This month, concrete pours and site deliveries will limit street parking near the 1601 Mariposa Street development site. Related California’s construction contractor, Nibbi Brothers, is in the process of installing foundation elements and underground plumbing, as well as concrete floors, walls, columns, and elevated decks. In addition, demolition of the existing concrete wall on 18th and Arkansas streets will be completed, and subcontractors will erect two cranes to start vertical wood framing construction on Carolina Street.
1601 Mariposa is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver-certified development, with 299 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. The project is sited on the former location of the MacKenzie Warehouse, an automobile parts store. David Baker Architects is the development’s architect; its landscape architect, Fletcher Studio, is also working on the redesign of nearby Jackson Park.
Earlier this year, Related California and the Potrero Boosters cohosted a community meeting at the Jackson Park clubhouse to showcase changes to 1601 Mariposa’s design, and answer questions about construction and cleanup. Among the biggest modifications community activists secured was a reduction in the number of units, from 320 to 299; and provision of 20 percent onsite affordable housing, an increase from the municipally-required 14.4 percent.
Community feedback also served to enlarge the development’s setback from Live Oak School, from 10 feet to about 40 feet. The project will now have a publicly accessible east-west passageway, in addition to a north-south passage, dedicated Production, Distribution, and Repair space, and an additional garage entrance. Related has committed to paying to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Mariposa and Pennsylvania streets; and pledged $2 million to Friends of Jackson Park (FOJP) for park improvements.
Alison Heath, a leader of the nonprofit organization, Grow Potrero Responsibly (GPR), is pleased with the changes. “The final building design, which was presented at the recent community meeting, is vastly improved since the project was at the Planning Commission,” she said. “The Planning Department and Related did a good job responding to the Planning Commission’s request that the buildings be better differentiated. They’ve eliminated all stucco and replaced exterior finishes with better quality materials, which results in a considerably less “cookie cutter” appearance. I am particularly pleased that David Fletcher’s landscape design reflects neighborhood requests for expansion of the midblock passageway entrance on Mariposa into a plaza-like space, and a final design which includes gathering areas and play spaces.”
“It’s much more open and more connected to the existing neighborhood,” said J.R. Eppler, Boosters president and a District 10 Supervisor candidate. “It’s much more inviting. Related is doing a good job of reaching out to the neighborhood to determine what retail and other businesses should be in the space. It has been designed in a way that people in the community will have access to the project’s open and community space.”
“They made great upgrades to the materials to be used, as well as the design,” echoed Jude Deckenbach, executive director of FOJP. “I was really impressed. Fletcher Studio has created a green, vibrant walk-through north-south passageway. The opening on the north end will line up with the new opening to Jackson Park.”
Soil removal work, which began in February, and construction activities have engendered pollution concerns. “There have been some noise and dust issues,” confirmed Eppler. “The dust related to trucks not getting cleaned up before leaving the site and then leaving soil on the streets. Related has been very receptive to comment, quick to help change subcontractor practices and address concerns.”
Developments in the area have prompted the Boosters and GPR to work to address emerging traffic congestion, parking, and public transit needs. “I don’t think you can look at the immediate area around Jackson Park without considering the broader network,” said Heath. “SFMTA needs to make vast improvements to public transit throughout the entire area, while simultaneously regulating private transit via transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft and private shuttles. Although Related can and should advocate for transit improvements, this is the City’s responsibility.”
“New transit resources are being studied to make the whole neighborhood work to help handle the cumulative impact of the various projects that are going on,” said Eppler. “Fortunately, that location is fairly well-served. It has access to the 22, 55, 19, and 10 bus lines. It’s also near the accepted tech shuttle routing. We expect residents will not need to rely on their own cars to get around. Further, they should be utilizing the parking inside of the building, not street parking. That is already a diminishing commodity in the neighborhood.”
Related will create 249 parking spaces, including six car share pod spots, in its onsite lot. It’ll also offer one per-bedroom bicycle parking for residents and add three street parking places by closing existing curb cuts.
FOJP and GPR were pleased with Related’s donation to Jackson Park, and its commitment to greenspace overall. “We need to raise money to get the project done. Related is a stakeholder in the neighborhood and is interested in helping us with that,” said Deckenbach. “We’ve raised $4.5 million in pledged contributions from the developer community so far. We’re using that to get our project shovel-ready. That way we will be prepared to build the new park when we receive money from the 2019 Parks Bond. If we can build what’s been designed, it’ll be amazing,”
“I think that Related did a great thing donating $2 million to Jackson Park. I would challenge other developers to be as generous,” said Heath.
Related, David Baker Architects, and Fletcher Studio declined to be interviewed for this story.