August 19, 2008

555 Mission Rock: Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow (And A Recap)

555 Mission Rock: Site

The quick recap for 555 Mission Rock in south Mission Bay: 192 apartments ranging in size from 650 to 1,300 square feet (and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail).

555 Mission Rock: 8/11/08 (www.SocketSite.com)

Development by Urban Housing Group, design by SB Architects, and opening Spring 2009.

555 Mission Rock: Renderings

An Overview Of Mission Bay [SocketSite]
Neighbors In South Mission Bay (555 Mission Rock Street?) [SocketSite]
555 Mission Rock Apartments: Additional Details And Timing [SocketSite]
Projects: 555 Mission Rock [Urban Housing Group]

First Published: August 19, 2008 8:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

If the construction quality is on par with Edgewater then RUN AWAY!

[Editor's Note: Outlining issues you've experienced with Edgewater (another Urban Housing Group development) so plugged-in people can be aware: helpful and welcomed. An anonymous and blanket "run away": not so much.]

Posted by: anon at August 19, 2008 8:44 AM

@ anon

Yes, please expand

Posted by: McBravio at August 19, 2008 9:22 AM

the exterior of that project just looks like generic crap. san jose anyone? just continuing the trend of Mission Bay into pseudo-urban anywheresville.

Posted by: realist at August 19, 2008 9:25 AM

Yeah, this building is as bland as they come. I hope it at least meets the street well along Fourth since that is supposed to be a welcoming retail strip.

[Editor’s Note: In the renderings above, the tallest side is the fourth street elevation.]

Posted by: mongrel at August 19, 2008 9:36 AM

The way Socketsite presented it was one of the most informative set of photos I can imagine. The first gave it perspective (with the downtown in the distance) and was a great "before" shot, with the crane standing on an empty lot. The second was the work in progress with the same crane. The third and fourth were the finished shots, that, though their creation predated the first two, belonged at the end so you could see how the project would look finished. A lot of other editors would have put those two shots first. It was really nice to just scroll down and see the project "progressing".

As for bland, by Mission Bay standards, it isn't that bland. Some of the interiors in those buildings on Berry Street are positively A+. That's the niche for that area.

Posted by: tipster at August 19, 2008 10:10 AM

Shouldn't it be called Mission Fill?

Posted by: Foolio at August 19, 2008 10:11 AM

Sorry, check out the comments for Edgewater on Yelp. A lot of them are just flames about management but I can attest to the comments about the design structure, plumbing and security. There are just a lot of very odd design quirks like the way the stairwells are laid out, the strange enclosed elevator platform for the 2nd garage level, thin floors— ceiling lights will flicker when neighbors above merely walk across the room, plumbing access points in the walls that are seemingly every 2 feet, any entrance besides the main one requires a horribly obscure journey through the bowels of the building, one door will require a security badge while the one to the right will not, endless plumbing issues. Just a lot of head scratchers here.

Maybe they will do a nicer job at Mission Rock.

Posted by: anon at August 19, 2008 10:15 AM

who the hell cares about the interiors? that's not what makes a city. the interiors are the residents' concerns only, not the public's. the interiors could be plated with gold, but if the exterior is junk, the developer and the agency that approves the buildings (redevelopment) ought to be tarred and feathered. as far as I'm concerned, the insides could be a hollow shell if they're condos that the new owners fit out however they like. Invariably, developers often put in tacky "high end" finishes like those awful marble countertops. We have to look at it for the next 100 years -- the owners can go new fixtures and reflooring ten times in the next 20 years if they want. The public can't redesign the building once it's built.

Posted by: urbanist at August 19, 2008 10:22 AM

All these large, squat condo buildings in Mission Bay leave me puzzled. WHo likes this style of architecture? I thought the city was looking to Vancouver for planning inspiration? I recently visited the new & gorgeous Coal Harbor area there, and there is just no comparison.

Posted by: etslee at August 19, 2008 10:34 AM

etslee --
the proportions of the buildings are not the problem. height and variation aren't pre-conditions for good architecture at all. Just look at Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Copenhagen. All cities with stunning contemporary architecture, and essentially everything dense and not taller than 8 stories and yes, they are all "large and squat" to use your terminology. Height just allows bad architects to build taller bad bland buildings, compounding the problem even more and making it additionally a skyline problem, as opposed to just a neighborhood level problem. this is just boring, stale, cheap looking architecture. The problem with mission bay is not height, it's low standards.

Posted by: urbanist at August 19, 2008 10:52 AM

This is hideous. Future urban blight ghost town. Mission Bay was better off as an urban wasteland with scattered industrial outposts. It was a little bit of wild in the manicured city. But we can't have that. Instead, we get this Nuevo Frisco, with generic mall-crap condo-garbage eyesores.

Why is this junk even being built at this point? Anyone stupid enough to want to live here won't qualify for a loan with the disappearance of junk mortgages.

