Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Housing project slated for Castro funeral home site wins approval

A rendering of the 2254 Market Street housing development that would incorporate Sullivan's Funeral Home. Courtesy the Prado Group.

A rendering of the 2254 Market Street housing development that would incorporate Sullivan’s Funeral Home. Courtesy the Prado Group.

The San Francisco planning commission has approved a mixed-use redevelopment project along upper Market Street that would incorporate a Castro funeral home building.

At its meeting this afternoon (Thursday, February 11,) the planning commission voted to support the Prado Group’s planned revamp of Sullivan’s Funeral Home at 2254 Market Street and its adjacent parking lot. The developer has proposed incorporating the existing structure into a new building containing 45 apartments and a townhouse with two units constructed on the property’s 15th Street side.

The vote was 4-0, as gay planning commissioner Dennis Richards recused himself from voting because he lives nearby the site in Duboce Triangle.

“It is a good project, ” said planning commissioner Kathrin Moore.

Planning commissioner Michael Antonini said, “I think it is well designed,” but he suggested there be “wider elements between the windows on the Market Street fa├žade to cut the amount of glazing.”

Today’s vote comes a week after the planning commission approved a 60-unit housing project with ground floor retail a block north from the Prado Group’s site, though it asked city planners to work with local developer Brian Spiers to refine the building’s design. The rental housing development will replace the former Home restaurant space at the corner of Church, 14th, and Market streets and include 12 percent of affordable units on site.

The Prado Group has also committed to setting aside its required five affordable units on-site. But as the Bay Area Reporter noted in a February 4 news story, the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association wants Prado and other developers to raise the amount of affordable units on site from 12 percent to 20 percent.

It has adopted a policy to not endorse any development that does not meet the 20 percent threshold. DTNA also criticized Prado for not including any affordable units on site at its nearby 38 Dolores (at Market Street) apartment building that includes a Whole Foods grocery.

“The affordability of the housing is a major issue we have with this project and the Prado Group in particular,” said DTNA vice president Erik Honda, who asked for the planning commission to postpone voting on the project for six weeks.

Honda said Prado had promised to include below-market-rate units at its 38 Dolores project but then changed course and opted to pay an in-lieu fee of 20 percent to the city.

“Prado owes us the 12 units they shorted us by their duplicitous nature,” said Honda during the discussions about the previous project.

Prado Group President and CEO Dan Safier said he “took umbrage at the revisionist history of the facts” in response to Honda’s comments. He pointed to a 2010 letter in which Prado stated it would pay nearly $5 million to the city to meet the in-lieu fee.

Safier also said that the company had identified a nearby property where 30 to 40 units of affordable housing could be built but the city rejected it.

“First of all, I respect DTNA immensely. They are a neighborhood organization that cares about land use and important issues in our city,” said Safier. “I respect their position on these important issues. I do think I need to clear the record though.”

DTNA also expressed concerns about the building’s design, one of several new in-fill developments proposed for upper Market Street that it has panned. It called for a more distinctive and bolder architecture for Prado’s building.

“This building design looks more like what I expect to see in downtown Daly City than I would on one of the great boulevards of the country,” said DTNA member Gary Weiss, who owns the nearby Ixia floral shop on Market Street.

Other neighborhood residents and groups, including the Castro Merchants, the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District, and the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, expressed support for Prado’s project.

“I am very grateful for the mix, the variety of units they are offering and the mix of occupants they will bring into our neighborhood,” said resident Ted Olsson.

The development fronting Market Street will be a mix of 12 junior bedrooms, 10 one-bedrooms, 20 two-bedrooms, and three three-bedrooms.

A total of 5,217 square feet of commercial retail space would be incorporated into ground floor areas of the buildings fronting Market Street. They could be divided into smaller retail spaces or combined into several larger storefronts.

The new construction would be set back behind the existing building, which is deemed a historical resource and will be maintained, “to allow the distinctive terra cotta roofline of the funeral home to be seen at an oblique view much the way it is today,” according to the developer.

The proposal calls for a below-grade parking garage with 24 spaces accessed via 15th Street. There will also be 66 bicycle parking spots for residents, most accessed via the Market Street building’s lobby.

The project also includes the retention of an existing three-unit rent-controlled apartment building at 15th Street. Prado plans to make exterior improvements to it, including new windows, trim, and siding.

Prado will not decide until halfway through construction of the Sullivan’s site project whether the new units will be apartment rentals or condos for sale.

“It is likely to be a for-sale project but that has not been finalized yet,” said Safier.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 11, 2016 @ 5:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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