Potrero Hill (San Francisco) Cohousing Approved Site - mini-tour this Saturday AM
From: Raines Cohen (rc3-coho-Lraines.com)
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2010 12:40:16 -0800 (PST)
Join Green architect/East Bay Cohousing member Greg VanMechelen and a
local green developer for a visit to a San Francisco site that is
approved for development, and could be SF's first cohousing
neighborhood! I've checked out the incredible view from the site via
Google Maps, and I'm looking forward to exploring it with potential
new residents interested in participating in the design.

The (entitled) condo project didn't work out in the financial crisis
-- but it could work for cohousing with some changes, at moderate
prices by SF standards. The developer has an ownership stake in this
property.

Details and RSVP can be found on the East Bay Cohousing website, which
also includes many members in San Francisco:
http://www.ebcoho.org/calendar/12683155/
(free membership required to RSVP)

We'll meet at a DogPatch neighborhood coworking space, close to MUNI
and CalTrain, get to know each other, and then walk over to explore
the site. We've invited some folks from the local neighborhood
association to join us, to get to meet you as well as to provide their
feedback on visions for the site.

The land is on the south slope of Potrero Hill, and features
(according to Greg):
* just over a half acre (+/-23,300 sf),
* fronts on dead end streets on the east and west,
* partial views of the Bay and the East Bay
* great solar access
* has a walk score of 78
* feels somewhat un-City like - it is away from the hustle and bustle
of downtown and The Mission.
* moderately steep with about 40 feet of slope from frontage to
frontage, high on the west, low on the east.
* to the south are modest lots, with a mix of old and new single
family and some newer 3 story flat buildings (including some that the
developer built a few years ago); across the street to the east are
some light industrial buildings, one story and set lower so they don't
obstruct the views too badly; to the north is open space, I think it
was a quarry at some point and would be hard to develop because of the
rough terrain; to the west is a public housing project - relatively
low density rowhouse blocks that are being revamped as part of a
larger project.

The previous project planned for the site:
* there was an approved project for 28 units of high density housing
* podium garage with 4 stories above
* very dense, maxed out the site to the legal limits
* mostly stacked 2-story rowhouses (most units are 2 br, 2.5 ba), with
some one-story flats for filler
* access primarily through 2 courtyards, either at grade or through a
3rd story continuous open balcony.
* small amounts of open space - the courtyards, a shared roof deck,
* some units have side yard access, either 7 x 18 or 10 x 18
* all units have balconies, most are about 5 x 6 - not big enough to
use for much.
* would have to be all site-built, and with the garage would have
significant excavation and massive concrete work, which makes the
construction costs fairly high.

The possibilities:
* obviously the approved project could move forward, the permits may
have expired by now, but it is probably easy in this climate to revive
them
* Greg did a quick sketch that showed that 3 blocks of rowhouses,
cascading down the hill, could fit.
* 2 courtyards in between, one 33' x 133', mostly parking, one 27' x
100', completely landscaped
* Up to 20 units, 15' x 40', 600 sf per floor, typically 2 stories
with some partial 3 stories.  This would fit 2 br, probably 1.5 baths
* Parking would be underneath units or on grade.
* this plan had no common house - could be accommodated by reducing
the number of units, or stacking units taller, or making smaller
units. Of course, that changes the equations
* there is an adjoining single family property with well-worn shack
that might be available, could be common house. But that means more
money would be required to acquire the site.

The developer estimates that if the group financed this from the start
it could come in for around $500K per unit. (since this is what we
technically call a WAG (Wild-Assed Guess), and depends a lot on the
design and # of units, figure this could be off significantly - it is
useful as a design target, not a promise -- and because of the
embedded assumptions, it may not be directly comparable to "retail"
prices for homes in the area).

So, Cohousing-L readers, what do you think? Are you excited? Could you
envision living in San Francisco's first cohousing neighborhood? What
features would be important to you? Would it be intergenerational or
designed for aging in community? This is an opportunity to see the
place, see the numbers, meet other cohousing seekers, and see if it
can work for you.

The mini-tour will start at 9:30 AM at a Dogpatch neighborhood
coworking space, The Hat Factory (near Muni and CalTrain), with the
developer and architect on-site. We will reconvene there for further
discussion, ending at 12:30 with a potluck. BYO water bottle.

$30 per adult ($20 for EBCOHO Supporting Members - upgrade your
membership today for the best deals and first dibs on these
opportunities). Advance payment recommended - limited space available.

We'll send you details on where to gather and/or carpool link once you
have rsvp'd and arranged payment. Wear comfortable shoes for outdoor
walking in mud and dirt on the hilly site!

RSVP (or indicate your interest in future gatherings) via East Bay Cohousing:
http://www.ebcoho.org/calendar/12683155/

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