Last week a plugged-in reader and resident of Fox Plaza at 1390 Market Street received notice that Archstone Fox Plaza had been bought by Essex Residential Property Trust. The complex will now be known as Essex Fox Plaza.

The sale included the 443-residential units on the top 16 floors of the 29-story tower, the 407-car underground garage, the attached two-story retail building, and the approved plans to build an additional 250 residential units on the corner as rendered above.

25 thoughts on “Fox Plaza And Approved Plans For Expansion Have Changed Hands”
  1. Too much glass going in… We need more stone.
    The giant glass curves on the corner and back are gross enough, but the tapered cylinder thing needs to stop.
    They just need to tear the whole block down and try something different.

  2. Any way to raze Fox Plaza and start fresh? That is one hideous building and the design for the addition is so 80s. That whole stretch of Market, save a few buildings, leaves much to be desired. Or, at least give the tower a new skin.

  3. Agree with Mark, a VERY 80s design. Didn’t I drive by this building on the 405 in Orange County in 1988? Yesterday people were posting as to whether or not San Francisco would end up looking like Paris. Take my word for it, we have nothing to worry about as this city will not in ANY way look like Paris.

    1. Fox Theater was not demolished in order to build Fox Plaza, it was demolished because of dwindling sales and the coming of muti-screened venues. The vacant property was then purchased by the Cahill family who in turn built Fox Plaza on the vacant lot.

  4. Hey, Seems like can’t have everything – beauty AND height. The old Fox Plaza should please those frequently calling for higher buildings.

  5. ^Why? Because all we care about is height? Meh.
    Besides, it would be nice to tear down the Fox Plaza building and build something taller, preferably with quite a bit less parking. Way too much in the current building.

    1. Concur with zoned according to planning dept 460fl to extension permit 720ft…formerly considering demolishing Fox Plaza for office tower/Condo impossible since inclusion of “BMR” units…O-REITS accurate for this site.

  6. Of course you can tear it down, you’d just have to buy out the tenants or make some other kind of deal a la Trinity Plaza.

  7. I am one of the few that like the Fox Plaza. I like the fact that it is one of the first mixed use buildings in the city – office tower & residential tower. A lot of the dislike of the building is from the fact that the Fox Theater once stood on the site. The citizens of San Francisco had a chance to buy the property to be used as civic theater, but they declined – much to their regret. I do like the glass corner – cool. But I doubt that the design will be built. I’m sure the new owners have their own ideas about the site. Tear down the Fox Plaza? Why? Because someone does not like the architecture? Enough already! There are a lot of buildings that people don’t like. Not every one can be pleased. As the saying goes, one man’s tea is another’s poison.

  8. I don’t dislike Fox Plaza either (although I admit pain when I see the theater that was once on this site). I hope the delay in building here will allow time to reconsider the 70’s glassy thing stuck on to an otherwise OK structure. The proposed building would be so more interesting and in synch with the angled intersection if didn’t try so hard. The flatiron triangular shape would pop with a less look-at-me, glassy, whopee! appendage.

  9. If the Fox Plaza tower were taller and clad in white panels or reflective glass many of the “HIGHER!” , “TALLER”, “More Density” crowd would love it. Since much of what we now call “architecture” is dictated more by fashion than good design, and we can expect many of the new towers that some think are wonderful will look dated and ugly 40 years from now.(Think One Rincon) Building things up higher is not the only way a city can increase density, and there are plenty of other solutions besides the wind tunnels created by buildings like Fox Plaza.

  10. People here complain waaayyyy to much about they way buildings look.
    -“The old building has too much concrete.”
    -“The new building has too much glass.”
    -“Needs more je ne sais quoi.”
    -“OMG, it’s not architecture enough.”
    Come on people. Really.
    Just be happy we even have something like this to complain about.

  11. “People here complain waaayyyy to much about they way buildings look.”
    Uhm…that’s the whole point of having a discussion board. It’s one thing to offer an opinion (pro/con) about a project, but many of us provide suggestions or improvements because we have a vested interest in our city and community…within the scope of our power, of course. Stick to Yahoo! if your sole point is to make inane comments about people’s serious comments.

  12. The Fox Tower is iconic brutalism, which like Post Modernism, was a relatively short-lived and eye-of-the-beholder architecture. One thing is for sure though: attempts to “update” classic architecture of any kind always ruin its vernacular and ruin it. The only way to maintain Fox Plaza is to restore Fox Plaza.

  13. Brutalist, yes, but I don’t know about iconic. There are a some brutalist buildings which actually stand out as interesting buildings. This one is just a weak imitation of the form. Maybe the original design was better but got value engineered down to what was actually built.

  14. Can anyone tell us what the City received as the real estate transfer fee on this sale?
    And what the property taxes were for the prior owner and what they will be for the new owner?

  15. I will be a bit contrarian. It’s not the worst building in SF by a long shot. That title is held by the Jukebox Marriott and/or the Vegas Intercontinental.
    But Fox Plaza gets worse as it goes down. The top residential floors form a clean grid pattern. Not bad. The next lower section, the office floors, lose any visual visual interest and look cheap. The real disaster, however, is how the building meets the ground. This is the most brutal part of the “Brutalist” style. It lacks any warmth or humanity. It has a charm that is only equalled by the street facade of the FBI Building in DC. (
    Is the street level fixable? It might be worth a try. If glass awnings were added that continued the vertical lines, but allowed the building to taper out at the base; it might help. (
    Then open up the base with glass facades and bright retail spaces. Add a grove of trees that are lit at night. It sure wouldn’t hurt!

  16. seriously, the new building is awful. please don’t let this happen. Fox plaza is beautiful from across the street but awful at street level. Seriously, there has to be some plan that can solve both of these problems, and it really cannot be that tough to get one worked out.

  17. @ knock, kg, et al.,
    You did see the first comment (as also reported by SF Business Times) that “Essex has no [current] plans to build the approved expansion.”? Should bring some relief to several posters.
    That said, I actually kind of like it. (There’s no accounting for taste, especially mine. 😉
    [Editor’s Note: Plans change quickly. And what a company says to a reporter and does in reality aren’t always the same thing.]

  18. I lived 5 of the best years of my life at the Fox. Great location. Solid building – never felt safer. Then a jerk from Chicago moved next door and blasted his disco stereo music. Management did nothing about the noise, probably because I was under rent control and they would rather the unit flip. I bought a condo. My prime unit sat vacant for 10 months. Thirty years later I sold my condo for a 700% gain.

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