March 17, 2011
45 Lansing Take Two: Latest Renderings And Smaller Units Proposed
Having purchased the plot of land at 45 Lansing from Turnberry which had entitled and targeted the parcel for 227 uberluxury housing units, this afternoon San Francisco’s Planning Commission will review the new developer's proposal for increasing the number of units in the building to 320.
While the building height would remain the same at 400 feet, the number of studios would increase from 3 to 99, one-bedrooms would drop from 111 to 93, two-bedrooms would increase from 77 to 128, and all 36 three-bedrooms would be eliminated. Average unit size would fall from 1,225 to 915 square feet.
As re-proposed, the number of parking spaces for cars would increase from 227 to 265 while spots for bicycles would be bumped from 69 to 93. And with respect to the butterflies, the Pollinator Garden will be maintained until start of building construction, as early as the end of this year.
∙ 45 Lansing Site In Contract, No Imminent Eviction For The Bees
∙ True Luxury Condos At 45 Lansing? [SocketSite]
∙ 45 Lansing Street Request to modify and re-entitle [sfplanning.org]
∙ 45 Lansing: Busy
As For The Bees As Another Extension Is Expected [SocketSite]
First Published: March 17, 2011 1:15 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Architecturally this is better than what is typical proposed in SF but I still don't understand why "conservative midwestern Chicago" gets Aqua and we get a residential tower that looks like it could be in any city circa 1999.
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at March 17, 2011 1:44 PM
I would say it's the NIMBYism & rule by committee. Everything here gets watered down until all parties are equally unhappy.
It just wouldn't be fair to have anybody happier than anybody else.
Posted by: lyqwyd at March 17, 2011 1:51 PM
Because we let multiple committees have their say about everything. In Chicago, the architect gets to do it his way as long as it meets the building codes.
Posted by: BT at March 17, 2011 1:51 PM
Well, to be honest this is a pretty elegant tall tower; yes it could probably be tweaked somewhat in the design process, but pretty nice.
And who says we have to have or even "need" an Aqua tower, like the one in Chicago. I saw that recently up close, walking around it, and yes, it's VERY tall..but the curvy facade is not all that "world class"..
It's just different.
Posted by: noearch at March 17, 2011 1:58 PM
Very appropriate height and design for the location. Also, I like the fact it looks like a residential tower. A lot of the recent residential towers (Millennium Tower, ORH, etc.) could pass for office buildings.
Posted by: gellan at March 17, 2011 2:06 PM
Well, that might help the developer market these condos.
1M condos don't sell as well as 700K condos nowadays. By lowering the size, they also have a chance at maximizing $/sf. Plus the HOA dues on 265 units will probably pull more than 227.
Then again, if "uberluxury" is their target, this usually comes with high square footage.
Posted by: lol at March 17, 2011 2:07 PM
@Noearch ... I do like the Lansing tower. I just know I have seen it a several times in the last 10-15 years in almost every major city I have visited.
Aqua may not be world class but it is unique to Chicago. Combine Aqua with Trump, Hancock Willis (formerly Sears) towers and dozens of other buildings by Gehry, Van De Rohe, Sullivan, etc and you get an amazing array of architecture.
I mean Chicago has a red skyscraper, the CNA Building. A RED skyscraper!
Beyond the Transamerica pyramid I can't think of a another stand out building on the SF skyline.
The other thing is Chicago has somehow focused on high density, provacative, buildings, adding open space through out the city, and greening (500k trees planted in 10 years, a green roof program, a green alley program) all at the same time.
SF, on the other hand, seems focused on keeping store fronts and lots vacant. The only additional green space I have seen is very small efforst such as the parklet program (which is great but ...), and there seems very little push from the city to rip up some of the concrete and put back some CO2 abosrding, heat island reducing, "gee isn't this why we love CA" greenery.
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at March 17, 2011 2:17 PM
Yawn. Haven't we decided this part of town is dead? Well at least it looks like it might be starting to come back with this new addition. Albeit I liked the idea of uber-luxury. Regular luxury tends to bore me...
Posted by: Ryan at March 17, 2011 2:30 PM
I think additions are the key. When the day comes where there are 20,000 residents south of Market and east of 5th St., stuff will appear. Buildings like this are key for that eventuality.
I'd love it if this has increasingly wide floors as you go up, like 999 Green, but that seems to only be an artifact of some fake fisheye rendering.
