February 27, 2013
Fox Plaza And Approved Plans For Expansion Have Changed Hands
Last week a plugged-in reader and resident of Fox Plaza at 1390 Market Street received notice that Archstone Fox Plaza had been bought by Essex Residential Property Trust. The complex will now be known as Essex Fox Plaza.
The sale included the 443-residential units on the top 16 floors of the 29-story tower, the 407-car underground garage, the attached two-story retail building, and the approved plans to build an additional 250 residential units on the corner as rendered above.
∙ A Step Forward For The Plans To Expand Fox Plaza (1390 Market) [SocketSite]
∙ Approved Fox Plaza Expansion Seeks Extension To Break Ground [SocketSite]
First Published: February 27, 2013 12:00 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
However, Essex has no plans to build the approved expansion.
Posted by: James at February 27, 2013 12:26 PM
Too much glass going in... We need more stone.
The giant glass curves on the corner and back are gross enough, but the tapered cylinder thing needs to stop.
They just need to tear the whole block down and try something different.
Posted by: Rob at February 27, 2013 1:58 PM
Any way to raze Fox Plaza and start fresh? That is one hideous building and the design for the addition is so 80s. That whole stretch of Market, save a few buildings, leaves much to be desired. Or, at least give the tower a new skin.
Posted by: Mark at February 27, 2013 2:13 PM
Agree with Mark, a VERY 80s design. Didn't I drive by this building on the 405 in Orange County in 1988? Yesterday people were posting as to whether or not San Francisco would end up looking like Paris. Take my word for it, we have nothing to worry about as this city will not in ANY way look like Paris.
Posted by: AgainstRetroDesign at February 27, 2013 3:13 PM
To think what was torn down in the early 60s for THAT. Hate crime against architecture if I ever saw one.
Posted by: Mark at February 27, 2013 3:38 PM
Hey, Seems like can't have everything - beauty AND height. The old Fox Plaza should please those frequently calling for higher buildings.
Posted by: Wishes at February 27, 2013 4:34 PM
^Why? Because all we care about is height? Meh.
Besides, it would be nice to tear down the Fox Plaza building and build something taller, preferably with quite a bit less parking. Way too much in the current building.
Posted by: anon at February 27, 2013 4:56 PM
You can't tear Fox Plaza down. It's rent controlled.
Posted by: sf at February 27, 2013 5:03 PM
Of course you can tear it down, you'd just have to buy out the tenants or make some other kind of deal a la Trinity Plaza.
Posted by: anon at February 27, 2013 5:25 PM
I am one of the few that like the Fox Plaza. I like the fact that it is one of the first mixed use buildings in the city - office tower & residential tower. A lot of the dislike of the building is from the fact that the Fox Theater once stood on the site. The citizens of San Francisco had a chance to buy the property to be used as civic theater, but they declined - much to their regret. I do like the glass corner - cool. But I doubt that the design will be built. I'm sure the new owners have their own ideas about the site. Tear down the Fox Plaza? Why? Because someone does not like the architecture? Enough already! There are a lot of buildings that people don't like. Not every one can be pleased. As the saying goes, one man's tea is another's poison.
Posted by: J. Royer at February 27, 2013 5:38 PM
I don't dislike Fox Plaza either (although I admit pain when I see the theater that was once on this site). I hope the delay in building here will allow time to reconsider the 70's glassy thing stuck on to an otherwise OK structure. The proposed building would be so more interesting and in synch with the angled intersection if didn't try so hard. The flatiron triangular shape would pop with a less look-at-me, glassy, whopee! appendage.
Posted by: Invented at February 27, 2013 8:07 PM
If the Fox Plaza tower were taller and clad in white panels or reflective glass many of the "HIGHER!" , "TALLER", "More Density" crowd would love it. Since much of what we now call "architecture" is dictated more by fashion than good design, and we can expect many of the new towers that some think are wonderful will look dated and ugly 40 years from now.(Think One Rincon) Building things up higher is not the only way a city can increase density, and there are plenty of other solutions besides the wind tunnels created by buildings like Fox Plaza.
Posted by: GhostofFoxTheater at February 27, 2013 8:09 PM
People here complain waaayyyy to much about they way buildings look.
-"The old building has too much concrete."
-"The new building has too much glass."
-"Needs more je ne sais quoi."
-"OMG, it's not architecture enough."
Come on people. Really.
Just be happy we even have something like this to complain about.
Posted by: anon at February 27, 2013 9:44 PM
Wow... that appendage is FUUUUGLY. 1980's much?
Posted by: kg at February 27, 2013 11:57 PM
"People here complain waaayyyy to much about they way buildings look."
Uhm...that's the whole point of having a discussion board. It's one thing to offer an opinion (pro/con) about a project, but many of us provide suggestions or improvements because we have a vested interest in our city and community...within the scope of our power, of course. Stick to Yahoo! if your sole point is to make inane comments about people's serious comments.
Posted by: Mark at February 28, 2013 8:15 AM
The Fox Tower is iconic brutalism, which like Post Modernism, was a relatively short-lived and eye-of-the-beholder architecture. One thing is for sure though: attempts to "update" classic architecture of any kind always ruin its vernacular and ruin it. The only way to maintain Fox Plaza is to restore Fox Plaza.
Posted by: Future_Anonymist at February 28, 2013 8:38 AM
Brutalist, yes, but I don't know about iconic. There are a some brutalist buildings which actually stand out as interesting buildings. This one is just a weak imitation of the form. Maybe the original design was better but got value engineered down to what was actually built.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 28, 2013 9:45 AM
Can anyone tell us what the City received as the real estate transfer fee on this sale?
And what the property taxes were for the prior owner and what they will be for the new owner?
Posted by: bgelldawg at February 28, 2013 12:43 PM
I will be a bit contrarian. It's not the worst building in SF by a long shot. That title is held by the Jukebox Marriott and/or the Vegas Intercontinental.
But Fox Plaza gets worse as it goes down. The top residential floors form a clean grid pattern. Not bad. The next lower section, the office floors, lose any visual visual interest and look cheap. The real disaster, however, is how the building meets the ground. This is the most brutal part of the "Brutalist" style. It lacks any warmth or humanity. It has a charm that is only equalled by the street facade of the FBI Building in DC. (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_lXJrGnfsLA/USdlkiKxzoI/AAAAAAAAHSQ/iahkwAUYtac/s1600/image201110130647.jpg
Is the street level fixable? It might be worth a try. If glass awnings were added that continued the vertical lines, but allowed the building to taper out at the base; it might help. (http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x11/CanadianNational/north-east.jpg)
Then open up the base with glass facades and bright retail spaces. Add a grove of trees that are lit at night. It sure wouldn't hurt!
Posted by: jlasf at February 28, 2013 12:49 PM
The Embarcadero Center is good brutalism. Fox Plaza is no Embarcadero Center.
Posted by: James at February 28, 2013 2:09 PM
seriously, the new building is awful. please don't let this happen. Fox plaza is beautiful from across the street but awful at street level. Seriously, there has to be some plan that can solve both of these problems, and it really cannot be that tough to get one worked out.
Posted by: knock at February 28, 2013 6:32 PM
@ knock, kg, et al.,
You did see the first comment (as also reported by SF Business Times) that "Essex has no [current] plans to build the approved expansion."? Should bring some relief to several posters.
That said, I actually kind of like it. (There's no accounting for taste, especially mine. ;-)
[Editor's Note: Plans change quickly. And what a company says to a reporter and does in reality aren't always the same thing.]
Posted by: Mark2 at February 28, 2013 7:48 PM