Yuck.

Posted by: two beers at August 19, 2008 11:02 AM

Re: "Mission Bay was better off as an urban wasteland with scattered industrial outposts."

This is simply not a statement to take seriously.

Posted by: Mark D. at August 19, 2008 11:15 AM

What can you say? Mission Bay is what it is. I would have liked more architectural inspiration but SF land-use politics guarantee mediocrity. At least the new blocks in Mission Bay are vastly cleaner than the rest of the city, the parks are well maintained, there are decent-sized, regularly irrigated street trees and the sidewalks and streets aren't crumbling. And I think the promenade along the restored Mission Creek works very well.

Posted by: zzzzzzz at August 19, 2008 11:23 AM

From their website, " as well as access to numerous mass transit alternatives."
Alternatives to mass transit like cars, individual yachts, etc.

Posted by: ashsfgoblue at August 19, 2008 11:29 AM

I love San Diego. d'oh, this san francisco.

Regarding paris and its low height/ Most of the buildings are 7-9 floors and not 3-4 as Mission bay seems to be doing. They are also very close to each otehr and not separate compunds (prisons), and generally have very nice architecture. it is no comparative IMHO. Mission Bay was built from scratch. This is what we came up with?

Posted by: spencer at August 19, 2008 12:16 PM

Ouch. That top photo is fantastic but also dispiriting.

Apart from the uninspired designs, these buildings are just too short in my opinion. At the very least it is a shame on practical, economic and aesthetic levels that Mission Bay will not be peppered with tall, slender towers here and there. I know that may be a tired complaint, but this city could use some glass condo towers.

We have certainly been outclassed by Vancouver. I wish the city had taken its cue from that northern inspiration rather than looking south to San Diego, intentionally or not.

Posted by: Timosha at August 19, 2008 12:22 PM

Dont forget, Mission Bay/Fill is not the ideal place to build tall buildings.

Driving the pilings down so far and all the structural engineering involved to build on fill makes that very expensive here.

Lamenting lack of height in E/W SOMA or the Mission for example, is another story...

Posted by: BayAreaBum at August 19, 2008 12:38 PM

"not 3-4 as Mission bay seems to be doing"

I can't think of any 3-4 story buildings in Mission Bay. Where are you speaking of?

Lets stop talking about Paris with reference to this area.

Is there a good example of a mostly master planned and developed project like Mission Bay somewhere in the world that we should have been modeling ourselves after?

I am not saying I think Mission Bay is great but we need to also be realistic

I personally think its ok and will look much better when completed plus the biotech/UCSF center appear be designed for function which is good

I would have preferred more diversity and some tall residential towers like they have in Vancouver and think this is a missed opportunity but on the other hand think the UCSF and buiotech stuff is about right. Take a ride down to Genentech and see what their buildings look like

There were always going to be some compromises if you want to get biotech. In that regard I think I am pretty happy with the result

Posted by: Zig at August 19, 2008 1:24 PM

@Zig:

How many wet labs are they planning to place in Mission Rock? I think all of the complaining here is focused on the privately developed residential properties, not the UCSF buildings.

Posted by: DavidQ at August 19, 2008 1:44 PM

David

I think many are complaining about the whole look of Mission Bay

Posted by: Zig at August 19, 2008 2:03 PM

"Is there a good example of a mostly master planned and developed project like Mission Bay somewhere in the world that we should have been modeling ourselves after?"

Are we excluding Vancouver's revitalized waterfront core since it's not strictly a master planned chunk of land? It's the most pertinent model that comes to mind and there was top-down planning at hand there.

Buenos Aires's Puerto Madero revitalization is worth a mention. Very well done. Rotterdam has done great things on its waterfront. Apart from Canary Wharf, London has loads of good things going on.

Anyway, do great cities follow models?

Posted by: Timosha at August 19, 2008 2:36 PM

I'd just like to point out that one of the largest developers in Vancouver owns/has rights to the vast majority of undeveloped residential property in Mission Bay....point being that just maybe we're judging Mission Bay a bit too quickly and we could be singing a different tune once the nicer Bosa developments begin to come online (unfortunately though we're years away).

Posted by: luvinmissionbay at August 19, 2008 2:50 PM

i am jsut complaining about the residential buildings. i work in biotech so do understand limitations to building sizes for wet labs and/ or limitations of comapny size.

Posted by: spencer at August 19, 2008 4:06 PM

I'd just like to point out that one of the largest developers in Vancouver owns/has rights to the vast majority of undeveloped residential property in Mission Bay....point being that just maybe we're judging Mission Bay a bit too quickly and we could be singing a different tune once the nicer Bosa developments begin to come online (unfortunately though we're years away).

