4-Story Mixed-Use Development Planned For 1601 Ocean Avenue

4-Story Mixed-Use Development Planned For 1601 Ocean AvenueAn early rendering of the project at 1601 Ocean Avenue. | Image: SIA Consulting
Will Carruthers
Published on April 12, 2017

On Monday night, early renderings of a potential mixed-use development at the corner of Ocean and Capitol avenues in Ingleside were released to a packed room at the Ingleside Public Library.

In the current proposal, four structures at 1601-1633 Ocean Ave would be torn down and replaced with 54 market-rate units and six affordable housing units in a four-story tall building. The development would also include 27 parking spaces and four retail spaces on the ground floor.

The proposal is the latest in a string of plans to develop the buildings on the corner of Ocean and Capitol avenues. Plans to develop the lots have been filed going back to 2005.

Between 2005 and 2009, property owners filed at least four different plans for housing developments on the same corner, according to city records. Each time, the developments were stopped.

A packed room greeted the developers behind 1601 Ocean Avenue. | Photo: Will Carruthers/Hoodline

In November 2014, TJ Development bought the lots for $6.7 million and offered tenants leases of 12 to 18 months with no option of renewal, according to the Chronicle.

The development team—represented by two architects from SIA Consulting and two representatives of TJ Development—argued that their plans would bring greater density and more foot traffic to the commercial corridor.

However, residents were concerned that eight businesses currently on the corner would be displaced, changing the character of the neighborhood.

"It's so painful to see all this development happening, especially in this area," said Miles Escobedo, an Ingleside native and owner of the Ocean Ale House at 1314 Ocean Avenue. "We're dealing with family-owned businesses that have a particular legacy in this neighborhood."

Two other recent mixed-use development on Ocean Avenue––280 Brighton Ave and Avalon Bay––felt different because they were built on previously empty lots, Escobedo added.

One business owner said that the being forced to leave would "delete his goals and dreams."

“We've haven't had any promises of assistance or promises to relocate,” said Yony Recinos, who has owned A-1 Shoe Repair at 1611 Ocean Avenue for 15 years. "My business is struggling, but I really want to stay in the area. It took me 15 years to be what I am."

Brian Bauer, project manager for TJ Development, said that promises could not be made for existing commercial residents. He added that if one of the current businesses could afford the new space, it would be good business to deal with a local company.

"We're earnestly trying to work with you. All those extra units are extra business, those are [people] that service the retail stores," Bauer said, adding that many of the current businesses were "anemic."

Ocean Avenue today.

Reza Khoshevisan, one of the architects on the design team from SIA Consulting, estimated that the project is two years or two and half years away from completion, depending on whether or not plans are approved and construction occurs on schedule.

Responding to concerns on how the project would impact neighbors, SIA Consulting's architects said that the eight outreach meetings about its design for 280 Brighton Ave had resulted in "considerable changes" to the designs.

Khoshevisan said the design team had already responded to feedback from the Planning Department and District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, whose reelection campaign had previously rented out space from the developers at 1601 Ocean Avenue. Changes made included splitting the ground-floor commercial space into four smaller spaces and added 3-bedroom units.

However, Yee's relationship with the development team has raised eyebrows. Between May and October 2016, Yee's reelection campaign had rented a 1,950 square foot retail space at 1601 Ocean Avenue for $1,071 a month from TJ Developments, according to campaign filings.  At approximately 55 cents per square foot, the rate was far below market rate.

“A discount of this magnitude raises serious questions about what special favors his developer landlord might expect,” Ben Matranga, one of Yee's opponents for District 7 Supervisor, told the Ingleside-Excelsior Light back in October 2016.