October 25, 2012
350 Mission Street: Permits Issued For 350-Foot Tower To Rise
The permits to demolish the existing four story Heald College building on the site have been approved, and the construction permits for the Skidmore Owings & Merrill designed tower to rise on the coner of Mission and Fremont were issued last month.
∙ 350 Feet At 350 Mission (And San Francisco’s Planning Commission) [SocketSite]
∙ Permits Pulled To Raze And Rebuild At 350 Mission [SocketSite]
∙ 350 Feet At 350 Mission (And San Francisco’s Planning Commission) [SocketSite]
∙ EIR Today, Heald Gone Tomorrow At 350 Mission As Proposed [SocketSite]
∙ More Than Meets The Eye Behind The Opposition To 350 Mission? [SocketSite]
∙ Kilroy Realty buys development site at 350 Mission [San Francisco Business Times]
First Published: October 25, 2012 8:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
I love the design, especially the ground level open area. I hope it doesn't change too much in the value engineering phase.
Posted by: lyqwyd at October 25, 2012 8:40 AM
Can't wait for this gorgeous building to get underway. Hopefully, Kilroy will fast track it. Any rumors of 535 Mission finally starting up again? That's another one I want to see built this cycle.
Posted by: Turin at October 25, 2012 8:42 AM
Excellent! The Chubby Dude building will finally rise!
There's a lot of commercial construction starts all around the bay area this year. A good sign that developers see the economy turning the corner.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 25, 2012 8:45 AM
While I wish there would be more variation in height (for example less floor-size, taller in this case) this is a very handsome commercial building. The articulated windows make this otherwise blocky building reflective and light-feeling.
Separately, when Transbay, Rincon Mission Bay, & environs are built out -- wondering where development in City will be happening.
Posted by: Invented at October 25, 2012 9:41 AM
Socketsite is my favorite site, I read it every day and learn a lot. But its bearish theology is causing it to miss the frenzy that is happening in housing here in the city right now. Too much focus on downtown permitting.
Posted by: unwarrantedinlaw at October 25, 2012 10:01 AM
This is recognized to be one of the most thoughtfully and evenly curated sites -- it's very easy to see the garbage next door.
What are you referring to by bearish theology? Not enough posts about the poor?
Posted by: Invented at October 25, 2012 10:29 AM
Too much complaining by people entitled enough to believe that a free site on the internet should be custom tailored to the news they want to hear.
Posted by: Joe at October 25, 2012 10:31 AM
Great news and a great design. I'm also looking forward to 535 Mission to be built out. Hopefully the extra people down there will help offset the homeless encampments.
Posted by: Brad at October 25, 2012 2:23 PM
I'm hoping a lot of the empty lots get built out too. The homeless is getting to be a worsening problem in the nearby residential areas.
Posted by: TD at October 25, 2012 2:37 PM
I work in 45 Fremont and have mixed feelings about this building. One the one hand, I am glad. This will be a handsome addition to the neighborhood. Plus, the demolition of the Heald College building will also be a welcome relief from the homeless encampment that has moved in along the front and side of this building. On the other hand, I am sorry that our office will be losing the views towards AT&T Park and the South Bay. That's life, I guess.
Posted by: Patrick at October 25, 2012 3:28 PM
@TD, just curious -- how does building on empty lots solve the homeless problem? I agree it's a problem, but doesn't that give them fewer places to go?
Posted by: taco taco at October 25, 2012 3:37 PM
Not bad of a design. In about 20 years expect highrises to fill in the entire SOMA area, which is not necessarily a bad idea, if tastefully employed. With it, I would like to see another BART line through SOMA (connecting to the TTC) to help ease the foreseen congestion from jobs and residents alike. It would be a shame to have all this development with little or no transit improvements. Otherwise, all you get are underground parking structures and more cars clogging the already clogged streets.
Posted by: Mark at October 25, 2012 4:02 PM
Bart is not interested in adding more lines within the city. It gets a lot more bang for its buck by building out into the suburbs than digging in downtown SF. Mini might build another line or two but its already building the central subway so its unlikely to build another in soma very soon.
