By Thomas K. Pendergast
A proposal to replace the Sloat Garden Center at 2700 Sloat Blvd. with a 12-story, 400-condo, mixed-use residential building is now under review by the San Francisco Planning Department and starting to get public attention.
The developers, 2700 Sloat Holdings LLC, bought the 30,000-square-foot site in 2020 for $8.5 million and they claim it will be a HOME-SF project, which requires 30% of the units be sold at below market rate using the Tier 3 option of the program. That comes out to 120 units.
The Tier 3 option allows for two additional floors over the existing 100-foot height limit, plus another 5 feet for ground-floor retail space, for a total of 125 feet.
Two separate parcels make up the project site, which will be combined into a single parcel. Building setbacks will be incorporated to achieve the look of separate masses, which will connect with an internal corridor using a single concrete core for three elevators.
The mix of apartments will be: 45 three-bedroom units at 980 to 1,080 square feet each; 131 two-bedroom units at 770 to 815 square feet each; 96 one-bedroom units at 475 to 615 square feet each; and 128 studios at 350 to 400 square feet each.
An interior courtyard is designed to accommodate children’s play areas, amenities and access to the main lobby.
The project will provide 56 off-street vehicle parking spaces, including 10 cars dedicated to a car sharing program. Also included will be 200 internal Class 1 bicycle parking spaces and 24 external Class 2 bicycle parking spaces.
The parking basement and ground floors will also feature retail space for businesses on the corners of Sloat at 45th and 46th avenues, in the hope that pedestrian traffic going to and from the San Francisco Zoo across the street will lead to visitors stopping by for some shopping. These retail tenants will include smaller neighborhood-focused businesses, the developers claim.
Two large roof decks totaling 23,000 square feet are also proposed.
Although final project approval could take months and construction would not begin for possibly years, a plan for a 12-floor, 400-unit building stands out in this foggy and remote part of the Outer Sunset, where 40-foot height limits are the norm.
Standing right across the street from the site is the Westerly, currently the tallest building in the immediate area but still roughly half the size of the proposed project, with nowhere near as many residential units to offer.
So the sheer scale of the proposed building already has people buzzing.
Jose Guevara, a San Francisco native and real estate manager on the board of directors for the local chapter of the Building Owners and Management Association of San Francisco (BOMASF), thinks it will make the Westerly look like an in-law accessory dwelling unit in comparison.
“It’s going to dwarf it completely,” Guevara said. “I’ve seen some renderings of the two together and yeah, it just dwarfs it. You don’t even notice (the Westerly).
“That structure is just ridiculous, to put that many units in one block.”
A spokesperson for BOMASF clarified that the organization has no official position on the 2700 Sloat Blvd. project at this time, so Guevara was speaking strictly for himself.
But Laura Foote of Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY), a pro-development advocacy organization, is not convinced that the proposed project would be out of scale because of its proximity to the Westerly.
“These things often loom larger in the imagination than they actually do in practice,” Foote said. “You’re going to have ground-floor retail. You’re going to have the potential for coffee shops and things that the existing neighborhood will really enjoy.”
Yet the 400-unit building offers 56 off-street parking spaces, and considering that just up the street is a parking lot for the San Francisco Zoo, Guevara sees the potential for real parking conflicts as Zoo visitors max out the lot and start competing with the locals for street parking.
“There’s not going to be any parking on the street,” he said. “It’s just going to clog up not only the Zoo visitors but just the neighborhood. The neighborhood is already strapped for parking to begin with because a lot of those (existing housing) units have live-in units downstairs. A lot of them built out an in-law type of apartments in the lower part of those homes.”
Foote said she doesn’t think there will be much of a parking problem between the Zoo and the new residents who drive. She noted that there are several Muni lines serving that area, like the L-Taraval light rail and the 18-46th Avenue line.
Guevara, however, is not confident that these lines, as they presently run, will be enough to handle more than 400 additional people.
“They’re slow to run. They run less in the evenings. If there’s a breakdown or a backup in the tunnel then it has to rely on transferring over to Muni shuttles to get you over the mountain,” he said. “These are all things that, unless you’ve experienced them, you’re not going to realize. Even on a good day, it’s about an hour ride.”
“In having 400 residences with 56 parking spots, even the bike parking is not sufficient, it just doesn’t make sense,” he continued. “And then on top of it you’re going to throw all those people on Muni? Because Muni, by the time it gets up to 19th Avenue, they’re packed. Muni doesn’t have the best record …. It’s not like they’re going to step up …. They’re not going to do a damn thing,” he said.
“This is the kind of Catch-22 you get into, where it’s really hard to justify investing more in transit infrastructure when you don’t have sufficient levels of (population) density and then people block the density because they feel like there isn’t sufficient transit,” Foote responded.
“We’re talking about a project that will take a couple of years to get permitted and then built. We’re all going to see these families coming into the neighborhood. And the transit investments will and should come and there is good transit already there and this will incentivize further investments in that.”
But with only 56 car parking spaces and dubious street parking opportunities, won’t this discourage people who own cars to move in?
Foote says maybe yes, but ultimately that’s the point.
“There are plenty of places where you could live a car-centric lifestyle,” she said. “The point of cities is to make it easier and easier to give up your car. For the future of our entire planet we have to make it easier and easier to give up having a car…. It’s a climate catastrophe for us to continue to only make housing available for people who like to drive everywhere.
