706 Mission (Mercantile Building) and adjacent lot
Millennium Partners and JMA Ventures have reached an exclusive negotiating agreement with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency to develop the empty 9,000 square foot lot adjacent to 706 Mission Street (the gold Mercantile Building).
The proposed use: a 220-unit condominium tower over the Mexican Museum. From J.K. Dineen:

“Under the proposed scheme, the development team — a joint venture between Millennium Partners and JMA Ventures — would build the core and shell of a 35,000- to 40,000-square-foot Mexican Museum at no cost to the museum. The museum would be housed on the lower floors of the condo tower, which will be built on a 25,000-square-foot site on the north side of Mission Street between Third and Fourth streets. The site includes a 9,000-square-foot site the Redevelopment Agency owns and a 16,000-square-foot parcel Millennium and JMA bought in 2006.

The museum and condo tower would be connected to the historic Mercantile Building at 706 Mission St., the 1903 structure with baroque ornamental details that JMA and Millennium Partners own. The height of the residential tower, which is being designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norton and Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects, has not been determined; however, a portion of the residential tower will be built over the existing Mercantile Building, according to Amy Neches, project director for the Redevelopment Agency.”

“In addition to building the Mexican Museum, the developers have agreed to establish a $5 million endowment to help the cultural institution establish itself. Also, Millennium and JMA have agreed to pay $22 million into an affordable housing fund in lieu of meeting the city’s affordable housing requirements. The payment would be equivalent to making 28 percent of the units below market rate.

While the use of the Mercantile building is still being decided, the ground floor will continue to be retail and will be the entrance to the residential tower. The agency and the developer are also talking to the International Museum of Women about moving that organization to the lower floors of 706 Mission. The upper portion of the 100,000-square-foot building could remain office or become housing. Tenants in the building include Yelp, which recently expanded into 32,000 square feet.

Neches said the non-historic gold brick exterior on 706 Mission would be removed to restore the original exterior.”

And as Neches notes, the negotiating agreement is simply the start of “a long public process of traffic studies, shadow studies and public debate” for the site. Yes, we’re talking years.
Millennium Partners, JMA Ventures tapped for tower [Business Times]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by justin

    Why couldn’t Fisher put his museum here instead of in the middle of a National Landmark inside of a Natioanl Park? The Museum of Modern Art (NYC) extension included new condos which are very popular and I would imagine the same would have happened here in San Francisco.

  2. Posted by runner's high

    Didn’t they just build the Jewish museum on that very block (the photo shows beginning stages of construction). It would be a shame to lose that building behind a condo tower.

  3. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    Well hopefully it will look something like this combo Fellini museum, condos, hotel in the coastal town ( SF has a coast right?) of Rimini, Italy.
    scroll down and check out how the hotel is locaeted 300m offshore and connected to the condos and museum located onshore.

  4. Posted by spitpalm

    This will not block the Jewish museum at all but thankfully it will block the ugly ass Westin (used to be Argent) Hotel to the north of the Mercantile buidling. Regarding the camp….How would that museum go here? It has been planned as the Mexican Museum for about a decade…maybe longer.

  5. Posted by Joe

    Enough with the im smarter than fisher suggestions on where his museum should be – it is proposed where it is proposed – on federal land.
    Thankfully this means the proposal wont be in limbo for 25 years while each and every concerned san franciscan checks out each tooth in the gift horse’s mouth.
    Great news on this site – and to the person who is worried about the jewish museum – the proposed building will not block it.

  6. Posted by Robert

    oops bad news for the condo owners at the Four Seasons who have south-east facing views . . .

  7. Posted by alex

    It looks like this sat photo is a bit older. That big vacant lot to the north/east of the church is partially developed now by the new Jewish Museum. From what I’m told this new structure will go right smack dab on top of the building that has “3rd St.” almost stamped on it in this photo. It is on top of the “Big and Tall” building right there on the corner.

  8. Posted by cw

    Which building has the roof terrace in the likeness of the old Union Square?

  9. Posted by alex

    Not too bad for the four seasons, because of the Jewish Museum, but certainly not good for the lower floors of the NW corner of the St. Regis. We just closed on 38B in the St. Regis and were told that should be high enough to break the new building proposed. I emphasize “should be”. As for the Paramount….they’re bumming.

  10. Posted by SF Condo Guy

    The undeveloped vacant area is miniscule — IF this gets developed (and believe me they’ll be facing a lot of opposition from the wealthy and influential homeowners of Four Seasons and St. Regis, as well as the neighboring hotels) it will probably be a rather sleek, slender building.

  11. Posted by Michael

    “Which building has the roof terrace in the likeness of the old Union Square?”
    That’s the Westin/Argent.

  12. Posted by Foolio

    I like the idea of creating a “Museum Plaza” in this area…leveraging off the MOMA, MOAD, YBCA, JCM, and others…plus, it’s close to Union Square and MUNI/BART for the tourists.
    Hopefully the Mexican Museum will get the support it needs to flourish.

