Second Outer Sunset project pursues more density with HOME-SF

Renderings of the new 3601 Lawton design. | Image: Kodorski Designs
By Sasha Perigo - Published on November 27, 2019.

Another developer is looking to increase density at a new development in the Sunset: Architecture firm Kodorski Design has resubmitted plans for developing 3601 Lawton St, this time using city density bonus program HOME-SF to add more units.

The San Francisco Planning Commission approved plans to replace a gas station at 42nd Avenue and Lawton Street with housing in early 2018. At the time, the planned development included 15 townhomes and two large commercial spaces.

The new design for 3601 Lawton St. includes four commercial units and a total of 38 homes, 25% of which will be priced below market rate.

The original design (left) beside the new design (right). | Photos: Kodorski Designs

Kodorski Design is the second developer to submit an application to use HOME-SF in the Outer Sunset. The city program allows developers to build taller and higher-density apartment buildings in exchange for providing more below-market-rate units.

“We wanted to use HOME-SF from the beginning,” said Kodorski Design owner Kodor Baalbaki. “But HOME-SF was not very flexible at the time.”

Baalbaki talked to the city about issues he had utilizing the HOME-SF program, and was involved in the program’s overhaul in late 2017.

Larger units are more expensive to build, so the 38 apartments will rent for lower prices than the 15 townhomes originally planned, according to Baalbaki.

“[This design] is more accessible to a greater strata of San Franciscans,” he said.

A gas station sits on 3601 Lawton St. today. | Photo: Google Maps

The first HOME-SF project in the Outer Sunset was approved earlier this month at 3945 Judah St., just five blocks from 3601 Lawton St. It will include 20 total homes, six of which will be rented below market rate.

But the approval is currently undergoing an appeal by neighborhood residents, who argue that the building is too tall and does not provide enough parking.

Baalbaki says he’s considered these concerns for the Lawton Street project, which will provide 24 underground parking spaces. He also plans to remove three curb cuts surrounding the existing gas station that limit street parking on the block, creating 16 new street parking spots in front of the building.

As for the height of the building, Baalbaki said he took a recommendation from the Planning Department to set back the top floor of the building by 10 feet. With this setback, Baalbaki said the top floor is nearly invisible from the street.

Even with these modifications, Baalbaki said he can’t be sure the new designs will be approved before the Planning Commission. If the new design is not approved, Kodorski Designs will proceed with the previously approved 15 townhomes.

The project has yet to be scheduled for a Planning Commission hearing, but Baalbaki said he expects it to be heard in January.

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