November 7, 2013
Public Hearing For Twin Towers On Pine Street This Afternoon
The public hearing to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed development of 262 new condos, two floors of commercial space and parking for 245 cars in two 13-story towers on Pine Street between Van Ness and Franklin will be held this afternoon.
The 1634-1690 Pine Street parcel was originally proposed for development with plans for 282 condos to be built in a seven-story podium from which a 25-story and 12-story tower would rise but those plans were cancelled in 2007 having raised concerns among area residents.
"People don't want more residential. That’s what it comes down to," a San Francisco Planner was quoted as saying about the neighbors' concerns at the time.
∙ Plans For Two Big Towers On Pine Have Been Revived And Rendered [SocketSite]
∙ 1634-1690 Pine Street Draft Environmental Impact Report Hearing [sfplanning.org]
First Published: November 7, 2013 9:15 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Don't these people have jobs or lives? This city's direction is being run by unemployed paranoids.
Posted by: sf at November 7, 2013 9:48 AM
Since the election, I have been having increasing concerns myself about all of this unnecessary and unwanted construction around town. I was talking with my cat this morning and she agreed with me that this development should probably be topped out at no more than 85 feet, to prevent existing residents in the area from having a sad. If the developers do not give in to my cat's demands, I may be forced to put the question up for a vote. I have Art Agnos on speed dial.
Posted by: Adam at November 7, 2013 9:54 AM
Glad they are keeping the historic facade of the existing buildings. A friend's family owned the properties (from the lot to right before the Chevron) and operated their furniture business there. They originally sold to AF Evans and has since changed hands a few times. I did like the original AF Evans design a lot more, however.
Posted by: Serge at November 7, 2013 10:16 AM
I am getting so, so, so frustrated with the insistence on public feedback. And let me get this straight: in principle, I agree with it. If the public is not behind a particular development for rational reasons, it is important that channel exists. However, time and time again this city's populace (or, more accurately, a vocal minority) has wildly taken advantage of this privilege extended to them, voicing their disapproval based purely on personal, uninformed prejudice. We are proposing knocking down unused and underutilized buildings next to a central corridor on the city, to build something the height of which is already there (across the street, and then just a block away a higher hotel on Van Ness), in a severe and crisis level housing shortage and affordability problem. People's fears cannot, and should not, block effective and reasonable growth. San Francisco seriously needs to realize that for many of the "activists", they will never be satisfied with anything, and taking their accounts above those with expertise and knowledge of urban planning, economics, etc is strangling this city. Not development by development, of course, but the overarching trend.
And I totally understand keeping unchecked developers in line. But we cannot simply halt all development in a time where the city desperately needs every extra unit it can get simply based on an assumption that all developers are greedy.
Posted by: JWS at November 7, 2013 10:37 AM
Vancouver is often used as a model of how to do things right. SF is the opposite.
Posted by: Mark at November 7, 2013 10:44 AM
@JWS- Seems to me that a few decades ago the fight was to cap downtown office development. The argument went something like, office space puts a high demand on infrastructure/transit/housing resources, and we had no plans in place to make office development pay for itself or the "impacts". Things changed, office space annual limits etc.
Now some of the same people are making the same sorts of arguments about new housing. It only benefits a certain class of people, it has impacts, etc...
History repeats itself.
Posted by: Caps at November 7, 2013 10:45 AM
@Caps - In your opinion, do we need to cap residential growth in a city where it is impossibly clear we have a tremendous shortage of housing? I understand how some perceive that building new housing is only benefitting for the rich, but I feel those opinions are at best misguided, and at worst actually produce the opposite result.
I do agree about infrastructure concerns. That is not something to write off. But I think it needs to be very, very clear that there are two realistic options here: increase supply, or keep everything as is and continue to see home prices rise and the middle and lower classes priced out/evicted.
My understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong (this is honest, not snarky/rhetorical) is that one of the other concerns of capping building growth is that the market could not even absorb what was being developed. Until we start seeing data like that for residential, which I think is entirely unlikely seeing that 10+ offers are still the norm in most of the city, and that you still get 15+ applicants for most rentals, it looks like this city can easily absorb demand. Even if the bubble bursts tomorrow and we magically have extra inventory, then guess what? Our prices start to go down and maybe we will only be the #3 or #4 expensive city in America.
Posted by: JWS at November 7, 2013 10:50 AM
Everytime the public stops a new residential developement it increases the valule of my home. Thanks!
Posted by: Matteo at November 7, 2013 10:57 AM
I'm only going to support this development if I'm allowed to buy a unit for $50,000. Not worth supporting otherwise.
Posted by: anon at November 7, 2013 11:02 AM
And rents just keep going up and up and up. OH, and home prices too. Thanks.
Posted by: Bitter Renter at November 7, 2013 1:32 PM
congrats to my twitter friends today. all the new money in SF is a great thing for the city
Posted by: Spencer at November 7, 2013 1:52 PM
These apartments look grim and are too tall. If you look at all the newly completed blocks in mid-Market the same thing applies - out-of-scale and dreary. And the build-it--bigger folks support such dreck.
Posted by: JB10 at November 7, 2013 8:05 PM
JB10 - Can you please explain to us how this building is "out-of-scale"? I believe it's roughly the same size as the building to its south.
Posted by: Fishchum at November 7, 2013 8:48 PM
The building is literally the same size, if not a bit smaller and less imposing, than the building DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET. Across Van Ness, one block away, is a gigantic hotel that towers over this building. But let's not stop there. Let's go one block down Franklin. Franklin and Sutter, 12 story building. Down one block? Franklin and Post, 14+ story building. Let's move up a block, then. Oh look, Van Ness and California, 12 story building. Hmm, let's try going up once more. Franklin and Sacramento. I count 17-18 stories or so on that one.
Do you see the pattern here? For blocks, in either direction, are comparable large residential complexes, many of them actually larger or taller.
This building would be grossly out of scale in, say, the Marina or North Beach or whatever. On the blocks between Franklin and Van Ness? There is precedent for this scale development, and THEN some. This is exactly what I mean that community involvement in this city is so frequently uneducated and completely out of line with reality. We cannot be making planning decisions in a crisis level housing shortage based off of fear and uneducated opinions.
Posted by: JWS at November 8, 2013 9:23 AM
I have no issue with a building on the same scale as the one that faces it on the other side of Pine St, BUT lets be honest its along Pine St without an alley that can be used for loading.
If they are going to build such a large structure with that many units then it needs to have a drive through area that can be used for deliveries and loading else its going to have a horrible impact on the evening rush hours.
Posted by: Joseph A at November 9, 2013 2:55 PM
No. Nothing "honest" about that statement. Deliveries work fine in the parking lane. Just remove some street parking and paint the curb red.
Posted by: anon at November 9, 2013 5:26 PM