City puts temporary Haight McDonald's proposals on ice, in hopes $600M housing bond will pass

City puts temporary Haight McDonald's proposals on ice, in hopes $600M housing bond will pass
The empty lot at 730 Stanyan is now open for free public parking. | Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline
By Camden Avery - Published on June 28, 2019.

It's been over a year since the doors closed forever at the Upper Haight McDonald's, with plans to turn its city-owned former lot at 730 Stanyan Street into a 100% affordable housing complex.

But plans for the affordable development — the communities it should target, the services it should offer, and its size and design — are still in the works, with a final construction date as far as five years off. 

To keep the 38,000-square-foot lot activated in the meantime, the city has been taking applications for "interim use," which would put a short-term tenant in place on the site.

Two notable proposals for the site were an Off the Grid food truck park and a center for homeless and at-risk youth overseen by the Coalition for Complete Community (CCC) — which was originally launched by neighbors to help steer development standards for the site.

But now, with the prospect of a $600 million affordable housing bond on the fall ballot, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) is putting the brakes on considering interim use applications.

Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline

Derek Remski, a legislative aide to District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, told Hoodline that most interim tenants would expect a three- to five-year contract for the site. 

Should the bond pass this November, the city would be able to kick off the community vetting and feedback process for the project very quickly, thanks to pre-development money already allocated to the project by Supervisor Brown. Work could start in as little as two years, meaning a tenant wouldn't find the prospect worthwhile.

But it's not clear if that's actually the case. At least one of the interim use candidates, the CCC, told Hoodline they would happily work with the city to occupy the space for a shorter term, to help meet community needs. (Read more about their proposal here.)

"We don't accept the city's argument" that a shorter horizon means nothing can occupy the space in the meantime, said CCC representative Rupert Clayton. "There was nothing in our proposal that said we couldn't do interim use for two years."

Image: Google

Clayton expressed concern that the deferral was leaving neighborhood needs, particularly for vulnerable populations like seniors and homeless youth, unaddressed in the meantime.

"We feel that the MOHCD and our supervisor and mayor have kicked the can down the road again," he said.

But Remski says the most important priority is to get housing built on the site as soon as possible. If the bond fails, he said, then MOHCD can always reconsider the interim use applications.

"We desperately need affordable housing," he said. "If the bond passes, this [project] will get money immediately."

In the meantime, the parking lot at 730 Stanyan is open for free public parking from now through Labor Day weekend. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m., with a limit of 3 hours per vehicle per day.

MOHCD spokesperson Kimberly Dubin said the structural demolition of the McDonald's building would begin after Labor Day.