March 5, 2012
8 Washington: Special Meeting And Votes To Approve This Week
With the replacement tennis courts having been shed and number of groups opposing the development, San Francisco’s Planning Commission will hold a special meeting this Thursday at 10 am to consider certifying the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and shadow studies for the proposed development at 8 Washington Street.
As proposed, the existing Golden Gateway Swim and Tennis Club and parking lot on Seawall 351 would be demolished and residential buildings ranging from four to twelve stores with 145 dwelling units, 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, 400 off-street parking spaces, and a new health club would rise (click either image to enlarge).
The health club would be situated in the northern portion of the site with the enclosed portion fronting the Embarcadero with an undulating roofline reaching a height of approximately 35 feet and planted as a non-occupied green roof. Green "living wallsʺ are also proposed for portions of the Embarcadero elevation of the building.
The Planning Commission is also scheduled to vote on a recommendation to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors to approve the reclassification of a southwestern portion of the site from the existing 84-foot height limit to a height of 92 feet in one portion and 136 feet in another in order to clear the way for the buildings to rise as proposed.
The Planning Department recommends approval of the project with the condition that parking for residents be reduced from 145 to 131 spaces, a reduced parking to unit ratio that is "compatible with the parking ratios permitted within C-3 Districts nearby, and would therefore be appropriate to the transit-rich, pedestrian-friendly context of the Project Site."
∙ Tennis Anyone? No Longer At 8 Washington As Now Proposed... [SocketSite]
∙ 8 Washington: A Chance To Hear And Be Heard This Afternoon [SocketSite]
∙ 8 Washington Street Project Proposal (And Renderings) Revised [SocketSite]
∙ Planning Commission Special Meeting (3/8/12): 8 Washington [sfplanning.org]
∙ SWL 351 And The Proposed 8 Washington Street Project: Port Hearing [SocketSite]
First Published: March 5, 2012 9:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
How tall does a building have to be to trigger a shadow study? Are we going to start doing shadow studies on four story buildings?
Posted by: Joe at March 5, 2012 10:12 AM
This would be a great addition to the Embarcadero and neighborhood; approve and build it please!
Posted by: Michael at March 5, 2012 12:33 PM
Yes, beautifully designed and scaled residential project. Love the green roof over the health club.
Let's get this approved and built!
Posted by: futurist at March 5, 2012 2:03 PM
@Joe: Anything over 40' requires a shadow study. Most of the city is limited that height anyway, so just the larger projects are affected. Prop K is a good idea that's terrible in practice.
Please build this project!
Posted by: jeremy at March 5, 2012 2:11 PM
Fingers crossed for this to happen.
Who is the biggest obstacle to overcome?
Posted by: wc1 at March 5, 2012 3:21 PM
I hope they plant flowers or succulents on the green roof instead of that horrible sod.
Posted by: sf at March 5, 2012 3:28 PM
Terrific project. Provides housing, financial benefits to the City and the Port, 2 new parks, a new health club, and gets rid of a surface parking lot and bedraggled old club. The opposition is the Telegraph Hill Dwellers (who are totally unaffected by it) who oppose everything that can be seen from Tel Hill; Aaron Peskin who is desperate to be a player again, and the usual assortment of NIMBYS who are afraid of change, period.
Posted by: Jim at March 5, 2012 3:42 PM
Yes! and Aaron Peskin is a serious obstacle to responsible growth and change to the future of San Francisco.
Posted by: futurist at March 5, 2012 3:59 PM
Nothing 136' high should be built that close to the water. 4 stories should be the max.
Posted by: anon at March 6, 2012 9:20 AM
SF is the only waterfront city in the world that keeps the maximum number of people from where they most want to be – the waterfront. BTW, this site has been zoned 84' for many decades. The developer proposed the building be 84' and the 18 month community planning process that ensued resulted in the request by the City to step the building down on the north end and up on the southwest portion, thus the resulting design. The nearest existing residential building is 250' and the nearest office building is 550. The building closest to the Embarcadero ranges from 48' to 70'. Hardly a tall building.
Posted by: JIm at March 6, 2012 10:00 AM
anon, you're aware that the Bay Bridge is over 500' high? It's pretty close to the water.
Posted by: James at March 6, 2012 10:03 AM
"SF is the only waterfront city in the world that keeps the maximum number of people from where they most want to be – the waterfront"
That's not true. That it "turned its back on the water" was one of the most common things said about Barcelona for many years, for one. And I'd put our Embarcadero development at the level of what Barcelona has done in Barceloneta.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at March 6, 2012 10:40 AM
Warsaw is another one. Cleveland is another one. Many cities have developed their waterfronts poorly over the years. New York City is another one. Its waterfront areas can be very depressing because of the highways encircling.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at March 6, 2012 10:42 AM
These should have been developed to a height of about 20-25 stories.
Look at Vancouver and Sydney as great examples.
Posted by: futurist at March 6, 2012 11:29 AM
Unfortunatley many US cities turn "their" back on the water. Seattle is probably the best example that I can think of out of state(imagine turning your back on the Puguet Sound; a real tragedy.). The best example locally is the utter disdain Alameda and Oakland has shown to the estuary. The estuary is just the size to hold you in its hands but has the urban presence to excite you with long views of the SF and Oaklnd skylines. It has the potential to be one of the most beautiful, vibrant little waterways in the entire bay area
I do think the scale of the Bay and the need to create a detailed,inviting social space calls for buildings to be stepped down as they approach the water.
It is true that Vancouver has done great things with high bulidings near the waterfront. But this is accompanied by incredibly advanced attention to detail at the ground (pedestrian)level. And yes, this accomplished with business, government AND citizen input. We simply don't have a sophisitcated enough planning process here in the states to trust allow anyone to build high near the waterfront.
Posted by: VancouverJones at March 6, 2012 4:49 PM
Good point, VanC: We simply do not have the sophisticated and deeply knowledgeable planning process and planners and planning commission to produce great work like one sees in Vancouver, as an example.
We are wrought with devisive characters, such as Aaron Peskin, and many others like him who resist any change. The archaic and hysterical Historic Preservation commission also slows and stops many projects.
There is so much we could learn from other cities.
Posted by: futurist at March 6, 2012 4:56 PM
The hearing was cancelled because the Rec and Park Department "forgot" to post the Brown Act notification on their website. Yea sure. Methinks they are trying for death by a thousand cuts, just like the City did to the America's Cup's plans.
Posted by: Jim at March 7, 2012 8:35 PM
Jim - so far, it appears as if the changes to the America's Cup plans have been coming out of Ellison's camp, no the city's.
Posted by: Fishchum at March 7, 2012 9:32 PM