As we first reported last week, plans to build up to 454 units of housing upon the underdeveloped Mid-Market parking lot at 469 Stevenson Street, which is currently owned by Nordstrom, are in the works.

As we also noted at the time, while the site is currently only zoned for development up to 160 feet in height, the project team is planning on leveraging California’s Density Bonus law in order to build higher and denser than currently allowed.

And in fact, in order to build all 454 units as envisioned, Build Inc. is proposing a 35-story tower rising up to 366 feet in height on the site, with a basement garage for 227 cars and 4,800 square feet of ground floor restaurant and retail space primarily fronting Jessie Street, the mass for which has been rendered by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) which is working on the tower’s design.

We’ll continue to keep you posted and plugged-in as plans for the 469 Stevenson Street site progress.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by lasertag

    This area needs this project. Once this area becomes more developed it will clean up this seedy stretch of alley.

    • Posted by oh my

      …and push the seediness elsewhere.

      • Posted by zig

        can’t totally push it with residence hotels adjacent which I don’t believe can be redeveloped easily

  2. Posted by PanhandlePro

    I’m really curious to see what happens with the homeless situation in the next 10-30 years. This is a classic example. The homeless currently live along this alley and no one cares because no one lives there. Once SOMA, The Mission, Dogpatch etc are built out fully with mixed use projects like this, residents will complain and they’ll be forced to leave. Where will the homeless go? This sounds very un-PC, but San Francisco needs its Skid Row, where the homeless are shooed together to live in peace, out of the way of everyone else. Problem is, in our little 7×7, where is that? A friend of mine floated the idea of Treasure Island…

    • Posted by scott f

      Your conclusion is “un-PC” because it’s wrong. Helping the vulnerable and unfortunate is why society exists; it’s what separates us from barbarism. We have a moral duty to provide the houseless with housing, and where needed, mental health and addiction treatment. Until then, those of us who are well-to-do *should* see tents and sleeping bags at our doorstep as a reminder of how we have failed these people.

      • Posted by BTinSF

        We spend about $40,000 per year (approx $305 million/7500 people) per homeless person in San Francisco on them. And we regularly vote into office “progressives” who claim to care about them. Perhaps it’s all ineffective but what more, really, do you expect the average person with a job and a busy life supporting the roof over their own head to do?

      • Posted by Onslow

        You could not be more wrong. I am a productive, responsible member of society, I take care of myself and those I love. It’s totally absurd to say that a total stranger has some moral right to the fruits of my labor just because cranks like you have decided they “need” it.

        If you are passionate about providing for the homeless great, knock yourself out, dedicate your time, contribute your money, take a few of them into YOUR home. Just spare me the lame lecture about how we’re “all” responsible.

        • Posted by Frank C.

          What’s “lame” is your ignorant insistence on phony individualism. As if you haven’t benefited from the goods that *all* of us have given you, including public schools, public roads, police, fire, food safety, and when you’re old, social security and medicare. Yup. That’s all of us.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            And the homeless either did or could have benefitted from those too – *in addition to* the $40K a year we throw at them.

            Besides which, u/Onslow clearly said he/she was “a productive, responsible member of society” which I take the mean the payment of taxes, just like me and everyone else who’s gainfully employed. “Taxes are the rent we pay for civilization,” goes the famous phrase – well right now I feel like I’m paying a lot of rent, without a lot of civilization to show for it.

      • Posted by aerel

        We have failed the homeless, but not in the way you think.

        California has double the homeless population per capita as the rest of the country, despite some of the most progressive homeless policies. The major issue is that the legal tools to compel the mentally ill and drug addicted to seek treatment were mostly stripped away in the 80s, so about half of our homeless are long-term unhoused who refuse shelter or treatment, and all we can do is clean up after them and try to talk them into getting help.

        We don’t want to go back to the days of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but we need better options to deal with the homeless who don’t want to be helped.

