The proposed structure on Cesar Chavez between Mission and South Van Ness would have 57 units of housing and ground-floor retail.

Fifty-seven units of housing are slated to be built right along one of the busiest corridors of the Mission, at 3314 Cesar Chavez St.

At Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, all seven commissioners voted to give a conditional use authorization to the project, a proposed six-to-seven-story, mixed-use building located between Mission and South Van Ness. 

Speaking to the commission, property co-owner Sherman Chiu said he bought the low-slung structure in 2005 and used it as the headquarters for his building and engineering contracting company. 

“The reason I want to develop this project is I feel like the building is being underutilized. We only share a small office there,” Chiu said.

He added that after the building is finished, he and his colleague planned on living in it and running their business in the ground-level retail space.

But there have been some hiccups in getting the project approved, Chiu admitted to the commission.

“It’s not been an easy project for us. We’re not developers,” he said. 

Since the last public hearing back in February 2018, Chiu and his team met with community groups like the Mission Economic Development Agency and Calle 24. All parties agreed on a plan that included an increase in the affordable-housing tally, a new mural, the selection of  a color scheme that is “representative of the community” and a design that fits the style of the Mission.

As currently planned, the 65-foot-tall building would offer 53,000 square feet of residential space with 3,000 square feet of ground office space. The building will have 11 units of affordable housing and a 30-space garage.

Some area residents questioned aspects of the project during public comment. Zan Sterling, who lives across the street, said the building’s garage warning system — set up to notify pedestrians and drivers of an oncoming car — would be too loud and bother neighbors. 

“I’m not opposed to the project. I’m opposed to the size of the garage door to the building,” Sterling said. “If there is an audible noise every time someone is going in the garage, the well-being of everyone will go down.”

The commissioners all voted for the project while moving to limit the safety system’s decibel levels.

“I’m glad we were able to get out of the motel-type of response to housing here,” commissioner Kathrin Moore said. 

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15 Comments

      1. Those big windows still scream gentrification to me. along with that clichéd horizontal-wood appliqué. Just compare these new luxury windows with the little ones on the affordable housing project next door. I hope the community groups can reduce the size of those windows later through a MOU.

        1. >Just compare these new luxury windows with the little ones on the affordable housing project next door.

          I just don’t understand how they are going to mix these luxury windows with affordable housing in one building.

          Maybe they are planning on splitting up the unit so the affordable ones have small windows and the luxury units have large windows?

          I don’t know but I agree with you that tiny windows are more appropriate for affordable units (people in those units probably don’t even appreciate views the same way).

    1. Because everyone has an opinion. Once they find something you like, there will someone else asking your question.

  1. 57 units
    30 parking spaces….
    Just wondering where the other 27 tenants are supposed to park their cars?
    ( PLEASE, do not go into that tired old “ they can use public transportation” dance )
    Have you ever even TRIED to park in that area now? Adding new retail and residential spaces are GREAT, but WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO PARK?
    This developer could include more space for cars in his plan, but that would not maximize the profits
    Another 50% thought out planning commission boon- doggle in the making
    10-7
    The Gadfly

    1. ~31% of San Francisco households don’t own a single car and I expect that numbers is much higher in the Mission. 30 is more than enough parking spaces for a building of this size.

      I sympathize with the neighbor about the warning alarm, however. I’m guessing it’s an ADA requirement. The good news is that it’s unlikely anyone that buys a unit in this building will stay out later than 9pm.

    2. >( PLEASE, do not go into that tired old “ they can use public transportation” dance )

      I live in a home with four unrelated adults and I am the only one that owns a car (which I have used once in five years to commute to work).

      Just because you cannot imagine a world where people travel in ways different than your own does not mean that world does not exist. Many, many people do not have cars, do not want cars, and make it to everywhere they want to go. I know that is not you, and will never be you. It may sound crazy but some people move here so they don’t have to have a car.

  2. We really need to see some TOD condos like this going up the slopes of Bernal Heights, near the Mission Street, Cesar Chavez and Bayshore corridors and along Cortland.

  3. “All parties agreed on a plan that included an increase in the affordable-housing tally, a new mural, the selection of a color scheme that is “representative of the community” and a design that fits the style of the Mission.”

    If this is all that “the community” gets, then why are these groups even funded anymore? Ah, yeah, because they intercept and neutralize popular demands for more just land use controls and take a little off of the top for themselves.

    This is how communities get negotiated away by “community leaders.”

  4. I have two questions about this article

    1) what is the a color scheme that is “representative of the community”? Maybe some examples and counter examples. A guiding principle would help (pastels, neutral tones, whatever).

    2) What is a “motel-type of response to housing “?

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