Posted by: OMN at October 25, 2012 4:26 PM
Bart doesn't get any bang for its buck by building out to the suburbs, which have high operating costs and low ridership. It's a question of politics, not return-on-investment.
Posted by: Alai at October 25, 2012 4:49 PM
@ Alai: agreed. It's unfortunate too since east of Van Ness has a density that rivals NYC. The Central Subway will not solve any of the city's transit problems, both current and projected. At least BART has the (cap)ability of effectively bridging high-density neighborhoods in the city as well as centers in the whole Bay Area region, but it acts more like a commuter rail than subway system with its exurban push. Sad.
Posted by: Mark at October 25, 2012 5:12 PM
the only BART stations that have enough people coming in and out of them to cover expenses are in SF, maybe one in Berk/Oak.
If Bart was smart and not politically motivated, it would be looking seriously at expanding in SF
Posted by: Joe at October 26, 2012 11:24 AM
The biggest choke point in BART's system is the transbay tube. There has been some study and wishfull thinking over the years of solving this problem by adding a new tube and a parallel line through downtown SF. However, that is a HUGE project and incredibly unlikely. Getting more out of the existing tube is the only thing that is going to happen for the forseeable future.
But Alai is completely correct about suburban expansion by BART. It's political, not ridershp based. The ridership is concentrated in the central part of the system.
Posted by: curmudgeon at October 26, 2012 12:33 PM
These last posts are more opinions than facts...
Look at the September 2012 on a weekday. One small example among many: huge traffic from Walnut Creek (WC) to the FiDi (EM+MT). Or from Daly City (DC) to FiDi and Downtown (EM+MT+PL+CC).
BART BRINGS people to downtown SF and also shuffles people from suburbs to suburbs.
The ridership numbers speak for themselves.
Posted by: lol at October 26, 2012 1:44 PM
^Did you even look at those reports, lol? you're singling out Walnut Creek to FiDi (a distance of more than 20 miles of track that BART has to service, etc), but neglecting to mention that Balboa Park to Fidi has almost double the ridership with less than a quarter the distance.
It's quite obvious to everyone (including BART itself), that new lines within SF would have much higher ROI. The reasoning for new extensions to exurbia is because the BART district is composed of three counties - and more than two thirds of the population of that district lives outside of SF.
Posted by: anon at October 26, 2012 3:01 PM
This site isn't equipped to cover the contemporary sf marketplace. The editor used tonrely on realtors to chime in with anecdotes about individual properties' markets. And then sit back while his coterie of never will haters disparaged the words they longed to read, as they would never otherwise know anything about the market at grassroots level. It is a funny little circle, but why should anyone in the trenches contribute at this stage? After such one sided editorial treatment? This site is woefully out of touch with the current market, and that is why. Look whose words get challenged by the editor, and whose do not. It is a silly joke. The market has been getting hotter and hotter since March, and you'd never know it from the words on this site. It is simply out if the guy's wheelhouse. And, well, pass.
[Editor’s Note: That’s right. The spike in rents we told you to expect a year ago has completely caught us off guard. The contemporary apples and neighborhood anecdotes we’ve recently featured showing strength in the market have obviously been cherry picked. And our advice to focus on the S&P and employment as the real drivers of the San Francisco real estate market is woefully out of touch. Now back to 350 Mission...]
Posted by: Anew at October 26, 2012 4:19 PM
Yes I have looked at the numbers. Thank you very much.
One thing I advise you to do: Add cells AT3 to AT27 (East Bay exits) and AT36 to AT46 (Peninsula exits). They amount to more than 1/2 of all traffic. This means that more than 1/2 of riders either come from or go to the EB. Pretty significant, uh?
Posted by: lol at October 26, 2012 4:40 PM
LOL at 1:44
You are correct that BART brings folks from many suburbs to a small number of downtown stations. Transbay Service is the majority of service, followed by West Bay service. Service within the east bay only is a distant third.
And while 7 of the top 10 stations (with at least 10K exits per day) are in SF, the strikingly low stations below 3K per day are: North Concord, West Dublin, Castro Valley, Orinda, South City. By any estimation, the capital and operating cost of a three station extension into the TriValley is a disaster, with two of the lowest patronage stations in the system.
