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What Would it Take to Demo and Rebuild on This Property?

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From the Curbed inbox:
I saw this property for sale for $1.399M and was wondering what steps are involved when you buy a house that comes with development plans?Expensive listed properties often include plans for new construction like this one, but it's not as simple as signing the paperwork and starting construction. In addition to getting the demo and construction permits, this particular case calls for converting into a two-unit building to a single-family house. This property provides for a good case study: the vacant two-unit building comes with plans for a 4-bed, 4-bath single-family home with a guest suite and parking for two cars. However, it doesn't come with the entitlements, so that's what you'd need to pursue on your own as the buyer. This includes a few things:


  • Change of use: Removing dwelling units by converting from a two-unit to single-unit residence requires its own separate application, a mandatory public hearing, notification to neighbors.

  • Building permit application: This is the nuts-and-bolts of the building process. Since the project requires demo and new construction, the project has to meet all current zoning laws, land use regulations, and yard and setback requirements (even if the old building didn't). There's a neighborhood notification process, the environmental review process, street tree requirements - the list goes on.

  • Fees: Permit fees are based on the construction cost of your project, and are required for both Planning and DBI. These can reach thousands all on their own.

  • Discretionary Review: All of this can be thrown off kilter if anyone decides they're unhappy with the project and files for a Discretionary Review.

What say you, readers? Is the $1.399M property worth the effort? Or would you just keep it as a two-unit building?
· 1559 Church Street, San Francisco [Vanguard]
· Removing Dwelling Units [SF Planning]
· New Building Construction/Demolition – Residential [SF Planning]
· Schedule of Application Fees [SF Planning]
· What the Heck is Discretionary Review? [Curbed SF]