        • Posted by Hunter

          Agree. A major component is simply building MUCH more housing at the state level so there are affordable homes within an hour of our big job centers. The other is a healthcare system that can house 1000s of folks who need constant supervision, the way other developed nations have.

        • Posted by jimbo

          completely agree. we need to be able to force them into treatment by offering 6 months of jail or 6 months in a treatment program. we need to add a stick to all the carrots we are giving

        • Posted by Pablito

          Absolutely agree with aerel. I’m in the thick of it daily and I see far too many mentally ill and drug addicted homeless on the streets who do not want help and are left to roam and self harm until they end up at SFGH emergency room. Our SF social program “solution” is enabling them in self harm until they end up overdosed on your doorstep or they commit suicide…..

      • Posted by Futurist

        So all of us who are good citizens can NOT be barbaric, but apparently the homeless can. They can camp and sleep where they want, leave trash where they want, defecate and urinate where they want.

        Is that what you mean?

        • Posted by anon2.5

          That’s like blaming a baby for crying. Can you say with a straight face that schizophrenic should be held responsible for acting “barbaric”?

          Your “argument” would hold more water if there were in fact public places to urinate, defecate, and leave trash. I understand the argument that public trash cans get trashed and ransacked, but the solution is not to do away with them entirely. And if that’s the road taken, hard to blame people for leaving their trash where ever they can.

          There is a pattern often seen in rapidly developing countries where when certain spaces are kept clean and tidy, people respect that and maintain it, whereas when areas are dirty or trash is allowed to accumulate, the problem is compounded. The orthodoxy blamed the people for a lack of education or awareness, but turns out, they were mostly wrong.

          • Posted by Futurist

            Babies stop “crying” when they grow up. They also stop pooping and urinating in public when they grow up. If they turn into schizophrenics as adults, I believe there is help for them, and we should do what we can with OUR taxes to make them get help.

            The trash can issue is an interesting one, because now we have those millennial/hipsters (or whatever they call themselves) leaving their mountains of trash in public, say, Dolores Park. They’re as bad as some homeless, IMO.

        • Posted by Frisco

          The idea that homeless people are sleeping where they want implies that they want to be homeless. That’s certainly not the case.

          • Posted by Futurist

            Well, actually, yes it is. Many want to be homeless. We have heard that before and I believe it. They have made it their “lifestyle” of choice. They even have their own newspaper.

            We are far too tolerant anymore to put up with their crap, quite literally.

          • Posted by scott f

            They prefer it over shelters where they would have to give up their possessions, partners and/or pets, where staff might abuse them (I’ve read horrific stories of how a Salvation Army shelter treated a transgender person) or fail to protect them from violent people in close proximity, where they might be booted in a few days and be back on the street minus their stuff. Navigation centers appear to be working much better because they’ve fixed some of these issues.

            There’s an emerging consensus that the navigation center model should replace traditional shelters in the City. Either way, someone having been burned by a bad shelter experience doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prefer an actual safe home.

      • Posted by jimbo

        government has failed these people, not us. And SF city govt is doing an absolutely terrible job. we need more treatment centers. temp housing does nothing when you dont get mental health or drug/alcohol treatment for these people

      • Posted by oh my

        But wait, we spend a quarter billion dollars a year and we are solving the problem right? Well we really do not have any metric per se to evaluate how the non-profits are doing. I mean we have spent $Billions over the last several decades and things have gotten worse.

    • Posted by zig

      Many people in this area and the TL live in residence hotels

  3. Posted by BTinSF

    I and the other hundreds of people living on my block have been complaining about the homeless camped nearby for 3 decades and all the police ever say is that there’s nothing they can do (and they certainly don’t do anything).

    • Posted by Freeloader

      Which block?

      • Posted by Zugamenzio Farnsworth

        From what I see in the outer Tenderloin many homeless are drug addicted. They showed up on my block simultaneously with the dealers, and they pretty obviously follow each other around. So that’s 40k a year so they can have their never-ending lost weekend, with maid service basically, because camping on the street simply really is not sustainable, and it creates one pile of bizarre filth after another. I’m thinking….maybe the city could up it’s game: designate warehouses and or parking lots with canvas roofs where one could camp, shoot up, deal drugs, 24/7. It seems like a better option than leaving it all on the sidewalks. Otherwise I feel my civil rights are being violated in favor of theirs.

