By Thomas K. Pendergast
A plan has been grown to replant the flower stand at 19th Avenue and Quintara Street after a new mixed-use housing development is built on the site.
The property, on the southwest corner of the intersection, consists of five lots now, one of which hosts annual Christmas tree sales. The well-known flower shop is called Brother ’s Papadopoulos.
Including two other businesses next to the property, the plan is to legislate the conversion of five lots at the southwest corner of that intersection into one lot. Then, if the project proposal is approved by the SF Planning Department and the SF Planning Commission in its current form, a mixed-use building would be constructed that would include: 42 rental dwellings, 615 square feet of commercial space, 56 off-street parking spaces and 42 bicycle parking spaces, according to documents filed with the City by the architects for the project, Gary Gee Architects, Inc.
In order to facilitate the project, the SF Board of Supervisors is being asked to rezone the five lots.
The proposed ground floor commercial space, the documents say, would allow the existing flower stand to continue conducting business at its current location. Building plans submitted for a preliminary project assessment show it would occupy about the same footprint as it currently does.
The remainder of the ground floor would have 47 residential parking spaces, nine commercial parking spaces and the bicycle parking spaces.
The building would have four stories, with the upper three built over a parking garage. The residential floors would encircle a central courtyard.
“This central courtyard design was developed to maximize the site area, unit layout and create a central open space area to serve as a town square for all of the residents,” according to one document. “There is another 3,559 square feet of common area, open space at the roof deck.”
The open area where Christmas trees are sold annually will become a part of the new building. Because of the time needed to get permits and start construction, the trees might be sold there again this year.
The current plan calls for the construction of three three-bedroom apartments, six one-bedroom apartments and 33 two-bedroom apartments.
Documents filed by the architects show the total size of the building maxing out at 59,411 square feet. Of that, 615 square feet will be dedicated to retail, for the flower store, 31,524 square feet will be dedicated to residential apartments, 13,525 square feet will be for parking, and 13,747 square feet will be used for common areas. A small amount would go for things like storage areas, elevator shafts and the like.
The total construction cost of the plan is estimated at $7.5 million.
Even though the process is still in the early stages, some commentary already added to documents by city planners indicate the plans may be subject to change because of conflicts with certain SF Planning Code policies.
Currently, there is a nine-foot “setback” of the property on the 19th Avenue side, which is what the legislation now before the Board of Supervisors seeks to change.
“The proposed project is inconsistent with the General Plan, as it would reduce landscaping on 19th Avenue by filling in the required setback,” one comment from the department notes. “The legislated setback was established to maintain a consistent character on key city streets, as well as to improve pedestrian safety and provide a sense of relief from heavy traffic on this state highway. Eliminating the setback would be inconsistent with the Better Streets Plan.”
And the City has other concerns as well, according to city planners, including:
“The proposed project’s building frontages would not be pedestrian-oriented, as they largely feature blank facades along 19th Avenue with little architectural interest and sense of scale…. The proposed project would be inconsistent with the Urban Design Element of the General Plan as it would break from the required setback lines, effectively reducing the established street width along the 19th Avenue corridor.
“With the exception of the flower shop situated at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Quintara Street, the proposed project includes at-grade parking behind blank facades with little articulation, which would provide little visual interest and would not contribute to pedestrian activity and comfort.
“The proposed project would be incompatible with the surrounding context as it would fill in the front setback, meant to assure provision of open space and maintenance of sunlight and views in this lower density residential neighborhood.”