August 21, 2013
Let's Get Ready To Rubble For This 52-Story Tower To Rise
As we first reported earlier this year:
Having acquired the Transbay parcel and approved plans to build a 52-story tower with 14 floors of condos over 400,000 square feet of office space and a spire reaching 800 feet, Silicon Valley builder Jay Paul plans to break ground on 181 Fremont as soon as possible.
While many have seen the renderings, for the first time we're publicly serving up the animation for the new tower which was filmed by steelblue for the Jay Paul Company. And yes, RocketSpace will soon need to find a new home.
Permits to demolish the buildings on the parcel at 181 Fremont have been issued and the Town
Hall adjacent site upon which the 52-story tower will rise has been cordoned off.
First Published: August 21, 2013 8:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
bye bye Millennium south facing views..
Posted by: Anon at August 21, 2013 8:38 AM
Posted by: mdg at August 21, 2013 8:56 AM
What about Transbay? They were supposed to break ground this summer. C'mon SS, give us the scoop!
Posted by: sf at August 21, 2013 8:56 AM
reminds me of a half-way version of the bank of china tower.
Posted by: condoshopper at August 21, 2013 9:04 AM
This is a great tower. Very exciting.
+1 to wanting updates for TBT.
Posted by: OMN at August 21, 2013 9:04 AM
Those condos are going to have some incredible views.
Posted by: JL at August 21, 2013 9:22 AM
Posted by: WH at August 21, 2013 10:33 AM
Demo is scheduled for tomorrow. I'm going to take a walk over there this afternoon. Coit is still working but close to finished. They're saying I should see a big difference. What a mess though!
There's another article w/ a rumor that Jay is interested in buying and developing the Malibu Raceway site in Redwood City. It wouldn't surprise me but sure seems aggressive given > 2M rsf in progress in Sunnyvale in addition to 181.
Posted by: Angelo at August 21, 2013 11:14 AM
This is going to make every member of the Save the San Francisco Waterfront group reflexively clench.
Posted by: bob at August 21, 2013 11:18 AM
Why, bob? This tower is like 6 blocks from the water.
Posted by: OMN at August 21, 2013 11:24 AM
Sure happy I didnt buy at the Millenium...entire building is being surrounded. Units arent that nice anyway...only thing going for them is there community lounge
Posted by: Invest at August 21, 2013 11:36 AM
Trust me, my wife is on [the Save the San Francisco Waterfront] list. They obsess about this site, and post every new building proposal to their list as further proof that south beach is going to be uninhabitable in 5 years.
Posted by: Bob at August 21, 2013 12:07 PM
So South Beach is going to be uninhabitable because too many people are there? That reminds me of another famous quote.
As for the building, it's one of the few proposals that I'd expect to find in downtown Singapore, Hong Kong, or Shanghai, eg, cities with modern, exciting building architecture. Another 5-10 of these in the general area and we'll actually have an exciting skyline.
Posted by: frog at August 21, 2013 12:21 PM
Town Hall looks tiny.
Posted by: Marcjkjkjk at August 21, 2013 12:30 PM
An exciting skyline is high on your list of priorities? Why?
I live in the city - I don't admire it from a distance. I couldn't care less what the skyline looks like.
Posted by: Denise at August 21, 2013 12:33 PM
Exciting architecture is important to me. When I've traveled to other cities, it's very much the architecture that creates a sense of vibrancy, a sense that the city is going somewhere. Yes there is the theory about the city with the largest tower is about to fail, but below that threshold, our structures should reflect both our location and our ambition. And since we already decided to build towers in Rincon Hill, they may as well be world class.
Posted by: frog at August 21, 2013 12:48 PM
Come on guys. Taller buildings are better than shorter for that area. More people is good. SF needs an infusion of urbanization.
We could use a dose of reality-based city government, too.
Maybe we can get Mr. Bloomberg to move here and run for office after he's finished with NYC. Bet he could clean up the homeless situation, the pension mess and teach our planning commission a thing or two.
Posted by: james jr at August 21, 2013 1:59 PM
"Maybe we can get Mr. Bloomberg to move here and run for office after he's finished with NYC."
Uh, no. I lived in NYC during his reign. No thanks. Please tell me you meant Giuliani. He turned around NYC in a positive way.
Why shouldn't we have exciting architecture? We're supposed to be a world-class city. As for making SOMA uninhabitable, it has been for decades. 3rd St. was a s*hole for years before YB went in. I'm not saying all the new development is spectacular or inclusive of all income levels, but if it means cleaning up blighted blocks and bringing in more residents to make the area 24/7 friendly then why not. Doesn't mean you have to live there, but other people may choose that option.
@denise: if you couldn't care less about the skyline then there is no reason to ask someone to explain why he or she finds the skyline exciting.
