housing executive director Sam Moss says he’d be eager to obtain it for 100 percent affordable housing. “We’re definitely going to talk to all of our partners and consider all of our options,” he says. “If a nonprofit were able to obtain this, it would be a ready-made entitlement. We could break ground relatively quickly.”

Prior to Axis’ surprising July announcement, this had been a controversial proposal and the source of much wrangling. Community activists had pushed back, hoping for greater affordability than would have been provided in early iterations of the development. But Supervisor Hillary Ronen brokered what appeared to be a workable deal with the would-be builders in 2017, which would have led to 27 percent affordability, 23 on-site affordable units, and 5,200 square feet of ground-floor space leased to a community nonprofit for $1 per year.

Then the developer ostensibly pulled the plug this summer.

Oliphant said the permits that were issued this month would either allow his group to move forward or would enhance the land’s allure to a potential buyer.

“We’re taking a pause to figure out our next move,” he says. “We are pursuing multiple angles.”

Oliphant said that Axis still owns the land at 2675 Folsom St. Per city documents, the land is owned by 2675 Folsom Owner LLC — and, per the Secretary of State, Oliphant is the agent for that LLC.

Other reports have described Columbia Pacific Advisors, a lender to Axis, as the decision-maker on how to proceed with the land. Oliphant declined to discuss how such decisions are reached. Our messages for Columbia Pacific have not yet been returned.