As we reported last week, plans for a skinny 44-story tower to rise on the Transbay District parcel at 540 Howard Street, upon which the three-story Temple nightclub building currently sits, have been drafted.

And as newly rendered by Ankrom Mosian Architects above, and in more detail below, the proposed tower – which would yield 149 market rate condos over 52,000 square feet of office space, 8,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space and a basement garage for 89 cars and 135 bikes – would rise to a height of 495 feet, with wrap around decks and residential amenity spaces on the 8th and 28th floors, and setbacks above, breaking up the tower’s mass.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in as the plans and planning progress.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Beautiful – if unfortunately shoehorned into such a tight space that it’ll be hard to fully appreciate its form “in the wild”.

    • Posted by Sassy

      Agree. I’d like to see it in a location that let’s it shine.

    • Posted by Futurist

      You do realize that this is how most of Manhattan exists.

      • Posted by Sassy

        Parts of Manhattan are like that, not all.
        Is it important for the Transbay to be just like those parts of Manhattan?

    • Posted by Orland

      Too bad it could not be sited at the SW corner of Folsom/Fremont where that horrid PG&E monolith squats.

      • Posted by Frankson

        That monolith is one of the best buildings in the area – beautifully done.

  2. Posted by donjuan

    Love this design. Wish the Central SoMa plan subbed out the wide, bulky mid-rise zoning for skinny towers and more open space.

  3. Posted by Chris

    Socketsite, would you mind clarifying the status of the other 800 ft tower for parcel F? Is it still on the table and do we have any estimate on when these projects may break ground? It was unclear to me from the May 23 article. I love the slender elegance of this tower.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      The refined plans for the Parcel F tower are still on the table, as we first reported earlier this year, and the proposed project is currently under review by Planning, but hearing dates for a possible approval have yet to be set. And with all that being said, the internal forecast currently calls for the Parcel F tower to be construction complete in the 4th quarter of 2023, at the earliest.

  4. Posted by Martin

    While I don’t necessarily like Temple’s vibe, but like the fact that it balances out that area with some extra nightlife, so sad to see it go.

    • Posted by that_dude

      Is it really ‘so sad’? I think we have Trump on socketsite. 🙂

  5. Posted by Anonymous

    Is that one side just not going to have windows? Seems really squeezed in there.

  6. Posted by oakland lover

    YES! Now this will be a very cool block of the city if this all happens. Skinny tall towers with alley, Kate Obriens and that hipster bar across the street to keep some old school / local feel…..the Osacar park, hidden art tucked away at the new Temaha building….Tahama st (and Clementina) itself are actually quite a cool little alley ways.

    This part of the transbay district is shaping up to be my favorite, its going to have a very unique feel, with the little bridge thing too. the only sad part I think, is the cool bat mural, i think that thing will dissappear.

  7. Posted by egad

    While the design is fine and I love skinny towers, I’ll reiterate my comment on the previous post that this is presumably a ploy to get a higher buyout offer from one of the two adjacent properties. This is almost certainly not a financially feasible concept. How are you going to sell a small handful multi-million dollar unit that is sandwiched up against the property line staring into an office building 30 feet away, with only a thin slice of the building having any light and views? Not to mention the gross inefficiency of the building.

  8. Posted by UnlivableCity

    Agree with Egan. In keeping with the pantheon of the preposterous that Planinc has become here, you have a reverse version of NYC – here we are building giant bulky hulk buildings then shoehorning smaller more palatable ones in scrunched up beside them. Kinda cuckoo for crazy puffs.

  9. Posted by Dave

    This will never be built. It has many fewer units (proportionally) than the delayed/abandoned 524 Howard. There are no views from 3 sides and taller buildings just 25 feet away enclose two sides. No Bay views and perpetual darkness/shadows. Not a place for a luxury condo which these would have to be in terms of price points. Both this project and 524 Howard are too large in terms of the building envelope/parcel size. Merge the two lots and build one, or the other, tower. The endgame seems to be to get someone to purchase the lot but this intermediate step of entitling it is foolish. It won’t add significantly to the parcel’s value given the virtual impossibility of building anything like this on the site.

    The design is a small but nice break from the oppressively boring boxes that have marred SF’s skyline these past few years. The unfortunate thing is, if built, this building can never be appreciated as it would be boxed in. Something like this would have been so much better on Rincon Hill in place of One or Two Rincon Hill. The rendering shows the building splitting into two halves at the top which is visually engaging. That said, the two renderings above showing this Howard Street high-rise sandwich and especially the rendering looking up from street level bring to mind a recent comment by someone who moved to SF 25 years ago of changes in the city: “The once-classic skyline has become a virtual hellscape of monstrous looming towers”.

