In August, 2007, Maura and Steven Abernethy bought 448 Diamond Street in Noe Valley for $1,076,000. The little house, with its replacement windows and sheathed in (oh, the horror) aluminum siding, was built in 1908. By November 2007 they had in hand an evaluation from consultants Kelley & Verplanck, indicating the house was of no historic interest. From the owner's statement:
Presently at 448 Diamond Street is a single-family residence that has been abandoned for over ten years. We purchased the home over three years ago with the intention of renovating it. As we investigated renovating the existing structure, we soon realized that there was so little worth saving that it did not make sense to save the structure, bring it up to the new building codes, and also built it in a green manner. It was simply building a new building with the old one in the way, and as building professionals; this did not make sense to us. The most effective choice was to simply start from scratch.Putting pencil to paper and working with staff at the Planning Commission, the Abernethy's decided the best way to use the property was to demolish it and build a five-bedroom "green" replacement. The project, approved by Planning staff and recommended for approval by the Planning Commission is up for a consent vote this Thursday, September 30. In fairness to Ms. Abernethy (also the designer) that slanty roof detail was demanded by Planning staff to mitigate shade on the street. She probably hates it as much as we do. The neighbors have no objections, most likely because the Abernethy's project will make it easier for others to do the same thing- demolish their tired, small, turn-of-the-century dwellings on a non-historic block- all over Noe Valley. Despite the Abernethy's claim, the Planning staff found the house to be sound and well-maintained, and the consultants seem to begging the question altogether:
The demolition of the existing building will not disrupt a cohesive block face due to the range in architectural styles, heights, massing and period of construction that is evident on Diamond Street between 21st and 22nd streets.Leaving us to wonder what disruption will be caused by its replacement. Just how "green" is demolishing a house to build a greener one, especially one so unsympathetic to the streetscape? At what point does a street become a cohesive entity, and who decides? Should 448 Diamond be demolished? Tell us in the comments.
· 448 Diamond Street Staff Report(.pdf) [SFGov]
· Tim Kelley Consulting [San Francisco History]
· San Francisco Planning Commission Agenda, September 30, 2010 [SFGov]