178 Townsend Design
Speaking of San Francisco Planning and pipeline, Martin Building Company’s proposal to transform 178 Townsend into 94 rental units was approved yesterday.
178 Townsend Design: Alley Elevation
Make that 129 projects (and 34,655 units) that have filed for Planning Department approval, and 93 (and 6,294 units) that have been approved.
685 Units Looking Beyond The Current San Francisco Downturn [SocketSite]
Glass and Steel Land on Historic Brick in South Beach [Curbed]
San Francisco’s Housing Pipeline And 2009 Housing Element Report [SocketSite]

19 thoughts on “178 Townsend Approved To Become Mixed-Use With 94 Rentals”
  1. What a poor complement to the historic brick building beneath it.
    More of the boring, sterile lego look that is, sadly, becoming so much of SOMA.
    Another missed architectual opportunity.

  2. I disagree that this is a poor match. I like the contrast and it does not denigrate the older red brick structure which itself is interesting though not unique.
    This is a better execution compared to the similar “Plant 51” in San Jose. Not to be confused with “The Plant” also in San Jose which is an absolute abomination.

  3. I am all for the development of under-utilized land and renovation of old buildings BUT does SF really need more new rental stock if jobs are disappearing left and right and not being replenished? There are already lot of residential vacancies listed on Craigslist. Putting more in the pipeline will lead to oversupply and fall into the same luxury condos glut in SoMa.

  4. Gil and Milkshake, I disagree there isn’t a bay window in sight. This is a good mix of industrial looks from different era’s seems fitting
    Also want to add anyone brave enough to push through anything in the current climate needs a pat on the back, so well done to this new neighborhood addition.

  5. Observer – I guess I wasn’t clear. I’m in favor of this proposed design. But I would like to retract my comment that this looks better than Plant 51. It isn’t fair to compare a real complete building with a rendering.
    Lets see what actually gets built.

  6. I am all for the development of under-utilized land and renovation of old buildings BUT does SF really need more new rental stock if jobs are disappearing left and right and not being replenished?
    Unless you project SF to eventually be empty, more rental stock is excellent. At worst, it will bring rental prices down further, decreasing SF’s cost of living, and increasing SF’s competitiveness with other cities/regions. Can’t possibly see how that’s a bad thing.

  7. I think SF could use more rental space and this is coming from a property owner. I just put my one bedroom loft up on Craigslist and it was rented immediately. Look at the Strata in Mission Bay, and the new Avalon – they are putting forth solid numbers (I believe Strata is completely rented). Keep in mind, this building is within blocks of those projects.

  8. The rental rates and property prices in San Francisco are still very high, just about anything that increases supply is a good thing in my mind.
    The jobs wont be gone forever, and the best thing to help jobs come back is housing that a normal person can afford.

  9. Nice! I’ve always liked this project — and was hoping it would still be developed!
    the industrial look will mesh amazingly well with the brick, and um, ‘industrial’ history of the area!

  10. I think more, newer rental stock would be good for the city. Rents in this city are very high and apartments rent quickly even with the recession. Recessions don’t last forever, jobs will return and they’ll return here in droves thanks to the concentration of venture capital funds in the bay area that generally invest their money within a two hour car ride. The bay area just happens to be where people keep making the new new thing, and even if they fail, the boys down at Sand Hill Road and other places are sure to spend billions of dollars hiring people to work here. If they succeed they will get people around the world to buy stock in those companies and bring most of that cash back here.

  11. The VCs are not interested in “saving” this area, they are interested in ensuring success without spending a lot of money. The FIRST question they usually ask these days is “Show me your outsourcing plan to India”.
    Your endless cheerleading is really worthless on this site in which the rest of us have half a brain. The days of growing a big company here are over. The VCs want to keep as much money for their worldwide investors as possible, and when they have an IPO or sale event, most of that money is being distributed OUT of the area to investors. Although companies will continue to be formed here, the amount of money distributed here from sale or IPOs has long peaked. It now is just leaking out.

  12. No the VC’s are not interested in saving the area, but they tend to invest their money in driving distance which happens to benefit this area. They tend not to wind down their funds so the IPO stock stays in the fund (cashed out if fund investors get in their request for taking money out on the one day a year investor’s are typically allowed to exit these types of funds) and then the cash of the successful companies is used to buy the unsuccessful ones (See the continuous rape of Sun’s cash flow until there was no hope left for Sun, look at some of Google’s acquisitions of things that have no plan to become profitable). That keeps a large chunk of the proceeds in our area and in their own pockets. Unlike other parts of the country, we have a primed engine of expansion here that works.
    As for outsourcing, it is really not as big a part of the VC pie as the nativists would have you believe.

  13. @Joe: Actually VCs always distribute IPO or merger proceeds to their investors — they aren’t allowed to reinvest those funds. But, they will typically get a portion of that money back when they start a new fund. In any case, I basically agree with you that the SF Bay Area has good prospects despite the current dip in economic conditions. The area continues to attract bright, innovative people who want to live here and build companies; and there is a unique infrastructure that supports their efforts. I am not sure why Tipster is so pessimistic — maybe it is because, as he admits, he only has half of a brain (which is just not enough to be successful here).

  14. @Noe, I don’t think I said they hold onto the money. They limit investors to one day a year they can get their cash back. They generally do not cash out all their stock at ipo, but hold onto it and board seats on the ipoed companies. This helps minimize the supply of stock and keeps the price up. If the ipoed company is profitable, they can use the company’s cash flow to buy other companies from their portfolio. VC’s have been known to take as long as 20 years to cash out after an ipo, so expect to see Google buying a lot of companies backed by VC’s that hold board seats or in which Google’s executives chose to invest. VC’s want to keep things in their portfolios for as long as possible so they keep collecting management fees too. I don’t know that the VC’s want to make money for their investors as much as they want to make money for themselves (and the next fund has to be raised by the next managing partner, so there is no real incentive for the current managing partner to treat investors kindly). Still, the bay area is very lucky to have them here.
    I don’t understand the pessimism either. I think some people are just perma-bears– for some the idea that the economy and/or humankind are falling off a precipice is a matter of faith. I prefer to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We having nothing to fear but fear itself…. Well, okay, we can fear the reaper.

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