The century-old, smurf-blue building that houses Valencia Street’s only hardware store may well become a five-story building containing eight units of housing.

While perhaps yet another example of the changing Valencia streetscape, the would-be transformation of the U-Save Plumbing & Hardware building at 1146 Valencia St. into housing is not a case of real estate speculation. Rather, it’s another common trend: families either selling their long-owned properties or developing them into residences.

The Leung family has long owned both the U-Save store and its building, which was erected circa 1906. Ken Leung opened U-Save in 1987 and bought the building the same year.

Leung declined to comment for this article.  

A person familiar with the family’s plans — who said they were not permitted by the family to speak on the record — said the family would like to move the U-Save back into the ground floor of the yet-to-be erected apartment building, though it would be smaller.

Plans are preliminary, however — so preliminary that the project has not even been formally proposed. The hypothetical mixed-use residential building hasn’t even been designed.  

A mandatory meeting regarding the project’s forthcoming application will take place on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. in front of the hardware store at 1146 Valencia St.

Perhaps the most notable recent example of a Valencia Street family “cashing out” (read: being incentivized by red-hot property values to sell or develop) is the Feno Family, which owns Lucca Ravioli Co. at 22nd and Valencia streets. They also owned, or are in the process of selling, four properties on the block, including a parking lot, with combined value of more than $11 million.

Another recent case study is that of the Ring family, who shooed out the venerable Elbo Room — a bar they themselves founded in the ‘90s — to erect seven condos, the entitlements of which were sold to a shell company, 645 Valencia LLC, in December.

The Elkington Family, who own the building housing S.F. Auto Works at 21st and Valencia streets, are in the process of seeking entitlements for a 25-unit apartment building. S.F. Auto Works accepted a buyout and likely will not be invited back to occupy the ground floor.