Posted by: Mark at August 21, 2013 2:47 PM
Come on guys. Taller buildings are better than shorter for that area. More people is good. SF needs an infusion of urbanization.
Isn't San Francisco is already the most dense city on the west coast of the United States?
More people is good when you have or are planning on building the infrastructure to support them. If you don't have the infrastructure to support more people, adding more people anyway reduces quality of life for both new and existing residents.
That said, the target market for these condos are the 1%, so that probably won't be too pressing a concern because a lot of buyers will be part-time residents or these units will be pied-à-terres.
Maybe we can get Mr. Bloomberg to move here and run for office after he's finished with NYC. Bet he could clean up the homeless situation…
Funny how certain folks on ss claim that the term Manhattanization doesn't apply to the phenomenon currently at work in S.F., but almost every time someone wants to negatively compare S.F. to another U.S. city, it's to New York City. When someone wants to say what S.F. should do, it's almost always using an example from New York City.
As far as "the homeless situation", New York City has inclement weather in the winter that tends to dissuade homeless people from living on the street year-round as is common here. Also i'd be surprised if New York had any law on the books like the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act that enables all manner of untreated schizophrenics, alcoholics and drug addicts to live on the streets committing quality of life crimes with impunity.
I thought that Rudy Giuliani, not Bloomberg, did the most heavy lifting on "the homeless situation" in New York City.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at August 21, 2013 3:08 PM
Yes, Giuliani did. We could use that approach in the Bay Area.
Posted by: Mark at August 21, 2013 3:42 PM
"Heavy lifting" is a nice euphamism for Giuliani's methods. I lived in NYC for 5 years of his era. People hated him (until 9/11). But sure, autocrats can reduce petty crime.
Posted by: shza at August 21, 2013 4:34 PM
There's always going to be tension between wanting a clean, livable city and being tolerant of the homeless/indigent population. It's kind of a litmus test for how liberal you really are. I consider myself pretty progressive, but the rampant vagrants in SF, especially the aggressive variety with the dogs, etc is a major turnoff. I'm all for doing something about that, but you have to be okay with the idea that it probably means making the city less hospitable to the homeless in general.
Posted by: pvc at August 21, 2013 4:45 PM
i'd love to see soma as a forest of towers, bringing an extra 100k people in, but the city has demand a better streetscape and pedestrian experience. most of soma is a hellscape and the sort of development coming in now really does nothing to fix that. we should look to vancouver's west end for an example of the way to go - high density, highly walkable hood.
Posted by: david m at August 21, 2013 4:52 PM
Just out of curiosity, Brahma, what is your income cutoff for "the 1%". In other words, at one point does someone make the leap from being in the 99% to the 1%?
Posted by: SFRealist at August 21, 2013 4:54 PM
@david m... you do realize the plan for the Rincon Hill area was modeled after Vancouver, right? Give it time to be built out. So far only 1RH, Infinity and Millenium have been built. We now have Lumina, 45 Lansing and the second 1RH tower under construction, add another 3-4 projects and the area will have a decidedly Vancouverish feel.
Posted by: chriso at August 21, 2013 5:02 PM
as of 2012, it took an annual income of approximately $370k to be a one-percenter (but the average for that group was $1.12 million).
Assuming most of these units are priced well north of $1 million it's probably fair to say a large portion of potential buyers will be one-percenters.
Posted by: pvc at August 21, 2013 5:32 PM
(1) I'd like to have more of an SF-ish feel to SF, rather than some other city. However, it's nice to base development examples that work, like Vancouver. Wish we could do that with transit.
(2) Back to Vancouver, I'd like to know stats on the average income of those living in the highrise west end. 1 percenters, 5 percenters, 10 percenters?
Posted by: Mark at August 21, 2013 5:36 PM
Vancouver has gotten very pricey. I'm sure the prices are comparable to SF.
1% of earners is different from 1% of wealth, too. Some buyers probably earn less but have money from other sources, maybe inherited, sold a business, had a bunch of equity from some other property, etc...
Posted by: pvc at August 21, 2013 5:55 PM
PVC let's assume the $370K is correct, although I wonder whether that's the Bay Area or nationwide. I wonder what percentage of people buying $1M homes have income above that level. And for the $1M per unit figure, is that known or a guess? An average or a minimum?
It looks to me as if it would be more accurate to say that this building is for the top 3% or top 5%. Rhetorically, though, that doesn't sound as good as claiming it's for the top 1%
Still waiting to hear from Brahma....
Posted by: SFRealist at August 21, 2013 5:59 PM
Yeah, I'd agree about the top 3-5%. I was just saying that probably a good portion of buyers would technically be one-percenters, but that wasn't based on a mortgage affordability calculation. Too many variables to really say across the board, but with a $370 annual income most could afford more than a $1million home.