Posted by: curmudgeon at October 26, 2012 4:54 PM
@lol - now add the number of route-miles for the same sections that you mention, which comes to more than 90%. Even if you assume that SF track/stations are more expensive to maintain than the rest, it's not going to be nine times as expensive.
No one is arguing that BART shouldn't serve areas outside SF. We're just saying that BART would achieve higher ROI on new lines in dense areas (like SF and the inner East Bay), rather than new lines into exurbia that pick up a 100 or so new people per day per route mile.
Posted by: anon at October 26, 2012 5:02 PM
Indeed, a few stations get only (gasp) around 1 Million rides a year.
BART stations outside the City get an average of 6300 rides a day. Some get double that, others get 1/2 that. It would be interesting to compare this to density.
Statistically, this is very interesting in terms of distribution. I think BART did a very decent job of maximizing the service they provide with the limited resources (compared to more developed systems, that is).
One element that can tell us how SF-to-SF transit compares to the rest is by adding all the EM to BP on 2 dimensions (cells AA28:AH35).
Total of SF-to-SF rides for September: 62,902
Total # of rides on BART: 402,955
That's roughly 15%. SF-to-SF is not THAT crucial.
Posted by: lol at October 26, 2012 5:17 PM
Again, lol, we're talking about what COULD be, not what is.
Compare BART to Washington Metro. Similar number of route-miles, yet Metro has nearly three times the number of daily users, because Metro has more stations serving the central core, and fewer out to places with almost no population density.
To me, it's amazing that SF-to-SF rides can be as high as they are, considering BART really only serves one of SF's dense mostly residential areas. A line out Geary, even only to Arguello, would likely get 100-125,000 daily riders and only be a few miles long.
Posted by: anon at October 26, 2012 5:21 PM
Yes, there's room for improvement. The current backbone is insufficient. We should have branching off towards Marin (through 19th Avenue and CC?), a branch along the coast through Pacifica (ever tried to find parking at Daly City BART? One of the reasons is Pacifica) and many more.
But for city-to-city, Muni also has its place. 5 years from now we'll probably look back and ask ourselves how we could have lived without the central subway which should/will be expanded. We need North-south, more branching off from the Market Street backbone. And we need it now ;)
Posted by: lol at October 26, 2012 5:37 PM
@lol - a line to Pacifica is more nonsense. Fewer people in the entire area than just the outer Richmond (let along the central or inner Richmond). 19th Ave would be ok, but no branch toward Marin - again, not many potential riders for the cost.
Basically, we need a line down Geary and perhaps a branch down 19th Ave to meet up in Daly City (it would mostly be for N and L riders to transfer to), along with a possible new line in SOMA and something additional in the inner East Bay. Anything else is a waste of money.
Posted by: anon at October 27, 2012 3:24 AM
My understanding is the the capacity issue with BART is not the tube, but the downtown stations are over capacity.
Posted by: UrbPlanr at October 27, 2012 6:19 PM
A BART expansion to Marin would be a very pertinent project. There are plenty of commuters who currently have to suck it up and clog our streets. Take VN, Lombard or Marina Bd at 5PM. Packed each and every day. A few lucky ones can take a ferry then their cars, but this is an antiquated way to commute.
Also, I said "through" Pacifica. Meaning going south from there towards areas that are not convenient for commuting and are therefore underdeveloped. Public transit not only builds on the top of urban expansion, but it is one of the major enabling elements.
But to take Pacifica specifically, it is a low density community stretched over miles. Commuting from there means driving, either to DC BART (to a saturated parking lot), or straight to the City. A BART branching would unlock some potential for higher density.
It's not about what we have now, but what we will have tomorrow. Otherwise we'd all still be using ferries to go to Sausalito or Oakland. It's an urban area. Public transit should go everywhere buildable.
Posted by: lol at October 27, 2012 11:55 PM
Through Pacifica? WTF? To where, Half Moon Bay?
lol, I am all for transit connectivity, but it's important to use the correct tool for each job. BART is heavy rail subway-grade technology using third-rail electricity. That is the most expensive transit tech out there to build, operate, and maintain. It's certainly worth it for very high-traffic areas, but that's it.
