April 30, 2008
Transit Center District Plan Workshop: Initial Ideas Tonight (4/30/08)
Via San Francisco’s Planning Department:
In late 2007 the Planning Department began a planning effort for the southern portion of downtown San Francisco in the vicinity of the Transbay Transit Center. The Plan is considering increasing development capacity around the improved regional transit facility to support transit usage and to raise revenue for the transit project, modifying the downtown skyline, and proposing public realm improvements to support this high-activity area.
After some study and analysis, the Department now has information and initial ideas regarding land use, urban form, historic preservation, streets and open spaces. We would like to share these with the public and gather feedback.
Date: Wednesday April 30, 2008
Place: 536 Mission Street (Golden Gate University), Room 2201
UPDATE: From a plugged-in reader in attendance: "The presentation was conservative as to height. Only the new proposed TransBay terminal to be perhaps 1,000 to 1,200 ft. With all future buildings to be shorter. Say good bye to the Renzo Piano project!!"
∙ Transbay Transit Center: Community Insight (And Involvement) [SocketSite]
∙ Reaching for the sky South of Market [SFGate]
∙ Hines And Pelli Clarke Pelli Bid The Most (And Get The Transbay Nod) [SocketSite]
First Published: April 30, 2008 8:15 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Tax-dollars busywork I say. This should have all been done years ago. The new grads still Lego-playing w/density & height @ this late time? AFTER the Transbay and other proposed buildings are on the boards? Is anyone home over there @ Planning? Just raise the height limit be done with it and move on to the other urgent projects in the City. Sheesh! Otherwise 20 yrs hence we will still be numbed into an endless only-in-Calif PROCESS resulting in an underbuilt environment with many lost opportunities, mixed messages and a downtown area that never quite reaches its potential.
Can this time-standing-still city please move forward?
Posted by: Invented at April 30, 2008 9:20 AM
I think some of these ideas are really great - in terms of funding the new bus station and getting density downtown. but..
i have to wonder how developers will finance 1000 foot towers -- it is my understanding that office rents will have to be $100 per sf, and condo sales will have to be near $2000 per sf to make these projects "pencil", as the costs and time frame to build and lease are much higher, at least 50%, than even "tall" structures like tishmans 555 mission street and 301 MIssion - millenium.
remember -- tishman is asking $85 psf rents and MIllenium is asking $1500 psf.
i also wonder what is the citys plan for environmental review. I saw a recent article explaining how law prevents shadowing public spaces like union square and these project look certain to do so.
lastly these cost of these projects are estimated to be around $1 BIL - thats for one building. when does anyone think the debt markets will recover enough to finance this sum? that would require a construction loan of say $700 MIL.
[Editor’s Note: Millennium is the "605 foot" tower represented above.]
Posted by: Louis at April 30, 2008 9:31 AM
Take me higher! 1200 feet sounds fine. Now about pedestrian safety issues like traffic calming in the Rincon Hill neighborhood ....
Posted by: jamie at April 30, 2008 9:44 AM
Just build the f%'&&$ing thing already!! Why haven't these 'public workshops' been conducted over the past 8 years? Now we have to wait another 2 years for the neighborhood militia to voice their helpless opinions. Gyawd!
Posted by: sf at April 30, 2008 12:06 PM
FYI 301 Mission is 645', currently the tallest residential building west of the Miss'
Posted by: sf at April 30, 2008 12:36 PM
The reason we have all these empty lots in S.F. is owners are sitting on them in the hope that one day they will be upzoned to allow greater height and increased density.
In cities like Washington D.C. or Paris, or S.F. neighborhorhoods like Pacific Heights where it is clear such upzoning will never happen, there are no empty lots.
The planning department's policy of upzoning is the real reason for the empty lots.
Posted by: flaneur at April 30, 2008 12:37 PM
Exactly how tall does a building have to be to cast a shadow on union sq... probably a quarter mile away..
GOD people in this town are not all that smart
Posted by: bob at April 30, 2008 12:52 PM
Actually many of the empty lots are currently being used as construction staging by Caltrans for the Bay Bridge construction. When they are done they will be handed over to the City to redevelop them.
Posted by: nako14 at April 30, 2008 2:20 PM
bob - its just geometry and math. you can probably figure it out yourself if you get out a map. ps- its the morning hours.
Posted by: louis at April 30, 2008 6:05 PM
Great public meeting. Over 150 attendees (80% men!) Plus standing room. The presentation was conservative as to height. Only the new proposed TransBay terminal to be perhaps 1,000 to 1,200 ft. With all future buildings to be shorter. Say good bye to the Renzo Piano project!!
The future is in front of you,attend the next public meeting.
Posted by: Frederick at April 30, 2008 8:40 PM
"The city's zoning plan, unveiled Wednesday at a packed public meeting, would allow as many as seven new skyscrapers to surpass the current 550-foot height limits in an area surrounding the planned Transbay tower - a high-rise of roughly 1,000 feet adjacent to a new Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets.
The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission would have to approve the zoning proposal, which is likely to be revised in response to public comments. A thorough environmental report is also required.
But planners argue that the taller skyscrapers would create a more dynamic skyline and are needed to meet the city's projected demand for office space. A bonus, they say, is that tax revenue from the new buildings would help pay for part of the multibillion-dollar transit hub intended to serve bus passengers from around the Bay Area and rail commuters from the Peninsula and farther south.
"There is a renewed interest in heights given the constraints on the environment and a move toward transit-oriented development," said Dean Macris, a development adviser to Mayor Gavin Newsom and former city planning director who oversaw much of the proposed rezoning. "But these changes are fully justified even if there was no transit center, given the growth projections for San Francisco over the next 25 years."
Macris said the proposal - which, in addition to the Transbay tower, makes room for at least six towers in the 600- to 800-foot range on selected sites along Howard and Mission streets - is a logical extension of the city's Downtown Plan. That 1985 rezoning sought to preserve historic buildings north of Market while steering growth south into what then was a moribund area.
It could take at least 18 months for any proposed rezoning to go through the public process, meaning that it would be 2010 at the earliest before any extra-tall towers break ground."
Sounds like the shadow issue isn't about Union Square but Justin Herman Plaza.
Posted by: Michael at May 1, 2008 9:54 AM
Shadows in Justin Herman Plaza ... seems like that would mean evening, sunset shadows ... I doubt that would interfere with anyones' sunbathing in Justin Herman Plaza at 5pm anyway since it gets a tad windy along the waterfront most afternoons. (shrug)
Posted by: jamie at May 1, 2008 3:09 PM