Ronen Says She Supports Market-Rate Housing Plan With Cole Hardware Store

Clarifying her earlier remarks about a development plan for the now-empty lot where  Bernal’s Cole Hardware store stood before a devastating 2016 fire, D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen tells Bernalwood she supports a developer’s proposal to build eight market-rate apartments on the site if the plan will bring a Cole Hardware store back to Mission Street.

Last week, Bernalwood confirmed Cole Hardware was working with the property owner to open a new store on the ground floor of the proposed building at 3310-3312 Mission. However, earlier this week the San Francisco Examiner reported that Ronen wanted to use the site for 100 percent affordable housing. “My hope for that entire block is that we create affordable housing to replace the affordable housing that was lost,” Ronen told the Examiner.

Though the new building would be too small to trigger San Francisco’s inclusionary affordable housing requirements, controversy over the type of housing to be built at 3310-3312 Mission would throw the future of the project into doubt and likely delay the reopening of a Cole Hardware store indefinitely.

In a follow-up conversation with Bernalwood, Ronen clarified her remarks to the Examiner. Ronen said she originally hoped to secure the property at 3310-3312 Mission for use as 100 percent subsidized-affordable housing, but after the lot was sold to a private developer, that option was off the table.

Now, Ronen says, she has been in contact with the owner of the property at 3310-3312 Mission, and she is enthusiastic about the plan to build market-rate housing there because it will also secure a long-term future for Cole Hardware.

“Yes, I do support this project,” Ronen said.

“My top priorities are affordable housing and legacy businesses,” she said. “I’m supportive of this project because the developer wants to bring back Cole Hardware with a 20-year lease. As long as the market-rate project brings back that legacy business, I support it.”

When asked if she would continue to support the project if it faced opposition during San Francisco’s famously complex planning and permitting process, Supervisor Ronen said, “The only way I would have a say in any say in this is if it came up for review under under a [California Environmental Quality Act] appeal, and I can’t see a CEQA issue that would make any sense for this project.”

This Sunday, June 18 will mark the one-year anniversary of the fire that destroyed the original Cole Hardware building. More than 50 people were displaced by the blaze, which destroyed or damaged several buildings at the southwest corner of of 29th and Mission Streets. San Francisco Fire Department investigators concluded the fire likely began in a trash bin stored outside an apartment above the former Cole Hardware store.

IMAGE: Rendering of proposed market-rate housing at 3310-3312 Mission Street. Photos via SocketSite; composite illustration created by Bernalwood

Thursday: Bernal Author Beth Reichmuth Reads at Pinhole

You may recall that a few weeks ago, Bernalwood told you about Bernal Neighbor Beth Reichmuth, and her new book called I’m Jay, Let’s Play.

As you may also recall, I’m Jay, Let’s Play is a gender-fluid children’s book that models gender fluidity as a normal and delightful part of the lives of young children.

Now, on Thursday, June 15 from 4-5 pm, Neighbor Beth will do a reading from her book at the fabulous Pinhole Coffee (231 Cortland). Copies of I’m Jay, Let’s Play will be available for purchase at a discounted price of $15.

JoEllen Depakakibo, the much-appreciated proprietor of Pinhole Coffee, tells Bernalwood:

Pinhole Coffee is hosting an author reading of I’m Jay, Let’s Play by Beth Reichmuth this Thursday, June 15th 4p – 5p.

In addition, the weekend of June 17-18 and 24-25, Pinhole Coffee will be donating 100% of their revenue to LYRIC and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

LYRIC’s mission is to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.

PHOTO: Bernal author Beth Reichmuth, in situ at Pinhole Coffee, courtesy of Pinhole Coffee.

Ronen Signals Opposition to Cole Hardware Rebuilding Plan

Last week, Bernal Heights neighbors rejoiced at the news that plans were in the works to build eight new apartments atop a revived Cole Hardware store on the now-vacant lot at 3310-3312 Mission Street where a devastating fire destroyed the original Cole Hardware one year ago, on June 18, 2016.

Today, however, the fate of the project has been thrown into doubt, as the proposal is likely to become mired in the planning and permitting morass that has done much to perpetuate San Francisco’s ongoing housing shortage and affordability crisis.

Under the original proposal reported by SocketSite last week, plans have been submitted to create eight market-rate homes in a new five-story building at 3310-3312 Mission Street. The ground floor of the building would include 6000 square-feet of commercial space. Reporting by Bernalwood revealed that Cole Hardware owner Rick Karp is collaborating with the owner of the property, with an eye toward re-opening the much-loved, much-lamented Cole Hardware store in the new building.

Yesterday, however, D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen signaled that she is likely to oppose the current proposal for 3310-3312 Mission.  San Francisco Examiner reporter Michael Barba writes:

Architect Earle Weiss has filed plans with The City to build eight condos over two stories of commercial space. Before the fire, there were seven residential units above Cole Hardware.

