2293 Powell Street Site

The proposed development to replace the former Caesar’s Restaurant on the southwest corner of Bay and Powell has been granted a Mitigated Negative Declaration from San Francisco’s Environmental Review Officer, which means that a lengthy Environmental Impact Report for the development will not be required.

As we first reported last year, the plans for the site include a four-story building designed by Ian Birchall and Associates with 17 condos over a new restaurant space and an underground garage for 17 cars.

2293 Powell Street Rendering

And from the architects once again: “On the edge of North Beach this building’s design is a response to the heavily trafficked Bay Street. The glass façade ripples and shimmers in a dynamic way and stands in contrast to the heavy masonry buildings surrounding it.”

2293 Powell Street Rendering - Bay

The project sponsor is aiming to break ground in 2016 and have the building ready for occupancy in 2018.  The restaurant space has been dark since 2012.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Oh Dear

    Should be one taller.

    • Posted by Tony

      Yeah, 3 stores is way too short for such an urban portion of the city.

      • Posted by Mark

        There really isn’t that much height in this part of town.

        • Posted by John

          There wasn’t much height in rome before they built the coliseum.

    • Posted by Chris Brown

      It is the height that both the zoning allows and the neighborhood has a chance of accepting (though, I am sure there will still be a lengthy fight at the Planning Commission, the Board of Supervisors, the Board of Appeals, and possibly even a lawsuit or two). That is the reality of building anything in San Francisco.

  2. Posted by Bay Guy

    At least, something different.

  3. Posted by Mark

    “The glass façade ripples and shimmers…” And shakes, from all the traffic below.

    I’m sure the building materials will be first rate.

  4. Posted by Elitist Pig

    Not sure if it’s just all the white in the rendering, but this is surprisingly boring.

  5. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    Ugly, the Victorians and the ceasar’s building shine compared to those renderings…

    they look like a siding project over stone… very weighted on the top does not look at all like an understanding of vertical elements… back to the drawing board!!!!

  6. Posted by Notcom

    So another bland chain restaurant replaced by an exciting ….no wait, make that
    another long-time local restaurant replaced by what looks like tissue boxes stacked askew so they won’t tip over.

    Yes, yes: I know it was a cheesy place – as much literally as figuratively – and it’s already closed, but it was reflective of its location (‘tween an “authentic” ethnic neighborhood and touristville) and an aytpical one story buildlng that provided a bit of variety and scale to a monotony of 3-4 story apartments.

    Please lecture me on how the world will be a better place for this change.

    • Posted by bleeper

      How about homes for 17 people where homes for zero existed previously? Please tell me how outside of downtown and rincon hill, how SF is lacking in “atypical one story buildings” there are numerous “one story buildings” within two blocks of this one.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        All homes and no quirks makes for a dull San Francisco.

        Not saying this particular instance isn’t appropriate; but we’ve definitely lost a lot of quirks and character over the 24 years I’ve known S.F. …

        • Posted by bleeper

          I think we are quite a long ways away from “all homes and no quirks”

      • Posted by Mark

        It will be a mixed of residential and retail space. I think the whining should be focused on the type of retail that will occupy the first floor, not the fact that there will be market rate housing above it.

        It’s true that many of the local quirks have been razed or priced out of the city. It happened in the East Village too as 20-something bankers moved in to enjoy the grit only to be upset when the grit got priced out and replaced with monotony. WAAAAH!

    • Posted by Ohlone Californio

      Did you ever eat at Caesar’s? It was horrible. The world will be a better place for this change.

      • Posted by Zig

        It wasn’t good but oddly the few times I went there was with North Beach Italians and the extended clan. Very old fashioned food and likely had gone done hill but also affordable and big portions

        I love Tadich because of family history and some hate that place too

    • Posted by Chris Brown

      How was the world a better place when it was an “Italian” restaurant? I have eaten more authentic and better Italian cuisine in Indianapolis. It is also an ugly, tacky, and dated building. It does not make something good or worth saving simply because it is “reflective of its location” (and really isn’t EVERY building a reflection in some way of its location and the period of time during which it was built?)

      That said, I agree that what is planned to replace it is not particularly impressive, though the increased density is a good start. I have a hard time getting upset over the loss of an old crappy building (beautiful historic buildings, yes, by all means preserve and cherish, but junk like that–tear it down).

  7. Posted by Andre'

    What an ugly intersection. This will just finish it off. Sad.

