May 24, 2010

45 Lansing: Busy As For The Bees As Another Extension Is Expected

45 Lansing: Site (www.SocketSite.com)

As plugged-in people know, following a false start at the end of 2008 Turnberry has been shopping their fully entitled lot at 45 Lansing since 2009.

The proposal was originally approved on March 15, 2007 under Motion No. 17397 to demolish the existing office building and construct a tower reaching 400 feet (exclusive of mechanical penthouses) and consists of approximately 227 dwelling units and up to 227 non‐independently accessible parking spaces.

45 Lansing Rendering

The proposal included exceptions to allow greater than one parking space for every two units, to provide off‐site open space in lieu of on‐site, and for dwelling unit exposure. The project included extensive streetscape improvements for Lansing Street between First Street and Essex Street.

Granted an entitlement extension for the project on June 11, 2009 (which expired March 15, 2010), on Thursday the Planning Commission is expected to grant another 12 month extension which would extend the performance period for the project to March 15, 2011.

All has not been quiet on the lot, however, as Rebar volunteers have been busy as bees working on an interim Lansing Street Pollinator Garden.

45 Lansing Pollinator Garden Design

The Turnberry (45 Lansing) Scoop: Construction Starting Early 2009? [SocketSite]
The 45 Lansing SocketSite Scoop: Turnberry Quietly Shopping The Lot [SocketSite]
Lansing Street Pollinator Garden [pollinator.org]

First Published: May 24, 2010 8:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

it'll be interesting to see if this is built in the medium term future. there seems to be a relative glut of condos out there, at least at the asking prices.

thus, this project will only pencil out if the prospective buyer can get the land cheap enough to build the condos cheaper than the existing competition, or if the health of the SF condo market improves significantly.

IMO: condo prices need to fall significantly.

Posted by: ex SF-er at May 24, 2010 8:56 AM

I'd agree this is a long ways off getting built.

How many extensions are going to be granted? I hope this will be the last. Open it up for someone to come in and propose a smaller scale project that may pencil out in the next 5 years.

IMO this likely never will get built and the developer is being given effective first right of refusal on the land. Is the developer paying a fee for these extensions? If not the City is crazy for granting the extension.

Posted by: Gil at May 24, 2010 9:22 AM

Construction prices also play a role, and have been falling not only because of lower material and labor costs as well as improvements in the engineering of tall building foundations and structures.

Extending the permit allows the developer to avoid paying all the fees involved with getting a new permit. If a new permit is needed, then it should be no problem apart from the expense, time, and frustration. Once a permit has been issued it is rare to refuse another permit in the future that is essentially the same. If public opinion of tall buildings around downtown became strongly negative, then that could be an influence. At this time the plan to extend downtown to include more tall buildings South of Market continues to be popular. Regarding fees, the City only gets really good return from the completed building process. At best permit fees cover the cost of city staff time.

Posted by: Mole Man at May 24, 2010 11:12 AM

There are no transit options in a neighborhood that is shaping up to be one of the densest in the country. Regressive city indeed.

Posted by: frattay at May 24, 2010 11:23 AM

You don't need many transit options when you can easily walk downtown to work. The whole idea of Rincon Hill is that it is (or becomes) a truly walkable environment.

That said, there are NUMEROUS transit options only a few blocks away, and there will only be more in the future. So I really don't understand the comment. Do you really think it's a problem that a bus doesn't stop in front of One Rincon?

Posted by: curmudgeon at May 24, 2010 11:27 AM

@frattay Why do you need transit? It's called walking. I do it every day.

Getting to downtown on Muni (waiting for the bus, etc.) would probably take LONGER than the 10 minutes it takes to walk downtown from the Met right now.

Posted by: anon at May 24, 2010 11:28 AM

Hopefully we will see the turn against highrises which is starting again in SF come to fruition before this ever breaks ground.

Look at the rendering - the sheer walls down to the sidewalk line. The street is already fairly windy - a few more of these towers and it will be more like Van Ness/Market. An uninviting cold corner with trees half dead from the wind.

I wish the city would save up some of the grant money it is getting (like the million for art at Hunters Point) and purchase this lot. The "temporary" greening looks so muc better and if made permanent would add instead of detract from the area.

These towers are destroying SOMA at street levelm IMO. I walked by The Infinity Saturday morning and the feel on the sidewalks is bleak and sterile. It may be all nice inside for the "gated" residents but the street ambiance is horrible.

Posted by: Gil at May 24, 2010 11:29 AM

Because it's such a beautiful area now.

Posted by: Gildo at May 24, 2010 11:49 AM

Gil:
I disagree with you strongly.

one thing that will help alleviate the high COL in SF is to build more domiciles. Mid and highrises help achieve this.

