The buildings would replace . . . thin vacant lots with a procession of five-story buildings with residential units above shops. They'll also fill the most conspicuous remaining void along a boulevard that replaced an elevated freeway torn down with fanfare in 2003.
(Seen here, top to bottom, are Parcels R, S,and T)
Though small in relation to the towers rising south of Market Street, the projects capture the cultural dynamics of an area that few San Franciscans a generation ago could have picked out on a map. They'll also generate $5 million for public improvements to the congested area, a favorite of planners but often a headache for drivers heading to and from the city's western neighborhoods.
Another difference from the high-rise action elsewhere: Each development team is based in the neighborhood.
"We're neighbors, essentially. It's our backyard," said Michael Yarne of Build Inc., which was selected this week to develop two parcels between Page and Oak streets.
Build Inc.'s plans call for 24-foot-wide buildings with miniature retail spaces along the street and a combined 60 apartments above. Not all would be traditional units: One structure is billed as "group housing," 34 "private suites" with snug kitchens and bathrooms. All residents would have access to top-floor common spaces, a large kitchen on the south and an oversize living room on the north.
"It's a contemporary architectural analogue to the big old Victorian where lots of people reside," said Mark Macy, the architect for the two buildings. "Each private space is independent, but there are shared amenities."