City Prefers More Height for More Affordable Housing at Cole Hardware Site

The San Francisco Planning Department is pushing back on a proposal to build housing at 3310 Mission Street, the former Cole Hardware store site that was destroyed in a devastating June 2016 fire, by telling the developer that while the current plan is acceptable, it’d be even better to add some additional height to make room for affordable housing.

As currently proposed, 3310 Mission is slated to be a four-story, 45-foot-tall building with a new Cole Hardware store on the ground floor and eight units of market-rate housing above — a plan which D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she supports.

However, as the ever-vigilant Socketsite first reported, the City Planning Department’s Preliminary Project Assessment says the 3310 Mission could also include affordable housing if the developer took advantage of the increased density allowed under HomeSF, a new San Francisco law that allows developers to add additional height to new buildings to make room for additional affordable- and family-oriented housing units.

In the case of 3310 Mission, that could meaning including 16 to 20 affordable housing units by adding two more two stories to the project.

The Planning Department’s Preliminary Project Assessment for 3310 Mission says:

“It is the Department’s priority to give precedence to the development of all new net housing, and to encourage the direct building of more affordable housing and the maximization of permitted density, while maintaining quality of life and adherence to Planning Code standards.

Policy 13.1 of the City’s Housing Element, for example, calls for the Department to “Support ‘smart’ regional growth that locates new housing close to jobs and transit.” The Project is located in one of the most transit-rich corridors in San Francisco, adjacent to the recently completed 14-Mission Rapid Project (the “Mission Red Lane”) and within a 15-minute walk to the 24th Street BART station. Therefore, the Department would strongly encourage the Project Sponsor to maximize the parcel’s density and to provide the required amount of affordable housing.

The current proposal to build 8 units would reach the density limit established within the parcel’s NC-3 zoning district, but is well under the density that would be allowed if the Project Sponsor employs the HOME-SF bonus. The HOME-SF bonus would lift the density restriction in the parcel and grants two additional stories, which would allow the Project to have at least 16 and potentially 20 or more units. HOME-SF requires that 30% of the units be reserved for low- and moderate-income households, which means that maximizing density under the program could yield 3 to 8 market rate units above what is currently proposed.”

IMAGE: Rendering of proposed building at 3310 Mission Street. Photos via SocketSite; composite illustration created by Bernalwood.

22 thoughts on “City Prefers More Height for More Affordable Housing at Cole Hardware Site

    • youre so right. the modernist design is actually a copy of the Dutch/norther-european style of dense buildings. i see them all over the city these days. (the south-east corner of caesar chavez and mission for example.) my problem with this design style is that its not our own, but rather a copying of foreign styles that are themselves, dated.

    • Oh, San Franciscans.

      You can complain that new buildings are ugly, and you can complain that new buildings aren’t affordable enough. Just please don’t complain about both at once, because demanding more original designs will only inflate the prices further.

  1. So the market rate housing at 8 units spread over 3 floors is 2.66 units per floor. Meanwhile the additional 2 floors for affordable housing will add 16 to 20 units or 8 to 10 units per floor. These sound more like prison cells than somewhere to live.

    • I was thinking the same thing. I would like to know the proposed square footage and bed/bath numbers. How is 16-20 tiny studio apartments helping any families?

      • Well, maybe a bunch of single people who are living together in an older place would like to stop having roommates and by moving into studios/1BRs will free up those places for a family. Aren’t there people who qualify for affordable housing who are single or married but childless? We need more of all types of housing at all price points.

    • The article/summary is misleading and inaccurate. The actual (quoted!) assessment actually says “[…] which would allow the Project to have at least 16 and potentially 20 or more units” (i.e., 16 or 20+ units in total), i.e., adding 8 or 12+ units. 30% means 4 (0.3*16=4.8, maybe 5 if they round) or 6+ (0.3*20=6) affordable units (so also 4 or 6+ more market rate units).

      Adding 8 units over 2 floors doesn’t seem unrealistic, though maybe adding 6 or 7 is more realistic. (8 units across 3 floors means that some floors must have at least 3.)

  2. I’m not sure the folks on the proposed top floor would want affordable housing above them. Echoes of the Graywood hotel that was also in the fire.

  3. Build anything, but just make sure it includes a Cole Hardware! I need a couple items today and wish I could just walk down there and pick them up. The loss of Cole had left a void in my life and the neighborhood.

  4. Champions of best urban space, like Jane Jacobs, would rally behind that proposal. The logic of adding height and affordable house address an urgent problem and adds to the robust economy of local stores.

  5. Just build it. And have a Cole Hardware on the ground floor. A good idea is to have the developer also take over the lots where the SRO and Playa Azul was. This definitely would add more, much needed units.

  6. Yes, please only wonderful design should be added to this city if wonderful building are being taken down. Now it the chance to keep San Francisco special and beautiful. Don’t build cheap junk. Please.

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