RIP Giant Value

In case you haven’t heard, the Mission’s iconic Giant Value building is closing and being converted into “market-value” condos. Here’s what they will look like, next to the forthcoming renovation of the New Mission Theater:

[via Kwan Henmi Architecture]

Otto Venta recently snapped some shots from the current interior:

Over the past couple of weeks they have been liquidating their stock at 50% off, including the following near-luxury fragrances:

[photo via Chirp]

Even though I’ve only set foot in the building a handful of times, I’ve always admired the huge block letters on their facade and intimidating selection of 1970s deadstock goods at reasonable prices. What’s it going to be like in a post-Giant Value world? Will our children’s values not be as giant? Will the boxy condos stay true to the spirit of their ancestors and offer affordable housing? (Not-fucking-likely)

Check below for some of Mission Mission’s Giant Value posts over the years. And what the hell, if Giant Value meant anything to you, please share your fondest or worst memories in the comments. Maybe you picked up a bottle of BOOS cologne and it sealed the deal on a first date you were nervous about. Perhaps you remember how devastated the community was when they switched the words from “VALUE GIANT” to “GIANT VALUE”. Or how about that time Apple maps took you there when you were really trying to find the SF Giants ballpark?

Selected comments will be printed on a commemorative plaque to be installed in the sidewalk in front of the building. (Not-fucking-likely)

97 Responses to “RIP Giant Value”

  1. Jimmy says:

    I bought a toilet bowl brush there once. The handle broke after about 4 cleanings.

  2. scum says:

    I used to go to the Value Giant by Zims out in The Avenues when I was a kid.

  3. Grizzled Mission says:

    Everything the dollar stores have, for 0.50 to 10 dollars more.

    I’ll miss only the small cans of yellow hominy (every place else makes me buy large cans).

  4. what says:

    Why do these renders always look like shit?

    • SFKix says:

      I agree with you.

    • l says:

      my kid misses the 50 cent rides on Mystery Van, helicopter, elmo car, golden horse. few of his favorite toys came from there: shiny purple/silver pinwheel and small plastic farm animals. all those fancy wooden waldorf-inspired boutique toys just can’t hold a light to these.

      i guess the silver lining of giant value not being around when he’s older and more beta-wave brained is that his memory of GIANT VALUE may retain magical quality…(not like when disneyland automata eventually lose enchantment and become garish creaky caricatures).

      one november afternoon in 2010, he was reluctant to leave the seat of scooby doo mystery van ride (we had no more quarters), and wanted to sit there, even as the rain started to come down hard. finally i got baby into the stroller. there was nobody on the street, except a dark haired goth looking guy walking towards us with grace of prima ballerina, wearing a dark coat with kinda unusual cut, like droptokyo.

      as dancer and i approached each other, i recognized the dude. he was smiling to himself, looking around mission street, the buildings, the sky, happily..

      i thought about stopping and asking for an autograph for my baby (really for me). but i didn’t want to break the mood. his head was in the clouds, for good reason, his team just won the world series the night before. so we walked by each other, smiling in the rain without umbrellas.

  5. nofishtoday says:


  6. Greg says:

    What are the chances it will be LEED certified? (Not-fucking-likely)

  7. SFdoggy says:

    The rendering does not really show how tall and massive this building is going to be.

    I wonder if we will every learn how the “typo” that allowed this parcel to be zoned up occurred. Or why Gavin Newsom vetoed the bill that would have corrected that “typo”.

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      It’s true. The luxury condo tower is going to be fucking enormous, essentially the biggest fucking eyesore in the Mission. Sad.

  8. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    The best thing I ever bought at Giant Value was a pair of amazing bathmats that featured the moon landing. They were brilliant. One was a gift to a friend who still, as far as I know, treasures it. My own ended up getting destroyed by a dog. Alas, easy come, easy go. Still amongst the best $3 I have ever spent, however.

  9. my scent says:

    Hugo Boos smells mad good.

  10. Fakejoebiden says:

    Man, I don’t care about losing giant value but those new condos just look gross. I don’t get the movement towards this sort of architecture. It has no soul.

    • SFKix says:

      Totally true.

    • Boney Bob says:

      Coming from someone who has never revealed any “soul” to the people he’s writing at, this is comedy gold.

      • Fakejoebiden says:

        Duly noted: I need to prove my mettle to “Boney Bob” before I do something as egregious as express a commonly-held opinion. Thanks for the heads up!

        • Boney Bob says:

          Please, don’t trouble yourself on my account — I’m enjoying a good laugh at your notion of “soul”.

          Besides, you know perfectly well that those buildings will have more soul than they can handle, once the neighborhood vandals get through repainting them.

          • fakejoebiden says:

            Read: “please, don’t take it personally. I’m just laughing at you”. You, Boney Bob, need to work on your manners.

