December 2, 2013

Kaiser’s Modern Mission Bay Building Slated For 2016 Opening


Speaking of Kaiser Permanente's moves in San Francisco, the development of Kaiser’s nine-story Mission Bay Medical Office Building at 1600 Owens Street is now scheduled to be finished in late 2015 with Kaiser operating out of the building starting in early 2016.

With no parking being developed as part of the project, Kaiser Permanente physicians, staff and patients will be expected to park in the existing 820 space parking garage across the street at 1670 Owens Street or find "other parking generally available in Mission Bay and [the] surrounding areas."


First Published: December 2, 2013 11:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Finally a really nice piece of architecture in Mission Bay. So far the new "city" has been a bleak landscape. Glad to see some wonderful color introduced to the area.

Posted by: Cody at December 2, 2013 12:31 PM

Finally, the question, "What would it look like if all the buildings in the Pacific Design Center in Weho were all stacked on top of each other?" has been answered.

Posted by: EJ at December 2, 2013 12:52 PM

I agree with EJ! What a strange mess of a building. A little bit of everything - maybe they were trying to satisfy the Planning Department! Awful!

Posted by: marvinsnephew at December 2, 2013 1:13 PM

The 80s called, they want their post-modernism architecture back. Seriously, this looks like the University Town Center buildings in La Jolla that were built in the 80s and 90s.

I guess if it is intended as a blast to the past, it is kind of mildly amusing but it is a bit too soon to be retro'ing that era just yet.

I don't hate it, I just don't love it. Like most of Mission Bay I guess.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at December 2, 2013 1:16 PM

Yeah, the massing is a bit screwy here. Any one or two of those design elements would be fine together but then you throw them all onto one building and it becomes an unfocused mess.

Posted by: Adam at December 2, 2013 1:33 PM

EJ - good one!

I also like a comment on the original article - "Looks like the Pontiac Aztec of buildings"!

Too bad this yuck is going to be right next to the freeway, for all to see.

Posted by: Sierrajeff at December 2, 2013 1:48 PM

Now that's ugly.

Posted by: sf at December 2, 2013 2:07 PM

Sierrajeff: Or worse: the Gremlin. Way too many design elements going on. Obviously designed by a committee. And no parking. OMG. They think all those doctors are going to ride their bikes from St. Francis Wood and Pacific Heights to work? In the fog or rain? Yeah, right.

Posted by: james jr at December 2, 2013 2:53 PM

How many architects are working on this at the same time?????

Posted by: whoa at December 2, 2013 3:13 PM

This is a really old design. I thought I read it was being redesigned.

[Editor’s Note: While it is a relatively old design and will be tweaked, having already been approved was a key points for Kaiser and the only reason they'll be able to occupy in early 2016.]

Posted by: gellan at December 2, 2013 4:07 PM

I think you overestimate doctor's salaries and where they can afford to live.

Posted by: outtahere at December 2, 2013 4:14 PM

Is there enough parking? Can the 1670 Owens garage handle Kaiser?

Posted by: d-b at December 2, 2013 4:30 PM

Yes, it wouldn't be Kaiser if it wasn't a combination of dull and ugly. At least I know they won't be raising my premiums based on any design budget.

Posted by: etslee at December 2, 2013 4:39 PM

Does it still include to top-level private condos?

I live in P.H and wouldn't have minded 10 floors of hospital to break the area height code, but def wasn't down with making an exception for high-end condos.

Posted by: Ted Rheingold at December 2, 2013 5:26 PM

And the E/W transit connecting 16th Street BART to Mission Bay is where? Is Kaiser exempt from TIDF?

Posted by: TransitNerd at December 2, 2013 6:24 PM

The Kaiser docs in Pac Heights can take the 22 Fillmore to get to (or at least near) Mission Bay.

Posted by: Dan at December 2, 2013 8:38 PM

The bottom picture reminds me of a Cuisinart.

I guess it matches the Sharper Image fan at Rincon One.

Posted by: jlasf at December 2, 2013 11:39 PM

The stairwell projection visible on pic one is awful.

Posted by: james jr at December 3, 2013 9:05 AM

Parking is terrible here already. This will definitely make parking worse! There is NO "other parking generally available in Mission Bay and [the] surrounding areas." If you are not in Mission Bay by 9am, you will not find any parking.

