May 14, 2008

Argenta (1 Polk) Update: The Scaffolding Starts To Get Stripped

Argenta (1 Polk): 5/14/08 (

As a plugged-in reader notes, the scaffolding and wrap that has surrounded Argenta (1 Polk) has started to be stripped. And while 766 Harrison seems to be ringing true to its renderings (as is Arterra), much of Argenta's rendered glass seems to be missing (with the framing as foreshadowing) and was probably “value engineered” away.

Argenta (1 Polk): Ground Breaking [SocketSite]
From Rendering To Reality (Although Not Quite Finality): 766 Harrison [SocketSite]
Arterra (300 Berry) Sheds A Little More (In More Ways Than One) [SocketSite]
Argenta Rises While Buildings For Crescent Heights Are Razed [SocketSite]

First Published: May 14, 2008 10:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Pretty bland. I guess it fits in considering its immediate neighbors are some of the most vomit inducing boxes in town. I hope it is priced with this in mind.

Posted by: [gfh] at May 14, 2008 10:10 AM

I wonder what the night pictures will look like. For now, it's very grey.

Will they have the same purple-blue hue from the rendering? And the Photoshop work removed the fugly building next door.

Posted by: San FronziScheme at May 14, 2008 10:16 AM

"If ... you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."
--Catherine Aird

Posted by: Mole Man at May 14, 2008 10:34 AM

Is it me or does this look eerily similar to the Marriott Courtyard on 2nd St?

Posted by: missionbayres at May 14, 2008 11:01 AM

Seriously, what would be wrong with some originality. . .We live in a city that is defined by its uniqueness and free thinking spirit. . .
Isn't SF supposed to be a creative/intellectual hub? Why do we have absolute worst architecture, SF Architects?

Plus. . .We (most) are not retards. . .These glitzy flash enabled sales websites do nothing to cover up the crap that you are putting up.

Somebody please send our local architectual firms images of developing skylines from Shanghai or Dubai. . .I love how these former second world countries are just absolutely wiping the floor with us here. . .

Sorry, after seeing the umpteenth Brutalist condo structure go up, I've had it and needed to complain.

Posted by: blah. . . at May 14, 2008 11:43 AM

This is a magnificent art piece.. in context..

Posted by: alittlelate at May 14, 2008 11:43 AM

"Eerily??" Like is this some sort of conspiracy? Maybe Marriott has a sinister plan to make all buildings in SF look like hotels. Free advertising and all....

Posted by: likesemtall at May 14, 2008 11:51 AM

Oh crap! I'm the architect for both buildings.

Obviously my secretary got the plans mixed up and sent out the Mariott Courtyard design to the Argenta!

Oh well, I'm sure no one will mind living in a 2.5* hotel building! Now, what to do to cover up the registration desk on the first floor....

--Not really the architect

Posted by: tipster at May 14, 2008 12:00 PM

Maybe, just maybe, SF has to understand that is not as unique as it thought it was.

The culture is unique, but because of government oversight, the buildings won't ever be as unique as the people (or the people they want to design them).

These buildings are being catered to a new generation, and too much value has been put on resell effect. The "hey look at me" may not sell as well as it once did.

Posted by: J at May 14, 2008 12:01 PM

Actually, the Marriott looks better, more substantial looking materials.

Posted by: Enthano at May 14, 2008 12:05 PM

it's weird. not offensive, but unremarkable enough to be nearly invisible. looks like an office building.

after lamenting the folsom st. condos of a couple of days ago... i was really drawn to this:

why can't sf have stylish new construction condos? you'd thing that the target market would be more discerning.

Posted by: h o'connor at May 14, 2008 12:07 PM

NYC is not SF. No other city in America really compares to SF (which I think is a good thing) and NY and Chi beats us and always gets the best stuff in America. I think the next focus will be on 'living' buildings, and Piano's academy in GGPark is a great example of how we can capture the international spotlight. Think living roofs, 'balcony yards' with real living soil coming off of high rises, etc. We are getting there, slowly, and having Piano and Pelli as major players in our city will only enhance other great architect's appeal to build here.

Posted by: sf at May 14, 2008 12:17 PM

^because the vast majority of San Franciscans would sue themselves over the shadows they cast if they could.
Progress in this town is defined by lack of progress. The less things change, the more we move forward.

Posted by: Joe at May 14, 2008 12:19 PM

Joe- the 'vast majority' are you sure about that??

Posted by: sf at May 14, 2008 12:33 PM

As pastor Ted Haggard said, 'It's the vocal minority that creates policy.'

Posted by: sf at May 14, 2008 12:36 PM

well at least the neighborhood is nice.... Doh!

Posted by: Spencer at May 14, 2008 12:50 PM


though I agree with the spirit of your post Shanghai or Dubai shylines are tacky IMO. I was especially disapointed in Shanghai. Its really Vegas meets Chicago in a bad way

Posted by: Zig at May 14, 2008 12:50 PM

Well, I wouldn't exactly call it ugly. Maybe a missed opportunity to do something inspiring, but not offensive in any way. As far as I'm concerned *any* private investment in that area is like manna from heaven.

