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SF to buy Haight McDonald’s for $15.5 million

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Troubled burger joint to go

A photo of the golden arches over a McDonald’s restaurant.
A golden opportunity.
Photo by Vytautas Kielaitis

Acting San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the city intends to buy the troubled McDonald’s at Stanyan and Haight Street for a negotiated price of $15.5 million, the first step in razing the troubled burger stand in favor of new affordable housing on the site.

Breed—who said that the purchase was the final piece of legislation she discussed with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee before his unexpected death Tuesday morning—noted that “sites to build affordable housing are limited in SF, [and] even scarcer in neighborhoods like the Haight, which are already pretty much well developed.”

It’s not yet clear how many units the 730 Stanyan site may yield. Breed promises the development will be 100 percent affordable housing and that residents of district five will receive priority for the eventual new homes.

The 3,500 square foot McDonald’s takes up only about a tenth of the sizable parcel that it sits on, in a key spot right next to Golden Gate Park, Cole Valley, and the Haight drag. The full Board of Supervisors will have to authorize the purchase deal with a future vote.

Breed called the circa 1975 McDonald’s joint a “blighted nuisance property” in reference to the constant neighborhood complaints about crime on the property.

Stanyan Street McDonald’s. Image via Google Street Views

So prevalent were the problems that City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent a letter of complaint to the McDonald’s corporation in 2015 saying that SF police received 1,100 calls about this one McDonald’s location in the previous three years, which shakes out to more than one per day on average.

City lawmakers also took time on Tuesday to eulogize the late Mayor Lee and offer condolences to his wife and two daughters.

Breed, who had assumed the office of acting mayor just hours earlier, credited Lee for bringing jobs to San Francisco and for rehabbing “over 700 public housing units” and called him a real-life example of the American dream, noting that Lee was “the son of working class immigrants” who became a hero to the city’s Asian American and immigrant population after becoming SF’s first Chinese American mayor.