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With Mission Bay Block 5 across the street having effectively burned to the ground, and the surviving half of the Mission Bay 360 Project rising on Block 11 in the background above, a request for proposals to develop Mission Bay Block 6 East which fronts Fourth Street from China Basin to what will be Mission Bay Boulevard North is in the works.


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The proposal for Mission Bay Block 6E calls for a non-profit developer to build up to 98 affordable housing units on the 47,000 square foot parcel along with 8,800 square feet of retail along the Fourth Street corridor, wrapping around the corner onto Mission Bay Boulevard and what will one day become the Mission Bay Commons Park.
The maximum building height for Mission Bay Block 6E was set at 90 feet.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Sam

    Good thing we have the T line, and are spending billions to extend it to Chinatown. Really makes that worthwhile when buildings up to a whole 90 feet can exist near it.
    Why is the city sticking with the zoning plan here?

  2. Posted by Futurist

    Ah, perhaps because the zoning plan that is in place was approved and IS the legal plan.
    We don’t need taller buildings in Mission Bay. Not every neighborhood must be full of high rises.
    Besides, there are other taller projects in the pipeline here, esp in the Giants parking lot.

  3. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    The Giant’s SWL lot is going to face opposition from the “No wall” forces and isn’t a done deal. So if you can’t build tall in Mission Bay, SWL lots, eastern SOMA, and most of the rest of the city, where do you?

  4. Posted by Sam

    So we have short but huge buildings, what are we, downtown DC?

  5. Posted by Futurist

    Of course it’s not a done deal, so you don’t know the outcome. It is possible.
    As for areas to build and continue to build high rises, you can start with those areas ZONED FOR IT.
    Downtown, Rincon Hill, Vanness, Vanness/market. Lots of areas available.
    I like the scale of Mission Bay right now, and it’s not like it’s ALL 4-5 story buildings. Did you think about the 2 towers at Madrone? Oh wait, I’m sure they are not tall enough for you.

  6. Posted by the wolf

    mission bay looks short and squat and terrible, like some soviet era housing project.

  7. Posted by Mark

    @the wolf: precisely.
    Ah, Futurist… the one who also thinks the western SOMA plan makes sense. Pay no mind, folks.

  8. Posted by Futurist

    And ah…wolf..You can complain all you want about Mission Bay or the western SOMA plan, but they were debated and planned and designed for YEARS. Many urban and design professionals were involved as well as the public.
    They decided the outcomes, height limits and zoning. Long ago. Were you part of the process?
    Mission Bay is being built out to the plan, and it’s a good one.

  9. Posted by Sam

    To be fair, Mission Bay was planned out in a time period far removed from the current reality. It’s continued relevance is pretty suspect, and decades from now will be discussed alongside other classic San Francisco planning disasters.

  10. Posted by RobBob

    Sam, I agree. But at least the planning department is trying to correct their errors by upzoning along the central corridor and in the Caltrain yards if those ever get sold. Once a plan is approved it is quite difficult to change as it would redoing years of planning, community sessions and CEQA studies.
    Without a massive change in how the city functions I don’t see how this could change without each new building proposal asking for special height exemptions which the city would use as a leverage point to extract more concessions from developers. It might not be worth their time and effort especially if in the end it gets opposed at the ballot box and years are lost.

  11. Posted by zig

    hey it could be worse. In San Mateo Country they have heavy rail BART stations next to cemeteries, malls and big box stores but like the Futurist says this is what the zoning prescribes and therefore like Moses on the mountain we must abide and not discuss

  12. Posted by sf

    Futurist just dug his own grave. He just admitted that Mission Bay and Western Soma were planned for YEARS (emphasis his). I.e. YEARS AGO, when there was not an imminent housing emergency. Of course futurist constantly spouts off proudly about keeping rental buildings vacant, so the best intentions for the city are not of his concern, so his discussions should always be seen through the lens of “I got mine, to hell with the world.”

  13. Posted by Sierrajeff

    So, all of you criticizing Futurist’s quite factual note that the Mission Bay plan was crafted via the full standard excruciating “public meeting” process… what do you propose instead? Are you proposing to re-start this process? Or are you proposing that after years of work to develop the plan, the City just ignore it and grant exemptions left and right? (Which, by the way, is pretty much a sure-fire way to get the NIMBYs riled up and to the ballot booth.)

