Built for the Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal society a la the Odd Fellows or Free Masons, 170 Valencia Street was designed by architect Harold Stoner and completed in 1930. Just look at it! The Chronicle's architecture writer John King once called it "an overscale Art Deco showcase of scallops and scrolls and floral patterns." True, true but like in a good way, yeah? Yeah.
While, as you might expect, 170 Valencia is a registered historic resource, the site is also zoned for 50 feet more development for commercial and residential use. With that in mind and the building now on the market, Socketsite suggests that change may be afoot.
Since 1976, the space has been used as the city's center for the Bahá’í faith, a medium-sized monotheistic religion with five million practitioners. They'll be out by the close of escrow, and Colliers International, who are shopping the property around, have indicated that there is "an opportunity to increase [the building’s] square footage by approximately 20%.”
If that happens, deco enthusiasts might have some pearl clutching to do, at least to keep details like the facade in place. Note that this site is just blocks away from a recently proposed development where an abandoned Volvo dealership now stands.