“We are in conversation with the property owner,” Karp said. “The retail space we’re designing with him with the intent of Cole Hardware opening.”

Ronen said she would like for Cole Hardware to reopen, but also hoped the site would be used for 100 percent affordable housing.

“It’s a sensitive site for that part of Bernal Heights,” Ronen said. “Given that rent control, low-income tenants were displaced, my hope for that entire block is that we create affordable housing to replace the affordable housing that was lost and that we create space to bring the businesses back.”

With just eight units planned for 3310-3312 Mission, the building is not large enough to trigger inclusionary affordable housing requirements under San Francisco’s current planning rules. Likewise, there is no requirement to use the building for 100% subsidized-affordable housing.

Regardless, Supervisor Ronen’s comments suggest that the approval and permitting process for the building is likely to be long and acrimonious if Ronen and her allies oppose the otherwise code-compliant project at each of the many steps along the way.

Cole Hardware wants to come back to Mission Street, but at the moment there’s no reason to believe that is going to happen anytime soon.

PHOTO: The burned out lot at 3310-3312 Mission, where Cole Hardware once stood. Photo via SocketSite.

Gasp! $3.8 Million Home Sale Sets New Bernal Price Record

Fact: If you own a single-family home in San Francisco, you live in luxury housing.

Or, at the very least, a home that is a luxury.

Your house may not be fancy. It may not much to look at. You may not have marble countertops, or recessed LED ceiling lighting, or glamorous views, or an elevator. Yet thanks to San Francisco’s booming economy and limited housing supply, the median price for single-family homes  in (relatively) “more affordable” Bernal Heights now hovers around $1.4 million, which means that even fixer-uppers sell for princely sums.

Still, some luxury homes are more luxurious than others. Earlier this month a new home-sale price record was set for Bernal Heights, as 88 Montcalm was sold for (gulp) $3. 8 million.

At that OMG price, you do get all the amenities — including an elevator.  According to the property listing:

The magnificent light-filled brand new home has sweeping vus of the City to the GG Bridge in 1 direction & water of the Bay ringed by the East Bay hills in another. This extraordinary home has 4 bds & 5.5 baths w/ 3 levels of living, elevator to all levels & panoramic roof deck. The master bdrm has 2 baths & each bdrm has en-suite ba. The entry level has a spacious 2+car garage, media room or exceptionally large bdrm w/ marble bath & walk in closet. This level has easy access to the level, landscaped backyard. On the top level is the finest entertainment level w/ drop dead vus. The marble & Miele kitchen looks out to the Bay, glamorous living room w/ window wall & wrap around terrace.

PHOTO: 88 Montcalm, via Zephyr Real Estate

Donations Stolen After Rocket Dog Rescue Founder Mugged Near Bernal Home

Ugh. Broke Ass Stewart reports that Neighbor Pali, founder of the fabulous Rocket Dog Rescue,  was mugged near her Bernal home this week. Stewart writes:

Besides her personal belongings the thieves also got away with all the donations she’d collected at a Rocket Dog fundraiser earlier in the evening. For those unfamiliar, Rocket Dog Rescue is a “San Francisco Bay Area dog rescue organization run by a group of dedicated volunteers. We save dogs from death at over-crowded shelters and find them loving, happy homes.”

This is obviously sad for many reasons. It’s a shame when anybody gets attacked and robbed, especially someone so dedicated to doing good. It’s also heartbreaking because that money will not be going towards helping doggies that really need it.

If you feel like helping Rocket Dog recoup the loss please donate here. They will appreciate it immensely.

Pali gave me permission to share her original Facebook post about the mugging. Here it is below:

I hesitate to write this..
but I’m furious and hurt and a little banged up..
so here goes.

as I parked tonight about to step out I saw a fast shadow coming up close to my car and turned fast to lock the door but before I could four (5?) men,
one big oaf with a a gun/pretending to have a gun-

pulled the door open- pulled me out grabbed my throat and slammed my head against the car while saying “shhhh” (that’s crazy right?)
I yelled “F#%K NO” and shoved him back as hard as I could so that he stumbled and fell 
but his buddies had already ran behind me grabbed everything and ran.

I’m upset with myself because it is literally the only time that I’ve not had a dog with me.

The thing that really hurts me is that I’d been out at a rocket dog event all day, all the RD donations and checks that were to be deposited in the morning -gone.

(headed to the bank first thing in the morning to put a stop on everything)

Credit cards, phone. gone.

I went upstairs to get my big giant hounddog girl Calamity Jane and ran down the hill searching for anything that might have been thrown out. nothing.

No use calling the police.

I’m really just so sad. really it just feels dirty.

