Fairmont Hotel Design Revised
The proposed plan for the “Fairmont Hotel Revitalization” and Residential Tower Project is up for approvals this Thursday in a special joint session between the Planning and Historic Preservation Commissions scheduled to start no earlier than 1:30 pm at City Hall.
The Planning Department recommends the Commission certify the project’s Environmental Impact Report, approve the conversion and consolidation of up to 286 hotel rooms to condominium use, and approve the demolition of the existing 5-story podium (which houses the Tonga Room) and 23-story tower which would be replaced with a new podium, 5-story mid-rise, and 26-story tower (below which 350 vehicles would park).
The Planning Department also recommends the Historic Preservation Commission approve a Certificate of Appropriateness for the proposed exterior rehabilitation of the Fairmont’s California Street and east elevations along with the work necessary to demolish and rebuild said podium and tower.
UPDATE: A plugged-in tipster delivers the revised design (now above) based on the public’s and Planning’s feedback. The design as originally proposed below:
Fairmont Hotel Original Design
Fairmont Hotel Revitalization And Tower Rebuilding As Proposed [SocketSite]
Saving Tatanka The Tonga Room [SocketSite]

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Marina Boy

    Build It!

  2. Posted by sfrenegade

    Much better than the current building as detailed by SS in the link, hope it’s built. The historic part of the Fairmont will be kept whole, and there’s no reason to protect the buildings behind it built in the 60s.

  3. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Ugh” on that latest revised plan. It looks cheap and generic. I prefer the “intermediate” plan that faces more glass to the streetside. Aside from being probably cheaper to build, how is this latest design better ?

  4. Posted by shza

    Totally agree with MOD. My guess is that the “revised” version is thought to be more in character with the historic portion. But the original proposal was *far* more attractive, IMO.

  5. Posted by sfrenegade

    I’d split the difference. I like the revised tower better but the unrevised low-rise better. I guess a setback above the 4th floor was requested on the low-rise, which is unfortunate.

  6. Posted by lolcat_94123

    looks like a really cool medical office building.

  7. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The revised proposed design delivered by a plugged-in tipster has been added above.

  8. Posted by Paul Hwang

    I grew up in the East Bay, and would always try to make it out to the Orinda movie theater. It’s a really beautiful piece of Art Deco on the Interior. After I came back from college I found out they got rid of the Mezzannine and changed the theater. It’s never really been quite the same without the Mez.
    Maybe it’s better not to mess around with the Fairmont. I kind of feel like it would be diluted by the addition.

  9. Posted by Kurt Brown

    The revised version looks like it was shipped in from San Jose.
    * PS I lived in SJ for 8 years, which authorizes me to poke fun at it.

  10. Posted by inmybackyard

    The revised version really looks cheap compared to the previous version. The previous version had some semblance of a cohesive architectural design. The new version just looks like an over-sized, almost post modern stucco box. yuck.

  11. Posted by BobN

    In 100 years, tourists will flock to SF to enjoy our rich diversity of architectural mediocrity.

  12. Posted by frenchjr25

    Looks worse than the first proposal. Way too generic. Nothing makes it different than dozens of other buildings built in SF in the past few years.
    What are the Fairmont owners thinking? This should be a world class building with a design that makes it standout from every other new building in The City.
    Maybe the problem is at the Planning Department. I hope that this design gets turned down. We should not be forced to have to live with another piece of architectural garbage.

  13. Posted by tyler

    I prefer the original tower that stands now, what a waste of resources.

  14. Posted by SJnative

    In my eyes, the presentation of the existing structures is timeless and much less angry looking than the busy additions proposed.

  15. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Matier & Ross covered the latest in their column for Monday, February 21, 2011. Apparently their permit to allow the condo conversions has expired:

    After two years, the Fairmont’s owners — an investment group that includes Oakland A’s managing partner Lew Wolff — say their permit to allow the condo conversions has expired.
    Unless the Board of Supervisors starts moving on a legislative extension by Tuesday, they warn, the future of the Fairmont Hotel is in jeopardy.
    The board president said he is also sympathetic to concerns from both neighbors and planning commissioners about the size of the project — namely, the replacement of the 23-story hotel tower with an equally tall condo high-rise — and the forced move of the hotel’s famed Tonga Room tiki bar.

    I predict that the Board will grant the extension. They’ve done it for other projects in the last two years, so I can’t imagine that they’d decide to get picky now. I theink they’ll need a lot of good luck in trying to sell the condos if the building is completed anytime soon, though.

  16. Posted by Joe Moore

    As much as I love the Tonga Room, I sincerely hope this is approved soon. The jobs created by the construction, the enhanced property tax revenue, transfer taxes, and additional parking will be a great boon to The City. The Plaza as it is now is now is spectacular, unfortunately only four or five days a year. 361 days it’s a wind tunnel.

  17. Posted by Dirk from Hamburg

    Hi,
    dropping in here via Google picture search…I am stunned what they plan to do with the hotel I’ve always dreamed of staying at (and never could by now).
    Sure, if many of the hotel rooms are not needed anymore, why not putting them to better use as condos?
    But when I look at the revised picture, I think wouldn’t the new podium and the low-rise above it block the view from many of the hotel rooms in the historic building, not to mention the balcony suites?
    Or have the plans been shelved in the meantime? I see the last comment had been posted over a year ago…?
    Sunny greetings from “it-is-getting-warmer” Hamburg/Germany!

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