Posted by: EH at March 17, 2011 2:44 PM
That last paragraph that badlydrawnbear wrote above is sadly very true. The parklet program is a joke in terms of functional green space and mainly serves as a handout to favored coffee shops. Instead of bringing in new businesses so that empty store fronts and lots are being used, the city focuses on strange things like a Pet Food and Fast Food District that doesn't allow new pet stores and fast food restaurants, and other policies that serve to entrench a less competitive environment for existing businesses who have no incentive to become better (e.g. Noe Valley restaurant district). Instead of creating policies that encourage cheaper housing for everyone, the city creates policies that directly increase the cost of housing for everyone and then asks private parties to subsidize housing for lower income people.
The policies here are not meant to encourage growth or change, with the exception of some of the buildings on Mission Street near Montgomery and Embarcadero stations. Disneyland for the rich is how the NIMBYs like it.
That all said, this particular building is not that bad except for its blocky base. It would be nice if some of these buildings focused more on street-level, as many of the buildings in Chicago do.
Posted by: sfrenegade at March 17, 2011 3:20 PM
Yes, I'm not a big fan of the parklet program, and have been criticized for my lack of support. They mainly serve a few well connected coffee shops, and are pushed strongly by the bike people. I'd rather see the time and money spent on street trees and permanent curbside planting.
These new towers are key to developing this neighborhood. As more people move here to live, most shops and retail spaces will happen.
Posted by: noearch at March 17, 2011 3:27 PM
If we are going to get on this urban greenery thread again, PLEASE someone work on how to reform the fascist sidwalk policies in this town. They just came through my neighborhood again and marked every slab that had even a hairline crack in it with a dot indicating it has to be replaced. This can't be a safety/legal issue, and it works completely against the values of urban greenery because it scares people from ever planting street trees. I'm convinced the pavement contractors give kickbacks to the pavement inspectors....
OK...that was a complete thread hijack; back to our standard programming.
Posted by: curmudgeon at March 17, 2011 4:10 PM
Actually, having your sidewalk marked with dots for repair can be a good thing for greenery. We had ours marked 3 years ago, and applied for a permit to add much more greenery and less concrete. Instead of just replacing our sidewalks square for square, we replaced only the minimum code width, which generally is 6' wide. the rest with new landscaping and trees, and permeable paving.
A property owner does NOT have to replace the same amount (area) of old concrete with new concrete. Check the DPW website for more info or contact Friends of the Urban Forest.
Posted by: noearch at March 17, 2011 4:16 PM
I'm surprised nobody mentioned that One Rincon Hill was rendered backwards :D
Posted by: doot at March 17, 2011 4:19 PM
The parklets are generally quite popular, and are not of benefit merely to cafes and cyclists. In fact they're not particularly valuable to cyclists: a couple bike parking spots, big whoop. And for the ones in front of cafe's they are of benefit to just about anybody who uses the sidewalk, as it keeps patrons out of the path of pedestrians.
Every one I've been to has been quite nice, and I walked, took the bus, or drove to them. See link for info on already built parklets.
But yes more treas, and much more ambitious greening throughout the city would be highly desirable.
@curmudgeon: agreed, especially when the city can't keep the streets in decent condition, it's insulting that property owners have to fix sidewalks that aren't even a problem. What's also ridiculous is that it seems completely arbitrary as there are plenty of sidewalks with terrible condition that don't ever get marked.
Back to the building, I don't personally think it's particularly bad, but it's certainly not an architectural marvel (neither is Aqua, but at least it's interesting).
Posted by: lyqwyd at March 17, 2011 4:31 PM
Not a fan of the new plan. These units are too small and not at all family friendly. Don't we gave anough 1100 sq ft units down there already?
Posted by: kathleen at March 17, 2011 4:34 PM
"Every one I've been to has been quite nice, and I walked, took the bus, or drove to them."
UR doin' it wrong. :)
Posted by: sfrenegade at March 17, 2011 4:42 PM
hehehe... I mean drove to the general area, and then stopped by when I noticed it.
Posted by: lyqwyd at March 17, 2011 4:46 PM
@sfrenegade, that is a hilarious link by the way!
Posted by: lyqwyd at March 17, 2011 4:49 PM
Assuming that this building were ever built, does anyone know who owns the lot on which the Union 76 gas station sits? It seems to me that there is no way a developer would invest in residential high-rise development that is marketed as "uber-luxurious" if the expectation were that this gas station would remain in its location.
Without mincing words, it would literally be sharing the property line(not just generally next to the building).
Posted by: RH_Res at March 17, 2011 4:55 PM
Something's wrong with the top pic. The building to the left should be ORH, but it looks like Millennium.
