San Francisco delays Mission housing over potentially historic laundromat


Laundry is a waiting game, and now the the owner of the Wash Land laundromat at 2918 Mission will have to wait even longer to find out if he can raze the circa-1924 building in favor of a 75-unit housing development, after the Board of Supervisors put off a vote on the project to determine whether or not the facility is historically significant.

The housing proposal, in the works since 2014 and approved by the Planning Commission in December, invokes California’s state density bonus law to go over and above the zoning for the block.

The plan as of Tuesday’s hearing is as follows:

To demolish a 5,200 square-foot, single-story, approximately 15- foot-tall commercial building and to construct an eight-story, 84-foot, 8-inch-tall 67,314 square foot mixed-use building with 75 dwelling units and 6,724 sq. ft. of ground floor retail.

[...] Under the State Law, a housing development that includes affordable housing is entitled to additional density, concessions and incentives, and waivers from development standards that might otherwise preclude the construction.

The site is just a block away from the 24th Street BART station. The developer and property owner says the laundromat is a money loser in today’s Mission, noting that the building and parking lot are more valuable as new development.

MissionLocal called the project a “no-brainer” in 2017, but it has since faced a marathon of delays, largely because some neighbors call it too large and bulky for the neighborhood (criticisms with which some planning commissioners agreed), while groups like the Mission Economic Development Agency criticized it for not including enough affordable housing.

Mission resident Anthony Martorana complained in a letter to the Board of Supervisors this week:

This project does not take into consideration the people of the neighborhood . It is a rectangular box 84-foot-tall looking over the children’s school, casting shades and eliminating views from adjoining properties. The planning code states to grant a conditional use the’ project is necessary, desirable and compatible with the neighborhood. This project has none of the above.

Tuesday’s hearing might have been the final hurdle for the new building, but Supervisor Hillary Ronen, citing an appeal, scuttled the decision until at least early summer.

“With the support of both the appellant and the project sponsor [...] the continuance will allow for the project to be further evaluated to determine its potential significance as a historic resource,” said Ronen.

“We do not know for certain how long that will take, but my best guess is about four to five months,” she added, pushing the next hearing to June 19.

Nobody spoke up during public comment on the continuance, and the motion passed unanimously.