I'm surprised Kaiser is allowed to do this without at least underground parking.

Posted by: Daryl at December 3, 2013 9:22 AM

The E/W transit connection from 16th St BART is the 22, which according to the TEP is moving its endpoint from the Dogpatch to Mission Bay (but not for several years). UCSF runs a shuttle to and from the 16th St BART station as well. There's also the T from Embarcadero and the Caltrain station. And literally every other building in the area is a giant parking structure that usually sits half (or mostly) empty, Giants games excepted.

It's still ugly though.

Posted by: citrus at December 3, 2013 9:25 AM

that the most godawful building. Whoever "designed" that building ought to be ashamed. Can't blame the Planning Dept for this one, since it's in Mission Bay they have no oversight. It's all the former Redevelopment Agency.

Mission Bay has parking coming out of its ears. It has more parking per capita than pretty much any part of the city. Practically every other building is a parking structure. If you want to know one of the key reasons why MB is a dead zone of life, you need look no further than the overabundance of parking. No great neighborhood or City ever has such an abundance of parking. MB is what you get when you combine moderate urban densities with too much parking and a blank slate redevelopment/university-driven project where every building is the size of a city block: ultimate banality.

Posted by: uggh at December 3, 2013 9:31 AM

A medical office building with inadequate parking is, like the design of this building, close to the stupidest thing ever.

It's not about the doctors people. It's about the old and sick going to the doctor who will not be riding bikes across town and, in many cases, not even taking Muni.

This building sounds like an occult stimulus for the cab industry in San Francisco but I hope Uber gets the business.

Posted by: BTinSF at December 3, 2013 9:34 AM

Most cabbies I've talked to don't know where Mission Bay is, and the one time I tried to call for one there, it never showed up.

Posted by: citrus at December 3, 2013 10:26 AM

Not having parking in the building is all about "choice". Surely doctors and insurance companies will pass along the "cost savings " of not having to build or maintain parking to their patients?

Posted by: TransitFirst at December 3, 2013 10:47 AM

It is not unusual in the slightest for a hospital or medical office building to not have parking in the building or even on the same lot. Most of the hospitals and medical office buildings around town do not have their own parking in their building, whether it is the main Kaiser hospital or Pediatric building on Geary or UCSF facilities on Divisadero or at Parnassus. They all typically have centralized parking garages nearby within a block or two for their facilities. Mission Bay has oodles upon oodles of free-standing parking garages. There is no reason why Kaiser, or every building, should or needs to have their own on site. If you're so sick or enfeebled that you can't walk yourself from the parking garage to your doctor or surgery, you sure as heck aren't -- and shouldn't -- going to be driving yourself. God help us if you do.

Posted by: hmmm at December 3, 2013 11:00 AM

I guess some of these commenters have never actually been to Mission Bay. As has been pointed out previously, almost have the buildings are massive parking garages, never full except on game days, and this far from the arena, I doubt the already existing garage directly across the street is ever full, even on game days.

Posted by: lyqwyd at December 3, 2013 11:03 AM

In reality, the building design is neither good nor bad. Those are just subjective definitions of architectural design.

Kaiser typically builds very efficient facilities focusing on patient care, wayfinding, and maximizing the budget for value, and square footage.

Having said that, the proposed building COULD have been a completely generic box, with no articulation, no color, no variation in the fenestration. This building does, in fact, attempt to create an exterior form that is interesting, varied and expresses some functions externally. I give them and the architects credit for doing that within a strict construction budget.

Could they have designed it differently? of course.

Would any other design satisfy all design critics, armchair or not?


Posted by: Futurist at December 3, 2013 11:08 AM

Good lord, it's hideous! I didn't think that the architecture at Mission Bay could get an uglier.

Posted by: Bonnie B. at December 3, 2013 11:22 AM

@hmmm: Many sick or disabled patients are driven to doctor appointments by friends, relative or caretakers, not by themselves. But I cited "inadequate parking" for a reason--I did not say parking in the building. I was responding to earlier comments that say the available parking in Mission Bay is often taken up by those who get there before 9AM meaning there may be no spaces left for those with medical appointments later in the day, either in the new building, in the nearby garage or anywhere.

