Japantown Planning Meeting: December 1, 2007
From the San Francisco Planning Department (via a plugged-in tipster):

This is a reminder to encourage you to attend this Saturday’s Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan Workshop. In addition to hearing from the Planning Department’s planning consultants regarding historic and cultural preservation, implementation strategies, and urban design findings, we will also see preliminary design concepts for Japan Center and a preview of the proposal for 1481 Post Street (a recent addition to the agenda). Following the presentations, we’ve dedicated time for community members to give their feedback in small groups regarding all the topics.

The future of Japan Center and Geary Boulevard are at stake. Improvements to land use and zoning, businesses, transportation, public space and the historic and cultural character throughout the neighborhood are under consideration.

Our first thought: hello modern. Our second thought? Point number four in one reader’s “5 Suggestions To Turn Around Fillmore.”
Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan [SFGov]
Are Ikkyu’s Days Numbered? [SocketSite]
SOM Design And Details For 300 Condominiums On A Hill [SocketSite]
The Official Cathedral Hill Tower (1481 Post Street) Website [SocketSite]
A Reader’s “5 Suggestions To Turn Around Fillmore” [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by EH

    Think I’ll be able to convince them to triple the height of 1481 Post?

  2. Posted by sfjlfjklds

    A true Japantown would have towers everywhere, not just a stupid suburbanized mini mall.

  3. Posted by whorfin

    Er, not all of Japan is Tokyo, you know.

  4. Posted by anon2

    Is there any consideration being given to getting rid of the mini-mall?

  5. Posted by curmudgeon

    Ownership of the mall changed hands sometime in the past few years (from the long-time Japan based owner who did very little to alter the property to a new US based owner who wants to do something major). The Planning Department effort is largely about trying to create some community consensus about what should happen to the mall, and not let the owner/developer get out ahead of things. Presumably the owner is hopeful that the process will give them some options to densify, and so is hanging back from announcing plans for the property yet (as far as I know). Of course it is all a political minefield, so who knows how it will all end up.

  6. Posted by emmett_brown

    The mini-mall reminds of being … in Japan.

  7. Posted by Brutus

    The tenants at the minimall are great, the mall itself is hideous. I’d love to see some effort to tear down the mall in stages (to allow for replacement buildings for the tenants) and create a nice pedestrian experience on Geary, with additional housing above to add some more customers to the area. Very few places in SF have as much unrealized potential as that stretch of Geary.

  8. Posted by Mole Man

    The concept is nice and kind of works, but what it needs is more and better. Not just condos, but the public spaces, parking, and shopping areas. Big and modern isn’t right for every place in the City, but it could really work right there. They should get some of the big names in Japanese design and architecture to contribute.

  9. Posted by Thefatkid

    Benihana and Denny’s need to go! It’s like having the Olive Garden in North Beach or Panda Express in Chinatown. Just doesn’t look right.
    What you need is a Japan ‘Village’ that embodies a little of rural and modern Japan. Public park space w/ cherry blossoms (not the concrete pagoda we have now) and taller mixed-use buildings (commercial and residential). For the commercial piece, we need to attract genuine Japanese businesses (i.e. Uniqlo, Muji, etc.). Just my two cents since I live in the neighborhood.

  10. Posted by Michael

    The J-Pop center should be a great addition:

  11. Posted by etslee

    “They should get some of the big names in Japanese design and architecture to contribute.”
    How about Tadao Ando?

  12. Posted by 49Giants

    How about we deal with the reality of japantown today and rename it Koreatown. You do know that that’s what it is, don’t you?

  13. Posted by spencer

    More than 60% of Japantown’s population are of Chinese dissent.

  14. Posted by anon

    More than 60% of Japantown’s population are of Chinese dissent.
    Damn Chinese dissenters!
    I think the word you were looking for is descent.

  15. Posted by diemos

    Well, if they’re of Chinese dissent then they must be falun gong.

  16. Posted by Invented

    How ’bout dreaming of something light fantastic — tall – luminescent – shimmery — reflective. While SF might consider J-town’s environs a redev dumping ground — it deserves something brilliant – a la — http://indianskyscraperblog.wordpress.com/2007/07/23/india-tower-formerly-park-hyatt-tower-mumbai-india-mumbai-and-indias-tallest-skyscraper-begins-construction/
    No better a central location to lean future forward.
    And yes, I’d prefer a variation of this gem for the Rincon couplet.

  17. Posted by zig

    Not that I disagree with many of the great ideas posted but who is doing the demanding here?
    I doubt many of these ideas are going to gain traction with the elderly residents of the area and then you will have the NIMBYS near by and the citywide anti-change crowd
    Personally I like the idea of tearing down the mall, keeping the peace plaza and building more mixed use Japanese themed stuff and I think this area-J-town all the way to Van Ness-is very underutilized and could accommodate many residential high rises (I’d live in the area) but unfortunately we have a lot of democracy in the SF planning process and “the people” (at least the vocal ones) won’t allow it.
    J-town is sort of dying out too. Lots of cool younger Japanese places are actually in San Mateo and other areas south. J-Town places are sort of stuck in the 80’s

  18. Posted by zig

    Also, I have to say looking at Tokyo’s latest we would end up with big boxy high rises if we wanted to be really Japanese as that still seems to be the dominate style there
    I don’t have a problem with that. Average SF resident would have a conniption fit

  19. Posted by MarkSFCA

    Did anyone go to this meeting on Saturday and have some news about what was discussed or presented? Thanks in advance.

  20. Posted by MH

    add residential highrises (4-5) on alternating corners of the property. bulldoze the “malls” and turn the shops to the street/alleys. add a cultural center/performance space with 300-500 seats. make Geary projects “front door”. strongly link the west side to the Fillmore district.

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