Posted by: Fish at March 17, 2011 5:48 PM
Could the building on the left be 2 Rincon?
Posted by: Dan at March 17, 2011 6:14 PM
The gas station is incredibly profitable. When planning was upzoning the area Union 76 said they didn't plan to ever develop it, so 45 Lansing got the height. It would make more sense on the corner -- Lansing street is way too small (one lane in one direction) to have a building that size mid-block.
Posted by: Sam Spade at March 17, 2011 6:51 PM
Who is supposed to buy uber-luxurious studios? The Infinity Towers and Rincon are largely vacant, and their prices have dropped.
"Uber-luxury"???! WTF does that mean? especially in a world where "luxury" is applied to towels and countertops. ANd why do architects insist on putting tiny balconies on skyscrapers. It's San Francisco, it's never warm enough to sit on the balcony and they're too small to put anything but a hibachi on them. They're a row of little blisters.
Posted by: MCM at March 17, 2011 11:04 PM
Oh, and the parklets are kind of ugly. At $38,000 each, the cost of keeping a real rec center open one more day all year long or doing delayed maintenance on a real park, they are also wasteful.
Posted by: MCM at March 17, 2011 11:08 PM
MCM, I don't understand what Überluxury is supposed to mean, either, but I'm sure the developer would say that The Infinity and Rincon are both mere everyday luxury. Here's the relevant quote from the above-linked-to socketsite post that I assume is the original developer:
the project…would be the most upscale development the new neighborhood has seen, with “exotic” marble baths, Italian Snaidero cabinetry, Gaggenau cooking appliances, Jacuzzi hydrotherapy tubs with built-in TVs, individual security systems, and 12-foot penthouse ceilings. He said prices have not been set, but compared it to the Turnberry Ocean Colony project in South Florida, which is priced between $1.8 and $4 million per unit.
Obviously things are going to play out a lot differently with smaller units and post-credit-bubble-popping financing availability suppressing demand somewhat.
And the tiny balconies aren't supposed to be functional, they're more aspirational. They aren't supposed to actually provide anything, they're just supposed to give you a sense that something special could happen because the proper environment is present. When you see a unit that has one, you're supposed to envision yourself having one of those deep, meaningful emotional conversations with your significant other, like all those movies in the 80s where Tom Hanks' character pursues Meg Ryan's. That's why they aren't deep enough to be functional, you're just supposed to be able to envision yourself standing there, leaning on the railing and looking out at the view while your partner talks about commitment.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at March 17, 2011 11:31 PM
@ BadlyDrawnBear: "Beyond the Transamerica pyramid I can't think of another stand out building on the SF skyline." How about the next two tallest: 555 California - BofA - and 345 California - Mandarin Oriental?
Posted by: flaneur at March 17, 2011 11:47 PM
One Rincon Junior!
At least it's not as bland as the big banal. But that's a lot of vehicle traffic for the guy/lansing loop to absorb.
Posted by: Delancey at March 18, 2011 12:10 AM
"and all 36 three-bedrooms would be eliminated"
Reminder: San Francisco -- we don't build for families. This is a transitional, corporate city and if you happen to have a kid, Marin and Orinda will beckon as soon as the kid is 3-4.
Unless you're poor - plenty of fam housing.
And SF loses the deeper & enduring fabric of the city as we don't build for the generations.
Posted by: invented at March 18, 2011 8:31 AM
The Noe Valley park at Noe and 24th would have been great. But a bunch of loudmouth NIMBYs ruined it. Instead Noe got a crummy parklet. When the city tries to do something by fiat, all hell breaks loose. So enough with the Chicago comparisons. The two are not comparable political environments.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at March 18, 2011 8:52 AM
The economics behind 3 Bedrooms are pretty challenging.
A 3 Bed can typically fit in 1500-1800sf. Families need loads of storage, therefore this is very conservative.
Building anything in SF costs way more than in the burbs. The land also is very pricey.
This means that decent 3 bedrooms in new construction cannot be decently sold for less than 700K for the cheapest. Nobody will work for free or put capital at risk if there is no prospect for some kind profit.
700K is beyond the reach of the median SF family.
Of course you have property selling under replacement cost. Load of them actually. There's always this alternative.
Posted by: lol at March 18, 2011 8:58 AM
Delancey - I agree with you about the additional traffic for the Guy/Lansing loop. Wouldn't the developer put a garage entrance on Harrison as well to mitigate this?