          • Boney Bob says:

            You read wrong — it wasn’t “please don’t take it personally”, it was “please don’t change” (you did get the “laughing at you” part right, though). Courtesy is a two-way street; my manners are what they are, abominable, just like your reliance on cliche and platitude in your commentary. There’s no reason for either of us to fix what works for us!

      • Renfairdification says:

        True still… that building ain’t got no soul….

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      fakejoe: Yup, well said.

    • Jamin-Time says:

      What is your opinion of architectural “soul?”

      • Renfairdification says:

        It’s got more to it then someones idea quasi-future. Modern architecture feels like copying someone’s essay question on a test…..
        Up side twenty years from now everything will look like a haggard scuzzy Hanna Barbera future cartoon

      • Fakejoebiden says:

        I’m not an architecture student but things that I find appealing tend to have some relationship with the history or general ethos of the area. Sf has so much wonderful architecture that goes a long way to, at least visually, differentiate this city from anywhere else. I for one think that the architecture plays a significant role in what makes sf special. This building? This could be anywhere. It has no relationship with its surroundings, could just as easily be in Dallas or Phoenix or Seattle or anywhere else, and I’m sure it more or less is.

        • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

          Well said.

        • MarinaKing says:


          BUT it will be full of white, white polo wearing dudes like me! yay for internet money :)

        • Troy says:

          “Wonderful Architecture” would cost 5 times more. Then people would be complaining about that.

          • fakejoebiden says:

            I genuinely wonder if that’s true. Sure, virgin redwood costs more than concrete, but I have to think that there can be more creative uses of the materials being utilized in this building. At least uses that don’t look like every single other damned building going up in the country these days.

  11. J-Lub says:

    Will Popeyes remain on the corner? Positive externality to living in the new condos? Giant Value was a shithole and the New Mission “theater” was just a hole. How can this be bad for Mission Street?

    • Nick Pal says:

      I’m usually on the side of encouraging people to shut the fuck up about gentrification since you can’t control the way a city evolves, or at least you can’t control it by complaining on the internet and hating your neighbors. And I’m especially excited about the Alamo Drafthouse. I have to agree, however, that those condos look fucking stupid and there’s got to be a way that we can encourage architects to stop making buildings that look like they were made out of Duplo.

      • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

        Hear, Hear. I could not agree more.

      • AttF says:

        I agree that most of the gentrification argument is ‘me vs. them’, but I disagree that you can’t change the way a City evolves through public feedback or complaining on the internet. I’ve sat through many SPUR meeting, Planning Commission Hearings, neighborhood workshops, etc and public comment/perception is a big factor in how this stuff gets approved, esp if the Board of Supes have to vote on it and win over their constituency and/or other politicians. I think the issue is that a lot of people who are vocal online don’t otherwise participate in the process. As an example, there would be no Chinatown today if people didn’t complain about height limits in the 70s and kept the Financial District from expanding into North Beach….just sayin’.

        • Nick Pal says:

          I appreciate these points. I get hung up on the endless barrage of “vocal online and don’t otherwise participate” types. I also get sick of people who move into a neighborhood because they think it’s artsy or punk rock and think they are not affecting it, and then turn around and blame everyone who doesn’t share their aesthetics or values for ruining the neighborhood.

        • SFdoggy says:

          At this point the Planning Department and the Planning Commission don’t care about the the neighborhoods. Over 400 people signed a petition against the oversized and ugly condo that is going to be built at the old Spork site on Valencia St. Three dozen people spoke at the hearing. The staff and the commission did not care. If the developer had offered to reduce it from 5 stories to 4, people probably would have been OK, but why would he do that. He wants to make more money and doesn’t care about the impact on the neighborhood.

      • J-Lub says:

        I agree with you all too. It is really difficult to come up with condo designs that will please everyone, and it *does* seem as if there is a dearth of creativity when it comes to new condo construction in the city.

        Regardless of the aesthetic value of the condos, I think this is a positive development for Mission Street. There is still plenty of architectural diversity in the neighborhood.

  12. TJ says:

    I’m super stoked for Alamo to show up in the theater. That’s going to be awesome.

    As for the condos: clearly there’s a need for more housing so I’m glad they made them as big as they could. And I don’t think it’s any kind of towering monstrosity or anything. I do think the colors are a little silly, but other than that I think the textured glass surface will look kind of cool, especially on one of our sunny Mission days.

  13. Slap Happy says:

    All you suburban ya-hoos that are so excited about a place where you can get drunk while watching a moooviee are twits. Go Away.

    • Nick Pal says:

      What could possibly be wrong with getting drunk and watching a movie?

      • Olu says:

        500 is a lot of additional people and that’s not awesome, but I’m not mad at it. I just don’t see why see people are so excited. Most of the people are going to be from Concord and San Mateo anyway.

