San Francisco, California
Gold’s Gym Seeks To Beef Up Building
By Ted Andersen
The owners of the Castro Gold’s Gym are planning to bulk up their two-story facility by building up instead of out.
The gym, located at 2301 Market St. at Noe Street, is a prominent landmark that has been family-owned for 10 years. Co-owner Sebastyen Jackovics is exploring plans of adding additional levels in order to create a more attractive and functional facility for its members.
“Basically, the idea is that the gym has been a cornerstone in the Castro for years and we’d like to improve it to provide more space,” he said. “We have limited space, and members would like to see additional services and elbow room. Our feeling is that it is an excellent location and the building is suited for an expansion.”
General Manager Blake Smith said that the gym, where people do about 1,300-1,500 workouts per day, is in need of more floor space.
“The Castro, in general, is underrepresented in health clubs,” Smith said. “We are a vibrant anchor business for the community and are definitely one of the busiest businesses in the neighborhood.”
While the plans are in the initial stages and have not yet been submitted to the city, two distinctly different designs have come to the surface. The first includes one additional floor added to the gym for its own use while the second has three new levels, one for the gym and the other two for about 12-16 various-sized studio and family-sized apartments.
“We have no interest in developing condominiums because we don’t want to sell our property,” Jackovics said.
The two-story gym is currently 25-feet tall and is zoned for a maximum height of 50 feet. The option for one new floor would make the building 50 feet, but the one for three new levels would create a 65-foot structure, too tall for its current zoning. However, the Market-Octavia Corridor zoning, which ends at the Market/Noe intersection, would allow for the taller design but is one block outside of the gym’s current zoning.
Architect Lee Moulton, a longtime collaborator with the Jackovics family who works with TSAO Design Group in the city, was tasked with the duty of creating nearly 100 different initial sketches, which were then narrowed down to about half a dozen styles. Moulton said that the designs do not include parking, as they will seek an exemption from the city for required parking spaces. The designs have been shown to a number of community organizations, such as the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA).
“This is a very high-profile corner, and we feel that the more feedback we are given from the community the better project we can create,” Jackovics said.
DTNA Land Use Committee Co-Chair Peter Cohen said that Gold’s Gym has been very upfront about working with the community regarding this proposed expansion, but that serious zoning questions remain unanswered.
“They came and wanted to talk with us early when they haven’t submitted a project yet. I think this feels more like a collaborative effort as opposed to putting us in a reactionary position,” Cohen said. “The fundamental question is whether it should be a 50-ft building that fits the zoning requirement or whether it should be taller.”
Cohen said that this question would likely be solved in one of two ways. The first would be for the city to extend its Market/Octavia zoning boundaries to include the Noe/Market intersection. The second would be to create a “special use district” in order to legally accommodate a 65-foot building. Another development site, 2299 Market St., also lies just outside of the special zoning area and faces similar restrictions and possible opportunities.
“There is a pretty clear pattern here in that there are two development sites next to each other that are just outside the Market/Octavia planning zone. So we have to work on how to fix this,” Cohen said. “It’s a long road ahead. Whether modifying boundaries or creating a special use district, it needs to go through the full legislative process to be approved.”