The SocketSite Scoop On The 8 Washington Street ProjectSeptember 27, 2007
Pacific Waterfront Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System have been working on plans to redevelop the area “bounded by The Embarcadero, Washington and Drumm Streets.”
And as proposed, the 8 Washington Street Project would replace a surface parking lot (which could be a problem considering it’s Seawall lot 351) and the current Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club with 170 housing units above street level retail and restaurants; public green space; and underground parking (both public and private).
And yes, it also provides for a new and improved Tennis & Swim Club as well.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
A lot of people are excited about this project. I think the reasons are simple: location, location, location.
The faux-French chateau style is not a match for San Francisco nor West Coast architecture. Ideally the design will change to something that fits with the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero Center and the Landmark at One Market. Faux Chateau is silly and would be a better fit in Newport Coast or Phoenix.
Great, a bunch of apartments only millionaires can afford, and in the meantime, no use of the tennis and swim club.
That’s a great location and I’m sure it will do well in any market. Translation, it will get built in a down market.
This project makes me think of the companies that you may have never heard of in the dot com days. These were the small companies that never got any traction, so you never heard about them. They blew through $50-100 Million from their investors. Why did the investors give them so much money when they had serious problems? Investors were so starved for investments near the end of the boom, that they were willing to overlook all sorts of problems with these companies and throw money at them with the hope they would somehow improve in the future. They bought their shares because there just wasn’t much else out there.
Profitability wasn’t going to happen because there were quality companies who could take over the demand for any products or services these lousy companies were building later on.
Similarly, people have been throwing money at projects with bad locations because they were starved for any product at all to invest in.
Projects like this one tell me that desperation was overblown. There are still plenty of lots with good locations that can be developed and that people will be able to buy, and so there will be no reason for future buyers to take a bad location with a wing and a prayer that it might somehow get better. This one is a great example of a good location that will soak up the new limited pool of available buyers who won’t have to make all sorts of crazy compromises.
Check out the anticipated schedule section. Three years devoted to community meetings, EIR’s, and design! I’m sure that’s not unusual for SF housing developments, and since time is money it gives you a sense of one of the factors driving up the cost of newly constructed units.
I think it’s funny that the tennis/swim club is sacrosanct. Originally, of course, it was in the shadow of a freeway, so it was a nice buffer for the golden gateway development. Now, of course, it protects the views of those same units. A very low value use for such a high value spot….but on balance not the worst tragedy in the world….although one could hope for something a little more democratic than a private club.
looks very cool. i’ve often looked at the hotel vitale while waiting on my french toast on saturday mornings and thought how cool it would be to live on the top floor of something like that, walking across the street to the ferry building for your groceries. this could be about as good as it gets for folks wanting that type of experience.
i imagine they wont have any trouble getting this approved since they aren’t blocking anyone’s view and they catered to the existing use crowd. very smart.
If you’re thinking in terms of walking across the street to the Ferry Building to buy your groceries, then you better have LOTS of money.
yeah, i was thinking about that too. it would make whole paycheck look like costco.
You’ve also got a Safeway right there – if the Ferry Building doesn’t have all of your grocery needs
I like it.
I agree, it’s odd to see pseudo-French architecture with Palm trees… but you could convert to spanish tile very easily… you could also change it to bay windows and victorian colors if you so chose. seems easy to change the exterior asthetics.
yet another example of how there IS more land upon which to build in the city.
Unfortunately, as always, it will be high end stuff… but presumably the people who buy here will vacate somewhere else, making THAT cheaper… it will cause a domino effect, cheapening prices elsewhere in SF…
one question: why can’t they just put the tennis courts on the top of the buildings??? (and thus increase the numbers of buildings and units?) or do tennis players like being at ground level???
also: as always, it will take years and years to happen (if ever)… the true reason RE is so expensive in SF…
How many more years do we have to go through this palm tree fad? I really don’t want to live in Pheonix or Orange County myself. Palm trees are nothing more than a way for designers to hide ugly facades and are not appropriate for our landscape context. Why can’t people appreciate the trees and plants that originally grew in this area? But the architecture is even worse. As was mentioned earler….
“Faux Chateau is silly and would be a better fit in Newport Coast or Phoenix. ”
Actually, the pseudo-French style nicely complements the Audiffred building just down the Embarcadero, which is a pre-earthquake building. I like the choice.
Awesome location! Just wish it were a bit taller. Even at the penthouse level (7th floor) the street noise would be quite loud.
And the more palm trees the better. If we can’t have socal weather, at least we can have some more palm trees.
Isn’t this the project that ran into squawking protest because the proposed height is > 40′?
