AGI Avant plans 199 units in 'Mid-Mission' corridor

By San Francisco Business Times

A Mission Street pizzeria could become the site of nearly 200 residential units in an area emerging as a hotbed of housing activity just a few blocks from San Francisco City Hall, but rising construction costs pose a challenge, the would-be developer says.

AGI Avant Inc. submitted preliminary plans to the city for a 199-unit, 13-story residential project at 1270 Mission St. The developer proposed replacing the SF Pizza restaurant and a parking lot now at the corner of Mission and Laskie streets with a 120-foot tall mixed-use building featuring more than 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail, according to a preliminary project assessment issued by the city last week.

AGI has believed in the so-called “Mid-Mission” area for years, said Eric Tao, president of AGI Capital Group, dating back to the development of AGI and TMG Partners’ SoMa Grand, the 260-unit condo project at 1160 Mission that opened in 2007.

In those days, that stretch of Mission had a sketchy reputation for panhandling and small-time drug dealing, but construction of the new federal building and the tech-fueled redevelopment nearby have brought rapid shifts in the landscape and in developer interest.

“In the past seven or eight years that area has changed dramatically,” Tao said. “We’re still in exploratory mode (with 1270 Mission) and we’re still trying to decide what we want to do.”

The biggest challenge, Tao said, is construction costs that have risen about 10 percent in each of the past three years. Because construction accounts for 70 percent of the development cost of a new project, developers face a much more challenging path to get to market, he said.

The 1270 Mission proposal is in its early stages and likely would see some changes after AGI talks it over with the city and the community.

City planners have already flagged concerns with the preliminary design, such as proposals for 101 automobile parking spots and relatively wide driveways in an area where the city has emphasized transit and pedestrian friendly development.

The planning department also raised initial concerns about whether the preliminary design meets planning guidelines for total developed space, street trees, rear yard size and other standards, and suggested that the developer consider developing the Laskie Street side of the parcel as a “living alley,” incorporating pedestrian-friendly features and public spaces that could provide respite from the heavy automotive traffic nearby.

The proposal comes as more residential projects are climbing on nearby blocks, including at 1400 Mission, 1415 Mission and Patrick Kennedy’s micro-apartment and micro-suite project at 1321 Mission.