CFAH

The Transamerica Pyramid and 555 Washington Street

According to J.K. Dineen at the San Francisco Business Times, “Transamerica Pyramid owner Aegon Group has tapped Lowe Enterprises to develop a 38-story condo tower on a vacant lot [555 Washington] adjacent to the financial district landmark.

Lowe is proposing a 248-unit building that would trigger a redesign of the Pyramid Center, a complex that includes the Transamerica Pyramid, 505 Sansome St. and Redwood Park, the half-acre cluster of soaring redwoods at the northern edge of the financial district. Under the proposed project, the gated redwood grove would be expanded and opened up to the public, while ownership of the park would be transferred to the city. In addition, Mark Twain Alley, a dead-end which cuts from Sansome Street into the park, would be converted into a pedestrian piazza, with ground-floor restaurants spilling out from the new condo tower and other buildings along the alley.

The design is being led by HellerManus Architects. Any “plugged-in” tipster’s care to leak liberate some initial sketches/renderings?

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by etslee

    Is there extra insurance for living next to a major terrorist target…sorry, the same thought I had after seeing the SOMA grand.

  2. Posted by zig

    OH yes the Transamerica Pyramid I think number 213 on the terrorist wish list, with the new federal bld at 217
    San Francisco such an important city

  3. Posted by redseca2

    I hope they do not ruin the view of the TA Pyramid with an ugly building like the SOMA Grand did to the new Fed Building.

  4. Posted by informer

    The site for this project is actually the vacant lot immediately east of the Pyramid PLUS the existing building at 545 Sansome AND the Thai restaurant and photo shop. Interesting thing is that the new tower will significantly affect the views of the Bay from the Pyramid (at least as tall as the new tower). I think that this could be a phenominal project if ever gets built. It is worth noting, however, that this proposed project has been on the books for more than a decade. Only now is it starting to make financial sense. My guess is that the deal will die in the planning stages due to the neighborhood complaining about something or another, while the market turns downward – making the deal financially incompatible.

  5. Posted by davide

    Isn’t anyone worried about what a tall building right up on the ass of the Pyramid would do to our skyline? I’ve often noticed that one of the pleasing things about the SF skyline is that the lack of competing buildings keep the complete pyramid profile visible from all over. Not as important for a less-iconic or unique building, but to crowd out the pyramid’s shape would be tragic, i think.

  6. Posted by Bob

    I completely agree with Davide. I would be appalled if a 38 story building was built next to the Pyramid (which has, what – 42 usable stories plus the cap at the top?). I can’t imagine this going anywhere at that height. Even lots of pro-development people (like me) would come out opposed.

  7. Posted by Dude

    A city that considers itself progressive should take a hint from a progressive rock band: “Changes aren’t permanent, but change is.”
    I’m sure that if Barbary Coast-era San Franciscans were polled, they’d also be “appalled” to find that when they sailed their schooners into the Bay, they could no longer see the prominent apse of St. Mary’s rising high from the corners of California and Dupont streets.
    Our San Francisco is growing up, let’s not try to stifle it. Generations that come after us will have their own favorite landmarks and will not lose sleep over the fact that the Pyramid is less visible. The same way we don’t miss throwing coal into pot-belly stoves to keep warm in July.

  8. Posted by Joe

    People… before everyone goes into hysterics about a building just as tall as the pyramid…
    The proposed building is a residential. Residential buildings have much lower floors than office buildings. This proposed building will very likely be less than 400′ The TAPY is 49 stories and 690′ not including the ~200′ cap.
    The new building will not appear “as tall as” the pyramid.

  9. Posted by CameronRex

    I’m not sure but I don’t think the owner of the property, if the proposal is otherwise within current guidelines, could be denied a permit because it interferes with views of the pyramid. Not ideal I agree but it could be considered a ‘taking’ of the site’s value and require the city to pay the owner.

  10. Posted by Davide

    Dude:
    I take it your logic is that any development or new construction is by default good, then? Aesthetic considerations or civic planning should be damned? As long as new things are going up, then it’s “progress”? Why not just build a bunch of Fox Plaza clones in the presidio and Marin Headlands then? Then people sailing in would have something to look at. Who needs the GG Bridge to inspire them?

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