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Local Company Proposes Demolishing Victorians for New Downtown Apartment Complex

Monahan Parker, Inc. presented a plan for a four-story, 41-unit apartment complex on the corner of Second and B streets.

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.

Diane Sampson August 21, 2011 at 02:05 AM
That building has no style or character at all. Paging another architect!
William Callahan August 21, 2011 at 05:36 PM
I'm the the owner of Tamalpais NatureWorks across the street (B) I attended this review meeting as well as the one last year. Yes am interested and concerned about the development of this property and how it fits into the neighborhood, but I'm more concerned about the 2 Victorians. As I stated in this meeting the building should be reduced in size so these two historical buildings are saved, and if there's no give in restoring them in place they should be moved and restored, saving their great stories and beauty for all to enjoy.
chris April 26, 2012 at 07:38 PM
This story becomes timely again. Monahan Parker will present a new plan to the Design Review Public Meeting May 8 at 7pm. I hope this plan will address the issues that Design Review and Staff expressed at the August 2011 Review, so it has a chance of moving forward. This corner really does need a great plan! San Rafael sent out an RFP for development of this corner a decade ago or so I believe. Monahan Parker was selected as the developer. According to Jonathan Parker, after that the project kind of faded away for various reasons as the years went on. I hope the various reasons will be wisely addressed this next go around so the project can finally move forward soon! However, though I have not yet seen the new plans, I see a roadblock already. The new plan still calls for demolition of 1212 2nd St, the CEQA protected Victorian structure. This is a problem that will certainly cause more delays. There is a great deal of public support for saving this historical culture treasure. I strongly believe it should be saved!
chris April 26, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Continuing -- Though 1212 suffered a fire (of undetermined cause I believe) while owned by Parker and Monahan, and while the building was left vacant, this was mainly a facade fire and the building could certainly could be restored. On the night of the fire, one of the owners came to 1212 2nd and told the firefighters that this was a $0 loss fire because the building was slated for demolition to make room for a new project. This is a bit confusing to me, because the owners / developers knew the building was a historical cultural structure protected by CEQA, and just 2 months earlier, they had submitted plans to Design Review that did not call for the demolition. I would suggest that that this 2nd and B development should be watched carefully by the people of Marin, given the decade long history of Monahan Parker of sporadic action on this project, and Monahan Pacific’s litigious and financially troubling history with other county projects, and Tom Monahan’s recent reported connection with the appeals and potential lawsuits against Lucas’s Grady Ranch project which killed that project. A thoughtful development at this site would be so very welcomed and appreciated!! Christine Strand
John Parulis March 13, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Please tell me that this isn't the same "Monahan" who went bankrupt and burned many of his contractors on the monster of ugliness on 33 North San Pedro? If so, maybe this time the development crazed city council will demand a "performance bond" from this Czar of idiotic developments.

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