Have Merced

San Francisco’s Parkmerced development to break ground after seven-year delay

Development News Sustainability Urbanism West
San Francisco's Parkmerced development to break ground after seven-year delay. SOM's original master plan for the 152-acre site was completed in 2011. (Courtesy SOM)
San Francisco's Parkmerced development to break ground after seven-year delay. SOM's original master plan for the 152-acre site was completed in 2011. (Courtesy SOM)

After an initial approval in 2011 and years of delays, the SOM-master planned redevelopment of San Francisco’s Parkmerced neighborhood is finally set to break ground early this year. The 152-acre project is expected to bring 5,679 new residential units to San Francisco once it’s fully completed, a welcome respite for a city that’s in the midst of a housing crisis.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, developer Parkmerced Investors LLC is expecting break ground on the first phase of the project, which includes 1,000 residential units across three buildings, in the first half of 2018. Part redevelopment and part addition, the Parkmerced project will ultimately add 230,000 square feet of retail space, 80,000 square feet of offices, and 60,000 square feet of parks to the neighborhood, according to the master plan.

Although site permits for the first phase of construction were approved by the city in December, they have yet to be approved. Still, Parkmerced Investors is hopeful and has already begun spooling up to begin work. If everything goes as planned, the three new buildings should all be complete by 2022, although what percentage of these units will be affordable has yet to be finalized.

This first phase of work will encompass a 17-story residential building with 299 units at 1208 Junipero Serra Boulevard, designed by DLR Group | Kwan Henmi, at an estimated $131 million. Additionally, international firm Woods Bagot is designing two 11-story buildings with a combined 248 units, one at 850 Gonzalez Drive and the other at 455 Serrano Drive, for $91.5 million, while 300 Arballo Drive, an eight-story, 89 unit building designed by San Francisco’s LMS Architects, will rise at the same time.

The San Francisco Business Times notes that 21 and 25 Chumasero Drive will also be designed by SOM, although the timetable for any future buildings is currently uncertain. Once completed, the 11-million-square foot development could cost up to $1.35 billion.

The Parkmerced extension has been designed as a sustainable, long-term community. Some of the green techniques being used are seen here. (Courtesy SOM)

Parkmerced has long been viewed as an outlier community in San Francisco, as some former residents will fondly recall. Built as a planned community in the early 1940’s in part to house returning WWII service members, the neighborhood is part city-inside-a-city and part suburb, as the planning emphasizes single-family houses and car culture.

While the area’s original developer, Metropolitan Life (MetLife), restricted home ownership in Parkmerced to whites-only until a lawsuit in 1972, the extension project has been envision as a holistic “eco-village” according to SOM. A sustainable vision plan was used to create the master plan, and prominently features open green spaces and storm water management systems. The vision plan is viewable here.

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