SF has lots of low-rise neighborhoods, and very few highrise areas. It makes sense to partition a small part of the city and dedicate it to higher rise living.

Vancouver did this with excellent effect IMO.

would I live in a high-rise in SOMA? no. but a lot of people would, and it is a great lifestyle option for some, especially if costs can fall to levels that make sense. there has been too much artificial restriction on building in SF already.

Posted by: ex SF-er at May 24, 2010 11:49 AM

"A bus" Cool. "A bus" is definitely appropriate for the thousands of residents within a 2 block radius. What about those that want to go somewhere besides work? This type of parking garage development encourages auto use and is something akin to Houston or Los Angeles. Stop the insanity already!

Posted by: frattay at May 24, 2010 11:51 AM

From One Rincon Hill, it is a 1/2 mile walk to the T- third Embarcadero line, 0.6 mile walk to the Embarcadero BART/ MUNI station. That is at least a mile in walking just to get to and from a major transit line. The average citizen is not going to choose that over driving, which is my point. There should be a line running down first street.

Posted by: frattay at May 24, 2010 11:56 AM

ex- SF-er, I don't know which Vancouver you're referring to, but if its the largest city in British Columbia, then I'd say there are a lot of high rises there, and a lot more than a "small part of the city" is dedicated to them. I agree the overall effect was wonderful without turning it into another Manhattan, though.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at May 24, 2010 12:12 PM

^^^ There are a lot of high rises in downtown Vancouver, but downtown Vancouver is a very small part of the city. Outside of downtown, there are several neighborhoods with midrises, and many neighborhoods with single and double story single family homes.

Posted by: joh at May 24, 2010 1:27 PM

I agree with ex-Sfer completely. Gil: you're view of new construction and high rises in SF is very narrow minded. Wind comes and goes. We have cold days, we have sunny days. Big deal.

What we need in select neighborhoods are more of these very tall towers. Rincon his has the chance to become a dense, livable and very walkable great neighborhood. Again, look to Vancouver as a great example of this. It works.

We need more slender, elegant high rises like this one to create great neighborhoods.

Posted by: noearch at May 24, 2010 1:30 PM

Public transport works best with dense housing and work places - i.e. laid out before the automobile like all major cities in Europe or Japan (New York and Chicago are a bit exceptional).

frattay's troll is sort of fun, after all the big area in the back is the Transbay Center; "no transit options" indeed. For some, MUNI and BART are four-letter words, while for others they're great options when destinations are within reach.

People that can afford the luxury units in SOMA probably need (and can afford) a car to keep the money rolling in but that doesn't mean they need them every day. I know my car moves only once or twice during most weeks but I haven't found a better alternative for ski season. Legislating (or zoning) cars out of existence in California is stupid and pointless.

Posted by: ellbee at May 24, 2010 1:53 PM

Rincon Hill's main problem right now is that it looks exactly like what it is...an incomplete idea.

Dense development in this part of town makes perfect sense. Just look at Mission Bay - IMO, it's a failed opportunity. It should have been taller, skinnier, and more dense as well aka more Vancouver as stated above.. So, please, let's not ruin the Rincon/Transbay plans with sterile complaints about parrots, wind, shadows, etc.

Posted by: spitpalm at May 24, 2010 1:56 PM

Bring on the high rises. One Rincon looks so lonely for now.

Posted by: Snark17 at May 24, 2010 2:06 PM

anyone else notice how bad muni has become? Saturday was a nightmare, no underground service combined few shuttles and Van Ness being closed for Black & White all day. I didn't even own a car until last year and I've been using it more, which is not my preference, just need to get to where I'm going. I didn't use it on Saturday and had to fight the crowds on the F-lin with groceries. Oh, and try carrying groceries from Montgomery Station all the way to 1 rincon, for those of you total walkers, it's a pretty steep/hellish "10 minutes".

Posted by: grumpy at May 24, 2010 2:09 PM

I gave up on Muni and bought a bike months ago. Grumpy, I can get 5, yes, 5, bags of groceries on my bike before it gets difficult. I get to work faster than I did with Muni. And the hills seem to get smaller and smaller every month.

Now I see the crowded buses or hear the horror stories (they cut service this month...again!?!) and just smile.

$300 or less for a Bike off Craigslist, $100 for a rack and panniers (lightweight removable baskets: 5 seconds on, 5 seconds off), $150 for rain gear to keep you absolutely dry in the biggest downpour, and that still isn't as much as one year's worth of Muni passes.

Why anyone takes Muni in such a small city is beyond me. All I ever did was wait for that silly thing. Try a bike for 30 days. You'll never go back.