Your response sounds like the usual clap-trap by anti-car fanatics. The fact is that even in San Francisco some people need cars, regardless of who does the driving, and those regularly seeing doctors are among the most likely to be in that category. I'll say it again: A medical building without adequate parking (whether in the building or nearby), is stupid.

Posted by: BTinSF at December 3, 2013 11:52 AM

^^PS: If the later comment that there IS plenty of parking in Mission Bay near this building is correct, then I would withdraw my objections. The point is that sick and disabled people often need to be driven to doctor's appointments and there needs to be places for whoever drives them to park.

I have no personal knowledge of the parking situation in MB. I have no reason to ever go there. Even my own doctor (although I am one, I don't treat myself) is in another part of town.

Posted by: BTinSF at December 3, 2013 11:57 AM

I didn't address the parking issue in this building, but I agree with BTinSF:

We don't really know the reason that Kaiser is not providing any parking actually in the building. I am curious as to why. The reasons that BT set forth are obvious and real.

I hope the lack of parking is NOT because of the usual anti-car brigade that attempts to bully so many developers and City planners.

And yes, it is a stupid decision to NOT provide some parking in this project.

Posted by: Futurist at December 3, 2013 12:00 PM

There are two parking garages across the street. The UC one usually has at least two - three floors of available parking unless the garage is partially blocked off for the UC Regents meetings. The one by the Howard Hughes building is normally nearly empty from what I can tell.

Both across the street from the proposed Kaiser bldg.

Posted by: gribble at December 3, 2013 12:05 PM

@ BTinSF

820 spot parking garage right across the street.

The parking garage at Parnassus has about 1000 parking spaces. I could be wrong, but I believe Parnassus is bigger. The main building is 15 storiess, and there are a number of other very tall buildings that make up the hospital campus.

Posted by: lyqwyd at December 3, 2013 12:15 PM

Also, another garage 1 block away at 1625 Owens St, don't know the number of spaces, as well as an 800 space garage at 3rd & 15th, about 2 blocks away.

Posted by: lyqwyd at December 3, 2013 12:27 PM

The nattering nabobs of negativism are out in force!

Posted by: lark at December 3, 2013 1:02 PM

I work at UCSF and every time I've driven to Mission Bay there has been parking EVERYWHERE. There is such a gusher of parking that students and postdocs tell me that they often refuse to take the (free) shuttle from Parnassus because unless it is a game day, they are certain they can find free street spots to park their cars that are closer to their destination than the shuttle stop. I can't see any reason for Kaiser to add more parking under the circumstances. But even if there were, it is SOP for urban medical centers to centralize parking in garages anyway.

I was also injured and in a wheelchair for several months this year, during which time I was driven to Mission Bay and Mt. Zion for appointments, and I can testify that having parking at any particular building is completely irrelevant to the disabled. The person driving me would drop me off at the door then park. That was true even when there was an available street spot 20 feet away. I couldn't walk, so there was no parking close enough for me and there never could be no matter how much they built down there. As long as there was a drop-off zone and a garage within a few blocks for the occasions that the driver was a relative and came with me to the appointment, that was all that mattered. Even when I graduated to crutches, then a cane, walking from an on-site parking garage was simply not within the realm of possibility. And my experience, I assume, reflects why medical centers put all their parking in centralized garages.

Posted by: hyllas at December 3, 2013 1:12 PM

FYI, this is not a Kaiser designed building. It is a developer building which was already approved by the planning commission and building department. This opportunity entitled Kaiser to cut its development costs and also provide a shorter delivery time.

Posted by: ARC at December 3, 2013 11:07 PM

I agree with the bulk of the posters here that the lack of additional parking is a serious design flaw. The officials that are making the decisions might not want cars in San Francisco, but eliminating parking does not mean its not needed

Posted by: Joseph A at April 18, 2014 7:04 PM

@Joseph A, have you read comments from people who have actually been to Mission Bay? There is multi-story parking garage across the street that's empty most of the time. Can't believe there are so many clueless people complaint about parking without actually been there.

Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at April 19, 2014 10:49 AM

I'm an architect. This building is terrible. All circus, no restraint.

Posted by: Waden at April 22, 2014 10:16 AM

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