As the Western SoMa Community Plan goes before the Board of Supervisors land use committee today, concerns linger over the future of nightlife destinations in the neighborhood.
The Western SoMa Citizens Planning Task Force has spent more than eight years working on the plan, which would end a building moratorium in place since 2005 by bringing in 4,000 new housing units. Most of the dense new housing would be along Folsom Street between Seventh and 13th streets, where allowable building height is being increased from 50 to 65 feet.
The funky old buildings that once housed the gay bars of the famed “Miracle Mile” would be demolished in favor of expensive condos.
“It’s transit-first and a good place to be able to handle the density that’s close to downtown,” said Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the area. “I think it was a really good process with lots of stakeholders involved.”
Kim has been supportive of a late effort by the California Music and Culture Association and other nightlife advocates to modify the plans to better protect large nightclubs in the district, particularly along the raucous 300 block of 11th Street.
The clash between residential and entertainment interests is one reason the 300-acre plan was separated from the larger Eastern Neighborhoods Plan — which The City approved three years ago — and given more intensive scrutiny by the SoMa task force.
Task force Chairman Jim Meko said he has held dozens of meetings to strike the right balance.
“Overall, the Western SoMa plan is very friendly to the entertainment industry,” Meko said.
When the Planning Commission approved the plan Dec. 6, it heeded input from the nightlife community and banned residential development on the 11th Street block that houses DNA Lounge, Slim’s and other large nightclubs, some of which have endured costly clashes with neighbors.
But the commission also voted to approve a proposal to replace “the purple building” at 340 11th St. with a 24-unit residential project.
The music association’s Terrence Alan said he has been lobbying supervisors to undo that change. He’s trying to persuade the building owner to switch to office space, with Kim supporting the change and facilitating those meetings.
“They would have no idea what they’re getting into until that first Saturday night,” Alan said of would-be residents’ potential reaction to the nightlife scene. He fears homeowners would eventually press for a crackdown on the clubs.
Representatives of the purple building said they’re open to switching uses, but the owner had not made a decision as of press time.
The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Room 250 at City Hall.