Posted by: tipster at May 24, 2010 2:31 PM

I agree that walking or bicycling is the preferred mode from Rincon Hill to most destinations downtown if you are able to get around. The #12 Folsom should run from at least Spear Street westward along Harrison to help folks who are not able to get around on their own two feet. Back in December, the SFMTA's first service cut included stopping the #12 Folsom from going any further east than 2nd Street .... a big F-U to the new residents in Rincon Hill who just added $15 million or so per year (at least) in property taxes to San Francisco's coffers.

What really drives me apeshit is that they've repaved Harrison Street in Rincon Hill over the last few days, and when I called last summer to ask what pedestrian safety improvements would be implemented, the DPW said "NOne have been planned ... and that street can't really be touched for 5 years following the repaving." Really? The Mayor has the gall to act like a pro-environment saint and meanwhile leave the sidewalks and pedestrian dangers in place that have existed since before the Loma Prieta earthquake made Rincon HIll a potential high-density residential pocket near our downtown jobs center?

I'm supporting Jim Meko for Supervisor to succeed Chris Daly because he at least walks the walk instead of just talking the talk ... Jim has not driven a private car in 41 years to get around town - he knows what dangers are present in SoMa for pedestrians.

Anyway ... great to see the butterfly/bee garden getting set up without any "Green Development Agreement" in place as an incentive ... a true goodwill gesture on Turnberry Lansing's part.

Posted by: jamie at May 24, 2010 2:32 PM

That is a pretty bleak corner so anything will be an improvement. If built, those who own at 50 Lansing are going to have there views and light almost entirely blocked. On the plus side, the traffic noise going into those units from the bay bridge will be reduced.

The in progress little patch of green (however temporary) is much needed. That part of RH is entirely devoid of parks or green space. Mission Bay has been much more successful in that regard.

Posted by: Willow at May 24, 2010 3:05 PM

I can drive anywhere faster (and probably park for cheaper) than riding muni (2 fares R/T). Not to mention, safety, reliability and pleasantness of the experience. I think it was supervisor Campos who recently stated that, unfortunately, Muni only makes sense for poor people. For everyone else it sucks.

Anyway, that tower is at least 5 years away, if not 10 or more, and I am sure the final design will look much different...

Posted by: anon at May 24, 2010 3:36 PM

"I can drive anywhere faster (and probably park for cheaper) than riding muni..."

Faster is not hard to believe, but I doubt driving is cheaper. Have you factored in registration, taxes, smog tests, insurance, repairs, and amortization of your car's purchase price ? And parking only seems cheaper because it is subsidized.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 24, 2010 3:48 PM

Try a bike for 30 days. You'll never go back

this is one of the true shames of San Francisco. There are few to no dedicated bike pathways.

the ones that do exist are so small, like on Arguello and Turk. (although those are vast improvements over the so-called bikeways on 34th Ave and Kirkham)

the bikeways on Market and Valencia are just plain terrifying. (although they have teeny ineffectual lines on the street that are supposed to keep cars from plowing into you)

the ones in SOMA are also mediocre (I'm glad they're there because they're better than nothing). but there isn't ONE street in all of the SOMA area they could have made truly bike friendly?
They couldn't have put a dedicated raised bikeway on Embarcadero (maybe steal some pedestrian sidewalk or something?)

if they are going to have bikeways like they do, I wish they would do what they do in some other cities and have the bikeway by the sidewalk, and the cars park to the left of the bikeway (that way parked cars act as a barrier to driving cars.

SF has no excuse. a lot of those neighborhoods have been essentially rebuilt from scratch. they could have made it more bike/pedestrian/transit friendly.

for goodness sake, this is one part of the city that is fairly flat so more bikeable!!!!

sigh.

Posted by: ex SF-er at May 24, 2010 5:05 PM

tipster - glad to hear that you've switched to cycling though keep in mind that many people don't have the nerves and skill to ride in traffic. I've known many people who try (on bike to work day, natch), have a terrifying (but avoidable) experience, and then never bike again.

As ex SF-er notes there's still a lot of improvement that could be implemented. On the Valencia bike lanes, yeah, they are not as good as a dedicated path though they are far far better than the original configuration where bikes had to "take the lane" and thus also take the ire of motorists who didn't understand why there is someone in front of them riding a bike down the middle of the lane.

Also there is not a consensus on the merits on separating bike lanes from traffic. Though this intuitively seems safer many traffic engineers consider it to be more dangerous because of the conflicts that naturally exist anywhere motorists would turn left or right into the "dedicated" bike path at intersections and driveways. A distant separate bike path is also not easily visible to motorists who might collide with a biker. Bike lanes on the other hand are right there to the right of traffic and you'd have to be blind not to see a cyclist. Either that or it is night and the cyclist is foolishly wearing their invisibility suit (dark clothes combined with lack of lights/reflectors).

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 24, 2010 5:28 PM

Maybe it's me but I just can't see the average million dollar Rincon Hill condo owner schlepping 5 bags of groceries on their bike or Muni in the pouring rain.

