It appears that plants may make way for condos at Sloat Garden Center at 2700 Sloat Boulevard. Dave Stoner, the president and CEO of the company, confirmed that while the property is not "technically sold" a buyer "has an option on the property" and is doing community outreach and exploring possibilities with the city. His understanding is that the foremost possibility is a mixed-use development that would contain housing and retail. Although Stoner did not confirm it, the word is that the would-be buyer is Sloat-Parkside Properties, the developers of another mixed-used property nearby on Sloat Boulevard between 46th and 47th Avenues. That project includes the site of the former Roberts at the Beach Motel. If this should come to pass, it would mean the demise of what is likely the largest plant nursery in San Francisco and the conclusion of a nearly 50-year gardening tradition in the city.
The site of the nursery takes up a city block between 45th and 46th Avenues, right across the road from the San Francisco Zoo. The Sloat Garden Center website says the store has been there since 1968 and describes it as "a landmark" offering "fresh plants, high-quality garden tools, soils, custom planters, pottery, and expert garden advice."
Stoner is quick to point out that the potential sale is not because the company is in financial trouble and that there will still be two Sloat Garden Centers in San Francisco (although the outposts on Pierce Street and 3rd Avenue are much smaller). "We are looking around and exploring the idea of finding another location," he says. But it's hard to imagine where another site of this size that's appropriate for a nursery might be found.
The rumor is that the owners were offered a deal they just couldn't refuse. On the Sloat website, the owners are listed as David Straus and Ted Warshauer. Straus started working at the company when he was 14 years old, unloading 40-pound bags of manure. He climbed through the company ranks and bought in as a minor partner in 1968 (the same year the location in question opened).
Stoner is also notes that it will be business as usual at the Outer Sunset garden center until 2017 "at the earliest." He says that many of the current employees at the location will find jobs at other Sloat Garden Centers in San Francisco, Marin County, or the East Bay.
Stoner himself has been with the company for 30 years. When asked if he personally would miss the Sloat Boulevard location, he said: "Of course. But the company itself is not going anywhere."
· Rare New Development Ready to Kick off Near Ocean Beach [Curbed SF]
· Sloat Garden Center [Outside Lands]
· Sloat Garden Center [Official Site]