By Meghan Hall
Another one of San Francisco’s parking lots will bite the dust with a new proposal from San Francisco-based Aralon Properties to construct a seven story mixed-use office building, located at the North corner of Harrison and Third, at 701 Harrison Street in the East South of Market neighborhood.
The site is located just north of Interstate 80 and is a 15 minute walk to the Montgomery Street BART Station, one of the busiest in the city. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and San Francisco’s Westfield Mall are also located within walking distance to the site. However, 701 Harrison Street is most immediately near a one-story industrial building on Third Street and a two-story industrial building along Harrison Street; the City classifies the neighborhood as a transitional area in the City, populated with industrial, some office and residential buildings.
The preliminary project application, which was received by the city in June 2018, shows that the 8,799 square foot parking lot will be demolished and replaced with 49,891 square feet of office space and 5,346 square feet of ground floor retail. Like many of East SoMa’s parcels, however, the site is zoned for service and light industrial uses, and office space is not permitted under the current zoning.
In order for the project to proceed, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors must approve new zoning controls for the parcel. In recent years, the City of San Francisco has been pushing to maintain properties zoned for industrial uses in order to encourage businesses that specialize in production, distribution and repair—known as PDR—to return to the City, particularly as office and residential development began to compete with land zoned for industrial uses.
However, the site also falls within the Central SoMa Plan Area, and rezoning to Mixed-Use Office would be permitted for the site under the plan. In its Preliminary Project Assessment, the City considers the proposal for 701 Harrison Street generally consistent with its goals for the area laid out in the Central SoMa Plan. Because the project is proposing just less than 50,000 square feet of office space, no PDR space is required.
A formal project application has yet to be submitted by Aralon Properties, and there is currently no timeline for completion of the project available. Supplemental applications for the project, including a Conditional Use Authorization and an Office Development Authorization, are required by the City for the project to proceed.
As of this writing, Aralon Properties did not return a request for comment.