Build buys controversial parking lot in SoMa approved for 500 homes

Former Nordstrom parcel became a symbol of SF’s red tape on home construction

Build's Lou Vasquez and Loring Sagan with aerial and rendering of 469 Stevenson Street
Build's Lou Vasquez and Loring Sagan with aerial and rendering of 469 Stevenson Street (Build Inc., Google Maps, Getty)

Build Inc. has picked up a Nordstrom parking lot in San Francisco that became a symbol for the city’s red tape on home construction.

The San Francisco-based developer bought the 28,000-square-foot lot at 469 Stevenson Street in South of Market, the San Francisco Business Times reported. The seller was Nordstrom.

The price for the former valet parking lot was undisclosed. In 1998, the Seattle-based retailer bought the lot for $2.2 million. 

Build’s purchase this month ends a years-long battle for the site, now approved for the development of 495 homes. The developer first entered an agreement to buy the lot from Nordstrom in 2017.

In October 2021, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors rejected a plan by Build for 495 homes on the site, citing an environmental study critics said failed to analyze whether the mostly market-rate project would gentrify the neighborhood and displace local residents.

The now infamous decision at the behest of an affordable housing group drew fire from Mayor London Breed, who called it a “perfect example” of how San Francisco sank into a housing crisis. It also became a symbol of the city’s obstruction against building homes. 

The decision sparked a first-ever probe by the state Department of Housing and Community Development into the city’s glacial housing approval process.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom approved using a recent state law to speed up the resolution of any future legal challenge to the proposed 27-story project.

The project was revived in April when it returned to the Planning Commission and won approval a second time after an additional 18-month environmental review. 

Todco, an affordable housing owner and advocacy group in SoMa that was behind the project’s 2021 environmental appeal, said at the time that it had no plans to try to block its approval again.

Meanwhile, financing new construction in the current market has become a struggle for many developers in San Francisco, according to the Business Times.

In April, Build surrendered a property approved for a 40-story apartment highrise in San Francisco’s Hub District to its lender. Build owed $44 million for the site of its stalled One Oak project at 1500 Market Street. 

— Dana Bartholomew

Read more