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Housing & Development

This Tiny SF Alleyway Could Become a House in $1M Deal. Neighbors Aren’t Convinced

Written by Kevin V. NguyenPublished Oct. 26, 2022 • 7:00am
Parking garages and the backs of houses line an alley in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. A plot of land at the end of the residential alley near Lake Street and 22nd Avenue is currently for sale. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

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A tiny San Francisco alleyway—completely surrounded by homes—could become a new home if sold for $1 million.

The ultra-skinny and oddly shaped 7,200-square-foot lot in the Richmond off Lake Street at 34 22nd Ave. is currently used by residents to access their garages.

The lot is zoned for one single-family home and development up to 40 feet in height and is located close to the ritzy Presidio neighborhood. The listing agents say it would make a “very unique residence.”

There’s also only one way in and out of the lot, which is shared by almost 30 homes whose gardens back onto it.

A Google Earth view of the tiny SF alleyway in the Richmond District that could be developed into a house.

“Whoever moves forward with this is going to have to have some very tough conversations with their neighbors,” said Betty Chen, a real estate agent who was showing a house in the neighborhood when The Standard visited. 

The sun casts a shadow at the end of an alley way in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. The plot of land at the end of the residential alley near Lake Street and 22nd Avenue is currently for sale. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

“How are cars supposed to get out if they just placed a house there?,” said a resident who wished to remain anonymous.

The listing states the lot “IS buildable with some creativity and imagination” for housing.

A house faces an alley way in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. A plot of land at the end of the residential alley near Lake Street and 22nd Avenue is currently for sale. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Other residents that spoke to The Standard said that the potential development is not a new issue.

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“Every few years, we hear that someone may be coming in to build something, but it eventually fizzles out after they realize that it’s more trouble than it’s worth,” said another resident who didn’t want to give a name. They were shocked about the listing and said that they would warn their neighbors in a shared email group. 

The lot is being listed by Corcoran Global Living; the firm did not respond to requests for comment.

Sunlights hits the facade of large houses on Lake Street in San Francisco on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022. A plot of land at the end of a residential alley near Lake Street and 22nd Avenue is currently for sale. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

The San Francisco Planning Department, which regulates development in the city, has rules regarding building homes in tight areas known as setback requirements. The rules say that any new building must have adequate space in the front, side and rear yards between the home itself and other homes

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Kevin V. Nguyen can be reached at [email protected]


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