Photo: SOM


Parkmerced is a 152-acre site under single ownership in the southwestern part of the City. The existing site, developed between 1941 and 1951, contains 3,221 housing units in a combination of high-rise towers and two-story townhouses. The Parkmerced project was approved by the Board of Supervisors on May 24, 2011

The project, which will be implemented over the course of three decades, includes comprehensive redesign, redevelopment and improvement of the site with new residential buildings, retail uses, parks, streets, and other amenities.  The project has been approved and will be implemented through a Development Agreement between the City and the developer that establishes the obligations of both parties, as well as through Planning Code regulations and accompanying Plan documents that lay out the details for community infrastructure improvements, environmental programs, and other elements necessary to support the neighborhood.

Development Process & Phasing

Because Parkmerced is a long-term project over several phases and involving both the construction of new buildings and community improvements (including re-aligned streets and blocks and multi-phase public transportation improvements), the existing zoning rules are inadequate in addressing a project of this scope and in regulating and laying out the requirements for the development. Additionally, there are key issues in the project, such as rent-protections and relocation rights of existing tenants, that cannot logistically or legally be regulated simply through the Planning Code or Planning Commission conditions of approval. Therefore the Parkmerced development program will be implemented through a Development Agreement and the changes to the Planning Code that were made when the project was approved in 2011.

The Development Agreement, a legally-binding contract between the City and Developer, lays out all of the obligations of the Developer and the City. This document establishes the overall framework for the project and all of the public benefits negotiated by the City, in exchange for a guarantee of the right of the Developer to build the basic project in accordance with the Plan documents (see below) while the Agreement is in effect (generally 30 years). The Agreement includes protections for existing tenants and a Phasing Plan that lists all required community improvements and the triggers for requiring their construction or implementation. The Development Agreement will need to be approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, and signed by the directors of other key agencies, including the SFMTA and SFPUC.

The Planning Code, through the creation of a Special Use District, establishes the core land use regulations for Parkmerced related to acceptable land uses, building height limits, bulk limits, setback requirements, open space for dwelling units, and parking. It also establishes the process for review and approval of specific building projects and land uses throughout the project's implementation. The Plan Documents, particularly the Design Standards and Guidelines, supplement the regulations included in the Special Use District.

Phase 1 – Development Summary

On June 3, 2015, the City approved Phase 1 of the Parkmerced project in accordance with the project’s Development Agreement, which requires the project sponsor to submit a Phase Application for approval by the Planning Director prior to the submittal of building permits for each phase of the project. Phase 1, which will be developed between 2016 and 2022, consists primarily of residential development on the western and southeastern portions of the project site. In addition, Phase 1 includes a number of Community Improvements and CEQA Mitigation Measures, as required by the approved Parkmerced Phasing Plan. For more information, please see the complete Phase 1 Application and amendment on the Supporting Info page.

Residential Development. Phase 1 includes construction of approximately 1,668 residential 
dwelling units distributed among four subphases as follows

  • Subphase A – Approximately 390 new units with no demolition. Of the 390 new units 56 units will be Replacement Units to replace units demolished in subphase C and D.
  • Subphase B – Approximately 567 new units with the demolition of the existing parking garages, Garage No. 2 and Garage No. 1.
  • Subphase C – Approximately, 333 new units with the demolition of a maintenance building and 10 units on existing block 37W and 28 units on existing block 34. Of the new 333 new units 66 will be Replacement Units to replace units demolished in Phase 2.
  • Subphase D – Approximately, 378 new units with the demolition of 18 existing units on existing block 19. Of the 378 new units, 100 will be Replacement Units to replace units demolished in future Phase 2.

The Development Agreement permits the inclusionary housing requirements for the project to be satisfied by construction on-site, off-site, or payment of an in-lieu fee. Although the Development Agreement requires that the project applicant state its intended method of meeting the inclusionary housing requirements for each development phase in the Development Phase Application, in light of the significant obligation to provide rent controlled replacement units for all existing units on the project site, the agreement provides greater flexibility to the project sponsor in the timing of this choice as compared to the current San Francisco Planning Code; specifically, it permits this decision to be made at the time of the issuance of building permits for each residential building. If the on-site BMR Requirement of fifteen percent (15%) were to be applied to the  1,446 net new units in Phase 1, it would result in a requirement of approximately 220 BMR units. The project sponsor currently anticipates constructing one-third of the BMR units on-site and paying in-lieu fees to satisfy the remaining inclusionary housing requirement for net new units in Phase 1.

Non-Residential Summary. Phase 1 includes the following:

  • Subphase A – Construction of a two-level, below-grade, approximately 159,680-sf parking garage (accommodating approximately 453 parked cars) on Block 06.
  • Subphase B – Demolition of Garage No. 1 and Garage No. 2, which total approximately 222,000 sf (accommodating approximately 740 parked cars) and the construction of two two-level below-grade parking garages on Blocks 22 and 20 of approximately 133,099-sf (accommodating approximately 248 parked cars) and 133,691 sf (accommodating approximately 225 parked cars), respectively.
  • Subphase C – Demolition of a 28,343-sf maintenance building and 37 existing parking spaces located on a surface lot. Construction of a two-level below grade parking garage on Block 03W that is approximately 219,512-sf (accommodating approximately 618 parked cars).
  • Subphase D – Construction of approximately 3,500-sf ground floor active uses/retail that will be visible from and oriented towards the new neighborhood commons and a one level below grade parking garage of approximately 23,550 sf (accommodating approximately 66 parked cars) on Block 21S.

Annual Compliance Review

The Development Agreement requires the developer to submit annual compliance reports following the start of major construction. Although these reports are not yet required, Parkmerced has submitted voluntary annual reports since 2016.