Posted by: Fishchum at March 18, 2011 10:20 AM
700K is beyond the reach of the median SF family.
but the problem is then they slap together a 700 sq ft 1 BR and then price that at $700k.
I feel like a bunch of $700k two to three bedroom places with entry to moderate level finishes would be more flexible than a bunch of $700k studios and 1 BR places with high end finishes.
as for Chicago, I'm not sure why people are surprised that their architecture is more cutting edge in general than SF. First, it's the birth place of the skyscraper and is very proud of that and thus the city encourages more(unlike SF). Also, rules/regs/planning is so much easier there which allows for experimentation and pushing the envelope. (again, unlike SF). Third, the lack of earthquakes helps too!
Chicago has about as much in common with the surrounding conservative midwestern areas as SF has with Bakersfield and Fresno.
Posted by: ex SF-er at March 18, 2011 10:28 AM
It's not the most innovative architecture in the world, but hey, it's fine. And I'd think that any/all SF'ers would be in favor of plans that increase parking, right?
Posted by: MH for Movoto at March 18, 2011 10:43 AM
The unit mix, while designed to spread HOAs, is wrong. The original mix was probably wrong too but this is really wrong. There need to be at least some 3 bedrooms. I agree with the comment about building for families. Also, these studio and 1 bedroom units are TINY. Anyone else notice that some look like they are no more than 10-12 feet wide? Horrible. Just a long and narrow shoe box. You have to design for people, not rats.
Posted by: Dede at March 18, 2011 12:20 PM
Always surprised by the fact that people this San francisco is forward thinking with its architecture.
Uber conservative midwestern Chicago is LEAPS and bounds ahead of SF.
I honestly think SF is probably the most architecturally conservative "big" city in the US
Posted by: Joe at March 18, 2011 12:38 PM
I don't know anyone who thinks SF is forward thinking with it's architecture.
Posted by: gellan at March 18, 2011 1:36 PM
It's probably safe to assume that pale yellow facade is some form of stucco or cement plaster...
Posted by: JYL at March 18, 2011 2:30 PM
Stucco 400ft high? I hope not. I'd bet for concrete...
Posted by: lol at March 18, 2011 2:58 PM
Seriously doubt if it's stucco that high up; generally not done. If the building is a concrete frame, then it could be painted concrete with a waterproof finish...or it could be metal panels.
Posted by: noearch at March 18, 2011 3:04 PM
"How about the next two tallest: 555 California - BofA - and 345 California - Mandarin Oriental?"
Flaneur: I think 345 California does have some visual interest but hardly a masterpiece. And as for 555 California...It would fit perfectly in downtown Century City. Both these examples would be utterly anonymous in the Chicago skyline. San Francisco is a city known for many things. Hi-rise architecture however is certainly not one of them.
Posted by: Willow at March 18, 2011 4:44 PM
Ueberexclusive studios? Surely you jest. This is will have only 3 types of people: (1) very young yuppies (i.e., no family, too poor to afford a 1BR); (2) old (probably single) people; and (3) some section 8 types that the commission will ram down the developer's mouth in exchange for the permission to change
Posted by: halpern at March 18, 2011 4:59 PM
While Turnberry had originally targeted the parcel for a building with 227 "uberluxury" condos (our characterization as such we thought would be apparent to those following our link above), based on the new developer's proposal for unit mix ("more affordable to a wider range of typical San Francisco condo buyers"), we're pretty sure an "uberluxury" product isn't what they have in mind.
Posted by: SocketSite at March 18, 2011 6:07 PM
The Infinity Towers and Rincon are largely vacant
Really? I'll let the thousand or so people living at the Infinity know.
Posted by: anonny at March 19, 2011 1:52 PM
"The original mix was probably wrong too but this is really wrong. There need to be at least some 3 bedrooms. I agree with the comment about building for families. Also, these studio and 1 bedroom units are TINY."
Would have been great to keep (or bring back) some 3 bedroom units - shouldn't the City be about building in diversity?
But great to have more studios - particularly some with outdoor space as that is very rare. Unfortunately, the layout is not well thought out on a couple of the plans. The only way anyone is going to sleep with one's head that close to a refrigerator compressor cutting in and out all night is with earplugs!
Posted by: GoodBuyBadTimes at March 20, 2011 1:58 PM
In response to some of the statements here, the proposal states:
1) The garage entrance will be on Harrison St. Lansing will be mostly for pedestrians.
2) The sides of the building will be aluminum and glass.
3) The affordable housing will be through an in lieu fee; there will be no subsidized units on site.
Posted by: Dan at March 20, 2011 9:26 PM