Neighbor Pali is understandably shaken up, but if you’d like to help replace some of what was lost, please consider making a donation to Rocket Dog Rescue.

PHOTO: Neighbor Pali, via Broke Ass Stewart and Rocket Dog Rescue on Facebook

New Housing Proposed for Former Cole Hardware Site May Include Cole Hardware

Exciting update: Yesterday the sleuths at SocketSite shared news that drawings have been submitted for a new, mixed-use building at 3310 Mission Street, the site of the former Cole Hardware store that was destroyed in a horrific fire almost exactly one year ago.

SocketSite says:

Consumed by a fire last year, plans to develop a contemporary 5-story building upon the former Cole Hardware store site at 3110-3312 Mission Street have been drawn and submitted to Planning for review.

As designed by EE Weiss Architects, the proposed development would consist of 8 condos over 6,000 square feet of commercial space and a garage for 8 cars (the entrance to which would be by way of 29th Street).

SocketSite has renderings of the proposed building; check out their article to see the images.

Eight new homes for eight more Bernal neighbors sounds pretty sweet, but is there any reason to hope that the much-loved, much-lamented Cole Hardware store might actually return to its former address?

Actually, YES! But keep your fingers crossed.

Bernalwood called Rick Karp, the founder and president of Cole Hardware, to see if he”s in the loop about the new plan for 3310 Mission. “We’re working with the property owner on the planning for the building to use the ground floor space a location for a Cole Hardware store,” Karp said, adding.  “If everything works out, we’d love to move back.”

More housing, and a resurrected Cole Hardware?  Build it!

IMAGE: Photos via SocketSite; composite illustration created by Bernalwood
Hat Tip: Thanks Marni!

Historical Reminder: The Lines at the Bernal Safeway Have Sucked for (at Least) 45 Years

Last night on the Twitters, @albuhhh asked:

This is a reasonable question. Have the lines at our Bernal Safeway always been so terrible? The short answer is: Yes, pretty much.

The Bernal Safeway was built in the early 1960s, but back in February 2015, Bernalwood uncovered an important historical document that revealed the endemic nature of the miserable lines at our local supermarket. Since the passage of time has done little to improve the situation, we’ll now reprise that 2015 post for the benefit of our newer neighbors, if only to remind them that complaining about our local Safeway is a hallowed Bernal Heights bonding ritual:

The Citizens of Bernalwood recently took up cyber-pitchforks and -torches to complain about the ridiculously long lines at the Bernal Heights Safeway on Mission Street at 29th?  Remember how we hoped — naively, perhaps — that perhaps maybe someone at Safeway corporate might hear our gnashing of teeth, and take pity upon our sad souls, and remedy the situation?

Well, don’t count on it.

Recently, while browsing through a back issue of the Bernal Journal from 1972, your Bernalwood editor was darkly entertained to find an impassioned article complaining about… the ridiculously long lines at the Bernal Heights Safeway!

I wish I was kidding about this, but I am not. Behold, a time capsule from [45] years ago, written by Bernal Journal reporter “Vera Disgruntla” (click to embiggen):

1972_Souvenier Edition

The similarities between this Bernal Journal article from 1972 and the comments section of Bernalwood’s post about the Bernal Safeway are comical in their utter sameness.  Here’s a depressing excerpt pulled from the 1972 article shown above:

One man has vowed never to shop there — he gets his meat at the Pioneer Market dry good at 30th and Mission Market, and fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Market at the foot of Bernal Hill. Another man goes once a week to the Marina Safeway. A woman told me she and her husband always drive the five minutes further to get to the Diamond Heights Safeway, where, because they never have to wait to check out there, they actually save time! These may be the only real alternatives.

But I am still mad – for me, and everyone around here who continually has this frustrating time waste wait at our store. The faces in the lines seem to say, “it’s always been like this; we’ve ALWAYS had to wait.”

So there you have it. Long lines have been a fixture at our local Safeway since even before 1972, and after 40+ years, it would seem that Safeway management still does not give a flying Fig Newton about the problem. But hey, at least they’re consistent.

In light of these facts, Bernalwood would now like to officially propose the following:

1) Let’s bulldoze this Safeway, since it so obviously suffers from intergenerational corporate indifference.

2) Let’s save that cool Taoist Safeway mosaic, for posterity, or for use in a replacement structure (see below).

3) Let’s build a few hundred units of much-needed housing on this long-neglected site, with the new ground-floor space dedicated to a more modern supermarket (something kind of like that new mixed-use building that was recently erected on Ocean).

4) While we’re at it, let’s get serious about asking BART to build that 30th Street infill station they’re thinking about again. Hurry up, please.

… because really, after banging our Bernalese heads against the walls at this Safeway for five decades, it may just be time to give up and try something else.