    • Posted by that_dude

      Virtually impossible? I assure you – if you go to other cities, you’d be amazed what they can build. Far more crazy than a skinny tower.

      • Posted by Dave

        I was not referring to the ability to physically construct the building but rather to the economics of it – that is what makes the project virtually impossible. It doesn’t pencil given the current and medium term prospects for new “luxury” condos in this part of SF.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          I’m guessing that one of the “other cities” that_dude references is Hong Kong. HK Central can demand high prices but not so far off from what SF RE yields.

    • Posted by Notcom

      I don’t believe it “split(s) into two halves at the top”: I think it’s just that the color of the cladding (there) is the same as the background of the elevation; if you look at the perspectives it seems pretty clear the building is solid.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      This is not my understanding of what a hellscape is.

      • Posted by Dave

        Not your understanding but you get the drift. Google photos of the SF skyline from the 80s and compare it to today. One of SF’s greatest physical features – the hills – are totally obscured from sight today. By an “angry” sterile mostly dark wall of towers. It was not so then. Coming in from Marin the hills are still somewhat visible but they too are being more and more obscured as that view turns into a wall of towers.

        • Posted by 101

          Well, I guess if you want to see hills, you should move to Marin or Montana. There is nothing worse than people who ponder on the past and don’t move onto the future.

          This project is a plus. It provides taxes for the general fund. BTW, SF has a $11 Billion dollar budget.

        • Posted by oakland lover

          I see plenty of hills on all the freeways leading in and out of the city, and from all the view points around the bay that look into the city. Im not sure what you are reffering to Dave.

          This tower is super awesome, but I do wish it were higher. It looks like the HQ from Mr Business in the lego movie, all black and skinny and tall. It’ll be right next to the claw HQ, and if they left the bat wall mural up, wow, we might start seeing ghouls run around the streets here, non human ghouls I mean. Super cool!

        • Posted by Notcom

          Dave is not the first to put forth this opinion – nor, unfortunately, is he the most articulate – but the fact that the same sentiment was expressed in 1977, regarding development that had been occurring over the previous two decades, shows his timetable is a little off.

          As for “101”s remark that rather than cut a bloated budget to fit reasonable revenue streams, instead one should try to develop even more unreasonable streams: uhm…

          All that having been said, I rather like this design: it’s not just a case of “SF can do far worse…and too often does”, it’s a case of “good”.

          • Posted by Dave

            Yes, those were the days and SF lost. Seattle is having the same battle now and there are some wins – and TBH, some loses, but some view corridors are being corridors (Rainer and such) will be protected. The difference between SF and Seattle is that SF sold and sells its soul to the highest bidder while Seattle doesn’t go there. In 30 years Seattle will be the great West Coast city (aside from LA) and SF will be still trying to sell off what little remains of its heart and soul.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          Today, SF has a growing population and a booming economy. Unlike the 80s.

          • Posted by Dave

            Perhaps that fact “saved” the city’s character for a while longer. In any case the last 15 years have seen a deterioration on many fronts in terms of character – aka quality of life. The banal architecture which has become SF’s signature is part of that deterioration.

            The few “modern” high-rises I enjoy are mostly older and built, I assume, in the 80s. The Pyramid with it’s street level park is incredible. That is one design/vision that would warrant a taller tower. It should be the tallest in the city but alas. This tower, which won’t be built, would be hidden from view mostly. Similar to the Gang tower which is one of the few unique such done in the past decade. The Gang tower should be 200 feet higher and the design should have tapered in on itself as it reached it’s crown. That can’t be effectively done with a 400 foot structure. As it is, it will look “incomplete” at the top because of the abrupt flat roof which is somewhat visually jarring giving the curvilinear nature of the building.

          • Posted by Notcom

            SF’s population was growing in the 80’s as well, as was the economy which likely made happier the people who had put up all those big buildings in the 70’s (12 of the city’s 20 tallest buildings were built b/w 1969-82)

          • Posted by DieNIMBYDie

            Quality of Life for me means a 1BD under $2500/mo in a neighborhood that isn’t a hour away from work. Build more, build higher! To take a page out of Arnold’s book, I too miss pagers, fax machines, and Blockbuster. The 1800’s misses pebble roads, $0.05 meals, and stagecoaches. But stop trying to hold up progress and screw over the next generation because you want your idyllic views in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

          • Posted by ijustworkhere

            Preach!

  10. Posted by RGBiv

    BLOCKING OUT SUNLIGHT ONTO THE PARK.

    • Posted by MB

      Who cares? You want sun, walk a couple blocks to the Embarcadero or go to GG Park. I generally don’t look for sun when hanging out downtown.

  11. Posted by sf

    Odd.

  12. Posted by ldr

    Looks SciFi. Should be 750′.

  13. Posted by Frankson

    Do we know who the developer is?

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