Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Real Estate & Development
Published on February 14, 2018
Special Use District Proposed For Geary & Masonic DevelopmentRendering by RG Architecture via SF Planning

The path forward for a new residential development at the old Lucky Penny site at 2670 Geary Blvd., would be well-defined if the Board of Supervisors approves a new Geary-Masonic Special Use District.

The Board’s Land Use and Transportation Committee this week recommended approval of the proposed district, which would clear a path for a new residential tower that exceeds the site’s current density limits.

The district would essentially be limited to parcels associated with the  development.

Map via SF Planning

It is the result of several years of negotiating with neighborhood partners and then-District 2 Supervisor Mark Ferrell's office, Cyrus Sanandaji, managing director of project sponsor Presidio Bay Ventures told us.

The site was originally limited to only 21 residential units, due to its size, Sanandaji said. The developers spent months meeting with very active community groups such as the Laurel Heights Improvement Association to come up with a compromise design that allowed for a higher residential density, he said.

Despite having reached a consensus plan with neighbors, Presidio Bay Ventures was asked by SF Planning to submit new plans for the development in August 2017 aimed at qualifying for the recently-adopted Home-SF incentive that allows builders to add two stories if 30 percent of the on-site units are priced below market rate. 

When the Home-SF qualifying project was presented to community groups, it was determined the extra height did not properly fit the neighborhood and caused shadow issues, Sanandaaji said. So Presidio Bay Ventures agreed to additional affordable housing and worked to amend the terms of the Special Use District that was originally proposed by Ferrell in October 2016.

The design proposed to align with Home-SF requirements was two stories taller than what is currently planned

The key focuses of the proposed special use district are to increase the number of residential units and to limit the number of spots for personal vehicle parking to 0.5 per unit.  

Under the special use district, at least 25 percent of all parking provided would have to be permanently available to car-sharing services, and the developer is encouraged to maximize the number of spaces available for car sharing. 

The location is well-served by public transit and is convenient to neighborhood shopping, so residents will be able to walk, cycle, or take Muni for most of their necessary travel, according to the Planning Commission’s analysis of the special use district provisions.

The approved design is nearly equal height as the storage facility next door | Rendering via SF Planning

As approved by the Planning Commission in November 2017, the project would have 95 residential rental units — 64 studios, 29 two-bedrooms, and two three-bedrooms — and 16 parking spaces.

The approved plans include 22 affordable units available to a range of income levels, to comply with the  Special Use District provisions.

The residents will also have access to 112 secure bike parking spaces as well as a 5,576 square foot roof deck.

The development would replace the one-story Lucky Penny diner, which closed at the end of 2015. | Photo: Kevin Y./Yelp

The special use district would also restrict the amount of non-residential space to 3,000 square feet or less. Under the project sponsor’s most recent plans, the ground floor would include a total of about 1,790 square feet.

The proposed project is expected to cost about $15 million to construct; about $100,000 will be needed to demolish the former restaurant and surface parking lot. 

Updated on February 15, 2018, to add historical context and correct information about the project sponsor and approved project renderings.