No wonder they’ve budgeted three years of negotiation before ground breaking.
this is a perfect example of a place where we should be building higher than 7 floors. I really don’t understand this desire to stop growth. Aren’t we suppossed to be building SMART. This looks more like a suburbuan Anaheim development. i don’t mind the Plam trees, but can’t we make things a little more dense. We need more housing, not moe space inefficiently filled.
This would be more appropriate at 12-15 floors
I’m excited that they are building residential housing down here. I worked in the area for a few years and always thought the current use was such a waste of great space. The only downside I see to the area is the tourist traffic on the weekends for the Farmer’s market. Otherwise it’s already prime for more residential living as they have great access to public transportation, consumer businesses close by (grocery, drugstores, banks, etc.), lot’s of green space, etc. I hate to hear the schedule though, 3 years for community meetings? As Ex-SFer said, here’s where the real cost of building in this city is lost. What a waste.
interesting and timely article about trees in the city from yesterdays chronicle home section:
i personally like the palms when they are taken care of
“I really don’t understand this desire to stop growth.”
It’s all about the overreaching influence of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, who want to “protect” their view, even though as a city policy, there isn’t such a rule from my understanding.
It’s all about getting one of your own elected president of the Board of Supervisors (Peskin) to squelch any development on that part of the waterfront that’s too high. Gotta love those Progressives.
The building is architectural Muzak and could be anywhere. LA, SD, Virginia coast. The palms are great, tho appear to be some thinner version of the Canary Island palms along the Embarc. Too bad we don’t take NYC’s lead + bring cutting-edge design to the waterfront (think Chelsea/Village new developments). We remain (Transbay, 1 Rincon already look tired) safe and hum drum, and continue the decades-long reputation of architectural dullness.
The vast majority of all buildings are boring. That’s what makes the unique ones stand out. Is everyone claiming the new Federal Building is hum drum? The new synagogue at Clement and 14th is safe? The new senior building on Gough is dull?
8 Washington Street is a very controversial project.
The present proposal is the 4th attempt to change the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club from a recreational facility into part condominiums and part recreational.
The reason that the use of the site is still recreational is that the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency took control of the area in the 1960’s, used Federal Funds to relocate business and residents and with 5 developers bidding, chose the Perini Corp of Boston to develop the Golden Gateway area. Perini won the rights to build the Alcoa Office Building (25 stories), the Golden Gateway Center (1,200+ rental apartments) and the Golden Gateway Commons (mixed use with 3 blocks of office & retail and 155 condominiums).
One of the reasons that Perini was accepted by the Redevelopment Agency is that Perini proposed to build a private 2 acre park (Sydney Walton Park) and build the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club (Club) that was made available to the tenants at the GG Center and GG Commons. This helped create the neighborhood with both office and residential uses and today is the most successful project the SF Redevelopment Agency has completed.
Perini paid the Redevelopment Agency market rate land cost for the rights to build the Alcoa Bldg, the GG Center and GG Commons, but paid below market for the land for the Park & Recreational Club.
The neighborhood and anyone visiting has enjoyed both the Park and Club since the 1970’s.
There have been 3 previous attempts to build condominiums on the Club and reduce the size of the Club. All 3 previous attempts were turned down, first by Mayor Diane Finestein, then Mayor Art Agnos and most recently by the Board of Supervisors.
Members of the Club have formed an organization to “Save the Club” called Friends of Golden Gateway “FOGG” with over 1,300 members. http://fogg.us/.
In December 2006,FOGG joined with the San Francisco Tennis Club, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (www.thebarbarycoastnews.com) and numerous other City organizations to have the Supervisors (who voted 11-0) to require any changes in public or private recreational facilities in San Francisco to replace the recreational component with 100% of the existing recreational facilities. This action has saved the SF Tennis Club from being replaced with over 500 condominiums.
The neighborhood that enjoys using the Golden Gateway Swim and Tennis Club feels that the project that was approved by the Redevelopment Agency 30 years ago, did not call for it to change at a later date. If the recreational facility can be taken away, how soon will Sydney Walton Park have a 25 story building replacing that open space?
You are welcome to attend the public meeting on Monday, October 1 at Pier 1, 6:00 PM to hear a presentation by the developer of this project.
Get educated and make up your own mind.
President, Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association
“The neighborhood that enjoys using the Golden Gateway Swim and Tennis Club feels that the project that was approved by the Redevelopment Agency 30 years ago, did not call for it to change at a later date.”
Although I applaud your grass roots activism, I must also question one point:
how long until a redevelopment can be redeveloped? 30 years? 100 years? 500 years?
SF is a dynamic city, and thus must change to survive.
I’m not saying that it is “right” or “wrong” to develop that particular parcel… but the current problem is that very little SF land is developable due to plans done decades (or more) ago.
