Hayes Valley & Mid-Market Photo Walk

Posted On: January 26, 2016
By: ffdadmin

Hayes Valley has a lot going on. In about 30 years, it has transformed from one of San Francisco’s noisiest, dirtiest and dangerous neighborhoods to ground-zero in current thinking about urban design and planning. All it took was an act of God.

Patricia's green in Hayes Valley, the pedestrian heart of the neighborhood.

Patricia’s Green, the pedestrian heart of Hayes Valley. Taken in January of 2016 looking north from the Oak St. side boundary.

Here’s a current look at Hayes Valley and immediately adjacent areas, with more commentary below the photos about Hayes Valley future.

The eastern edge of Hayes Valley blends into the Civic Center/mid-market area. The SF real estate map also includes the Lower Haight in their definition of Hayes Valley, and some of the buildings we are talking about fall along the edges of several neighborhoods. Soon enough we can expect to see a tweak to the neighborhood map – given the upzoning that’s happened and the tall towers that will be arriving, I’m going to suggest we call anything above the 20th floor in the neighborhood as “Upper Hayes Valley.”

Then we just sit back and wait for real estate agents to attempt to expand the neighborhood in all four directions creating North Hayes Valley (Western Addition), South Hayes Valley (SOMA), western Hayes Valley (Lower Haight)  and East Hayes Valley (Civic Center). What’s coming to these neighborhoods?

There are numerous projects clustered around Market and Van Ness. The exact number varies but think 10,000 homes within a 5 – 7 minute walk from the intersection of one of our major east/west and north/south corridors. BART Civic Center access, Muni Van Ness underground access, and lots and lots of bus lines. Not to mention freeway on-ramps to both the East Bay and Silicon Valley.

The projects that have been completed to date primarily have their beginnings in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that damaged the central freeway and led to eventual removal of freeways along the Embarcadero and the replacement of central freeway ramps with the Octavia Blvd. feeder to 101. The vacant lots that remained have been developed over the past decade or so and they aren’t complete yet.

Buildings with market rate housing that have come out of the central freeway sites include 450 Hayes, 388 Fulton, 400 Grove, 300 Ivy, 8 Octavia, and Avalon Hayes Valley rentals. 555 Fulton was once a warehouse, but that project’s land didn’t come from the central freeway plots. 1 Franklin land was also not from a freeway-related lot. 8 Buchanan (not pictured) was a gas station, and represents about the farthest west current development of “Hayes Valley” (come on folks, it’s the Lower Haight!) although there is extensive development of rental homes happening at the former UC Berkeley/UCSF land between Laguna and Webster.

The next cycle is focused along the transit corridors, and will bring very vertical projects to the neighborhood. The NEMA rental building  and 1 Polk/Argenta rentals are two of the earliest examples of what’s in store for the area. Emerald Fund’s conversion of 100 Van Ness from the beige-est of beige rectangles to something that at least isn’t beige is a current project that’s farther along in bringing density to the neighborhood than the projects still on paper.

The All-star donut shop will someday be replaced by a tower at 1 Oak, while towers will sprout from the former Honda dealership that Crescent Heights is currently working on entitling. Slightly further down the block we’ve got the Tower Car wash lot which is now owned by Trumark Urban and they are hoping to get approvals for a roughly 12 story building on the site.

Across the street, those sites are also spoken for although explaining those lots takes just a little longer. Finally, where the Civic Center hotel is and nearby there are a cluster of vacant/decrepit lots. These are in the process of lot merges to support new towers along these parts of Market St. as well.