98 Franklin Street Site

As we first reported early last year:

“San Francisco’s Planning Department has completed its preliminary review of the French American International School’s proposed 320-foot tower to rise on its parking lot site at 98 Franklin Street in Hayes Valley. And beyond the proposed height, for which the school has a plan, the Department didn’t raise any substantial red flags.

While the Franklin Street site, which includes a spur to Market, is currently only zoned for development up to 85-feet in height, it falls within the borders of San Francisco’s Market Street HUB Project, which includes increased building heights of up to 600 feet.

And while the City’s draft plan for the 98 Franklin Street parcel had envisioned a height limit of 160 feet, the school is requesting that it simply be doubled to 320.

As designed by Handel Architects, the 31-story tower would yield over 70,000 square feet of new campus space, along with over 300 units of housing, 5,900 square feet of restaurant/retail space on the ground floor, and an underground garage for upwards of 150 cars.

Speaking of which, noting the project’s “central, transit-rich location…as well as the significant long-term capital improvements planned for Van Ness Avenue (BRT) and Market Street,” the City’s Street Design Advisory Team has recommended that the school consider reducing or removing all of the proposed parking from its plans.”

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has since replaced Handel Architects as the design team.

And as newly rendered by SOM below, the team is now proposing the roof of the tower be allowed to reach a height of 359 feet, with another 20 feet to the top of its parapet, a proposal which would yield 345 apartments, 75,000 square feet of International School space withing the tower’s 5-story podium, and 3,100 square feet of ground floor retail space at the corner of Oak and Franklin.

In terms of parking, the proposed number of off-street spaces has been reduced to 111, twenty-nine (29) of which would be for use by the school.

And in terms of timing, the project team is aiming to break ground in 2020, with a construction schedule that’s currently estimated to span between 39 and 46 months.  We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by donjuan

    This design is totally unacceptable. A 378 ft tower next to a low rise neighborhood using the boilerplate, ‘400 ft rectangle’ design? total cop out.

    Planning needs to push for a building with a curvy, creative profile. Like what they build in London or pretty much any c ity that isn’t San Francisco. Architects have zero respect for this city.

    • Posted by Frisco

      Like the Meier tower at 1 Oak that was physically unfeasible and too expensive? It’s not about architects’ respect for the city. They do what they’re hired to do. Look to the developers.

    • Posted by john downey

      I love how everyone has an opinion on things they know or understand very little about. Why should the building have a “curvy, creative profile”? Why cant it be rectilinear, disciplined, logical and handsome? This is not the Sydney opera house. Why should planners coerce trained, experiences licensed professionals in one direction based on your subjective whimsical tastes?
      I’m an Architect and I wish firms like SOM would do more work here in SF, and less work in China/ Middle East where planning departments aren’t so provincial and the semi-literate populace isnt this entitled/ empowered in the name of “democracy”.

      • Posted by Jim

        Thank you @John Downey

      • Posted by donjuan

        were you there at the PC meetings saying the same thing when they proposed the Fontana towers? Those look ‘disciplined’ too.

        • Posted by Brian M

          Actually, they do. And they represented the building technology of their time.

  2. Posted by yao

    Please build this ASAP.

  3. Posted by mike

    Adding 300 units of much needed housing and a stones throw from transit hub. Approve and build it!

    • Posted by Mark

      Van Ness Muni station is hardly a transit hub. As for housing, it will be market rate housing which apparently is “much needed” as well.

      • Posted by Sutro_Tower

        Whether it’s provided on-site, via an In-Lieu fee or built on an open parcel nearby, affordable housing will be a part of this development.

      • Posted by Chris

        Yes, housing of all sorts is much needed. When you have less supply, you get more people with resources displacing people with fewer resources for the housing that is available. That is why you get gentrification in formerly undesirable or “working class” neighborhoods, it is not because people with money, or more money that existing residents, actually want to live in those areas, but they want to live in the city. So, when there is no supply in more desirable neighborhoods, or limited supply that is bought up by even more affluent buyers, they get pushed down into neighborhoods they would previously have never considered.

        There is this myth that by restricting supply, which SF does a great job of through restrictive zoning, housing laws,taxes, fees, lawsuits, etc, somehow you will preserve affordable housing. No, you just drive up prices and expand gentrification into neighborhoods that no one would have lived in unless they they had no choice. That is not to say, I support a free-for-all, but I do think you have to look at how policies work together, and examine what you are trying to accomplish through them.

  4. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    One Oak went through multiple design revisions due to wind impact. It will be interesting to see how this new tower which is upstream from that site will evolve in order to account for that. Also worth noting is how One Oak will be subsequently redesigned to respond to a new tower taking the brunt of those impacts.

  5. Posted by hmmm

    this the most exceptionally banal tower design. I support a tower here (albeit a lower height — I think 300′ or 320′ would be much more appropriate here for its place in the skyline) plus the housing and school, but this thoughtless generic design is sad. SOM needs to step it up.

  6. Posted by inthemarket

    is one oak approved? or still in limbo?

    • Posted by Orland

      In limbo of sorts… Build, Inc. recently announced they are putting its fully-entited right to commence work on the market as it is apparently no longer feasible for them to build.

  7. Posted by jeremyharrison415@yahoo.com

    “The City’s Street Design Advisory team recommends…removing all proposed parking.”

    In other words, “The City’s Street Design Advisory team recommends that at least 150 new residents who will own a car regardless, should, along with all other neighborhood residents with cars, circle the streets surrounding the building endlessly, clogging traffic further as they search for elusive street parking,”

    I used to live in a neighborhood in Chicago in which parking required 30-60 minutes of circling in an ever-increasing radius until I finally found a spot, often 8 blocks away. I, as well as many other residents in the ‘hood, NEEDED a car, and simply was willing to spend those 30-60 minutes looking for parking.

