One Hawthorne: Rendering
So here’s the scoop (via the San Francisco Business Times) on the development of One Hawthorne (currently 645 Howard): 24 stories, 165 units and a $150 million development budget; pricing expected to range from $500,000 for a 550 square foot junior one-bedroom to $3 million for a 2,200 square foot penthouse; and development by Jackson Pacific/MacFarlane Partners with design by Ezra Mersey and EHDD.

Ezra Mersey, the former Tishman Speyer managing director who founded Jackson Pacific in 2003, said any hesitancy to jump into the treacherous housing market is outweighed by the project’s prime south financial district location near the corner of Howard and Second streets.

“We’re looking beyond the present cycle and creating a unique project with the best location, exceptional contemporary design and very strong sponsorship,” said Mersey.

Looking beyond “the present cycle?”
New S.F. condo project will be a rarity in 2008 [Business Times]
Barriers Going Up, Building Coming Down, 165 Condos Coming Soon [SocketSite]

26 thoughts on “One Hawthorne: The Design (And Some Details) Of What’s On The Way”
  1. dayymmn this city is dull/ boring/ unsophisticated/ uninspired. Thanks NIMBYS for ruining this city!!

  2. Whatever S&L, I’m just thrilled that developers are basically ignoring the market and building more, more, more. Google is WAY down (skirting with the $400 per share range), Yahoo will be laying off even more with a M$oft acqusition, VMWare and Apple share price collapsing, and yet, developers keep relentlessly building. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. That’s my kind of market! Yahoo!

  3. What are these developers thinking?? They need to not base their decisions on research and market data, but Socketsite comments! If they read this blog as much as I do they would know that erecting that building is a very bad idea! If only they had a few “‘Plugged In’Readers” on their boards and in their research departments…

  4. From the same article: “A lot of banks are licking their wounds right now and they are not interested in more speculative development”. What are these banks thinking? They need to not base their decisions on research and market data but listen to the comments of McBravio…

  5. It looks like the SomaGrand! We need more unique buildings (think Federal Building, Infinity, Transamerica, etc.), than this SomaGrand-boxy look. We need to let the local architects run wild with ideas. You have to think there are many creative, top-of-the-line architects around here (Stanford, Berkeley, Silicon Valley, SF is filled with creative people across all industries. I doubt architecture is very different). Not everyone is going to like every design, but we can’t keep having the same compromised design ideas, because the downtown is going to look like a big-box retailer soon, but instead of boxes filled with items for sales, they will be filled with people. God, I know there are more creative people out there in this city. I hate bureaucracy!
    P.S. When are we putting in more rental apts in the city? Not everyone is willing to pay $500,000 for a 550 sq. ft. junior 1 bdr. How many people are? We need to all resist buying into these places, and force prices to drop (instead of 2 yr HOA paid for, big woop, what happens after 2 years!).

  6. A two minute stumble from Thirsty Bear ? Count me in !
    As for looking beyond the current cycle, this seems to make sense. From what I’ve heard developments like this require a lot of lead time to get through all of the bureaucratic hurdles. This project probably started several years back. The developer can go slow on construction, saving on costs. Yeah, they will have to carry the land purchase cost and tax but that is tiny compared to the eventual value that will be put on the market when complete. By going slow the developer can wait out more of the down cycle.
    I don’t think anyone really knows how long the down cycle will last and how deep it will go.
    This seems like a reasonable risk.

  7. Wasn’t there another great Satchel post here just a minute ago?
    [Editor’s Note: We’re going to do our best to keep this discussion focused on all things One Hawthorne (and Satchel’s comment about Google is now right here).]

  8. I actually really like this building…it looks nothing like SOMA Grand and is a major improvement over what is currently there.

  9. If the developers have difficulty getting financing, Mr. MacFarlane could pay for a third of the building by selling his massive St. Regis penthouse.
    [Editor’s Note: Otherwise known as the top floor (which won’t need to be put on the market as the $120 million construction loan for One Hawthorne has already been secured).]

  10. 1. building is ugly
    2. by the time that thing is built, the current down market will have either bottomed out or be on its way to a healthy recovery.
    3. SF is the last to get hit and the first to recover. always.

  11. I wonder if residents will get a neighbor discount at the Gold Club which is across the street.
    This area is really filling in nicely with BLU, 199 New, Hawthorne Place, Ro, etc.
    Seems like good timing to start construction. In 18-24 months the market will be robust.