  13. Posted by SocketSite

    To clarify, the new tower would be built on the 9,000 square foot lot now outlined above with a portion extending over the existing Mercantile Building (the 16,000 square foot parcel) at the corner of Mission and 3rd.

  14. Posted by Jay

    My guess is the Mexican Museum is in lieu of BMR units.
    [Editor’s Note: Not quite. As noted above, “Millennium and JMA have agreed to pay $22 million into an affordable housing fund in lieu of meeting the city’s affordable housing requirements. The payment would be equivalent to making 28 percent of the units below market rate.”]

  15. Posted by etslee

    I really love how the development is going in this area, with the JCM opening recently and Yerba Buena Lane finally getting some new restaurants like Amber India. This area was really buzzing with life during the opening weekend of JCM!

  16. Posted by Eric in SF

    I’ve been reading about this project – it’s the last SF Redevelopment parcel for the decades-long Yerba Buena project. I don’t know if that makes it easier for them to get projects approved.
    My gut feeling is that while the residents of the Four Seasons and St. Regis are wealthy and powerful many are not locals and don’t live here daily and aren’t interested in participating in the contact sport that is SF Land Use.
    All is not well in museum-land. The MoAD has had press reporting they are struggling and the Mexican Museum couldn’t raise a relatively small sum (compared to the Jewish Museum) to partially match a grant from the Redevelopment Agency for their own stand-alone building, thus this hybrid proposal we have now.

  17. Posted by INeedIWant

    >>oops bad news for the condo owners at the Four Seasons who have south-east facing views . . .
    In the for-what-it’s-worth department: Some years ago, I tagged along with friends who were looking at condos in the Four Seasons. During the tour, the Developer’s agent stood with us at the south-facing windows, pointed down to what are now the museum sites, explained what they were, and said essentially “we don’t know what those buildings will do to the view from here.”

  18. Posted by Mies Van der Rohe

    Hopefully Enrique will lead the charge on this effort and not just be given a space to design a mexican museum.
    @badlydrawnbear…..it would be great if all THE new towers in the city carried a high respect to the environment as with Foster’s towers, however judging from the Millenium Tower and Four Seasons by Millenium and Rescalvo, I highly doubt it. I see another all glass, energy cow, tower with a fancy hat rising up from the site….oh but wait…it’s low-e!
    I love the fact that the luxury towers opt for a lump sum payment to the city in lieu of mixing “poor folks” (ie. BMRs) into their towers. God forbid we give poor folks a view.

  19. Posted by livinintheloin

    Hope none of the new residents have dogs — me and the pooch got the boot from YB Gardens. No Dogs allowed!

  20. Posted by Ryan

    i think SF has a new hot neighborhood on their hands…

  21. Posted by anon

    This is a “neighborhood”?

  22. Posted by Conifer

    If they put any more tall towers closer together, we could have our very own Hong Kong. How beautiful will that be!
    Now that we know that Willie Brown lives in the St Regis, does that mean the definition of “very San Francisco” is going to change?
    Herb Caen is rolling over in his grave.

  23. Posted by strangedejim

    Herb Caen would not be rolling in his grave. Herb Caen was responsible for helping to get freeways torn down in this city after the quake, and was all for new towers and cleaning up the city. But the biggest secret about Herb was that he loved Los Angeles. GASP! Read his archived columns, for he was all for change and modernity, and would probably be RENTING in the St. Regis himself. (He was a renter, which is what most San Franciscans are) Herb enjoyed a “double life” of staying down in Los Angeles frequently at a modern high rise condo on Wilshire between Beverly Hills and Brentwood, and could be seen frequently at clubs in restaurants in that city.

  24. Posted by strangedejim

    In case you could not believe such San Francisco blasphemy is possible, here is one link. Herb loved L.A.? He even wrote a column about how he had changed to where he hated Victorians, thought they looked like gaudy shanty shacks, and wished the whole city had burned in 06.
    I agree, that I hope this part of the city continues to grow and change and add new towers.
    Let’s continue to let the city change and modernize, and stop acting like the city Herb used to write about…
    “Old-time San Franciscans, who don’t dare venture beyond the city limits for fear of finding out we are no longer Numbah One, will hate L.A. to their dying day, whereas Losangelenos can’t be bothered to return the insult.”

  25. Posted by Michael

    Made it to the Chronicle this morning:
    “Still, the proposed development is no sure thing. In addition to the environmental studies, any height increases would trigger a review by the city’s Planning Commission. The area’s height limit is 400 feet (roughly 40 stories), Neches said, but concerned neighbors have heard that the developers might want to go taller.
    Lynn Sedway, an urban and real estate economist who has lived at the Four Seasons since 2003, said she would love to see the Mexican Museum nearby, but noted that height is just one of her reservations about a new project.
    “I’m concerned about the scale of the building, incredible amount of traffic on Third Street and shadows, just to name a few,” Sedway said.”
    Pretty funny in light of the fact that the Sedways have made their living consulting to all these “big building” builders. Build bigger…unless it’s next to me!

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