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Formula Retail Sandbox Fight, 399 Fremont Stalls Again, and Interesting Rincon Hill Development

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Thursday promises to be an interesting day for the Planning Commission. To start, we head down to scenic Glen Park in a carry-over from the May 27 meeting. As reported last month in the City Insider, local business owner Somil Ghandi hopes to rebrand his existing 76 gasoline service station with a 7-11 franchise in order to take advantage of cost savings associated with the much larger chain. It would appear that both the Commission and Mr. Ghandi were caught off-guard by a teapot tempest of community opposition. Neighborhood activists complained that the much larger chain would compete for local coffee shop and other convenience store business. This is despite the fact that Mr. Ghandi is himself a local, that the business would be a local franchise, and the fact that 7-11 coffee is terrible. In the words of Ron Miguel, "It's not a question of whether or not the use is necessary and desirable, but whether the branding is 'necessary and desirable' for the city." This is also despite the fact that this portion of Mission is home to a Safeway, BigLots, Burger King, Kragen, Pizza Hut, and a Walgreens. Also, no word yet on where 7-11 corporate management stands on the Gaza Flotilla.

Next up is a slate of proposed SOMA/Rincon Hill developments. As reported yesterday over at Socketsite, the folks over at Fifield Realty Corp plan to once again extend their approvals on 399 Fremont for an additional 12 months. Originally approved in 2006 the proposed development consists of 425 dwelling units, 238 parking spaces and 150 bike spaces. In the interim, Fifield has proposed planting the site with wildflowers, instead of the ubiquitous "wait til the market improves"-fencing. Presumably, they intend to postpone until there actually is a market for 452 dwelling units. We are generally fans of tall development with glass line, and this is no exception. Here's hoping this project eventually breaks ground, though the wildflowers are a nice touch.

Finally, the Commission is slated to review the application for a sizable addition to the existing 562-564 Howard Street. The existing building consists of a two-story office building. The applicants plan to add 11 additional stories, raising the total height to 136 feet. Uses would include ground floor retail, second floor office space, and 13 dwelling units on the upper floors. Renderings appear less than thrilling, but a 13-unit mixed use building of over 130 feet is nothing to sneeze at. The building would contain 22,465 square feet, with an average residential floor plate of 1,882 square feet.

San Francisco Planning Commission - [SFplanning.org]