  4. Posted by scott f

    Back to the project…anyone else think it’s weird how the ground floor plan shows an empty space at the 6th Street frontage? Surely they can’t leave that vacant.

    Also disappointing to see they plan to build to the eastern lot line. That’s an extremely long block of Stevenson that needs more connectivity. The city should use whatever leverage it has to require a midblock pedestrian connection from Stevenson to Jessie, open to the public.

    • Posted by John

      You need to check the photo and diagram again. There are two existing buildings along 6th st.

    • Posted by Notcom

      I’m confused how we seem to have gone from a detailed design/rendering to a “massing” block: isn’t the normal progression from the latter to the former ??

      • Posted by van nessident

        It was rendered without the density bonus at ~120 fewer units, but the massing is for the proposal with the density bonus.

        • Posted by Notcom

          Thanks! I would think, tho, that they might have prepared alternate versions…the Bonus isn’t something new or mysterious, and a rendering isn’t all that expensive (particular in the PC Age).

          • Posted by scott f

            Yeah, it confuses me too. No idea.

  5. Posted by BTinSF

    PS: I love the project because this area does need more people living nearby for many reasons and the height is appropriate.

  6. Posted by SFRealist

    I love the way the 5M Project completely blocks any view of the Intercontinental.

  7. Posted by Bobby Mucho

    Even via the density bonus, how do they imagine being able to more than double the zoned height of that lot? Seems a bit optimistic.

    Also comparing it to the earlier rendering, it seems like they’ve lost interest in building on the westerly portion of the lot? Regardless, I hope SCB pulls together something more interesting than what this massing indicates.

    • Posted by scott f

      Agreed, agreed. Technically the bonus gets you 35% more units, so it isn’t based on number of floors. But I’d rather see them go just a few floors taller while keeping the massing posted here earlier. And definitely continue the streetwall on 6th, not just leave that blank.

  8. Posted by Goodmaab50

    Here a tower there a tower, soon everywhere a tower…..

    Question is where’s the public improvements (transit, parks, infrastructure)

    Soon the views to the bay will be blocked, the parking on your street will be reserved for uber and LYFT and the only time u will see anyone enter or exit the building will be to get into a private transit vehicle to fly to another city….

    Not the frisco I remember and definitely a city losing touch with its humanistic soul…

    • Posted by Dubs

      Yes, that parking lot really contributed to the soul of San Francisco

      • Posted by goodmaab50

        I’m talking about the building proposed, not the loss of the parking lot. hopefully future renderings will improve from the massing studies and that the city begins to consider heights and views of the bay, or we will live in Manhattan. I grew up [here] and this was the BAY area, not the “dark-tower” canyons of NYC…

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Right. Someone should figure out a way to make the inhabitants of this new tower pay money to the city. They should have to pay every year!

    • Posted by Big D

      Humanistic soul? Maybe I’m missing something within your “bay views” and “parking will be lost” but everything you’re referring to sounds more like provincial anecdotes and nostalgia bating. I’m quite certain that if a few dozen towers over the better part of a decade can crush the soul of a city (really just a section of a post-industrial neighborhood) than we’ve long lost that battle.

    • Posted by Stakes is High

      You realize that the public improvements you mention are not the responsibility of the developer or the people who live in the structures they build right? You also know that the majority of public realm improvements are a direct result of the developer investments (they plant the trees, fix the sidewalks, fund BMR housing, etc) and the new residents that occupy the buildings (increase ridership on the transit, their presence lowers probability of crime, their property taxes go to the district to pay for everything mentioned above).

      • Posted by Martin Wasiak

        Don’t forget that there’s an impact fee of about $50k per unit that goes to Muni which funds improvements like bus lanes that move more people in same amount of space.