Building a 30 mile line to Half Moon Bay would be shear insanity. BART costs roughly $1 billion per mile to build on flat land above ground. A line along the coast like that would probably break $40 billion and serve what, ~60,000 total people between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay? Are you seriously saying that folks in San Mateo County will embrace high density with a BART line built - high density along the ocean!?!? It took years to convince them to build a 4 story building next to the South SF station. The areas south of Pacifica are not developed because of restrictions on development, they're not developed because development is heavily restricted in the area.
If we're going to put better transit in Pacifica, it should be express buses - the right tool for the job (you've lived in Paris, no? Take a look at that region for how to use the right tool for the job)
A line to Marin has been studied on several occasions - and sits in the neighborhood of $25 billion just for the Marin crossing. Again, an absurd number for the small number of riders and almost zero potential for densification.
Posted by: anon at October 28, 2012 9:10 AM
It's a chicken and the egg issue. These areas are underdeveloped and there's no transit there. Which one caused which. From the standpoint of how things work today, you deduct what can be done. This is very narrow. The Pacific Coast highway is packed with farmland which taken from a land use is very wasteful. SF's Sunset district was built on sand dunes. Bernal and potrero were grazing land. Expanding there seemed crazy at the time.
And I lived in Paris and know its transit system very well. Rail transit created cities. sometimes transforming villages into massive suburbs, sometimes creating them out of nowhere (Cergy, Marne la Vallee). You made my point.
Posted by: lol at October 28, 2012 11:32 PM
I'll add that with your level of thinking BART would never have been built. But planners in the 60s looked ahead and spent forward. Today it's all about smaller government and less taxes, losing focus on the bigger picture.
A dollar spent on transit will give growth and dynamism that will dwarf any expenditure today. If we were Detroit (shrinking city) I would question spending Billions. But we're the core of US expansion, for Pete's sake. If not here, where?
Posted by: lol at October 28, 2012 11:40 PM
You're not living in the real world, lol. Are you seriously saying that folks are willing to build and buy houses in Tracy and endure two hours commutes, but not willing to build in Montara and endure 45 minute commutes? (My sister lives just south of Montara).
The reason that farmland exists there is largely because most of the land has been bought by the Conservation Fund and other similar entities, then sold back to the farmers with deed restrictions in place. There can't be dense cities built there, period.
Next you'll be telling me that the reason that much of Marin is undeveloped is because the commute to SF is so bad (Ha!) and not because of explicit limits on development.
Posted by: anon at October 28, 2012 11:43 PM
You're just being ridiculous now - I'd be for spending hundreds of billions on transit, just not pork barrel subways to exurbia. I'd love to see $40-50 billion in subways built in SF, Oakland, Berkeley, and other portions of the built up areas, along with massive increases in height and density allowed.
I think it's a travesty that we haven't spent much more on transit - and I think that a primary reason for that is because of the wastefulness of BART (and in fact, that was one of the primary reasons that the feds got out of funding subways for a long time - BART and MARTA drastically underperformed their expected ridership after construction in the 70s, because they were subways to parking lots, rather than subways connecting actual urban places).
If we started building subways and interurban trains like they do in France, I'd be all for it (and I am a very strong proponent of CAHSR, in spite of its flaws).
Side note - LA is doing a pretty decent job with new transit, while we're building a $6 billion BART extension to some parking lots in the south bay (and maybe with a few billion more we'll finally get to downtown SJ!).
Posted by: anon at October 28, 2012 11:51 PM
The most likely way to attract more transit riders in the Bay Area is to expand within the existing urbanized areas. With the exception of the eastern half of SF and the City of Oakland, we have pathetic transit in the Bay Area. Yes, even more pathetic than Muni.
But infill expansion is very expensive. Cities are not going to accept aerial guideways and will push for underground. The cheapest way is to reuse an existing corridor. BaRT to SJ is being built on mostly a lightly used railway corridor. But even that was expensive with Fremont demanding that the line be tunneled *below* Lake E and then Union Pacific gouged like crazy to release their rail corridor.
