South City Car Wash Demolished as 6-Story 172 Unit Mixed Use Development Breaks Ground

South San Francisco, CA   April 27, 2019

To the dismay of many South City residents, the demolition of the beloved South City Car Wash has left a hole at 988 El Camino Real in South San Francisco, as well as in the hearts of so many who have patronized this landmark business since 1958! The property, including the long vacant lot on the corner of El Camino Real and Chestnut, will be home to a 6-Story 172 unit mixed use development which has already broken ground.


This 6-story 174 unit mixed use development has already broken ground to replace South City Car Wash.


Residents continue to express concern over the impact these large developments will have on this main artery on El Camino Real and Chestnut Blvd, especially as the City moves forward with plans for a new police department to replace the current Pet Club.

To be located on Chestnut Blvd and Mission Road, the proposed new police station was approved by the SSF Planning Commission and is to be built using Measure W funds.


Directly across from this proposed police station, the City has plans to add a Civic Campus and has developers working on a 8-story 800 unit development on the other side of the Civic Campus (across from the Courthouse in Sunshine Gardens.) The plan also includes extending Arroyo Ave across El Camino Real to link with Oak Avenue.

The Courthouse will also see additional development coming in, as will the shopping center that currently houses Gunters, O’Reilly’s, as well as the current Municipal Service Building.


Current traffic, especially during ‘commute hours’ extends from Miller Ave down Chestnut Blvd to El Camino Real as shown in this photo.
Photo: Phil Fioresi


The development replacing the car wash will consist of studios to two-bedroom units and are open to all, there is no priority for current South City residents who need housing. Planned amenities include a lounge, fitness studio, bike hub, dog park, and spur trail connecting to Centennial Way. There is also a Club Room for residents as well as two resort-style courtyards with spa, fire pits, outdoor kitchen and dining areas, lounge areas and landscaped paseos, according to KTGY Architecture + Planning who will be designing this new mixed-use development with SummerHill Apartment Communities

9 comments for “South City Car Wash Demolished as 6-Story 172 Unit Mixed Use Development Breaks Ground

  1. Tamara Tinker
    April 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    The new developments are too big. Three stories is one thing. Six is another. Six stories impact sunlight and shade, air flow, air quality, traffic congestion, and open space, not to mention the public services needed to maintain them. What about parking? For generations urban planners have tried to get Americans out of cars and onto public transit. It mostly hasn’t happened because public transit is often slow, unreliable, and crime-ridden.

  2. Mary Lou Froese
    April 27, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Council members and the Mayor of SSF seem to be bending to the will of contractors and just putting up buildings everywhere without any concern for roads or people who travel them! Traffic at Chestnut & ECR is horrible and it will be so much worse! The planning department has forgotten the basics for all population (recalling a game years ago): water, electricity, sewers, schools, shopping, and ROADS TO GET THERE! I sent in SEVERAL requests to “See Click Fix” to mark the median at Junipero Serra and Hickey Blvd. which is a sharp veer to the right when coming down Hickey Blvd. You cannot easily see the boundary at night and it is even worse when it rains and I have lived in my house here for over 50 years! What happened? One of the first things they did was to paint some lines OVER the existing few bumps with non-reflective paint! Then, they put some plants in and some rocks–no regard for safety, but just beautify it! We need people at the helm who believe in safety and LISTEN to those of us who know the problems which are coming for our city!

  3. Eckner Estrada
    April 28, 2019 at 7:09 am

    How many below mkt. units are going to be offered in the that building?

    15 units? a fraction of 1%? Very possible. Ask that question at the next Planning Commission Committee Meeting or the sub-committee meeting on housing, or in the public comment period at council meetings and hope they answer you. Don’t hold your breath.

    The truth is the City couldn’t get ANY developer to build the units NEEDED by struggling residents unless they are MARKET RATE- which are unaffordable.. $3500 for a 1 BR ? Not on a 55K wages. Developers don’t want to bother building here unless it is to make a profit. And the homeless situation continues to grow. SSF has 90 beds for the homeless.San Francisco has 7,500 homeless although the news says they’re being imported from parts unknown.

    Below Mkt Rate or BMR housing has to have a subsidy. SSF isn’t subsidizing affordable housing. Yet they hold meetings as a salve to ease your pain. It is a hoax.

