Western SoMa’s Project Seeks to Continue Neighborhood’s Transformation

By Meghan Hall

The Western portion of San Francisco’s famed South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood has long been seen as the down-trodden neighbor of the City’s bustling Market and Central Business District neighborhoods after its days as San Francisco’s theater district came to an end. Since 2012, however, the neighborhood has seen a surge of investment, with companies such as Twitter establishing themselves in the area. A new proposal submitted by Northern California law firm Farella Braun and Martel, LLP on behalf of the property owner to redevelop 220 9th Street, would be another small step in the area’s revitalization.

Western SoMA falls into one of San Francisco’s Eastern Neighborhoods, sandwiched between East SoMa, Mission and Showplace Square. The Eastern Neighborhoods were home to traditional blue-collar industries such as printing, manufacturing and auto repair, which have been disappearing rapidly after the dot com boom.

The proposed development for 220 9th Street, while small compared to several much larger projects in the pipeline elsewhere in San Francisco, fits the step-by-step development which has defined Western SoMa’s evolution over the past decade. The parcel was purchased by an entity called LMT Home CORP from Kiner Family Partners in January of 2018 for $10,530,000, according to public documents. LMT is an entity associated with Ying Wang of Redwood City.

The neighborhood’s transition has largely been dictated by guidelines created by The Western SoMa Citizens Planning Task Force, which has been working with the City of San Francisco Planning Department since 2005 to “stabilize the community through small, incremental steps,” according to the Western SoMa Area Plan. The project’s size and scope adhere to the plan’s objectives of creating developments that cater to small-scale businesses and the surrounding residential neighborhood for sites located North of Harrison Street.

The proposal to redevelop 220 9th Street would demolish the existing industrial buildings, which total 23,875 square feet of space, and construct a seven-story, 75-foot tall mixed-use building. The plans would include 74 dwelling units, totaling 54,675 square feet, 62 of which would be market-rate, according to a proposal submitted to the city. The remaining 12 units would be part of the inclusionary affordable housing program. The current proposal also takes advantage of the Individually-Requested State Density Bonus Program, which allows developers to increase the overall number of units built on the site in exchange for including affordable housing units in the development. Without utilizing the Density Bonus, the original base project would include 56 units.

Plans also call for 23 off-street parking spaces, 3,650 square feet of commercial space—less than the 25,000 square foot maximum laid out in the Western SoMa Plan—and 6,827 square feet of useable open space. Farella Braun and Martel, LLP are in the preliminary stages of the planning process and have yet to submit a formal application on behalf of their client.

Charles Higley, partner at Farella Braun and Martel LLP and the project’s sponsor, stated the property owner was unavailable for comment, as the project’s design and programming are not yet solidified. As of this writing, the City of San Francisco Planning Department did not reply to questions submitted regarding the project.

In order to submit a complete application, the development team will need to submit a Conditional Use Authorization and an Individually Requested State Density Bonus Supplemental Application, among other waivers, in order for the City to deem the application complete. Once the application is submitted, an Environmental Review will be conducted and completed before approval can be granted and construction can begin.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News