The reason most bought in that location I would imagine is for convenience and the idea of luxury living. Sorry, that sounds like no fun to me.

Posted by: Willow at May 24, 2010 5:34 PM

Willow - for what it's worth, I avoid cycling in the rain too. That is usually quite easy since our rain is so infrequent and easy to predict. Riding in the rain is no fun but we have such an agreeable climate here that it is not a big issue.

On the flipside, maneuvering in and out of tight parking at both ends of the journey is also not fun.

You might be amazed by the number of wealthy people who can afford to drive yet do not.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 24, 2010 6:00 PM

I'd avoid biking in a world where people eat, drink, talk, text, read, shave, stare at their gps nav, while driving. It's a recreational activity.

Posted by: brandno at May 25, 2010 8:26 AM

Milkshake: I was being facetious about the pouring rain...
:-)
No doubt trying to find a parking space can be a pain. (Just try navigating the TJs on 9th St on Saturday mornings.) But I think that is a minor inconvenience in comparison to trying to take bags full of groceries on Muni or a bicycle.

Posted by: Willow at May 25, 2010 10:38 AM

I just thought I'd add my $0.02 and say that I'm not poor, but I do ride Muni. Parking is a real pain, and the associated irritation and delay is a strong motivator for me to hop on the bus. With NextMuni I can *usually* know when to head for the stop so I don't have to waste much time waiting, and the buses I tend to ride don't suffer that much from traffic.

There's also the fact that I "occasionally" like to have a drink or two in one of our outstanding SF establishments. Knowing I can leave the car at home is a relief. I usually take the bus there, and take it back if one is coming soon (two different 24hr lines) or a cab otherwise.

Back on the topic, though, it seems like ORH has pretty good service from the 10 and 12. For one more block you can get the 14 (yes, I know, but it's frequent service and even has expresses) and one more block after that you're at Market and a zillion options. You may have to do some planning, but for SF this is excellent coverage.

Posted by: Po Hill Jeff at May 25, 2010 10:44 AM

Having to walk blocks or ride Muni with bags full of groceries is indeed a hassle, but that can be mitigated with more frequent trips to the market. This is, of course, easier to do in certain neighborhoods with a higher concentration of neighborhood grocers, but that doesn't mean one can't get a single bag of groceries 2 or 3 times a week at any of the major supermarkets, especially if it's on the way home. Doing so will improve the quality of perishables, as most produce and meat won't be older than 2 or 3 days.

Some will understandably argue that increasing the frequencty of shopping trips will in and of itself be a hassle. But for those car-less folks(or those comtemplating such a lifestyle) who like to buy in bulk, car sharing remains a viable option for shopping trips.

Posted by: joh at May 25, 2010 2:00 PM

Willow - Yes, hauling a lot of groceries on a bike can be tricky. It helps to have sturdy racks and panniers. I don't often find myself in an overloaded situation (unless beer by the case is on sale the same day I need to buy a bale of TP !) mainly because I don't need to cook for a large family every day. Plus I prefer to shop the day I cook resulting in small loads, something I'd do even if driving.

Part of why we Americans like to shop by the SUV load is that our supermarkets are supersized. Just getting into and out of a large store takes significant time, so why not fill up the whole cart ?

For Rincon Hill the time disparity isn't so large. Motorists visiting the 4th St. Safeway require time to get into and out of the parking garage (as well as similar maneuvers on the home side of the journey). Cyclists get a bike rack right by the door. Yeah !

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 25, 2010 2:09 PM

"But I think that is a minor inconvenience in comparison to trying to take bags full of groceries on Muni or a bicycle."

Like anything else, once you've done it a few times you get better and better at it. And here's a real plus: in an elevator building, you bring your bike full of groceries right up the elevator and into your kitchen. You carry nothing. I shop for two adults and can get everything I need for the week in one trip. Then the bike gets ridden home and pushed straight to the kitchen and gets unloaded there.

Carry groceries in from your car? That's a major inconvenience that I can avoid entirely.

Posted by: tipster at May 25, 2010 3:16 PM

It has postpone, there developers. Singapore
showing around this area, with cash! And eager to
build condo extending 40fls. Since 2008 planning
has, allowed' up to 110fl. Stagnation in real estate this hard sell. In San Francisco I must admit: they [over] sold SOFMA. Besides SF, is no London,Dubai nor NYC just the city by the Bay.

Odd even the Urban Bay Properties have postpone.
Tower two due to uncertain market...Fifield
community. Which across the street may be sold
to new. Developer whom seeks, to get height increase. Back to 45 Lansings I guess just assumping. City needs the 8 million just a joke!

I favor the height increase you need. To sell more
unites get better yield. On top most locations good luck!

Posted by: Groversor at August 13, 2010 3:09 PM

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