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When FLAX is Winnowed Away, This Could be What Will Replace It

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Designs for a nine-story building revealed

Presidio Development Partners released plans for a nine-story, 162-unit housing development at 1699 Market Street, near that murky area where Mid-Market meets the Mission. It is presently the site of FLAX, the nearly 80-year-old art supply store that has been closing operations there for nearly a year now. (They have a new store at Fort Mason and are planning another space in Oakland.)

According to a review last year by the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (the city’s developer-friendly housing non-profit), the proposed mixed-use project will also include 4,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space with a restaurant and 97 subterranean parking spaces.

Nineteen of the 162 units will be affordable, although that’s technically just under the minimum 12 percent for a project of this size. The building next door, home of the Delessio Market & Bakery, is a designated city historic resource, but the FLAX building wasn’t able to secure the same designation and is fair game for demolition.

SCB designed the place, and the oddly shaped lot makes it broad on the Market Street side but narrow on McCoppin. The Planning Department wanted a building that takes cues from the neighboring historic buildings, with a "strong rhythm of vertical elements," noting that "building faces should include three dimensional detailing." At first glance, looks like they nailed it.

Of course, this is not great news for FLAX fans in SF, who must content themselves with the smaller Fort Mason outpost, but everyone has known it was coming since last May. A Curbed editor who visited the Market Street store over the weekend was told that they’ll probably only be open there for another two weeks before closing up and heading over the bridge to the new location at 1501 Martin Luther King Way. God speed, giant, faceless art mannequin man.