Well, yes and no. Most of the dramatic building in Vancouver was done by Concord Pacific (owned by a Hong Kong developer). Bosa Development has built some buildings in Vancouver, but I don't think they've built entire neighborhoods like Concord Pacific has. Also, Bosa plans on building 1700 units in Mission Bay, substantial, but not the "vast majority" (http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/01/14/story4.html)

Unlike Vancouver, SF builds buildings, rather than neighborhoods.

Posted by: anon at August 19, 2008 4:35 PM

Anon...I agree that many of the current crop of developments in Mission Bay have been far from ideal. Maybe "vast" was a little strong if considering all of Mission Bay (not so strong when just considering south of the Creek) but: (1)Bosa will definitely be the largest housing developer in all of Mission Bay assuming they stick it out;(2)Bosa's developments are all south of Mission Bay making it the primary developer in that pocket; (3) Bosa is the most "upscale" developer as compared to the current developments north of the Creek; and (4) so far all we've seen is 1/17 of its developments. All said and done, I foresee VAST improvements (although that might not be saying much considering the lack of creativity shown to date).

Posted by: luvinmissionbay at August 19, 2008 6:41 PM

It would be interesting if anyone could dig up the original presentations for Mission Bay. I think it was over 15 years ago, but I remember seeing watercolors and maps showing a neighborhood that was closer in character to the inner canals of Amsterdam, than the outer neighborhoods of San Diego. There was a real opportunity that was missed here.

My main problem with the whole design is how the waterfront is completely ignored. Where is the dramatic gesture celebrating the bay? Where are the urban spaces that would draw someone as far north as I am in the Marina? People can bash the Marina all they want, but between the Marina Green, the Palace of Fine Arts Lagoon, and now Crissy Field and the Presidio developements and landscape restoratons, there is a lot more imagination and beautiful urban spaces that are unique to San Francisco in the Marina, than there is anywhere in Soma and Mission Bay.

I don't want this to be a north vs. south debate, but one could instead consider all of the lessons that could have been learned and expanded in Mission Bay. Why not a Marina Green type park, beach, and harbor? Why not a unique landmark structure like a Palace of Fine Arts somewhere in the new neighborhood? Is the only attraction developers are selling in Mission Bay is that the units are "new" and they have parking?

Posted by: Morgan at August 19, 2008 7:01 PM

When are they going to tear down the 280????

Posted by: sf at August 19, 2008 7:07 PM

morgan - as long as developers make money off of the boring crap being built here, it will continue unless government forces change it in some way. There seems to be this overwhelming sense from the SS community that it's government that has caused boring developments - but all of the things that you mention as nice in the Marina are products of government.

Developers build massive tract housing, government plans build nice places like the areas mentioned in Vancouver or Rotterdam. The problem is that we have given too much power to developers, directly and indirectly.

Posted by: anon at August 19, 2008 7:38 PM

Actually, the map for Mission Bay does show Marina Green-style green spaces going in along the waterfront. And I think the public spaces that have been developed along Mission Creek - the new park on the southern edge near 4th St., the landscaped promenade on the north and the restored native vegetation on the edges of the creek itself - are quite pleasant and impressive. Moreover, the green spaces in Mission Bay are far better maintained than the typical SF city park (Redevelopment contracts the work out to the same company that maintains Yerba Buena gardens and Union Square). I would consider all of the above to be big perks for anyone considering living in the neighborhood.

Posted by: zzzzzzzz at August 19, 2008 9:02 PM

I think that in the end these developments will be an improvement over what was there before. Yes, they are bland. In fact, this exact same architecture is occuring almost everywhere right now. I see similar architecture in Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, SD, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, the list goes on.

it's partly because we have national developers, so RE is becoming more "national". The character of the various cities is merging. It's not like 200 years ago when distance and local materials foced "unique" archicture, thus Chicago was building Brownstones and SF building Victorians and Albequerque building Adobe.

nowadays, things get in fashion, and they are replicated around the entire US together. Granite Countertops, Stainless Steel Appliances, Italian Tile, and this sort of exterior (I don't know what it's called).

so all the "warehouse districts" around the country are building exactly like this. When they are done, they are nice but a little sterile and manufactured... but they're great places to put a Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn and what not.

and who knows: in 100 years some will be torn down and others will have survived... and perhaps the survivors will be thought of as having "character". It's like the Victorians. At one time all the victorians were essentially identical "tract homes". many didn't survive. those that did are now considered "historic". but at one time it was the architecture du jour.

Posted by: ex SF-er at August 20, 2008 7:37 AM

I dont think these new developments are bland at all. Not every building has to scream "look at me, I'm special." Background buildings are appropriate.

The new buildings are generally clean, modern,fresh..they form backdrops to street edges and parks. A neighborhood is being created. it takes time for it to mature and develop it's own character and style. with the great weather and waterfront location, and adjacency to the UC medical campus, this is already becoming a great place to live.

Posted by: noearch at August 20, 2008 12:07 PM

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