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

SF planning staff recommends approval of housing slated for Castro funeral home

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.

As expected, San Francisco planners are recommending approval of a mixed-use redevelopment project that would incorporate a Castro funeral home building.

At its February 11 meeting, the planning commission is expected to vote on the Prado Group’s 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 Prado Group has committed to setting aside its required five affordable units on-site. 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.

“The project fulfills the intent of the Market and Octavia Area Plan to infill mixed-use residential and commercial development in transit-served locations that create active, vibrant streetscapes,” wrote planner Marcelle Boudreaux in his report. “The project is necessary and desirable, is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and
would not be detrimental to persons or adjacent properties in the vicinity.”

Prado built the nearby 38 Dolores (at Market Street) apartment building that includes a Whole Foods grocery. It will not decide until halfway through construction of the Sullivan’s site project whether those units will be apartment rentals or condos for sale.

“2240 Market Street is a LEED Platinum-targeted retail and residential mixed-use development, inspired by the Upper Market’s diverse heritage, that intends to revitalize the 2200 block of Market Street between Noe and Sanchez streets consistent with the Market Octavia Plan goals,” wrote Prado Group President and CEO Dan Safier and Jon Yolles, a senior project manager with Prado.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a February 4 news story, the building’s design is one of several new in-fill developments proposed for upper Market Street that have been panned by the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association. It is calling for more distinctive and bolder architecture for the buildings.

DTNA also 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.

At yesterday’s planning commission meeting, the members agreed with the design complaints raised in regard to a 62-unit project a block north from the Prado Group’s site.

Although they ended up approving the proposal to turn the former Home restaurant space at the corner of Church, 14th, and Market streets into a rental housing development, the commissioners instructed developer Brian Spiers to work with planning staff and DTNA on refining the design from Miami-based firm Arquitectonica.

Yet, at a time when the city is facing a housing shortage, the commissioners also voted to have Spiers turn two rental units fronting 14th Street into retail spaces.

The Prado group may also face concerns about its proposed design. It does have the support of the Castro Merchants, the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District, and the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association.

“San Francisco has a housing shortage which is unconscionable. We need to make it easier to move forward with appropriate development. This project has been carefully and extensively vetted by city planners and it conforms to zoning rules,” wrote EVNA President Crispin Hollings. “As such, as for the reasons cited above, the EVNA board believes this project should be approved.”

The planning commission meeting will begin at noon Thursday in Room 400 at City Hall.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 5, 2016 @ 8:32 pm PST
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