Martin Building has submitted a proposal to the San Francisco Planning Department to construct a five-story building at 88 Arkansas Street. The development would feature a ground floor restaurant, and include 50 one-bedroom, 49 two-bedroom, and 27 studio apartments. An onsite garage would offer 98 parking spaces. If built, the project would likely increase traffic congestion in the area around Jackson Park.
Martin Building previously developed Potrero Launch, a 196-apartment complex at 2235 Third Street, which features a restaurant, child care center, and several retail stores. Apartments at Potrero Launch rent from $2,890 to $4,500 a month.
Martin Building’s Patrick McNerney dismissed the idea that 88 Arkansas would cater to technology workers. “We don’t build for any one type of tenant,” he said. He pointed-out that the structure would have 39 “low rent” units, twice as many as required under the City’s fast track approval process. Other than the restaurant the building won’t have retail spaces. McNerney said the development would be a few blocks from Potrero Avenue, and he didn’t want to hurt local businesses.
The development’s traffic impacts on the streets adjacent to the Jackson Playground may be significant. The number of units at 88 Arkansas, 127, is coincidentally roughly the same as the number of parking spaces available on all four sides of the park. Lined up bumper to bumper, that’s about a third of a mile’s worth of cars.
Jackson Park has emerged as a transitional space between old Potrero Hill and new. Both traffic congestion and commercial rents are increasing along 17th Street. As a result, long-time businesses in the area are considering relocated to the East Bay or elsewhere. According to Greg Williams, owner of California Caster & Hand Truck Company, located one block east of 88 Arkansas, his business sells hand trucks to walk-in customers, and is dependent on street parking. Given greater competition for parking he’s “having to consider all the options.”
That sentiment was shared by Nasser Nasrah, owner of JB’s Place, a restaurant located across the street from California Caster. For more than 20 years JB’s has offered local residents and workers meals between 5:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. These days, Nasrah said his employees and customers constantly complain about the lack of parking. More traffic is the last thing the area needs, he said. “You’d have to work here every day to see how bad the traffic really is.”
According to Hill resident Alison Heath, substantial amounts of high density residential complexes are being approved individually, without considering their “cumulative effect” on the Hill and Showplace Square.
McNerney expects his project to be approved in time for construction to begin next year. When completed, the 88 Arkansas project will be the first major residential building erected north of 17th Street.