With San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure having determined that “economic conditions create a strong preference for commercial development over residential and hotel development” on Transbay Block 5, a request for proposals to build a 550-foot office tower with ground floor retail on the northeast corner of Howard and Beale has been issued.
Originally slated for a residential tower to rise up to 550 feet on the eastern portion of the block at the corner of Howard and Main, as we first noted yesterday, “unforeseen circumstances” have resulted in an unexpected configuration for the site and tower to rise.
The story behind the unforeseen circumstances which involves the driveway for 201 Mission Street (which runs through the middle of the block), the little Art Deco structure and open space on the corner of Howard and Beale (which is owned by 301 Howard across the street) and, of course, a concern about a potential loss of views:
The [Transbay Joint Powers Authority] attempted to negotiate an acquisition of the 201 Mission Street driveway in order to develop the site according to the standard configuration in the Development Controls – with the tower on the eastern portion of the block at the corner of Main and Howard Streets. However, the property owner expressed strong concerns that tenant views in 201 Mission Street would be negatively impacted by a tower on the eastern portion of Block 5 and demanded a price far in excess of the standard market value of the driveway parcel.
In addition, the driveway parcel provides the only access to 201 Mission Street’s parking and loading and therefore it would not be possible to develop the driveway without also negotiating a land swap with TJPA to provide alternate access. As a result, OCII does not expect the property owner of 201 Mission Street to submit a proposal in response to this RFP – and if that property owner did submit a proposal, it would need to conform to all of the restrictions described in this section.
Because of the time spent negotiating an acquisition of the 201 Mission Street driveway and the need to issue the RFP, neither OCII nor TJPA has had discussions with the owner of 301 Howard Street regarding its parcel.
That being said, while a proposal which includes either the parcel owned by 201 Mission Street or the parcel owned by 301 Howard Street will not be considered, once a development team is selected, the OCII is open to exploring alternatives for the open space on the corner of Howard and Beale, “in cooperation with the property owner.” Proposals are due at the end of June.
An upside to the unforeseen circumstances, a 10,000-square-foot open space on the corner of Howard and Main is now part of the Block 5 plan as well.