The residential building boom may continue to cover downtown South San Francisco with officials admiring plans to redevelop medical office space into a four-story building featuring retail space and housing.
The Housing Standing Committee of the City Council and Planning Commission looked favorably on plans to rebuild a commercial building at 455 Grand Ave. and an adjacent parking lot at 463 Grand Ave. into a housing development featuring 27 units.
Though no decision was made at the meeting intended to collect feedback from officials, the proposal stands to be the most recent development in the downtown corridor where much of the city’s residential construction has been concentrated over recent years.
The proposed site is across the street from South San Francisco City Hall, and Mayor Mark Addiego noted its prominent location when encouraging designers to craft designs befitting of a potential landmark.
“This is going to be a focal point of Grand Avenue for a very long time,” he said.
Plans call for a three-story building facing onto Grand Avenue, with a fourth story looking back to Third Lane behind the site. There will be retail space on the ground floor facing downtown, and 27 units built above, spanning in size from one-bedroom units to three-bedroom units. Of the 27 units, three will be set aside at an affordable rate.
There are 32 parking spaces planned to be offered in stacker mechanisms in an underground lot to be accessed from Third Lane. Vice Mayor Mark Nagales questioned whether the development would offer an adequate number of parking spaces, especially for a development with multiple bedrooms in some of the units.
“You are going to run out of parking spaces,” he said, balancing his perspective by expressing appreciation for the development featuring units big enough to accommodate larger families.
Nodding to the single-family homes adjacent to the proposed site, Nagales also expressed some discomfort with plans to develop such a large building.
Planning Commissioner Michele Evans shared a similar perspective.
“I have a concern it would be too encroaching on the residents,” she said.
Beyond the compatibility reservations, Addiego also encouraged the designers to adopt an architectural style referencing the older, more traditional building styles present downtown.
Furthermore, he pushed back on a request from the developer who is seeking a tax break as a term in the development agreement. Because the developer is seeking only one of the entitled concessions that come with offering affordable housing, they requested to freeze the property tax payments at the existing level for the coming 25 years.
Addiego though doubted whether such a deal would be possible, noting that the city splits its property tax revenue with other agencies such as the local school district which hold some authority over the decision as well.
“It’s a big ask. It’s a very big ask,” he said.
Beyond the limited reservations though, Addiego led his colleagues in praising the proposal.
“The project has a lot going for it. So it will be a nice addition to Grand Avenue,” he said.