With the list price for the 120-foot-wide chunk of Telegraph Hill’s hillside which fronts Sansome Street, below the homes at the end of Alta Street above, having been reduced to $998,000 earlier this year, the sale of the 1235 Sansome Street site (which is technically three parcels and was once part of the quarry from which stone for San Francisco’s City Hall was harvested) is now pending.

And as newly envisioned and rendered by EE Weiss Architects below, an eleven-story building could rise up to 110 feet in height on site as measured from Sansome Street but technically below the 84-foot height limit for the site based on its slope.

In addition to stabilizing the slope, the ambitious 22,000-squre-foot development would yield seven rental units with a total of 84 bedroom suites, each with a private bath and shared kitchens/living rooms; a 1,150-square-foot common area on the sixth floor; 2,850 square feet of commercial space; a storage room for 40 bikes; and a rooftop deck.

And yes, the project sits within the boundaries of the Waterfront Historic District and is under the purview of the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Association. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    Oh boy. THD is going to have a field day with this one. Early bets on scary nicknames? The Telegraph Terror? Can we file this one under never gonna happen?

  2. Posted by Anonymous

    “would yield seven rental units with a total of 103 84 bedroom suites”

    Wait, so how many total units? And what’s the breakdown of 1s vs 2s, vs 3s?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      As drafted, it’s technically seven units with either 11 or 12 bedroom suites per unit.

      • Posted by Hunter

        Don’t get it – is that because of the property unit-count limits? Or are these envisioned as group housing?

      • Posted by AEC

        So, basically, an Airbnb hotel?

        • Posted by curmudgeon

          Or upscale coder cabins. But more likely just value maximizing so the City will buy it for open space at a higher price.

        • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

          Or perhaps Dorm living for Lower-paid professionals. Even if it actually gets built, they’re not going to get away with purpose-built short-term rentals at this location.

  3. Posted by RySF

    That is just plain butt ugly.

    • Posted by UnlivableCity

      Calling it butt ugly is a disservice to all the nice butts out there…

    • Posted by Serge

      Indeed. What on Earth happened to architecture.

  4. Posted by San Francisco

    Peskin is already very upset

    • Posted by Mike

      He’s having a few cocktails in preparation for making a proclamation later tonight!

  5. Posted by Jimbo

    This looks like an awesome project!!

  6. Posted by carlcalvin

    pepper the slope with 100 sq ft sister houses a la steep ravine meets teddy cruz – a permit free disruption that restores telegraph hill circa 1890 “home of the hoodlums”

  7. Posted by Notcom

    Now THAT’s a 13K cubic yard excavation!

    I rather like it as a Man vs. Nature contest…tho I’m not sure which one I’ll put my money on.

  8. Posted by NeedMoreHousing

    great to see more housing being proposed on TH!

  9. Posted by JK

    Are the houses above gonna sink or tilt after the new construction? Kinda like Millenium Tower?

  10. Posted by Dave

    Par for the course – pave/cement over every sliver of open space remaining in the city. No way this gets built. It will be tied up forever in litigation. Plus it looks awful. Replacing a dramatic cliff/swath of green in the center of the city with group housing – only in SF! That said, having lowered the price for the lot to 998K, why didn’t the deep pocket folks on Telegraph Hill via the THDA raise the money to outright purchase the parcel and keep in permanent open space? They will spend as much and more in legal fees litigating this.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      It is fair to say that nobody uses that piece of open space. I see your point about the ‘dramatic cliff’. Just one person’s opinion I don’t find the current conditions very attractive. It is certainly not natural being a quarry scar and not a natural cliff. I’d rather look at an attractive building than that scrappy piece of rock. Hopefully the developer can come up with something more attractive than that ugly McPaint mockup.

  11. Posted by hmmm

    Ha! The City should just spare us all the pain and buy this piece of cliff. $1m seems like a reasonable price.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      If it gets entitled for this, it’s going to be much more than $1 million. But then again, isn’t that the point?