    As will at least half of the new residents of any new housing in SF.

    My guess is that every member of this “Advisory team” has a job and/or life that doesn’t require a car, has zero ability to understand why anyone might, or simply lives in a neighborhood of single family homes that all have garages and driveways to park in, and cannot comprehend the impact of adding tons of new residents (and cars) on traffic/parking in the immediate area.

    Perhaps their “designs” take into account the near-future existence of hovering Unicorns for individual transportation needs.

    • Posted by inthemarket

      If you live in the center of the city, get rid of your car. Better for the environment, and less headaches.

      Having a car just doesn’t make sense economically. It is easily $500/month dollars for car payments & insurance & maintenance, before costed needs for parking space ($300 for a permanent spot at least.). It easily comes to $800 to $1000 per month. Taking uber to and from work every day (express/pool is only $4) and regular is no more than $12, at 20 workdays per month, that is less than $200 to $300 a month at most… So stop whining about parking space and get rid of your car.

      • Posted by Brisket

        If you think Uber is more environmentally friendly than owning a car or that their subsidized pricing scheme is going to continue ad infinitum you are delusional. Having said that, however, I would not want to own a car if I lived at this location unless it was in the building because the street parking is horrendous. But those who buy or rent in the building know that going in so will probably primarily be non-car owners.

        • Posted by Hunter

          Carshare is the obvious supplement; they are available all over SF with Lyft as a backup. F*ck Uber.

      • Posted by jeremyharrison415@yahoo.com

        As I said, some people have ZERO understanding or empathy for anyone who is different from them, and whose disabilities and/or responsibilities require ownership of a car.

        Thanks for demonstrating the ignorance and I spoke of, inthemarket…., and for adding nastiness on top of it. Very Trumpian of you.

        • Posted by Brian M

          In such cases, then, may we suggest Fremont or the Peninsula as a better choice for a car-centric lifestyle? There are eight other counties where you can have your own private garage and a parking space at every shop, workplace, or entertainment venue.

    • Posted by me

      Developments with no parking sell just as fast as those with parking. I approve of no parking on site. Curb cuts, garages, loud buzzers when cars are pulling out of the driveways kill the pedestrian quality of a city.

    • Posted by folderpete

      That will be more than 150 residents, as the school will be taking a majority of the spots for itself (think: teachers & staff). Residents are likely to get a handful if that.

    • Posted by Chris

      While I don’t support the ultra hardline anti-car policies taken by the city, I do have to say that as someone who can afford a car, but has not had one for many years, you really do not need a car in most of the city. Yes, if you commute outside the city and don’t live near BART or Caltrain (depending on where you work), you do need one for commuting or your life will be difficult (though with the traffic, it will still be very difficult) But, you don’t need one to get around the city, and if you live and work downtown, you don’t need one for commuting.

      I have gone for years without driving a car, and it has never been a problem. I go to work, shopping, dining out, all sorts of events, meeting friends, etc., all across the city, and it has never been an issue. The people who live in the Hub neighborhood will almost certainly work in the city. They will not need cars, nor will they even want cars. At worst, a few of them may own one that they keep for the occasional trip outside the city, etc. But, they will not add “tons” of cars to the traffic or parking in the area. There simply would be no logical reason for them to drive everyday living where they do. SF traffic is such a hassle, people only drive if they absolutely have to drive, and few individuals would choose to live in the Hub area if it meant they had a long driving commute.

      • Posted by jeremyharrison415@yahoo.com

        If, as you say, few residents of new highrises in The Hub need a car, the solution is oh-so simple- 24/7 neighborhood permit parking, sticker required, and NO residents of these new highrises should be allowed to get a permit. That ensures that what you say is true. No one who truly needs a car for work or family will move into these highrises, so no problem.

        • Posted by Brian M

          And you claim that the anti-car people are zealots.

          Why do only existing residents have 100% dibs on existing PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY (parking spaces)? If THEY have garage spaces, as must be provided, they don’t need the parking spaces anyway.

    • Posted by DrElefun

      It’s too bad that this project isn’t near MUNI underground, Market Street/Van Ness/Mission Street bus lines and a BART station. If that were the case, the poor people who have cars would have alternatives to circling the block looking for parking spaces.

      As I sit on a packed, odiferous MUNI bus and I look down from the bus window at the unfortunate people in their cars with the air conditioning running and Sirius radio playing, I really feel for them.

      As they put their cappuccino cup back in the beverage holder, look at their watch and talk into their phone saying that they’ll be late because they’re circling the block looking for a parking space, my heart goes out to them. A tear rolls down my face while some unidentified liquid rolls down the bus window.

      The Street Design Advisory team is cruel, cruel, cruel

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      The commentariat here slay me –

      City requires parking where developer doesn’t want it, it’s “OMG, interfering with the free market, developers should be free to build whatever they think will sell!”

      Developer *wants* to build parking, it’s “OMG, the City needs to forbid this, this is the 21st century, I wanna take Uber to my SRO Muni underground to my delayed Caltrain, what’s wrong with that, everyone else should want the same thing I do, free market be damned.”

      • Posted by SocketSite

        While it might make some uncomfortable, we’ve striven to build an audience with differing, and often times conflicting, points of view. And as we’ve grown, we’ve done our best to avoid building a typical echo chamber.

  8. Posted by Gail Mitchell

    I am retired from CCSF 2003 disabled AUTOIMMUNE ALL MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES….EXEMPT ….IRS/ SEFERS PRNSION….LIFETIME….through the courts, recognized by the state of calif.

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