1650 Broadway: Original Design
A plugged-in tipster reports that the development of 1650 Broadway (a.k.a. 1622-1662 Broadway) has been approved by the Planning Commission.
1650 Broadway will rise eight and one-half six and one-half stories into the air (a “23%percent reduction in building size from the original design” above) and will consist of 34 condos (1 1-bedroom, 25 2-bedroom, 8 3-bedroom; 4 below market rate) over 49 parking spaces.
Design by Forum Design with the Broadway façade set back four to ten feet from the property line (landscaping in the intervening area) with exterior finishes of stone cladding, cement plaster, and darkened zinc.
Construction is estimated at approximately 20 months from groundbreaking.
UPDATE: From a plugged-in reader:

This isn’t the final design. I believe the top floor was considerably set back. Also one of the Commissioners, whose support was critical, asked for and obtained less glass on the facade.

You know where to send the renderings (and if you don’t: tips at socketsite.com).
The Designs (And Declaration) For 34 New Condos At 1650 Broadway [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by eddy

    Wow! When are pre-sales!!!!

  2. Posted by Joe

    Really glad to see the NIMBY next door neighbor protests were not successful.

  3. Posted by kthnxybe

    I can see why there’d be some concern, because it’s so much taller than the buildings on either side of it, but since they have so much parking it should be okay. It’s a fairly dense part of town in the first place. Plus it looks nicer than the buildings next to it anyway, so it will really add something to the block.
    Totally off topic but I hate how our “below market rate” law works. It does nothing to help anyone who actually needs help, it’s just like another handout for the already connected. But that’s a whole other topic thread we already had a while back.

  4. Posted by Rincon Hill Billy

    Does anybody know if the planning commission is using this down period to rush the approval of new developments?
    I guess I’m trying to gauge if it’s the companies that are being proactive (see opportunity) to new development in SF, or if it’s the city that is being reactive (trying to encourage development) by approving anything that comes across.

  5. Posted by Rincon Hill Billy

    It just seems like we’ve had a number of new developments approved recently, and it’d be nice to know why.

  6. Posted by flaneur

    This isn’t the final design. I believe the top floor was considerably set back. Also one of the Commissioners, whose support was critical, asked for and obtained less glass on the facade.

  7. Posted by Conifer

    I recommend that you listen to the Planning Commission meeting, on SF television. You can play it back, and move to different items, including this one. The lefties carried on about shared-car parking, but had little to complain about the height. There were minor concessions to the neighbors to the east who have expenses connected to this. Maybe even SF realizes that some development is okay. The neighborhood probably does not want it, but it will be good for local shops and restaurants. The sanest and smartest Commissioner is still Dr. Antonini.

  8. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    I used to rent a parking space in the empty lot here. The owner (Ernie) is a really nice guy. Hopefully he does OK on this deal. (He used to tell me that “real estate is a great business because banks will lend you money to buy it.” As long as that still holds true, he will do fine.)
    Back in ’06 he drove an SL55 (“custom ordered” with red leather — he was really proud of that car) but lately I saw him driving a Mini Cooper… hopefully that’s not a sign of financial problems. (Perhaps he’s just saving the environment?)
    It took over 4 years to get planning approval for the project — enough for the market to turn from blistering 20%/yr appreciation to whatever we have now in Russian Hill. Talk about risk … yow.

  9. Posted by Conifer

    Not Russian Hill. This is west of Van Ness, at the edge of Pacific Heights. Broadway is a nice address even if this is the most modest part of it.

  10. Posted by Jim

    Four years to get entitlements? Yea, that Planning Commission is really rushing things through.

  11. Posted by SFer

    Jimmy: I work with the developer (acquisition of new land for him) on some of his other deals, he is indeed a very nice guy.

  12. Posted by Conifer

    It should be interesting to see what effect if any this building has on value of nearby property, which has always taken a hit because of the one-way traffic on Franklin.

  13. Posted by BlackRock

    This approval took over 4 years with 3 different hearings, yes 3. The developer had to go through the ringer to finally get approval. The building is certainly not 8 stories. In fact it got approved at 6 1/2 stories–23%percent reduction in building size from the original design.
    On top of this-the developer had to make his light well 160% the size of the building to the West (1690 Broadway.) Standard procedure is to match the size of the neighboring light well.
    The commission wanted to make the developer include car share inside the property (not great for security reasons) but the only reason they didn’t was because the city attorney said that unless it was the commissions blanket policy that they shouldn’t single out this development(lucky.)
    Even though they still ruled with amendment encouraging “Project Sponsor” to add 2 car share spaces.
    With regard to the property to the East–They approved the project with a condition stating the developer will make “significant contribution to helping the property fix it’s problems.” These problems have nothing to do with the developer-these things should be fixed by the property owner. And the number is not small.
    The commission only listened to the neighborhood and never focused on the project itself. The neighborhood lied so much it was actually scary. They even manipulated renderings and put them on the overhead in front of the commission! Long and short of this is that the development process in San Francisco is absolutely nuts–A circus. It is absolutely shameful.
    The breakdown:
    4 Years to get approval after going through the ringer
    2 Years to get building permit
    2-2.5 Years to build
    8 Years to build 34 units and risk putting your head on the chopping block!

