Greystar Developers Reveal Plans & Renderings for New Castro Build

Greystar Development's vision for their new building at  2198 Market St. at Sanchez. Front view.

Greystar Development’s vision for their new building at 2198 Market St. at Sanchez. Front view.

Greystar, the largest property management company in the US out of South Carolina, has revealed their most detailed, and at this point unapproved plans, for the prime real estate plot of 2198 Market Street.

The property, bound by Market Street and Sanchez Streets and across from two other new builds going up opposite corners of 15th Street, has been used for the past few years as a seasonal Delancey Street Christmas Tree lot and part-time parking lot. Prior to that incarnation it was a Shell Gas Station operated by the Wong family of San Francisco for over three decades.

Greystar has acquired the lease on the property from the Wongs for 99 years and exclusive rights to develop it. They’ve filed paperwork with the City to build and during a mandated Planning Department community meeting held July 10th local architect firm Heller Manus* presented their plans for the Castro’s newest residential rental build.

2198 Market Street view-Swedish American Hall is on the far right of the rendering.

2198 Market Street view-Swedish American Hall is on the far right of the rendering.

The $15 million dollar budgeted project will house 87 new rental residential units — 35 two bedroom, 52 one bedrooms — 32 underground vehicle parking spaces, 87 bicycle parking spaces and sit atop 5100 sq. foot of retail space. The building is also slated to have an additional 10-foot high windscreen on the roof so residents would be able to access it for recreational purposes. The building will be graduated down to 40 feet on the Sanchez side which will also be the entry point to the underground garage.

Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association’s Aug/Sept. 2013 Newsletter posted 26 members of the community attended the Greystar/Heller Manus* led town hall. Many voiced concerns regarding several issues. Among them: How will the new tall build affect the light of its adjacent neighbors? What new level of shadows will be created? How will this effect the historic Swedish American Hall that abuts the building directly next door on the Market St. side? According to DTNA’s report studies have been conducted regarding light and historical analysis, but, developers didn’t have them available at this meeting. There also hasn’t been an analysis done on shadowing or its effects on surrounding space at all.

Also, as we previously posted, no below market units will be offered at this new build. Instead Greystar is opting to contribute to the City fund, as many other developers through out SF have done, that’ll be used at some later date at undisclosed locations to erect affordable housing. The likelihood of any of those future affordable builds being within the confines of the Castro seem slim at best.

The 2198 proposal from the Sanchez side view.

The 2198 proposal from the Sanchez side view.

Developers are also seeking a variance on rear yard exposure on this new build. Planning Department regs call for 25% rear yard set back to keep new builds from towering over their lower, older neighbors. Greystar contends that won’t work for this site. Due to the odd shape of the lot they want that percentage reduced to 9.8% otherwise they won’t be able to build all 87 units their design calls for. Neighbors who dwell next door will now face huge a concrete wall, limited light and no view to speak of if that variance is allowed by the Planning Dept.

The building design seems to be following the current trend to build modern, utilitarian, structures that lack any great architectural character. This building could be located, in my opinion, Topeka, Little Rock or Irvine as easily as the Castro .

Greystar LogoGreystar is expected to present the plans to the Planning Commission by mid-to-late Fall of 2013. Once approved construction should begin immediately.

*Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly named the local architects who designed this building as Heller Magnus when it fact it’s Heller Manus. Apologies to them and our readers if this misnomer created any confusion. 

Waiyde Palmer

Waiyde Palmer loves San Francisco, social activism and punk rock(ers). His work has appeared in Handbook Magazine. SF Bay Times, The Advocate, Diseased Pariah News and American Music Press . He also has an extensive and repeatedly redacted FBI file.

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8 Responses

  1. rblack says:

    Yes, the architecture is uninteresting and generic, but what do we expect? I’m sure the reasoning behind this kind of common design is it maximizes profits.

    The light and shadow I have a bit of sympathy for, but if you want a guarantee of sun streaming through your windows, move to the country. This is a city, one that should be more dense not less. Although they shouldn’t be granted a set back variance just so they can squeeze in a couple extra units.

    My only real problem is this being yet another building without BMR units. I want affordable housing in the neighborhood, not on the outskirts of town. I’d also like to know more about this fund – how do we know when and where this money is being used? We hear that these developers are paying into the fund, but then never hear anything more about it.

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    • Sasha says:

      I agree on the BMR units and the fund that so many developers are contributing to in lieu of building the units themselves. It reminds me of a theme in Samuel Delaney’s “Times Square Red, Times Square Blue” (a short read that’s well worth it). He hones in on the theme of “cross-class contact” as vital to the life of a neighborhood. By not including BMR units in new construction, we’re in essence dividing the city into upper class and working class sections (wherever those city-managed BMR developments are built), which Delaney would argue is to the long-term detriment of our neighborhoods and San Francisco as a whole.
      I’m not on the bandwagon that San Francisco must not change — it’s inevitable, and we should instead focus on being clear as a city about how we want to manage that change. The one thing I do want to preserve is San Francisco’s legacy as a vibrant city that has a place for everyone.

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  2. Patrick says:

    This is what the block looked like in 1899/1900 http://www.sfgenealogy.com/sf/sanborn/sm267.pdf

    H/T SF Genealogy.

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  3. Brian Basinger says:

    Variances should only be considered when offset with community benefits. This South Carolina (do they offer equal benefits to LGBT employees!) company is coming into the Castro and not building housing within reach of the people who already live here and then to demand special treatment is not something we have to agree to. The inclusionary housing must be built on site and we need a higher number of units affordable to working Castro residents in exchange for the variance.

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  4. Chris says:

    Has the developer provided any more details regarding planned access to underground parking? Or any potential effects / proposed changes to Sanchez Street traffic and parking in order to accommodate?

    It’s a little hard to tell based on these renderings, but it looks as though the garage entrance is on the far northwest corner of the lot — unlike the current vehicle entrance in the middle of the lot.

    In particular, there’s a traffic island that might make an entrance right there a little tricky: http://goo.gl/maps/DEKN8

    Just wondering if there are any assumptions that these things might need to change; or that parking on Sanchez might be converted loading zones, etc.

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  5. Seattle went condo-crazy a few years back. It led to a glut of housing and many people got some real deals. Renters, too. With so many units opening on Market and some weaknesses arising in the tech industry, I expect lightening in prices to happen here. (He said, woefully aware that prices in SF never dip.)

    Hey, Biscuit, if you did some investigative reporting on BMR payments and where they end up, I would crowd-fund that!

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  6. chasmader says:

    I wouldnt mind learning more about this slush fund too.

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  7. KevinSF says:

    More real estate opportunities for out of town and out of country investors. Many units will be purchased as investment income by folks that have no intention of ever living there. They will be frequent turn over rentals to techie hipsters or corporate condos for mid level executives. Mostly all working out of SF and driving cars or taking shuttle buses to the south bay.

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