Whole Foods and Condos Planned for Closed
S&C Ford Dealership
Community meetings invite public input for plans at 2001 Market St.
No, it’s not Detroit: The shuttered S&C Ford dealership sits at 2001 Market St.
By Jaime San Felippo
Two months after the San Francisco Planning Commission adopted the Market Octavia Community Design Plan, projects planned for the Market Street corridor have begun to emerge. One of the largest projects on the horizon is a seven-story mixed-use building that will replace the shuttered S&C Ford dealership at 2001 Market St.
Prado Group, a San Francisco based development firm, has been tapped to design the project. The building will feature six stories of residential units, a two-level, 165-space underground parking garage, and a 29,000 square foot retail space on the ground floor to be occupied by grocery retailer Whole Foods.
William McDonough, a leader in sustainable design, has been brought on as design architect for the project.
There will be an estimated 80 residential units built, 15 percent of which will be designated affordable housing. The units will be built for sale as condominiums, but whether the units are ultimately sold or rented will depend on market conditions.
The design plans are in preliminary stages and representatives of Prado Group have been making rounds to neighborhood stakeholders, presenting computer generated sketches of the proposed design plans and collecting feedback from residents.
Dan Safier is president of Prado Group and has attended each community meeting. He feels the meetings have gone well, but acknowledged some residents have concerns about the design aesthetic as well as the cumulative impact the project will have on surrounding neighborhoods.
“We’ve received some very thoughtful questions and feedback,” said Safier. “It’s always impossible to make everyone 100 percent happy, but we want to create something that is not there now. We want to create a space for community gathering, something that was absent when the car dealership was there.”
The large car dealership space has sat vacant since it closed in 2006. Safier intends to start the city approval process in June 2009 and hopes for a Whole Foods opening in 2011 with tenants moving into housing in early 2012.
It is unclear exactly when Prado Group will break ground on the site, but they will need a demolition permit in order to tear down the S&C Ford building, which will be approved after a Negative Declaration and Conditional Use Permit Application is heard by the Planning Commission.
The project sits at the confluence of several neighborhood districts including Duboce Triangle, Hayes Valley and Mission Dolores.
Peter Lewis is the director of the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association (MDNA) and said his constituents have two main concerns. The first is regarding safety on 14th Street, a one-way street, where current designs have the Whole Foods loading dock entrance located.
The second is the overall design and height of the building, which is slated to be 85 feet on Market Street while sloping down to 40 feet on the 14th Street side of the building.
“(The) current design looks like it should be in the Embarcadero,” said Lewis, who considers the location to be the entrance to the Mission Dolores neighborhood. He is hoping the Prado Group will “scale back” designs and bring the building down to 65 feet on the Market Street side.
“It’s not a popular project,” said Lewis. “We are not against new construction as long as no historic resources are being destroyed. We just don’t want it as big as they want it.”
Safier has received MDNA’s list of concerns and plans to meet with the group in March.
According to Glen Moon, vice president of store development for Whole Foods, the chain signed a 10-year lease in October 2008. There are already three Whole Foods stores in San Francisco with another due to open in Noe Valley in 2009 in the current Bell Market space.
Moon said he is open to concerns the community might have, but said he does not plan to hold meetings until closer to the store opening date.
“It is up to the landlord to work out all the kinks in the design process,” said Moon, who has recently met with Noe Valley merchants and community members to discuss store plans there. “We can only start to think about moving in when construction is done. It’s a ways off.”
Dennis Richards, President of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA), first saw designs for the plan at the Dec. 1 DTNA meeting. His initial reaction was of concern about the impact the building will have on the quality of life of surrounding neighbors. Richards is nervous that the project will bring in too many cars and trucks into an area that has an extreme parking problem.
“We’re not against development,” said Richards. “We want to know how this will impact people before we get fully behind it. Once this gets built, there are more to come along Market Street, and if these things go wrong, we have to live with it for the next 100 years.”
According to Michael Smith, a city planner working on the project, an environmental impact report and traffic impact analysis will be conducted and the results will be included in the conditional use permit application when Prado Group goes before the Planning Commission. Smith said the plan is consistent with the guidelines set forth by the Market Octavia Community Design Plan.
Despite community concerns, Safier is confident that the building will be the beginning of many new developments along upper Market Street.
“We believe the project will enhance the neighborhood by bringing additional community serving retail and pedestrian activity to the area,” said Safier. “Increasing the housing stock in the area and on transit will help local retailers, fund community improvements, allow people to live and work without getting in their car, and provide affordable housing opportunities in the neighborhood.”
The next Prado Group presentation is tentatively set for Jan. 22 at the general meeting of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association at the First Baptist Church Basement, 7 Octavia St. at 7 p.m. Go to 2001marketsf.com for more information.