  12. Proposed building unfortunately takes its cues from Yerba Buena & Mission St. higher-profile, glassy buildings and makes the mistake of not embracing unique materials in immediate vicinity. Something more classical with masonry would have been far more enduring. This design would work on a taller building cantilevering on water — somewhere needing the look-at-me limelight factor. One Hawthorne location needs restraint; it’s a wonderful & unique intersection on an alley-like block & the designers altogether disregard this. If designers/architects didn’t feel the need to try SO hard out here & were more confident – they ‘d be able to read the nuance of the immediate area & discover that less is more. I love starkly modern and also tall buildings; this site however requires something that doesn’t try so hard and does a better job at respecting its neighbors.

  13. Holy Camole. That’s a HUGE Change from what’s there right now. What are all the artists at the AoA going to do without the sunlight?

  14. Google is currently trading at $519.31, after falling as low as $510 earlier today. So it’s not exactly “skirting with the $400 per share range.” (I don’t own any shares or work there — just care about accuracy.)

  15. Love the top part, hate the bottom. It ends up being a wash in total.
    I say screw the “respecting neighbors” bull…. SF is nothing but respectful neighbors. In a room full of people whispering so nobody is offended, not a single person stands out.
    There’s way too much “democracy” in the SF planning and architectural design process.

  16. I’m confused. I thought that this WAS “Blu”! Maybe SS can post a picture of Blu? Bc in my memory these two buildings look exactly alike.

  17. @RG, that is what I am talking about! All of these buildings look the same.
    Joe, I agree, sometimes you have to piss people off when you make ‘real’ changes, because the majority of people do not like change and prefer the status quo. Just look at the Octavia/Market Redevelopment project–it is taking forever, b/c the local neighbors do not want any change (friend of mine is a lawyer in city hall and is getting hit by lawsuits from neighbors to just keep the status quo (vacant parking lots, and some run-down buildings along market st).

  18. Joe,
    I don’t disagree but –the notion of EVERY building being sensational & blockbuster and stand-out special — doesn’t work and is silly — and the fabric of the city is lost resulting in a disconnect (just see some of what’s happening in Moscow, Kazakhstan and Dubai with everyone vying for spotlight).
    Sometimes a building like 15 CPW ( is what’s needed — and I think this location begs for something quieter. (Although @ same time, I would vote for something much taller.)

  19. The thing is, SF builds so few tall buildings that everybody expects anything over 10 floors to really deliver some sort of landmark structure. It’s a little absurd that a building like SOMA Grand gets so much attention (though I do understand it is in a central location and right best the Federal building) when it is simply a condo tower attempting to balance form and function, however mediocre the former. I would love to see at least another hundred 20+ story residential buildings go up in the coming decade, as SF could well use them, but I’m sure we’ll be luck to see just a quarter of that.

  20. One Hawthorne is one location where a “landmark” design should have been required by San Francisco Planning. Traditionally, San Francisco ends major streets with landmark structures. Columbus Ave. and the Transamerica Pyramid. Fulton St. and City Hall. Market St. and the Ferry Building. While New Montgomery may not be a “major street”, I think a taller, landmark design would have been appropriate at this location. Missed opportunity.

  21. The architect EHDD is a long time Bay Area firm, who won the AIA gold medal for design, and generally known for understated, elegant design. They are not known as a developer architect like hellers mannus, etc.
    This project looks to combine low rise masonry architecture, appropriate for something near th new montgomery district and the crown point building across the street. , with a modern tower suited to the height and prominance of the corner location.
    The project was upzoned from 150 to 250 foot height. cities evolve over time and this seems in keeping with the transition. this area may well be very different in five years time.

  22. I really hope they put a/c in these buildings. The windows in new highrises open a max of 6 inches outward – not enough to cool the place off if you live on the south or west exposure. I look at all the New Montgomery units for sale that have ceiling fans. I bet those folks swelter! I’m not a huge fan of a/c, but unless you have full window opening or sliding door, there’s no choice. The Soma Grand suffers from that as well, except for the [ridiculously] lucky top floors.

  23. I think this will be a great addition to the neighborhood! I own a unit near the top of 199 New Montgomery and can tell you that while we do have days that are hot, it is not unbearable and at night it seems to cool down(and I don’t even use a fan). So while I think a/c would be great it’s not a necessity. Glad to see SF continue to grow and evolve, currently I believe the one hawthorne site was an empty building so I see it as a very positive move. Once empty and desolate soon to be new high-rise with people which hopefully will bring additional local businesses to the area. Love the neighborhood!

  24. Is this tower topped off? If not how many more stories are unbuilt as of today (5/25/09)? I am trying to see how it will ultimately fit into the skyline. Unlike the hideous Intercontinental which sticks up like a sore thumb, and the Rincon which is like a skinny stick (although I understand it will someday have company!) Thanks, somebody!

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