Rumor: European Foods may be replaced by condos

Socketsite, a local real estate website, posted news that the owner of the single-story building that houses European Foods on Clement near 32nd Avenue, is looking to redevelop it.

While the neighbors and neighborhood groups haven’t yet been notified, the owner of the single-story building at 3038 Clement Street is quietly working on plans to raze the “European Food” market and build a four-story, 40-foot tall building with six three-bedroom condos over ground floor retail and parking for six cars on the site.

As Socketsite points out, the new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and CVS Pharmacy across the street will definitely be happy about the plans. Not only will it put a competitor out of business but more customers living within 50 feet of your store is never a bad thing.

Thanks to reader Serge for the tip.

Sarah B.


  1. Not enough parking. Each unit will have at least 2 cars. Funny how the Building Dept. allowed that to go through. Funny not in the Ha Ha way…….

  2. Yay! More housing that no one can afford! And less food variety….


  3. Sounds like it will include the garage next door (for parking) – was any mention made of that? If so, that would be 2 longtime neighborhood businesses gone. Hopefully they do not shut down and can start filling the empty storefronts on Geary or nearby. Here’s hoping anyway, they are great.

  4. RichmondWow:

    The garage next door is not mentioned in the preliminary project or permits, and is on a separate parcel. Both parcels are owned by completely different owners.

    The lot which the store sits on has permits which state: “To construct 6 unit building over commercial and parking garage. Building height proposed at 40′. Each unit will be 3 bedrooms.”

  5. While European Food maybe going out of business (no plans mentioned about the future or if it is going to be actually redeveloped), Socketsite never mentions Fresh & Easy and CVS being “happy about the plans” nor do I think these businesses were ever in direct competition as European Food sells to a unique niche of people.

  6. “More housing that no one can afford!”

    Presumably somebody can afford this housing, otherwise the developer is making a very poor decision to build. And we are talking about a very non-descript building that could potentially house 6 families. If European Foods wants to stay in business, and they have built up loyalty, they should have no problem relocating to one of the VERY MANY vacant storeftonts in the Richmond.

  7. True, Mike. I’m sure somebody will be able to afford them. I would bet the majority of San Franciscans won’t be able to though.

    I am happier when I see that a developer is building more much-needed affordable housing in this city than when I see them building housing that will very likely be priced too high for the majority of us.

  8. Rebecca: Affordable housing does not pencil out. Developers are not in the business of charity, they are in the business of making the highest return on their investment and time. Despite rising prices, there has been extraordinary demand ,so whether or not the majority of San Franciscans can or cannot afford the units, they will be built and sold at market value. Additionally, developers have to include BMR units in all developments. With the mass amount of units slated to hit the market within the next year (over 2000 units under construction), that leaves plenty of BMR units to choose from.

    In addition, keep in mind that real estate works like anything else in economics. If you have excess inventory and not enough demand to absorb that inventory, prices come down. Building more units helps make housing affordable overall.

  9. Serge, thank you very much for that information, though of course I was already aware of how basic economics works. I believe what I said was “I am happier when…” I never said “Why don’t developers just spend a lot of money building new housing and then rent it to us really cheap?”

    You said, “Additionally, developers have to include BMR units in all developments.”

    Does that mean they are required to include “x” number of BMR units in every single development? If so, would that mean that at least one of these 6 units would be a BMR unit?

  10. @ rebecca:
    I think we just voted to change the rules for developers on BMR Prop. C.

    Developers were required to have 15% BRM , now it is 12% I think. 6 units probably do not fall under it. But there is to be a Fund to create, acquire and rehabilitate affordable housing and promote affordable home ownership programs in the City. Sounds good, but we will see how it actually works.

    Affordable housing is a very broad term. As far as I know it includes senior housing, veteran housing, homeless, HIV positive; BRM rental units, “limited equity homeownership” – all paid for from real estate taxes or other forms of redistribution. If there is no market rate housing there would be no one to pay the taxes, nothing to redistribute, and there would be no affordable housing either.