    • Sfnola says:

      I live around the corner from it and I’m excited about a place I can get drunk while watching movies. Beyond my couch.

  14. codesmith says:

    I used to love going to see the SF-based band that named itself after the store.

  15. scum says:

    My main concerns with all the new housing projects throughout The City are, this is supposed to be “a transit first” city but the system is sorely lacking, and the infrastructure isn’t being updated fast enough to handle the new masses that will be moving here. Sorry for momentary logic, now get off my fucking lawn you hipsters and techies.

    • Boney Bob says:

      A modest proposal: Get rid of ALL public transit AND automobiles inside city limits — make everybody walk. Still trying to wrap my head around the consequences, but I can guess that rape would be reduced to almost nothing because of all the foot traffic (at all hours) on the sidewalks, and a lot of jobs would be created for extra bodyguards for politicians and other wealthy people.

      Nah… JUST KIDDING!

    • stiiv says:

      That’s actually a pretty good location transit-wise. Busses down Mission and BART nearby. Infill right around there makes a hell of a lot more sense than SOMA.

    • Jamin-Time says:

      It is bogus for those who are hear to say, “Well we can’t have more because the transit doesn’t support them. But I can stay.”

      Get rid of the buses. They are the biggest clogs in the transit wheel.

  16. thuglifecrunk187 says:

    yeah dawgs, giant value sucked everybody knows it but of course condos are not going to be welcomed by cool kids and super hardcore missionistas.

    too bad! alamo drafthouse is probably one of the coolest things coming to the hood in a long fucking time. as long as they dont have any artisan stuff im good

  17. MissionSmisshion says:

    Sad that our city has evolved to look like a bunch of lego buildings. What is going to happen to our beautiful historical architecture in 50 years? Legos will topple it all over.

    • Ha says:

      Yes, Giant Value was iconic, and really tied to our city’s architectural diversity

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      On the bright side, most of this new construction is really, really poorly made. So in 20 years or so it’ll all need to be replaced anyway, and that’ll give us another chance to do it right.

  18. tuffy says:

    The whole debate reminds me about a building I really like on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. It’s a contemporary theater and restaurant built next to some classic old school architecture. I really like the building but I wonder if they had the same types of arguments about it when it was being planned.

    • Boney Bob says:

      People complain constantly about links they think are sad and useless — on the front of the site, here — but you can post this?

  19. Katie C says:


  20. LES MISERABLES says:

    LES MISERABLES and other mainstream poo poo to follow just look at the crap they show / move to The Mission from the burbs to make it more like the burbs

    • Nick Pal says:

      Yeah somehow I don’t think Alamo Drafthouse is going to be followed by a BJ’s Brewhouse. A couple more thousand craft cocktail bars and upscale restaurants seem more likely, and that’s a lot of things but suburban’s not one of them.

  21. Grizzled Mission says:

    Just to provide a little diversity of viewpoint, I think this is the best-looking building I’ve seen built or proposed anywhere in the city in years (besides maybe the new Aether shop in Hayes Valley).

    Most building in this town is either slavishly referential to Victorian heritage (do bay windows demonstrate “soul”? They seem pretty lifeless to me in the 21st Century), or speaks the language of bland modernism – here are your windows, here’s your concrete, on to the next box.

    This building is vibrant and, thank god, complex. There’s motion in those columns of windows, each one is slightly different. There’s also depth behind the front panel – things seem to change (maybe an atrium ?) as you move back to Bartlett. Time and thought went into it, not just “how many of floorplan A will fit?”

    It has San Francisco written all over it. It looks like an earthquake just hit (insert jokes here, but I think that’s a neat effect). Maybe that’s the vibrancy I see. It’s shaking, falling, or maybe just shimmying.

    Anyhow, if I could afford to buy in, I just might.

  22. Notatransplantciscan says:

    Well at least they are keeping the big ol’ Mission sign…

    • Whose Urban Now? says:

      Wonderful news! I hope they let mexicans clean it at night as a tribute to the old Mission.

  23. MarinaKing says:

    YES, YES! The best part about all of this is that educated, rich white people can provide courtesy recommendations to the unkempt and filthy. Thank heaven for gentrification, it’s about time that puddle turned into a Sand Castle!

  24. Jenner Davis says:

    One night I was walking home from Mission Records, and from about a block away from Giant Value we could the sound of a giant robot voice over the intercom from Hell repeating three words at top volume: Y AXIS ERROR. Y AXIS ERROR. Over and over, louder than bombs, in the middle the night. Turns out it was one of the claw machines out front of Giant Value, which apparently had some some of problem with its Y axis, and wanted the whole neighborhood to know about it. It was hilarious!

  25. Sfnola says:

    I can tell you who’s definitely excited about this- La Altena.

  26. Lynae says:

    Giant Value had a pretty cool basement, all full of oriental rugs. And possibly decomposing bodies. I loved it down there.