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Car-free, 62-unit apartment building coming to Upper Market

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The Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a seven-story, 62-unit apartment building at Market and 14th streets. Courtesy rendering

More than 60 new apartments will soon call the Upper Market neighborhood home, at the site of the former restaurant called Home.

The Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a project to demolish a vacant two-story commercial building at 2100 Market St. and construct a 7-story, 62-unit residential building with bicycle but no vehicle parking spaces at what is considered one of the most transit-rich corners in The City.

Commissioners supported the project, led by the San Francisco-based real estate firm Brian Spiers Development, after asking the developer to reconsider placing residential units on the ground floor along 14th Street, to which Spiers agreed.

“I’m really amenable to retail on 14th [Street],” Spiers told commissioners. “It’s a very challenging site because of the slopes and triangular shape…but I think I can do a really nice retail on that corner.”

The site’s proximity to five major Muni lines, all within a block, was noted as a plus by commissioners. In its current state, the site is an “underutilized, unattractive and inactive parcel,” and would benefit from “substantial development,” city planners wrote in a staff report. A proposal to open a Chipotle at the site failed at the Planning Commission in 2013.

“This is an important corner, as you kind of enter into the Castro at two major intersections,” Commissioner Rich Hillis said.

The design of the building was not a slam dunk with commissioners, who as a condition of approving the project asked the developer to reconsider the façade of the building as well as breaking up the retail space on the ground floor.

“I’m especially interested in the retail space and breaking it up,” Commissioner Cindy Wu said. “I’d love to see it broken up into two or three different spaces.”

After a motion to continue the project until March failed, commissioners expressed overall support for bringing 62 new apartment buildings to The City, including seven that will be below-market-rate as part of the inclusionary requirement.

“To those who were critical of the building, one group said it wasn’t dramatic enough…others said it didn’t fit in with the Victorians…but I think it strikes a good balance,” Commissioner Michael Antonini said.

Commission President Rodney Fong noted that San Francisco needs new housing today, and delaying the project could prevent the construction of new homes.