[maxgallery name=”1601-larkin-street-construction-update”]The decade long battle to redevelop the 1601 Larkin Street property ended early this year when project opponents’ final appeal was denied by San Francisco’s Planning Department. Neighborhood community groups including the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association (MPNA) fought the project sponsor’s desire to raze a historically significant church to make way for a new residential complex that neighbors considered too tall, bulky, and architecturally inconsistent with nearby buildings. Residents also argued that an affordable senior housing complex be built for the city’s aging population instead of market rate “luxury” housing. The battle was bitter as neighbors accused the sponsor of deliberately damaging the church and bribing local organizations to push the project forward. After multiple building revisions including top floor removal, additional upper story setbacks, and more traditional facade treatments, enough neighbors and local groups accepted the latest design to facilitate the Planning Department’s approval and set church demolition in motion in early spring. Once the church was torn down, property ownership transferred from California Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church to Pacific Polk Properties LLC (owned by Anasazi Properties Inc and John McInerney). The approved design permits a five story building with 27 condominium units over a subterranean garage holding 32 parking spaces (including three spaces for the community and two car-share spots).
IB+A’s latest architectural renderings show a more conventional design when compared to previous versions that were originally penned by architect Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects, Inc. The approved design forgoes the glassy ultra modern windows and boxy profile for a tapered form that incorporates a Victorian friendly facade and window design. Even though current renderings may not be groundbreaking, the building architecture will more easily blend into the surrounding neighborhood and not visually overpower adjacent buildings.
A recent onsite tour revealed the church has long since been removed and replaced with an excavated trench surrounded by a perimeter of shoring supports. Wood square forms have been set on the trench floor and two excavators were seen huddled around a relatively small mound of remaining earth. Onsite signage, permit notices, and truck branding identified K2 Builders Inc as the contractors for the excavation. Judging by current progress and architectural renderings, construction completion should be in mid 2016.