  11. ha! pretty sure I voted for that too… and forgot all about it. thanks for the info and the link, ALY!

  12. It has been my observation that many who purchase BMR housing are unable to keep the unit because they do not fully understand the total costs of home ownership, including property tax and especially in condos, the monthly HOA dues. Over time they fail to pay monthly items, fall into arrears, and are forced to sell.

    It is my understanding that HOA dues are never reduced on BMR units and that they can and do go up if a building requires major repair or maintenance.

    If you are looking to buy, do everyone and yourself especially a big favor: learn about every possible cost, including possible effects of future ballot measures, before you make an offer.

  13. I was going to say the same thing as rebecca. Good for (big) business. Bad for the community. We’ve lost so many wonderful small businesses this way. Either due to developing the property into something bigger (and more profitable), or wanting to charge more rent just because they can, even if the old rent was perfectly adequate to cover expenses. It’s a manifestation of the same thing. The neighborhood business is forced out not because the business was failing -often the business was popular and well-regarded in the neighborhood -but because someone wants to make more money.

    Yeah, I know all about the “best use” doctrine from when I studied real estate. Essentially, it all boils down to the theory that “best use” is whatever makes the most money for the owner. Nice theory, if you’re among the owning class. But the practical effect is that the whole community suffers. There has to be a better way to balance the desires of owners to make as much money as they possibly can, with the needs of the other 99%.

  14. When Fresh ‘N Easy/CVS were built, weren’t condos above the stores supposed to be built? And weren’t they shot down by neighborhood opposition? Would these proposed condos be equally opposed by the neighborhood, or not? As to the proposed parking spots, of course 6 is inadequate, but the developer is lucky the City agreed to that many, given the “Transit First” policy currently in favor.

  15. Am i the only one who’s bummed that European Foods might be going away? Great selection, especially of sausage & smoked fish, without the, um, let’s call it “Russian-style courtesy” of a lot of the places on Geary.

  16. Excellent news. Our neighborhood (and the entire city) needs more housing!

  17. I wish they would keep European foods and ditch the automotive repair business. That thing is such an eyesore in a neighborhood that has really spiffed up over the years. With their rusted cars and chain link “fence” Ugh, I hate it every day!

  18. If it happens, I hope European Foods will continue to be the “retail space” on the ground floor, though what will the store do during the construction?

  19. Re ASG.: The car repair business is unattractive, but it serves the neighborhood, it’s local, and it’s run by a very good man. The chain stores across the street are more the problem. They dilute the neighborhood of its character, and the money ends up in Rhode Island (CVS) or the UK (Fresh & Easy).

  20. David: That argument doesn’t make sense.

    Safeway had a small store at the CVS/Fresh & Easy location from the 1950s to the 1990s before it shut down in favor of the LaPlaya Safeway at the Beach location. It’s a chain store that lasted a good long while.

    The Safeway store was boarded up and fenced off for a good long while. Albertsons tore down the old store and built its current building…Albertsons lasted one year after its opening before it shut down for good and the property was once again fenced off for more than several years before CVS/Fresh and Easy moved in. Those precious character small stores you prefer couldn’t afford the lease to move in and open.

    If your vision of neighborhood character is a fenced off eye-sore not generating any tax revenue or customer interest, a chain store that does bring in the customers would be preferable.

  21. David,
    Glad someone here is making sense!

    I went into Fresh and Easy once, just to see what it was like, and didn’t see any reason to return. Unless your staples consist of GMO-laden processed foods, you can get your grocery shopping done from locally owned small businesses, and usually cheaper too.

  22. …if you don’t have the time to wander to multiple locations all afternoon…

    That argument is moot.

  23. It is also a moot point when most mom and pop stores close by 7pm and when one’s time to actually shop is in the night hours.

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