And the 370k number was national and not vetted for any kind of accuracy.
Posted by: pvc at August 21, 2013 6:06 PM
Isn't San Francisco already the most dense city on the west coast of the United States?
On Wikipedia's List of United States cities by population density, which presents U.S. Census Bureau data, a few cities in the Los Angeles area rank higher than S.F. in terms of population density.
The most recent on-point data released by the Census Bureau, discussing “urbanized areas” of 50,000 or more people and not cities proper, says:
The nation's most densely populated urbanized area is Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., with nearly 7,000 people per square mile. The San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., area is the second most densely populated at 6,266 people per square mile, followed by San Jose, Calif. (5,820 people per square mile) and Delano, Calif. (5,483 people per square mile). The New York-Newark, N.J., area is fifth, with an overall density of 5,319 people per square mile.Guess that's why in the recent movie Elysium, the dystopic city of the future is supposed to be Los Angeles.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at August 21, 2013 6:15 PM
Funny how there ever could negative reactions to residential units being built in this city 100 feet from what will be the west coast's largest transit hub! Isn't this the definition of transit-oriented development?? As for the obsession with the 1%, the 5% or even the 10%, it's basic economics. Building a tower like this for condos is expensive. I just don't get the concern. There are plenty of rental units under construction nearby (1000 units alone mid-market) and less pricey condos under construction in other parts of this City. What do the naysayers propose? The City of San Francisco build inexpensive workforce housing? Oooops, they tried that in the 1960's and how did that work out?
Posted by: Grubber2 at August 21, 2013 7:44 PM
The west coast's largest transit hub? LOL. You mean a rebuilding of the bus station? No HSR, no caltrain, no muni, no bart. One day the city is going to implode due to lack of infrastructure improvements.
Posted by: anon at August 22, 2013 9:02 AM
Meanwhile there is already a completed transit hub in another West Coast city with direct interconnections operating between 3 subway lines, 6 metro link lines, 3 metro rail lines, numerous Amtrack lines, more bus routes than Transbay, AND High Speed Rail can be easily accommodated. Best of all, this OTHER city did all this re-using an existing historic landmark station and did not need to spend billions on a new structure.
Posted by: JustSaying at August 22, 2013 10:45 AM
^And yet it still has less combined traffic than three of the Market Street BART/Muni stations lol
Posted by: anon at August 22, 2013 10:49 AM
Give it time. Unlike us, they are expanding transit at a rapid pace. 2 additional subway lines and more Metro Links come online within 4 years. I am never surprised at San Francisco's knee jerk reaction to anything Los Angeles.
At least Los Angeles has a strong record of subway/rail construction in the last decade. The Wilshire extension will transform that city. I for one was impressed with their station design, public art, and lack of urine smell in their subways.
Posted by: JustSaying at August 22, 2013 10:57 AM
SFRealist: I didn't reply yesterday because I thought that was a troll.
I would think that anyone who was alive during the time when Occupy Wall Street was active wouldn't need any reference to what that phrase refers to, but it probably originated in an article by economist Joseph Stiglitz in Vanity Fair magazine.
It's not a matter of what my income cutoff for "the 1%" is, if a potential buyer is in the top 1% of the income distribution, they're in "the 1%" by definition. It's an arithmetic problem, not a matter of opinion.
I don't see anything really wrong with pvc's numbers, although he didn't specify the year those correspond to. In 2009, to get into the top 1 percent, you needed an adjusted gross income of just under $350,000 and yes, that's the national number which is entirely appropriate unless you think the buyers of these units are all, or even overwhelmingly, going to come from the current resident population of San Francisco.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at August 22, 2013 11:00 AM
@JustSaying - Oh, I agree with you that LA has done a great job with transit (or at least better than the Bay Area). Much of that is due to LA County covering 10 million people and a majority of the metro, rather than our balkanized nine county distribution for just over seven million.
That said, LA (city and county) has not done much better (if at all) of building up around new transit. That's the big reason that they don't have better numbers already. Failure on the land use planning end of things overrides transit, every time.
Posted by: anon at August 22, 2013 11:37 AM
I'm happy to see you agree it's a matter of mathematics. That being said, I think it's rather unlikely that this is a building for the 1% as you stated earlier. I think it's more accurate to say this is a building for percentiles 2-5.
(I'd wager that the true 1% who choose to live in SOMA are at the Four Seasons, St. Regis, and upper floors of the Millennium.)
Posted by: SFRealist at August 22, 2013 5:19 PM
They're doing the demo. Construction starts in November. Building to be ready late 2015.
Posted by: Michael at August 28, 2013 3:38 PM