  8. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Fugly building (with apologies to Futurist and others who make take offense that I opine on its appearance without being a member of the AIA). But then this whole neighborhood is really weird – the shopping center, the Sheraton, etc. – it all has a bland, suburban / 1970s office park feel to it. I wish it were more of the Art Deco feel that you see at nearby Bay and Kearney.

    • Posted by Serge

      +1 on all points. And yes, your comment will likely irk Futurist a tad.

      • Posted by HousingWonk

        He/she will come out of the woodwork once the project proposes less than 1:1 parking.

  9. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    sure looks like a lot of women tenants. are all the men off at war? i see….one? it looks very warm and inviting: it says “home.”

    • Posted by Notcom

      But how do you know they’re women ??? Are you opposed to the Transgendered?? Maybe Finochios2.0 will be the retail tenant in the shop next to the corner (the corner of course will become a either a Starbucks or BluBottle, depending on the incomes and hipness of the 17 people above it).

  10. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    Of course, short-sighted of me,,,,maybe it’s a depiction of Halloween in fact!

  11. Posted by unlivable city

    Could Herb Cain return al la Terminator and set about ending all this ruining of every last morsel of San Francisco’s charm?

  12. Posted by Dip Wad

    as far as the height is concerned – that neighborhood is land fill, hence the height restrictions, unless the contractor sends the foundation to hell – even at these $$$$ it’s not worth it.

    • Posted by Schaetzer

      Hey “Dip Wad.” South of Market, Mission Bay, a good part of the Mission District, and much of downtown are also fill. Check out the heights on the new buildings proposed for Townsend, Brannan, etc. Other than that, I lived on Vandewater St around the corner from Caesars for 15 years. It’s actually a great location. Close to North Beach, not quite Fisherman’s Wharf.

      • Posted by Serge

        Exactly. Everything outside the Barbary Coast line is landfill. Yet tall structures were still built.

      • Posted by Chris Brown

        It has more to do with zoning and the need to get some neighborhood support to win development approval. The area is not zoned for tall or even “mid-rise” buildings. There is also going to be strong neighborhood opposition to ANY development, let alone something that is taller than what is around it.

        Silly people keep posting as if developers just want to “under develop” lots–no. They work with what they can. As it is, it takes years and often millions of dollars, in addition to the millions of dollars of construction costs, to get anything, but the smallest and most conforming projects built in SF. A developer has no real incentive to waste time and money trying to push for something that is very likely never to get approved.

        • Posted by anon

          When I post about underdevelopment, I’m not talking about the developers. I’m talking about the ridiculousness of city zoning that prevents the lots from having proper development.

  13. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    I think the question(s) would tend to be how deep would the foundations need to go, and how complicated would they need to be, for say, 10 stories, 15, 20,etc. It would probably get complicated. In other words, someone really clever could probably do a sporty chart, relating the cost and complexity of landfill situation fountations systems, relative to aprox. profits stemming from different sized buildings. Granted, in the Transbay district, they’re digging caissons to France, but the developers are making an arm and a leg in profits, whereas, average condos going ten floors up won’t bring in that kind of lute.

    • Posted by Chris Brown

      The zoning does not allow buildings that tall in the area. And, there would certainly not be neighborhood support for it.

      So, the engineering logistics are a moot point.

  14. Posted by ostrich

    Who is the lurker on top floor in the pic? Scary looking….

  15. Posted by SaveTheSocket

    Dip Wad? What is this, the internet?

    Seriously, would the editor please delete the name calling?

    • Posted by anon

      Um “Dip Wad” is the name that the commenter left.

  16. Posted by Flash

    I’m not sure when the main picture for this article was taken, but the building doesn’t look like this any more. It has been stripped of the flags and the giant Caesar’s sign and all the other branding. Now it just looks like a sad, squat, vacant building. I won’t comment on the new design, but I’m glad to see more housing built! And hopefully it is all market rate.

  17. Posted by nycdr

    This is Aaron Peskin’s territory. The Telegraph Hill Dwellers are just up the hill east and possible reason for such timid height. I wouldn’t be surprise if the height matches the old Northpoint theater across the street, but design falls short of the Northpoint mall on Bay St.

  18. Posted by John

    The closing of Caesar’s was a family and neighborhood tragedy, precipitated by the untimely death of the father and owner of the restaurant. It had nothing to do with the food, the neighborhood or anything else.

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