  14. Posted by sf

    Absolutely, the plans should be redone. God told me he was fine with it. As long as I asked mom first.

  15. Posted by anonandon

    Agree with Futurist’s comments as well in that this was planned and talked about for years and heavy input was also given by the SFMTA as well as a strong voice to existing business owners. These are neighborhoods that went nuclear just recently when additional parking meters or “smart” meters were proposed on many additional streets. Remember, many citizens are not in agreement with the Chicago/Manhattan fantasy skylines dreamed about by so many comment writers here on Socketsite.

  16. Posted by the wolf

    “They decided the outcomes, height limits and zoning. Long ago. Were you part of the process?”
    No I was working and creating jobs and providing for my family. unfortunately these meetings are filled with middling intelligence city workers and unemployed or underemployed people who don’t have the wherewithal to plan beyond 2 yrs in the future

  17. Posted by MSTBLD

    The heights in Mission Bay were established to protect the Bay views of the residents of Potrero Hill curtsey of their most powerful resident former State Sen. John Burton. Much of the motivation of the current initiative campaign is for the same reason with Potrero Hill residents Art Agnos and John Burton leading the effort.

  18. Posted by Futurist

    @ sf. your comments continue to be weak. Even you know that Mission Bay was planned years ago.
    AND: it has absolutely nothing to do with what you call a “housing emergency”. A what?
    Oh wait, what you really mean is just the housing market reacting to DEMAND and DESIRABILITY. Yea, that. There is no emergency. Well, ok maybe there is to those who want a nice new condo or house at a cheap price, and want to be in the hot neighborhoods, and nowhere else. Yea, there’s that.
    A long term urban planning solution isn’t put in place only to be changed and modified to suit the changes in economy and need. It’s called a long term “plan” for a reason.
    @ the wolf: Well, I’m sorry you had neither time nor interest to raise your concerns at these meetings. I was also working and making a living, and found time to attend some meetings and make comments.
    We all make choices. Mission Bay is becoming a great, new SF neighborhood. My advice: buy in Dogpatch now or further south. It’s only going to get better and more expensive.

  19. Posted by timbad

    with solid 5-7 stories minimum, and a few higher towers (Madrone, Sol, Arden, which people seemingly forget, ignore, or are unaware of), MB is denser than most SF neighborhoods, and was probably the tallest that was politically possible, given opposition from up the hill during its planning. also, given that it’s landfill, maybe a bunch of highrises wouldn’t have been the best plan, either. I do hope the Giants’ plan and Pier 70 get built unscathed, which will also help.

  20. Posted by Pfffttt

    There is no such thing as a “housing emergency,” so don’t be ridiculous. Just because there is not enough housing/low inventory in the city nor affordable housing does not an emergency make. If one cannot afford to live here and/or has a desire/need to buy a home immediately and inventory is limited/low/whatever in SF . . . go buy SOMEWHERE ELSE! The city does not need to change all the plans to accommodate you and build every g’damn thing higher and higher, especially not on the waterfront.

  21. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “…unfortunately these [planning] meetings are filled with middling intelligence city workers and unemployed or underemployed people…”
    While there’s some truth to that statement it is a gross oversimplification. Yeah, there’s a disproportional share of meddlesome retirees in the public meetings but I’ve observed that some of the best input comes from a subset of very thoughtful elders.
    I feel for city staffers who have to endure these meetings and politely take the input from the loud minority who think they know everything and attempt to steer every meeting towards their pet issue. Like the guy who every meeting is about creating a dog park.

  22. Posted by Futurist

    @ Pfffttt: wow! you really throw it down!
    Great comments. I keep saying the same thing. Maybe our momentum is building. We know there is no “housing emergency”. Never has been. Never will be.
    For those who can’t afford to live here, there are MANY other cities nearby that are affordable.
    And yes, Mission Bay is developing and evolving the way it was planned. With the great weather, tremendous waterfront access, a university campus, this promises to be a great neighborhood.

  23. Posted by Jason

    This is a quaint, low-scale area and its character should be preserved for future generations with lower-rise development. This city already has too many highrises. Must we build skyscrapers everywhere in this town? What do we need all this height for anyway?

  24. Posted by Pfffttt

    @Jason: EXACTLY.

  25. Posted by the wolf

    “This is a quaint, low-scale area and its character should be preserved”
    what character?

  26. Posted by curmudgeon

    what quaint?

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