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San Francisco’s ‘Historic Laundromat’ Demolished for Housing

2918 Mission Street aerial perspective, rendering by Gould Evans2918 Mission Street aerial perspective, rendering by Gould Evans

After years of lawsuits, a failed bid for historic preservation, and stalled efforts, San Francisco’s ‘historic’ laundromat has been demolished. The former single-story building at 2918 Mission Street in the Mission District is now poised to be replaced by new housing. The city has already approved permits for an eight-story mixed-use infill.

2918 Mission Street, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

2918 Mission Street, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

The proposal, pushed through the city by former property owner Robert Tillman, used the State Density Bonus program to add more housing. The proposal will rise 84 feet to yield 67,070 square feet with 59,000 square feet for housing, 6,960 square feet for retail, a second-level communal deck and private terraces on top of the podium, and private balconies across the rest of the building.

2918 Mission Street pedestrian view, rendering by Gould Evans

2918 Mission Street pedestrian view, rendering by Gould Evans

Gould Evans is responsible for the design, which embellishes the podium-style structure with local architectural vernacular. The exterior will feature bay windows and setbacks on top of a tile-clad podium. A proposed mural would rise along the structure’s north wall above an existing building, facing the nearby 24th Street BART Station. A mural artist has not yet been chosen.

The appeal to preserve 2918 Mission Street was filed by Calle 24 Latino Cultural District Council. While the attempt to keep the property was surprising, the foundation for the appeal was not to preserve the laundromat but rather because it was a workspace for many activist organizations in the Mission. The organizations included the Mission Hiring Hall Inc., Mission Housing Development Corporation, Mission Model Neighborhood Corporation, Mission Childcare Consortium Inc., and Mission Community Legal Defense Fund.

2918 Mission Street site close-up, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

2918 Mission Street site close-up, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

2918 Mission Street remaining wall details from the former laundromat, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

2918 Mission Street remaining wall details from the former laundromat, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

2918 Mission Street remaining facade detail, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

2918 Mission Street remaining facade detail, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

2918 Mission Street rear yard, rendering by Gould Evans

2918 Mission Street rear yard, rendering by Gould Evans

The lengthy Historic Resource Evaluation by the San Francisco Planning Department, found here, concluded that the former structure was not eligible for preservation. The documents declared that while the property “is significant under the California Register of Historical Resources Criterion 1 for events, it lacks sufficient integrity to convey its identified historic significance under Criterion 1 and, therefore, is not eligible for listing….”

2918 Mission Street circa March 2022, image via Google Street View

2918 Mission Street circa March 2022, image via Google Street View

The demolition permits were issued in early April of this year. With crews now in the demolition process, it remains to be seen if the current property owner, Maximus Real Estate Partners, will build the approved permits entitled by Robert Tillman or file a larger proposal using the recently-passed 50% State Density Bonus Laws. YIMBY has reached out to Maximus for comment and has not received a reply as of the time of publication.

UPDATE: A San Francisco commercial real estate agency has shared with YIMBY that the current property owner is now Cresleigh Homes, not Maximus Real Estate.

A timeline for excavation and construction has not yet been established.

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20 Comments on "San Francisco’s ‘Historic Laundromat’ Demolished for Housing"

  1. Progress!?

  2. From the outside, there was nothing historic about the laundromat. The windows, awning, and the little details are not historical. The new building is a huge improvement to the space.

  3. Irish Scarlett | May 21, 2022 at 1:27 pm | Reply

    The “new infill” housing all looks the same — big, grey, blocky, and ugly. No imagination, no attempt to fit in with neighborhood character, just maxxing out every square foot of space and consuming sunlight.

    • True, but the same can be said with most residences during the 60s-80s – can have both pros and cons.

      Design is important but having more available housing is definitely more an urgency.

    • Surely some of it’s due to poor taste but the vast majority of it has to do with the strict economics of building in SF, not to mention the politics and “community feedback” that water down and steer designs into bland territory.

      We don’t do much to inspire let alone reward thoughtfully unique architecture here in SF.

    • Buildings do not “consume sunlight”. Solar panels might, but that is a good thing. So is building residences with room for more than a nuclear family and a in-law unit. This city isn’t going to gain any more land, but it is going to gain more people–up to 1 million a few decades ahead.

  4. True, but the same can be said with most residences during the 60s-80s – can have both pros and cons.

    Design is important but having more available housing is definitely more an urgency.

    I’m also not a big fan of boxy/pale design, but that keeps the cost low and allows more of the same to be built.

  5. @Irish Scarlett: What do you propose? Can you point to a design as affordable, environment friendly and low carbon as this cube building? If you want something more than basic human rights, YOU need to work for it rather than some other people.

    • Irish Scarlett | May 30, 2022 at 3:27 pm | Reply

      Perhaps I missed it but I did not see mention of this building as “affordable, environmentally friendly and low carbon.”

      I don’t understand what you mean by “more basic than human rights.”

      As a small builder, I have remodeled several multifamily structures in SF. In all cases, fitting in with the neighborhood was important, even though it cost more.

      Sure, you can stuff San Francisco full of these buildings. We fret about cars but don’t worry about where the water will come from. But what the hell….the developers, who will leave town and leave us with these Soviet-style buildings, will have gotten their profits.

  6. Finally!

  7. Yeah, we need more architectural wonders like the Chase bank, the parking lot, or the run down nursery school next door

  8. Hello why would you build an excellent building with an excellent idea behind it and cheapen it with a mural why not rather have in the sculptor or engraver as somebody Mason style person it’s something very artistic yet classic there are many more forms of art that example confidence and an area that’s productive and motivated rather than the degradation of murals certain girls are worse than and other ones pretty good but if there’s enough graffiti and things like that over in me mission district at least the last time I wasthere….. I like the building design and also purpose of the building and I think it will be good for the area as far as stuff in the right direction toward the future conservative yet ready to meet the needs of changing focus of San Francisco CA …. Also would be nice to have a inconvenient to have a police substation to set the other part of the tone of safety for the Mission District San Francisco CA USA….BRYN2022

  9. Thrilled that the ridiculously closed-minded Calle 24 group lost this one. They’ve killed so many community benefiting projects.

  10. “It’s not a historical worthy building. Because it was plain looking” they said. Next it will be Victorian Homes being torn down for high density apartments. The Historic Society isn’t as strong as it once was.

  11. And this my friends, is why housing gets built so slowly and hence expensively. I’m all for input and review, but this fails the laugh test.

    At least it finally passed.

  12. Great That we can make more housing. Will there be secured bicycle parking?

  13. Iris,fit in with local character
    Exactly what you speak of, a one story building compared to multiply floors of housing and retail space. No comparison
    Typical NIMBY BLOVIATING

  14. Shirley Dulcey | May 23, 2022 at 6:17 pm | Reply

    Perhaps they can invite in a new laundromat as one of the retail tenants.

  15. People seem to be forgetting there is a massive housing shortage

  16. I only approve of this if the mural is a giant middle finger.

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