Developer Mx3 Ventures is looking to turn 3140-50 16th street into a large restaurant and event space. (Davíd Rodríguez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Mission District auto repair shop could be reborn as large restaurant, event space

Plans to convert a former Mission District auto body repair shop into a restaurant and event space complete with a roof deck will head before the San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday.

When developer Mx3 Ventures first bought the 3140-50 16th St. property for $8.7 million in 2013, it proposed to raze the two-story Superior Automotive building at 3140-50 16th St. and build four floors of condos in its place. However that plan was nixed due to the building’s status as a historically protected resource.

The latest vision for the site includes rehabilitating the 20,400 square-foot building into a massive restaurant and event space that includes an “outdoor activity area,” or 3,735 square foot roof deck, and two elevator penthouses at the top of the building.

Before the project can advance, the commission must approve a series of conditional use authorizations and variances to convert the site’s former retail use to a restaurant, among other things.

Documents filed with the Planning Department indicate that a restaurant operator has not been chosen, but that the space could be rented out for private parties and wedding receptions, if proper permits are granted.

While the department noted that the project would increase the concentration of eating and drinking establishments in the area from 53 percent to 62 percent within a 300 foot radius, it recommended approval on the grounds that it would not displace any existing businesses, would not impede transit service and “would provide future employment opportunities to local residents.”

The project has the support of the Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association, but other advocacy groups in the community are hoping to maintain the space as a community serving use.

“The building was purchased with the intent of building high-end luxury residential housing,” said Lariza Pedroncelli, of the group United to Save the Mission, adding in regard to the project’s latest iteration as a restaurant and event space, “typically when we see this kind of place come in we see the displacement of small mom and pop shops.”

Pedroncelli said that the group has reached out to the project sponsor in an attempt to work out compromises that could lead to “a good project for the community” and “to do something that could be a least a bit more viable for him.”

One alternative is selling the building to a Subaru retailer that has expressed interest in running a repair location and job development program for disadvantaged youth at the site, but Mx3 declined that offer, according to Pedroncelli, who said the Subaru retailer has also offered to lease the space.

“The community is very much in support of this option or some sort of variance of it. We want somebody in this space that is good for the community. We don’t want to lose more [Production, Distribution, Repair] space or working class jobs,” she said, adding that “in an economic downturn [Subaru] is steady and stable” whereas “large restaurants don’t weather well if the economy goes down or there are changes in the landscape.”

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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