555 Washington Rendering

We should have been much more clear in yesterday’s post with respect to the Planning Commission’s voting on the proposed 555 Washington project.

While the EIR for the project was approved by the Planning Commission 4-3, votes on the project related to land use were delayed and not only include the impacts on Redwood Park and Mark Twain Alley, but exceptions for height, bulk, and parking.

That being said, we will call round two 10-9 in favor of 555 Washington (versus round one 10-9 for its opponents).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by flaneur

    With the EIR approved, are not the other votes logically following?

  2. Posted by Jeff

    Just build the thing already! Cities are for tall buildings. Density == good.

  3. Posted by Invented

    Is it the slow market, or does this structure truly merit this play by play coverage?

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Jeff – while I’ve got nothing against tall buildings, first and foremost cities are for people. And yes, bringing a lot of people together in a city results in density though there are options other than tall buildings to house them.
    I still like this project though.

  5. Posted by yao

    build it taller.

  6. Posted by noearch

    @milkshake: so there are other options for high density housing OTHER than tall buildings?
    care to explain?

  7. Posted by Mole Man

    One of the best explanations for walkable density being in conflict tall condo buildings is in the classic The Death and Life of Great Cities by Jane Jacobs. These expensive buildings attract the disconnected rich and people who focus on working enough to be able to pay the rent. Even with all that glass such a building does not typically result in many eyes on the street, or much new life at ground level. The result is a kind of high density dead space in the City that actually detracts from street life. Whether this proposal is an exhibit of this problem depends not only on the specifics of the design and execution, but also the nature of future residents.

  8. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    noearch – I’m thinking of Parisian dimensions : six to eight story buildings with commercial on the ground floor. Large, but hardly tall buildings result in a lively and livable density.
    Again, I’ve got nothing against skycrapers but just want to point out that you don’t have to adopt a Hong Kong strategy to create a dense city.

  9. Posted by Joe

    Try proposing 6-8 story streetwalls in 95% of sf neighborhoods – there would be just as much outcry of manhattanization.
    The simple truth of it is that the people who complain and subvert the approval process simply feel like they should never have to deal with new buildings anywhere ever.

  10. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    SF is already well ahead in density. I’d prefer to see other bay area cities get involved, encouraging denser 6-8 story cores around heavy transit nodes.
    But not Santana Row-like places please. Gag. that place is a little nodule of privately owned faux urban streetscape surrounded by parking and with really lame transit connections.

  11. Posted by noearch

    6-8 story buildings is not high density. It may be charming, it may be Parisian in feeling, but that’s really pretty low.
    Actually, I don’t think Santana Row is completely bad. Yes, it could be served better by transit. So what if it’s privately owned. The street scape is rather pleasant with lots of restaurants at ground level..while I’m mainly a modernist, the faux historic style doesn’t bother me.
    I’d like to see more of that kind of urban infill in Mission Bay with modern and traditional style blended.

  12. Posted by StinkyDingo

    6-8 story buildings in context can contribute to high density. I currently live in a 5 story building in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Many of the surrounding buildings are taller, but there are a significant number in this lower range, mostly on the streets in between the larger thoroughfares. The density is achieved in part by lack of yard space.

  13. The original 20 of Paris is nearly as dense as Manhattan. And it achieves this with zero hi-rise residential buildings.
    I think that what happens with hi-rise residential buildings is that planners often include setbacks as well as space them out. The result is a density similar to tightly packed 6-8 story apartment buildings. The upside is more air and light. The downside is more walking distance between “interesting” places and a much lower doorknob density.

  14. Posted by Philip

    Nobody is going to live there. If this thing is ever built, it will be occupied entirely by transients: foreigners, business people needing a pied-a-terre, hotshot executives here for a year or two. The city will get some property tax revenue, but otherwise it is just one more step towards giving SF a Houston/San Diego look of mediocrity and phony glamor.

  15. Posted by Fishchum

    Philip – Do you have anything do back up that assertion?

  16. Posted by C

    This building will have less impact on the redwood park than the foot-fetish pervert who hangs out there all day and harasses my female coworkers…

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