        • Posted by oh my

          Yeah like how’s that working…MUNI is such a fine system…and the MTA employee’s growing every year are sure gonna enjoy their retirement and health care that $50k is buying.

      • Posted by jimbo

        the city is completely failing at improving public transport. it’s 3rd world

    • Posted by Tony

      Ah yes, the humanistic soul of a parking lot and not enough space for the humans to live. You’re out of touch…

  9. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    How unfortunate and shortsighted that the developers of City Place on Market opted to not build a residential component atop their empty mall because they thought it didn’t pencil out. A few short years later and across the alley we see a 35 story residential tower being proposed. So it goes…

    • Posted by Bobby Mucho

      And after how much pushback from the city and the neighborhood groups? Definitely a missed opp, but if it didn’t ‘pencil out’ its likely because of all of the palm greasing that would have had to happen to make it so.

  10. Posted by SFSoMa

    I hope this is more of an upscale rental and can clean up the area. Like what Nema did to 10th Street. With Hotel Proper, that block is already nicer.

    • Posted by jimbo

      condos would also help clean up the area more. When people own, they also feel like they own the neighborhood and have more incentive to improve area over long term

  11. Posted by Dave

    The shape of things to come? The Central SOMA blanketed by 30 story behemoths built to the lot lines? No effort at a streetscape – nada. No plazas, passageways, paseos or shrubs. This at a time when other cities are paying increasing attention to their streetscapes and especially so around new developments. If anything SF is regressing. Hard to be believe there was a time when places like Chevron Plaza and the Transamerica Park were built. They would not be “allowed” today.

    The City PTB and their development cronies will do nothing to remedy the situation. That effort will have to come from residents. To that end several initiatives are in the talking stages. One idea is to limit building envelope size to a percentage of the parcel size. Another idea is a height cap for the Central SOMA, 15 stories sounds about right, or perhaps a citywide maximum allowed height. Either one of these ideas would block this proposal.

    BTW, notice how clunky and clumsy the Salesforce and Claw towers look. As it is one of the criticisms of the Salesforce tower is how bulky it looks from a distance. A lack of proper proportion. Go to Twin Peaks or Diamond Heights to get a feel of this. With the Oceanwide tower in place in 2021 the combination of the two will make for a jarring visual experience.

    • Posted by Martin Wasiak

      To me, once something is above 20 stories, it might as well be 70 stories. Higher buildings generate more traffic that fill up the sidewalks and which makes things safer for everyone. SOMA could certainly use a few high-rises to make it less desolate at night.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      The Salesforce Tower is spectacular. It’s elegantly proportioned.

      I don’t know what the claw tower is, but the one going up a couple of blocks from Salesforce is pretty cool too.

      • Posted by jimbo

        me too on saleforce tower. i dont find it bulky at all and it combined with oceanwide may SF skyline much more visually appealing (not jarring)

      • Posted by goodmaab50

        they said the same of the BofA tower too…

    • Posted by Joe

      Lol @ “30 story behemoths built to the lot lines” – What is preferred ? A highrise with back, front, and side yards? Highrises in the park like Le Corbusier? This is literally the only place in SF buildings this large can be built and it is entirely appropriate.

      This is probably the most aggressive use of the State density bonus we have seen so far. It’s awesome! I can’t wait to see the NIMBY hysteria it will provoke.

    • Posted by jimbo

      30 stories is not a behemoth. it is a mid rise and they should be all over soma

    • Posted by oh my

      Yep agree. People on this board are so horny for towers, the Van Ness Market/Mission Hub monsters will eat everyone alive. Can’t wait till the Hub fully builds out and the whining begins…

      • Posted by scott f

        I think the housing shortage that drives massive exclusion and displacement and sprawl is the monster. Smart infill housing like this is the hero that will slay that monster.

  12. Posted by Mark F.

    I love the Salesforce Tower.

  13. Posted by jimbo

    this is awesome. great area for a midrise like this

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