    The City muddies up the issue by holding a General Plan community meeting to give the appearance that they want your input when it is the opposite. They don’t want to hear from you. The community is being manipulated, but wants ” hear” your frustrations while they do what THEY want because they’ve been on the council too long, but he purge is coming with District Elections.

    Let’s go back to the sewer increase in the millions the city needs to update the plant a couple of years ago. In the digital age, the city shut down the e-mail system and would only accept paper written resident protests. Older people on fixed incomes with their houses paid off, came in walkers to council meetings to tell the council they couldn’t afford the sewer increases. They showed no mercy and more sewer increases are coming.

    Or the red-light camera fiasco awhile ago. Or the increases in trash rates for the past 4 years.
    Or the half cent sales tax, we absolutely needed for ‘gangs’ and potholes. It is being used to finance their civic campus. Were we asked what, where or if we wanted that expensive capital project? They City’s lack of transparency and unethical behavior has not gone unnoticed.

    The General Plan for 2040 was VOTED by 5 council members not 20K voters– the taxpayer. Did you know we needed a Civic Campus? Neither did I. But you will be paying for it. There is little transparency in SSF. We are being led by a Republican City Manager. The ageing council needs to go. Slowly the purge is coming with district elections. Vote but better yet, run for office. Put your name on the ballot, take a stand.

  4. Myka
    April 28, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Sounds great. The Bay Area needs more housing. Lots of empty lots around town that could have housing on them. There will always be complainers no matter what you do. South San Francisco needs an overhaul it looks tired.

  5. mel perry
    April 28, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    no affordable housing? the city council
    and the planning department, appear to
    be on a hell bent course, to get rid of
    low and middle income families, and
    catering to the “special interests” on the
    east side of the city, in their attempts to
    create a “new” south city, its all about the

  6. Tom W
    April 29, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    I don’t understand the complaints. Housing in the Bay Area is incredibly expensive, truly preventing normal families (lower income, middle class, and even upper-middle class) from simply living and raising their families here. The only real solution is to build more housing (it’s all about supply and demand, really), yet whenever nearly any project is proposed, there are naysayers opposing it – why? Replacing a car wash with a 172 mixed-use, medium-density units seems like a great move (not extreme in any direction).

    The one reasonable complaint is that more housing brings more traffic. So SSF residents should demand that city officials also show credible plans to improve and build more transport options – both better roads and public transportation. That is exactly their responsibility. We can consider everything (more SSF shuttles, fewer stop signs on Baden to offload Grand Ave, a pedestrian/biking tunnel to the Caltrain station for easier access, etc.) but we need real action from our city.

    Btw, more high-density, mixed-use housing is exactly what builds up public transport. Higher density means more people using public transport (BART, CalTrain, buses, all of it), which then brings in more money to those transport agencies and enables further improvements in public transport. Case in point: the new condos being built near caltrain will increase usage of the SSF Caltrain station, which justifies the investment to rebuild the station. When more people start using it, Caltrain is likely to add more trains, making it even more convenient. Smart housing density (near public transport) is what increases public transport, and reduces individual car traffic.

    We need to move forward – as a city, state and nation – and that means progress and solving the problems we have, not being afraid to change anything. There will always be special interests opposing nearly any action, but we must do what is best for the most, not just the few.

    • your neighbor
      May 2, 2019 at 11:03 am

      The solution is to build AFFORDABLE housing. Therein lies the rub.
      Most looking for AFFORDABLE housing will not take comfort knowing SSF is
      not offering this kind of housing.
      Moving forward means leaving the poor behind? They’ll become homeless. There are 90 beds
      in SSF for the homeless, East of 101.
      Solution: Don’t build anymore housing because people on this side of 101 can’t afford it and the City is poorly designed to take more traffic.

  7. Cory David
    May 12, 2019 at 1:02 am

    Is it just me or did you ever notice that some of the most comprehensive comments advocating the “build, build, build mentality” are almost exclusively contributed by individuals who fail to identify themselves with their complete names? It makes one wonder if these are genuinely concerned members of this community or just “plants” of special interests to achieve their greedy ends. It’s almost like the pitches we receive from the developers and our own city officials when we have been subjected to their ludicrous Marketing 101 classes thinly disguised as project workshops. We have seen this phenomenon in our city council meetings and on the printed page. If I am incorrect, my apologies to those contributors, however I suspect I am not. Please include your full names with your comments so that we can dispel this possibility. What’s next, “Russian Bots” pleading for affordable housing?

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