There are few (if any) cities that would refuse to redevelop a land parcel due to 30 year old guidelines, unless it is designated “historic”.
but perhaps you can answer a question for me:
why not put the tennis club on TOP of the buildings??? You could have one very large building with a tennis club right on top of it. It would have great views… (I’ve played tennis on rooftops, and found it enjoyable)
it would preserve the tennis club (and could even expand it) while also allowing redevelopment.
Ever tried to play tennis on the rooftop at SF Tennis Club? Windy, to say the least. The current area (I used to be a member of the GGTSC) is well protected from wind.
Also, members should not have to walk through private residences to get to the club (I can imagine the residents wouldn’t like this either). The fact is that the amount of residences being built here will *not* measurably change the real estate picture in SF and at the same time some valuable public land will be lost.
But as for protecting telegraph hill owners’ views? that’s BS. They have no right to expect to keep those views. Once again the staid old San Francisco doesn’t get it. Your city is no longer a provincial little west coast town that can afford to be so corrupt and incompetent at managing its affairs. It is now the center of the tech economy, and it must grow and change to accomodate all the new residents, not just the few homeowners. Do you see homes of this size in New York City (Manhattan?) nope. And that is what SF will become, there is nothing that can or should be done to stop it. Don’t like it? Move out to the suburbs, or adapt. That’s life.
The only hope is that the Baby Boomers who own these huge homes will die off soon and that will make room for progress and change.
Exactly what “public land” will be lost in this project? The parking lot?
“And that is what SF will become, there is nothing that can or should be done to stop it. Don’t like it? Move out to the suburbs, or adapt. That’s life. ”
Sorry. I have no problem with this developement but I do have a problem with the comment above from Melinda. San Francisco does not HAVE to become Manhattan. The VAST majority of this city is underdeveloped. Why not fix and expand public transportation and start adding density to other parts of the city as well. There is a myth that many on this site think that luxury towers will solve the housing crisis in this city. I do not agree. The answer is to provide housing for those who actually LIVE in the city, not want to own a second home here. Why not build 3 to 5 story buildings along western Geary Blvd. with units above and shops below? Why use Manhattan as the example? Why not Paris or some other city?
San Francisco does not need to look like the rest of America, and I for one hope we look towards density models found in Europe instead of Los Angeles or New York. If you want San Francisco to be like Manhattan, why don’t YOU move to Manhattan?
As for this project, why does it have to look like what I see down in Irvine?
“Why not build 3 to 5 story buildings along western Geary Blvd.”
I think the simple answer is because we can’t because the neighbors refuse and seem to have a lot of power in SF
Look at how long the Octavia plan has been debated
“As for this project, why does it have to look like what I see down in Irvine? ”
Because San Francisco is lame when it comes to architecture. Witness the whole Transbay Terminal fiasco. We got the most bland/boring wiener design of the bunch (yes yes, I know, money rules). We have this whole Disneyfied preservation view of the world. We should rename our city to Victorianworld and have nightly parades down Market St.
We strangle the life out of interesting architecture — and then we complain about how much proposed buildings looks like Irvine?
It is now the center of the tech economy, and it must grow and change to accomodate all the new residents, not just the few homeowners.
ROTFL, I wish that were true. San Francisco is about 50-60 miles north of the center of the tech economy. I am speaking as someone who has been making that reverse-commute for decades. Yes, I happily worked south o’ the slot during the dotcom era, but that was a brief exception.
I’d like to live along Hanalei Bay. But I can’t afford it. If a couple dozen Rincon One clones were built along Hanalei Bay, then prices would drop and I could afford it. But then I wouldn’t want to live there.
Melinda, did you know Top Ramen comes in many flavors?
Anonfed up wrote: Why not build 3 to 5 story buildings along western Geary Blvd. with units above and shops below?
See my comments earlier regarding the NIMBYs who own single family housing in the city’s most transit accessible neighborhoods. They think only of themselves and their own property values, not what’s best for the city as a whole.
Ah, the tragedy of the commons.
As for the manhattanization of SF, perhaps it was a poor choice of words. What I was driving at was that population density is happening. Something needs to be done. The status quo cannot hold indefinitely. I actually don’t think luxury towers are the solution–how about just towers? 😉
And if you think it’s hard to get density housing built downtown, wait until you see the dust up that will happen when you try to tell the SFR’s out in West Portal what you plan to do. LOL!
It is really interesting that Santa Monica has removed palms from its list of acceptable street trees and is removing them as quickly as reasonably possible at the same time that San Francisco is embracing palms and planting them everywhere. Given the environmental uselessness of palms, their vulnerability to diseases, the cost of maintaining them, and the liability from all that hard, heavy, and sharp material falling it seems like it will only be a while before any landscaping that looks like that in this proposal gets completely changed out for something that makes sense and works.
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