  12. Posted by Kirkland Batteries

    Does anyone else’s face hurt just looking at this?

  13. Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

    I have mentioned this before, but these parcels went unbid at a delinquent property tax auction.

    This is a sham to try to get someone to buy the hillside, either in earnest or to “save the neighborhood.”

  14. Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

    wow, that’s gonna be one helluva retaining wall.

    my money says it never gets built.

    where are the neighborhood coyotes supposed to live?

  15. Posted by sf_historian
  16. Posted by Miraloma Man

    Just to set the record straight, City Hall is clad in Sierra granite, not San Francisco serpentine.

    I agree with others, this is clearly a hostage taking. Someone will pay to make sure that this never happens. Or, if it does happen, residents of Telegraph Hill can do what their ancestors did and crush it with boulders.

  17. Posted by JWS

    While I frankly would LOVE to see a tower like this go up, as this is not open space anybody is using remotely and it even seems unlikely this would block views, the entirely unrealistic unit count (11 suites in each unit) and the general market timing seems like a hostage situation to try to get out with a good price by dangling a “if you buy it this won’t get built” carrot in the air to the THD.

    With that being said, what I think is somewhat ironic is that in the desperate attempt to thwart anything new, whether housing or restaurants, near their properties, one has to wonder if this will hurt TH rather than help it. I can’t really imagine that this location with absolutely nothing going on near it will continue to competitively court the 25-45 wealthier set in the future, as that demographic increasingly cares more about what is around the house than the house itself. If projects over the years that have been successfully thwarted by THD had been approved (say, 555 Washington, 8 Washington, the Pier 29 renovation, various hotel projects that may still go forward, etc) that would have brought new activity and retail/restaurants to the area, as well as easing up on the restaurant caps in North Beach and Jackson Square. Without any of that, it seems like the “happening” area of the FiDi will inevitably shift south of Market once all the Transbay buildings are finished with full with retail (heard Related had a LOI out for every single spot in The Avery paseo months ago), Transbay is fixed and full of retail, the new high end hotels get built up with their rooftop bars (Virgin, 555 Howard, etc). Incredible views aside, TH has nothing going for it right now in terms of lifestyle and it’s certainly not as if newer towers going up, or traditional locations in Pac Heights, are lacking in views.

    We’ve already seen that buyers who would have formerly sprung for Pac Heights are now snapping up stuff on Liberty Hill/Mission. IMO TH seems even more vulnerable to this trend because at least with Pac Heights there is plenty of stuff opening and going on on Chestnut. Cannot name a single significant opening in Jackson Square or North Beach.

    I’m just not sure what would make a younger but still wealthy buyer favor TH over Transbay, the Mission, the Marina, etc at this point. And I’m not sure we’ll see the heavy focus on nearby lifestyle amenities abate as that generation of wealth gets older.

    Will be interesting to watch, for sure.

  18. Posted by tipster

    I’ll add my hat to the “this is a scam” and “this will never get built” crowd based on the building code that requires all bedrooms to have a window to the outside. So they’ll have to excavate the area surrounding the building and build an 8 story retaining wall on three sides, all to end up with bedroom windows with views that look like solitary confinement at a prison. Although I’m sure it’s structurally feasible to do so, the costs will be far more than anyone is going to pay for a prison view.

    After watching the extortionists work a tax sale at Presideo Terrace, I have to think something similar is being attempted here.

  19. Posted by Marsha Garland

    It is an ugly design although a clever use of vertical space; however, similarly built construction has had nothing but trouble with water seeping through the rock and the tendency of the rocky hill to forever want to collapse. Telegraph Hill has been undermined too often to make a project like this safe and doable

  20. Posted by aerl

    So what about the rest of the hill? If they’re going to put this here, they may as well put similar buildings along the rest of the hillside on Sansome.

  21. Posted by NOPA

    I hope they build it and give the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Association – AKA the alt-right of the left – hell. There is no limit to the number of children THNA would throw into cages if it meant protecting their view.

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