The other class of existing corridors are freeways. Expand rail transit down the center of I-880 and HWY-101. We're doing it right now on HWY-4 through Pittsburg. And that's hardly an easy option as auto traffic on those freeways would be massively impacted during construction. And when its done you've lost two lanes of freeway. But now those two lanes can carry many times more passengers so the net effect is positive.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 29, 2012 8:48 AM
I'll get past the "not living in the real world" and "ridiculous comment" and answer your points.
About a 2-hour commute from Tracy vs 45 minute from Montara all depends on who's doing the commute and for what. Home prices in Montara are 700K. 230K in Tracy. This is not the same crowd and some people's limits will be 2 hour simply for economical reasons. The crowd that can afford 700K medians chooses to live there and could move to SF or much closer.
A BART to Marin and further would bring people from Petaluma, Napa, Novato, etc... I once turned down a tech job that was in Novato because of the long commute. Many knowledge workers will not accept being stuck wasting 2+ hours a day in a car. Noticed the corporate shuttles that serve as office space? They're there to address the gross inefficiency of our current transit system.
We have the best and brightest in the country moving around like in a mid-sized Mexican city. Time to upgrade.
Posted by: lol at October 29, 2012 10:10 AM
lol - your reasoning that housing didn't exist in farmland south of Pacifica was that the commute was too much. So now you're saying that only $700k houses can be built on empty farmland? I'm confused - the farmers there are unwilling to sell now to build houses, but they will when BART is built? I thought you were saying that no one wanted to move there because the commute sucked, but now it's because demand is so intense that housing prices are too high?
And again - all for upgrading transit infrastructure. It's a travesty that it takes more time to get from the Sunset to downtown SF than to get from Walnut Creek to downtown SF. We shouldn't continue to massively subsidize exurban expansion through BART extensions, when it makes a lot more sense to build more lines in the center and encourage massive upzoning around these new lines (and existing lines).
I say that you're not living in the real world because you seem to be completely dismissing the cost of these suburban extensions - most of the suburbs with recent BART extensions have demanded underground, really expensive subways. If we're going to do that, we should at least demand sufficient upzoning of the area around the stations to make the construction cost worth it (see Washington Metro for how to do this - the Maryland Red line stations or the upcoming Virginia Silver line stations)
Posted by: anon at October 29, 2012 10:32 AM
And I will again note that most undeveloped land in both San Mateo and Marin Counties have either explicit laws preventing development over large swaths, or individual conservation easements in place. Lack of development has nothing to do with lack of BART.
Posted by: anon at October 29, 2012 10:51 AM
Again, we have to see where we will be 20, 30, 40 years from now. BART is 40 years old and we probably expect it to last for much much longer.
An branch to Pacifica could make sense today, I think. Further South? I agree it's really a stretch, but who knows what the mindset of the people will be 40 years from now.
In 1972 did we expect people all around the BA would be so afraid of change 40 years later that they'd freeze BART in its current form forever?
In 1972, did we expect highly paid workers in 2012 would to want to live downtown while the lower wage earners would spend a lot of their time driving? Totally the opposite! Cars were for middle class commuters going to their office jobs and the inner city was for the poor. The BA will probably add a few million people. They'll need to live somewhere and move around.
Posted by: lol at October 29, 2012 11:10 AM
I think we agree on overall points, I just prefer to see new housing and transit added to existing built up areas (especially areas that have terrible transit now, but significant existing density), rather than assuming that people will want to ride trains 30-40 miles to get to downtowns...
On a side note - most important transit upgrade in the works? Electrified Caltrain. That'll get us the ability to have BART-like service up and down the peninsula.
Posted by: anon at October 29, 2012 11:20 AM
Hope they can get the $75 psf FSG rents to fill it up. Gonna need 1-2 big tenants, as that building is not ideal (view/layout wise) for a heavy multi-tenant project. Either way, good for Kilroy. This will be a great addition to SoFiDi.
Posted by: realist at October 30, 2012 10:29 AM
Really wish they built a taller tower to accompany the Transbay Tower. Its pretty sad how many of the towers that are being approved have been shortened. They had an opportunity to raise it as much as 700ft but they blew it. San Francisco skyline looks old while other cities build taller towers.
Posted by: aahuatzi at December 2, 2012 4:35 PM
They were knocking all the windows out this morning. The old building should be coming down very soon.
Posted by: shza at January 28, 2013 1:57 PM