February 2014

No Opposition to Texas Street Development

Keith Burbank

Opposition to development in Dogpatch seems to have skipped at least one project. Plans are underway to construct 94 condominiums at the corner of Texas, 22nd and Mississippi streets, close by the 22nd Street CalTrain station. While the project hasn’t prompted widespread enthusiasm in the neighborhood, community members seem to agree that it’ll fill a need for additional residential activity.

“You have eyes on the street,” said Susan Eslick, vice president, Dogpatch Neighborhood Association (DNA). “People are coming and going. It completely changes the tenor of the neighborhood.”

Currently, the development site houses semi-industrial uses, though part of it is home to a program for adults with disabilities. According to the developer, Trumark Urban, the location looks like a fortress. It plans to change that image by building what it calls a “large scale boutique condo project.” Arden Hearing, Trumark Urban’s founder, asserted that his company is taking a site that’s underused and making it better. Trumark Urban fills a “niche that’s needed in neighborhoods,” he said.

Eslick disagreed with the fortress label, and called the proposed project ordinary. “I was not completely blown over by the design,” she said. “It wasn’t horrible.” But Eslick said not every project has to inspire opposition. And that seems to be Trumark Urban’s goal. Hearing said his company isn’t pushing to increase height limits at the site, a popular tactic by developers in the area. A rendering shows the new structure would be roughly as tall as the houses adjacent to it on Mississippi Street. And Hearing said it’ll be lower than the residences across Texas Street.

Kim Diamond, development director, Trumark Urban, said the firm appreciates that the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan was 10 years in the making, and we “respect and adhere to the vision in those plans.” She agreed that the project will provide an additional measure of safety at night for Dogpatch residents, a consideration for those arriving late to the CalTrain station.

Of the 94 units, Trumark Urban wants to build 32 one-bedroom condominiums, 59 two-bedrooms, and three three-bedroom condos. Sixty-six percent of the condos at the 645 Texas Street site would be two- or three-bedroom units. The one-bedroom condos range in size from 580 square feet to 785 square feet. The two-bedrooms will be from 820 to 1,100 square feet, and the three-bedroom units range from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet.

In a meeting to discuss the project with the View, Diamond stressed her company’s efforts to address neighborhood concerns about the project. Gathering input “is so critical to our process,” she said. According to Diamond, the company has met twice with the DNA and twice with the Potrero Boosters. Eslick recalled seeing Trumark Urban only once.

Hearing and Diamond also stressed the project’s environmental aspects. The company has proposed solar hot water for the building, a green roof, a vertical garden near the building’s entrance, and electronic vehicle charging stations. And responding to neighbors’ concerns, Trumark Urban will landscape plants suitable to host the Bay Checkerspot butterfly, adding to existing habitat in the area.

That habitat may not exist, however. According to a 2010 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet, the Bay Checkerspot butterfly is a threatened species, with the only known populations in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Threatened species are plants and animals whose numbers are so low they may become endangered.

Under Trumark’s proposal, 12 percent of the units will be affordable, spread throughout the building. The interior will feature an atrium and 94 secure bicycle parking spaces. Additional bike parking will be available outside.

Hearing expects construction to take 18 months. He’s aiming to go before the Planning Commission this spring, with shovel hitting dirt in late summer.   

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