Community Group Proposes Alternative Design for Cor-O-Van Site

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Save the Hill continues to press for the Cor-o-Van site to be developed as an adaptive reuse project, with more of the existing buildings retained and repurposed. The community advocacy group is working with architect Kal-man Varga on drawings for the site that reflect feedback from neighbors and public meetings with the devel-oper.   “We’re trying to be as reflective as possible of the community’s vision,” said Save the Hill co-founder Kepa Askenasy.

According to San Francisco Plan-ning Department spokeswoman Gini Simi, Save the Hill’s plans will be considered during the project’s draft environmental impact report (DEIR) process. An official of Prado Group, the company developing the site, said the firm is reviewing the plans but wouldn’t comment on them.  Prado Group president Dan Safier said that his company is “in the process of entitling a mixed-use project which will provide much-needed housing as well as neighborhood-serving retail uses along both 17th Street and 16th Street with active ground floor spaces, a safe environment for pedestrians, more eyes on the street, and well-lit sidewalks.”

The site stretches over nearly an entire block between 16th and 17th streets and Missouri and Missis-sippi streets. It’s currently occupied by the Cor-O-Van moving company.  According to Save the Hill, the prop-erty contains as many as four historic buildings, though the Prado Group in-sists only one of the edifices is historic.  Askenasy was pleased that the City has retained a consultant to review the buildings’ historic status as part of the project’s environmental review. Under Pardo Group’s preliminary plans the project would be divided into two lots: 901 16th Street and 1200 17th Street, both of which would be developed into apartments or con-dominiums. Prado Group wants to build 259 residential units along 16th Street and 135 units along 17th Street, according to a description on the developer’s website, livepotrerohill. com. The drawings also show areas for ground floor retail space, a bicycle and pedestrian promenade, a lounge, fitness center, residential courtyards, and residential mews. The plans incorporate an existing historic brick building and a portion of one of the metal buildings into the design.

Varga’s plans show a public green, urban forest, workshops, stalls, stu-dios, and retail space for artists, as well as a rooftop bar and combination main hall, public lounge and popup event space.  The proposal also offers three housing options:  Option A with 131 units, Option B with 183 units and Option C with 206 units.

Askenasy believes that Options A and B are the most viable, with Varga’s design intended to encourage renters or property owners to stay in the neighborhood. All three of Save the Hill’s options include more than 20 three bedroom units, 15 percent of the total, compared with a com-bined 17 such units, or four percent of the total, in Prado Group’s plans. Thirty-six percent of the units in the developer’s plans are two bedrooms, compared with 34 percent in Option A and 31 percent in Options B and C. The percentage of two and three bedroom units in Varga’s drawings is as much as 51 percent, compared with 40 percent in the developer’s plans.

The Planning Department pub-lished a notice of preparation for an environmental impact report, public scoping meeting and community plan exemption checklist on February 11, and will accept comments on the docu-ments until mid-March.  A draft EIR will be published sometime within the next year and a half.