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184 new apartments approved at site of NoPa carwash

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Six-story housing development will replace gas and carwash station

Renderings of a six-story condo building in the Lower Haight. Rendering courtesy of SF Planning

The carwash at 444 Divisadero has reached the end of its final cycle, as the San Francisco Planning Commission voted Thursday to approve a 184-unit housing development on the site. The plan would require the demolition of the existing structures, replacing them with a mid-rise hub of new housing.

Four years ago the San Francisco Chronicle first reported that David Kriozere, the developer whose family built One Rincon Hill, had purchased the site. He initially planned to build 158 new condos in a pair of buildings.

[Correction: The plan calls for apartments, not condos.]

According to the documents filed with the Planning Commission Thursday, Kriozere’s plans for the site have since merged into a single mixed-use building with the addition of a few dozen more homes:

The Project includes demolition of the existing automotive service station, car wash building, and two residential buildings containing three dwelling units, relocation of one existing residential building approximately 49 feet to the east on the Project site, and the construction of a new three to six story mixed-use building containing 184 dwelling units (37 of which would be below market rate/affordable units), [and] approximately 8,100 square feet of commercial/retail use.

The Project includes a dwelling unit mix consisting of 74 two-bedroom units , 21 one- bedroom units, and 89 studios. The Project includes approximately 15,000 square feet of common open space.

The three homes demolished on the site are rent-controlled units, so Kriozere has promised to “replace the demolished units on-site in the new building.”

Another rent-controlled duplex will be moved 50 feet to make way for the new building without demolishing it.

No replacement is forthcoming for the longtime carwash and gas station on the corner, which, according to the Planning Department, served up to 14,500 vehicles per month. City records date the two buildings to 1988 and 1958, respectively.

Some neighbors objected to the new project, saying that, given the size of the development and the prominence of the location, the city should demand more affordable homes.

Many area residents submitted similarly worded complaints to the commission ahead of time, alleging that developers “did not allow for discussion of residents’ concerns—neighborhood impact issues like infrastructure, pedestrian safety, increased traffic congestion, and increased levels of truly affordable homes.”

Some of the commissioners agreed that a development of this scale in the neighborhood should include more below-market-rate housing.

However, since the proposal had fulfilled its obligations and presented a significant opportunity for new housing, the majority of the commission voted to approve.