One of the elements of San Francisco’s grand plan to re-zone and reinvigorate the city’s Central SOMA district is the delivery of retail and lifestyle amenities to an area that is currently a largely non-descript neighborhood sandwiched between Market Street and the SF Giants’ ballpark.
With more than 5.3M square feet of commercial office development under construction, planned or pending approval, the proliferation of street-level retail in the 28-block Central SOMA neighborhood is assured – even mandated – under the plan. In an effort to create an attractive environment for shoppers and tourists as well as residents, the plan prohibits “big box retail” in favor of neighborhood shops, grocery stores, bars and restaurants. Hotel development is being encouraged within areas of Central SOMA zoned Mixed Use Office (MUO).
Unlike some neighborhoods, commercial uses that create “spill-over” into the streetscape, such as outdoor dining, are actively being encouraged under the plan. This effort to create a vibrant street scene is supported by pedestrian-friendly traffic improvements such as wider sidewalks, more signaled crosswalks, and a reduction in on-street car parking, bringing walkability to an area that previously was largely vehicle-dominated.