A local land subdivision company wants to demolish a commercial building and two Victorian residences on the corner of Second and B streets to build a four-story apartment building.
Monahan Parker, Inc., located in San Rafael, presented the concept to the Design Review Board Tuesday. The building would have 41 rental units, a garage with 57 parking spots and approximately 1,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the northwest corner of B and Second streets.
“It’s always that fine line with how far do you go with the historical recall and imitation versus trying to be true to the day,” said Rick Strauss, the projects’s architect.
The new apartment would be a contemporary design, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows on the upper units, and a flat roof. The exterior would have a terra cotta tile facade.
“I actually love this design but not for this street,” Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods Chair Steve Patterson said. “In the General Plan, it talks about new buildings acknowledging the context of what surrounds them, and this building doesn’t acknowledge any of that.”
The company also proposes demolishing three existing structures on the site, including a commercial building at 809 B St. and two Victorian houses at 1212 and 1214 Second St.
The Victorian houses were constructed between 1887 and 1894. The 1214 Second St. house was converted to a retail space and is currently inhabited, according to the staff report.
The house at 1212 Second St. was damaged in a fire in November 2006, rendering the residence uninhabitable. The address has been a location from many homeless encampments since the fire, the staff report said.
The commercial building at 809 B St. used to be a restaurant, but is now vacant.
Hugo Landecker, representing the San Rafael Heritage Society, proposes moving the 1212 building to the west end of the site and restoring it.
“It’s cultural resource and these resources don’t come to be very often,” he said. “Every year it’s one less.”
Charles North and his sister own , the gluten-free grocery store on B Street next to the site. North, who is in favor of that site being developed, said the parking lot near the Victorians is a place for graffiti and other disturbances that have a negative effect on local businesses.
“Just today there was an attempted assault on a police officer which all my customers got to see and it really turns them off,” he said.
Since more buildings have been painted, and “the street is going through a little Renaissance” issues have gone down, North said.
The Design Review Board agreed with the need for the site to be developed, but echoed Patterson regarding the design. Since the proposal was an initial concept, they did not need to vote on the topic, but encouraged Monahan Parker to rethink the look of the building to make it blend with the neighborhood.