  14. Posted by AEG

    I live in the neighborhood and watched the hearing on TV last night. All I’ve got to say is I feel sorry for the developer (who i guess is a nice guy) because he has some CRAZIES for neighbors!!!! Those women were not on topic, had nothing relevant to say and were purely emotional because they realize they’re fighting a losing battle—duh—there will be a building there!!! As a neighbor and SF native, I think this building will be beautiful and a huge improvement to what is currently there. good for you small, SF developer. I wish you the best!

  15. Posted by flaneur

    Yes the hearing on SFGovTV was good drama, like “Desperate Housewives”…

  16. Posted by Conifer

    One “ultra-liberal” commissioner has trouble articulating.
    One commissioner often says what he “needs” and compares his own situation to the “project sponsor.”
    One commissioner gets “offended” if people say things that violate his personal rules of decorum, and then castigates them.
    At least one commissioner states that decisions are made on need, not what someone wants and has earned.
    Talk about power corrupting…

  17. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    The worst thing of all is that Ernie did a lot to accomodate the building next door when they went about refinishing the east wall of their building (which was bare concrete but now has siding on it) — he helped find parking spaces for everyone who parked there (for a month or two) — not easy to find 15 parking spaces at once in Pac Heights.
    Talk about turning the other cheek!
    And the ugly yellow building to the east is a tear-down. There’s no reason on earth why he should have to “help” them fix it up; the owner is just holding his project for ransom and the planning board is enabling them.
    [Removed by Editor]
    What a joke — I feel sorry for Ernie & after 8 years he will deserve whatever profit he makes off this project (if anything).
    The worst part is the arbitrary height restriction, when buildings a couple of blocks down Broadway are 16+ stories. No reason he shouldn’t be allowed to build to the same density as was allowed before.

  18. Posted by Conifer

    The yellow building owner should have negotiated with the “project sponsor” and sold out. He would have got a good price, and the project could have been bigger. The are no apparent redeeming qualities to that building.

  19. Posted by SFer

    Jimmy:
    Oh yeah, things like that always pop up. Him and I always discuss potential problems with local residents who might complain. You’re basically at the whim at neighbors to keep them happy so they don’t mess up your approval process.

  20. Posted by Fishchum

    Can someone please explain to me why the developer is responsible for fixing the “problems” of a neighboring building?

  21. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    I think it had something to do with shoring up the foundation of the adjacent building b/c the owner of the adjacent building was worried that it might collapse when they started digging for this project. I never got the exact details (& I can’t be bothered to watch the SFGov TV clip).
    Am I the only one who sees the results of this planning process as, in effect, an arbitrary confiscation of private property rights? As in: the lot is zoned for a certain building height, at a certain density, and with a certain number of private parking spaces, and thus the property owner should be allowed to build a building that conforms to the zoning restrictions without undue interference from other people. ESPECIALLY not the government officials in charge of the planning process!!!

  22. Posted by flaneur

    Jimmy – Your argument would carry more weight if the project did not require a conditional use, which is why the government officials had to step in.

  23. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Ah. Well, in that case, I take it all back.

  24. Posted by Joe

    You dont need facts in this town to stop a development – just emotions and seniority (“I’m a X generation San Franciscan”)
    I dont know why more people dont get that San Francisco is massively anti development. Success in this town is measured by how much you can stop the man from producing (the man can be businesses with multiple locations, developers trying to develop property, etc)
    It’s as simple as that, and all in the name of the democratic process.
    Other cities realize that true consensus isnt realistically attainable, but in SF everyones voice needs to be heard. It’s embarassing – and it filters through everything – not just development

  25. Posted by Joe

    Can anyone tell me what development of this size in SF did NOT need a conditional use?
    Everything 40′ and up requires conditional use.

  26. Posted by flaneur

    Joe – Wasn’t this project approved?

  27. Posted by flaneur

    As to the light well area increase, this building gets off fairly easy compared to mine. In the case of my building, a wide garden area that starts at the neighbor’s light well and goes all the way to the street was provided. Granted, my building is 13 stories.

  28. Posted by Joe

    Not as proposed. Like every project in SF, it was downsized to the whims of the neighbors. Why is the lot height limit at 80′?
    Do you think that number was just picked out of a hat?
    I really dont understand why we have any zoning regulations at all when the whims of one neighbor can substantially alter the design of a building that will house dozens of people

  29. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Skip to hour 2:00 and onwards. The two screeching harpies are a hoot!!

  30. Posted by jessep

    Is anybody actually drinking this Kool Aid? I’m surely not.

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