“There’s plenty of other places you can live if you really want to drive everywhere,” Foote said.
This project is much too big for this neighborhood.
Don’t do it.
Are there any organized efforts from the community to stop this monstrosity? I live 1 block away and this would ruin our cozy, friendly neighborhood. Plus parking is already so tight! The Westerly is empty and falling apart because there is no demand to buy condos in this part of the city. You cannot manage out here without a car so they are talking about 400-800 more cars! That will literally break us.
If you find out any organized efforts, please post here. I’m also sad to hear that Sloat Garden Center will soon be no more. This is my family’s favorite garden center. Shop local, support the businesses you love if you want them to stick around.
SON-SF ~ Save Our Neighborhoods SF – Join us to STOP & OPPOSE this Project @ 2700 Sloat
Recently created & we are working on getting more of our Social Presence out there.
We need all our help, volunteers etc. to STOP this horrific project
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Yes, sign the petition against this project: http://www.sonsf.org
We need to build buildings like this all over the city if we actually care about housing more people and reducing carbon emissions.
If we care about reducing carbon emissions then we should stop increasing urban density with bad public policy funded by the public’s tax money.
Is this Matt Haney ? Build it in your neighborhood
This is insanely bad urban planing. I mean, it would make sense if the history of land use policy, zoning, etc had been different over the past 100 yeasr out here in Parkside, but this is a neighborhood that is currently primarily residential and built for autos (whether you like that or not), not some dense mixed-used urban area.
400 units. 12 stories. 56 parking spaces. Great Highway possibly closed. No major commercial centers within reasonable walking distance. Two muni lines that are notoriously inadequate. The Zoo. Good weather beach days. The premise is that people will give up their cars to live there. It might make sense in truly urban mixed-user dense area, but the Westside ain’t Amsterdam or Paris.
Let’s get real: The developers and politicians do not care about this being livable or good for the neighborhood or good for the city. It is a big box of speculative investment cash for a developer’s ponzi scheme and for the politicians who will grift some funds off the top. The Westerly has changed hands more times than a good coin in bordello and it remains largely empty. Same idea basic plan: Make it big, no parking, and assume that real people will magically believe they are in Paris and can stroll over to the supermarche.
It would be helpful for our community to receive a clear explanation from YIMBY as to why an entity which lists in its tax records a phone number in a Pennsylvania area code is advocating for a large building to be constructed at Ocean Beach.
So, how many of these apartments are high end and how many are affordable for people on fixed low incomes? How about seniors trying to live on SSI, will they be able live there? If yes, how many units set aside in this location. Cut this thing down to 6 floors, we aren’t Honolulu. Seems to me, we need regulations to stop REITS and DST’s and out of country investors buying up properties and raising the costs. And what ever happened to something I read about 40,000 vacant units in SF? https://socketsite.com/archives/2022/02/there-are-not-40000-vacant-homes-in-sanfrancisco.html#:~:text=Twenty%20(20)%20percent%20of%20the,occupied%20by%20their%20new%20owners.
The Westerly one block away is still empty with million dollar apartments.
Kowloon Walled City is the YIMBY vision for the Sunset.
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SF native here — This would be absolutely horrible here!!! NO ! – Sloat Garden Center is a beloved San Francisco staple for one thing, no need to keep removing community favorites for condos. 2nd, there is already a new and empty unwanted condo next door. 3rd what everyone else says, all that parking lost , going to the zoo will be unmanageable for so many families that rely on all the available street parking.
Awful horrible idea please no!
First image that comes to mind is the “Fontana Apartments” in SF. The sheer size is a jolt to ones vision looking out to the horizon.
I would be much less annoyed if they took the height down to a reasonable level.
To try and convince local residents that parking will not be an issue is somewhat insulting. Planning for 56 spots is nothing short of poor planning. Delusional all the way around
Building at sea level when tides are rising is pure folly. Perfect project for the San Francisco mindset that money is the answer to all our problems. Up-zoning and density raises property taxes and allows City Hall to float more big bonds like the $400 million Muni Bond that is on the June ballot. If you object to SF policies and priorities, vote no on Prop A. Send them a message that you object to their development plans. Watch the Prop A debate here to find out more about bonds: https://savesfmuni.wordpress.com/2022/04/22/the-savemuni-debate-on-the-400-million-muni-bond-bill-of-2022/
More buildings like this are needed all over San Francisco. If you want good teachers, good restaurants and many other businesses with low margins, more housing is needed. SF is not for the rich single home owner.
This project is awful. There is hardly any parking in SF and you only have 56 parking spots it will impact the zoo’s parking.. They are just trying to destroy our lives in this area. We are over crowded already and I enjoy living in my house don’t they know we have a life there too. We will be at the point where we will be so over populated it will become a misery living in SF
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We just heard claims that more people were hired in the country than homes were started. This sort of claim leads to calls for more housing without taking into account that a lot of people took jobs where they lived, took remote jobs, switched jobs, or decided to re-enter the workforce after moving. There is no proof that the number of new hires significantly increased the demand for more housing. We are seeing a huge number of offices in San Francisco emptying out. There is already talk about converting some of those buildings into housing. There may be no demand for housing that requires 12 story condos or apartments on the beach.