When SCNA board members get a chance to talk with a developer about concerns with a project’s design, sometimes both sides can win.
That’s what happened this summer with a proposal for a two-story, mixed-use building at Castro Way and 24th Street, opposite the historically and architecturally significant 24th Street Theatre.
Members of SCNA’s Neighborhood Concerns Committee who reviewed the proposal thought its original design for a modern steel-and-concrete structure was inconsistent with neighborhood architectural styles and specifically with the Spanish Revival-style theater, designed in the 1920s by renowned local architects Dean & Dean, who also designed Memorial Auditorium. NCC pointed out that there are many Spanish Revival-style homes in the neighborhood, including some new ones in Crocker Village.
On Aug. 3, committee members met with the developer, HK3 Development Co., Councilmember Jay Schenirer and city staff to urge several specific design changes intended to improve compatibility with existing neighborhood architectural styles.
The suggested changes were relatively minor, but committee members felt they would have a huge impact on the proposed building’s fit at a location that functions as a gateway to the residential core of Curtis Park. The committee relied on a city General Plan requirement that new construction in established neighborhoods be sensitive to the neighborhood’s aesthetic.
Asserting that new architecturally sensitive construction in a historic neighborhood is possible, committee members provided examples from Midtown and Crocker Village to illustrate how this can be done successfully.
HK3 returned on Aug. 11 with a revised design that incorporates most of the requested Spanish Revival features, such as the use of stucco as the primary exterior material, terra cotta brick at the base of the building, ornamental iron for all railings, balconies and window shade supports, fabric sunshades and base columns wrapped in tile.
The building will include eight housing units and ground-floor commercial space. It is planned for about 8,900 square feet.
Committee members thanked HK3 for eliminating the blight of an empty lot once occupied by a gas station and for being responsive to the neighborhood’s concerns.
Neighborhood Concerns is one of SCNA’s standing committees. It reviews building projects proposed for the neighborhood and addresses a wide array of other issues that arise in the neighborhood.
By Andrea Rosen and Erik Fay