Noe Valley Voice November 2003

New Parking Lot on 24th Street Set to Open in November

By Corrie M. Anders

A two-year-long dream to transform a derelict auto shop into a much-needed commercial parking lot has become a reality in "downtown" Noe Valley.

In late October, workers put the final cosmetic touches on the new parking lot at 3865 24th Street between Vicksburg and Sanchez streets. They took down the construction fence, painted parking stripes across the black top, and opened the gates.

The lot, with parking for 29 cars, was scheduled to begin accepting paying customers in early November. At presstime, however, the operators had not determined the hourly rate that motorists would pay to park at the facility.

The opening came two years after the Noe Valley Ministry made a surprise, 11th-hour deal to purchase the defunct Dan's Auto Garage for $3.5 million. A group of anonymous donors, identified only as wealthy Presbyterians "committed to helping small urban churches around the country," provided the money to buy the lot.

The Ministry will have exclusive use of the parking lot on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for several hours in the early evenings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. At other times, two spaces have been reserved for church use and another two spaces set aside for handicapped-accessible (blue-zone) parking.

An undetermined number of the spaces also will be leased to nearby merchants, according to Tim Leistico of Thetacon Service Group, whose San Francisco-based construction management firm has acted as project manager on behalf of the Ministry.

Leistico said the parking lot also might serve weekend double duty as an organic farmer's market. The Ministry is exploring the feasibility of renting space to as many as 10 vendors who could sell fruits and vegetables for three to four hours on Saturday mornings.

"The operative word is that this is in the formulation stage," said Leistico.

Leistico said a neighborhood group approached the Ministry with the farmer's market proposal after the August closure of Real Food Company on 24th Street.

"It would be a good thing [to have the farmer's market]," Leistico said. "It would help strengthen and connect the Noe Valley community."

Before its resurrection as a parking lot, Dan's Auto Service was a fixture in Noe Valley for more than 70 years. First the gas station, and then the repair business, faltered in the 1990s, finally shutting down for good in 2000.

The following year, real estate developer Peter Naughton sought to purchase the site and develop a four-story apartment and retail complex. But the Ministry's offer topped Naughton's, and he abandoned the effort.

For the latest on the parking lot or the farmer's market, call the Noe Valley Ministry at 282-2317.