Posted by: zzzzzzz at May 14, 2008 1:20 PM

sf: no city is sf. that's true, but nearly all of what is being built here is interchangeable with places like irvine, the suburbs of miami, dallas/houston. i assume that a lot of that has to do with development having become the province of big corporate firms with no regard for specificity and the money to lobby/appease the city graft? is that fair?

i don't know how different the markets for manhattan and sf condos are, they're actually priced similarly, it just seems like sf is willing to settle for anything. everything always sells, why bother to put any energy into it? if there was even one developer putting energy into aesthetics and function (like considering basics like light, ventilation, gestalt psychology, it would raise the standards, i would think. we deify our above average architects (stanley saitowitz would have been visionary in 1924), or use the same couple of scandinavians...

prestige projects like museums and the federal bldg. are great, but none of that is spilling over into residential development.

what's better for resale than the prestige that comes with good design?

Posted by: h o'connor at May 14, 2008 1:38 PM

Our planning department wants everything to look the same. They think that is good design and force it on architects and developers.

Posted by: dave k at May 14, 2008 1:46 PM

When can we expect another socketsite Complete Inventory index (CII)?

Posted by: Spencer at May 14, 2008 2:05 PM

Our planning department is a reflection of our citizens as is the BOS

We get what we want. At this point I am sure the planning staff is just happy to get development that doesn't cause mobilization of busybodies

Posted by: Zig at May 14, 2008 2:37 PM

Is this really going to be 180 condos? Does anyone have an accurate headcount of the # of condo's coming on the market in '08 so we can add a monthly estimate to the chart of the # of current listings from a few days ago? thanks.

cool location. only 2 block walk down Market St for some crack.

[Editor's Note: Yes (and not with respect to the crack): SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii): Q1 2008 (San Francisco).]

Posted by: resp at May 14, 2008 3:13 PM

Planning is a reflection of the mobilized busybodies, and not the "vast majority" of residents

Posted by: dave k at May 14, 2008 3:32 PM

I got this information from a Realtor a few weeks ago:

- 180 unit condominium building
- Prices will range from studios at $500,000 to 3 bedrooms topping out at $1,200,000.
- Scheduled to be completed October 2009, with pre-sales starting in March 2009.

I live in this area so I'm thrilled to have any new construction that helps to improve the 'hood. The location is convenient for all public transportation and the views (at least from a high rise perspective) are quite nice. Unfortunately the the appeal of the area drops dramatically on the ground floor. I think they must have inhaled too much crack from the squatters who defile the sidewalk in front of the construction site every night if they think they'll get those prices for the units though. The criminal and/or homeless element may be too entrenched in the area to ever remove it, but bless them for trying....

Posted by: pica1986 at May 14, 2008 3:41 PM

Well, the good news is that if they can't sell the building as condos for those prices, they may be able to sell it to Marriott for use as a Courtyard hotel.

Posted by: tipster at May 14, 2008 4:06 PM

[Editor's Note: Yes (and not with respect to the crack): SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii): Q1 2008 (San Francisco).]

When can we expect another socketsite Complete Inventory index (CII)?

[Editor’s Note: Early third quarter.]

Posted by: Spencer at May 14, 2008 4:25 PM

I don't think you can properly judge this building until all the scaffold comes down. So far, it looks a lot better than all of it's neighbors. The building must be within a year of completion with the scaffold coming down.
The area needed a new addition. It is good to see that some developers are trying to create an urban neighborhood in this neglected part of the city. The location is central and convenient to alot of SF life.

Posted by: JJ at May 14, 2008 4:32 PM

Dave-I don't know. I think things are changing but how long have you been here? People passed some pretty restrictive growth limits and the old school really hates tall buildings

Posted by: Zig at May 14, 2008 4:55 PM

Well it beats the nasty one story Chinese restaurant that used to be there. SF needs density and it needs to be by public transportation. It's at least a better use of the space.

Posted by: Brian at May 14, 2008 5:51 PM

More million dollar condos...

First NOD pool - I've got Dec 2010

Posted by: Shocked at May 14, 2008 6:07 PM

For those of you who want to blame the architects you clearly have no idea who ultimately controls what is built. Ask the architect to show his first proposal... before the developer said that it was too "Modern"...before planning said it needed to "Blend Better"before the NIMBYs chopped the height bet is that it looked a lot different than the crap that eventually went up.

Posted by: notthearchitects at May 14, 2008 6:37 PM

one big plus: the building will almost certainly be free of urine smell around its perimeter... or one can hope.

Posted by: h o'connor at May 14, 2008 8:02 PM

Can we all just agree that this tiny little pocket neighborhood was completely lost when Fox Plaza and AAA came in. Would a great architectural achievement even be noticed, or even worthy for this area? I think the building fits in perfectly and will be a much needed improvement for the area. At least it's not as bad looking as Soma Grand or Blu!

Posted by: sf at May 15, 2008 9:39 AM

Dear Editor:

The Planning Commission approved 1285 Sutter St. (the site of the old Galaxy theater) yesterday. You can download rendertings by joining the Yahoo Group of the Cathedral Hill Neighbors Association at

The proposed building reminds me of the SOMA Grand.

Posted by: flaneur at May 16, 2008 10:21 AM

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