1481 Post Street Design

While SOM’s designs for a 38-story, elliptical-shaped glass tower to rise atop Cathedral Hill have been kicked to the curb, ADCO has dusted off their plans to build a tower at 1481 Post Street with new designs for a 36-story tower rising up to 416 feet across from Saint Mary’s Cathedral.

An existing parking structure with tennis courts and a pool building would be razed to make way for the proposed tower off of Geary, the designs for which includes 262 condos, a subsurface garage, and café along Post Street at the northwest corner of the project site:

1481 Post Street Site

The proposed 1481 Post Street building would consist of a ground-floor podium element, surmounted by a vertical tower element (398 feet tall, plus mechanical equipment, screening and architectural features to reach a total height of 416 feet). The 20-foot-tall ground floor would be set back about 47 feet from the Post Street sidewalk and about 10 feet from the Geary Boulevard sidewalk.

The proposed café at the northwest corner of the project site would project northward toward Post Street, set back about 15 feet from the Post Street sidewalk. Along its west façade, the ground-floor podium would bow outward in plan. The podium would be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the west property line shared with The Sequoias at the midpoint of the podium (separated by about 16 feet, 8 inches from the low-rise portion of the Sequoias building at that building’s nearest point). Within the west setback, a ground-level, publicly accessible pedestrian walkway would be constructed to provide a midblock passage between Post Street and Geary Boulevard. The pedestrian walkway would be gated at both ends and would be open to the public during daylight hours.

Along Geary Boulevard, the ground floor of the proposed 1481 Post Street building would include extensive glazing along its frontage, and would be separated from the sidewalk by a 10- foot-wide landscaped strip. The one-story street frontage of the proposed building’s base along Geary Boulevard would extend eastward with the proposed covered and enclosed loading area and a proposed one-story pool addition further east along Geary Boulevard, forming a continuous one-story structure spanning the project site. A new fitness center entrance would be located along Geary Boulevard. The proposed pool addition frontage along Geary Boulevard would likewise include large glazed areas.

Above the podium, the proposed 1481 Post Street building tower shaft would be set back from Post Street by about 40 feet, from Geary Boulevard by about 46 feet, and from 1333 Gough Street on the project site by about 41 feet. The tower shaft would be set back by about 12 feet from the west property line shared with The Sequoias (separated by about 82 feet from the high-rise tower of The Sequoias). The proposed project’s tower shaft would rise straight upward for most of its height. The proposed 1481 Post Street building would be contemporary in architectural vocabulary and would include contrasting cladding systems, glazed curtain walls with metal mullions, and masonry-clad piers and spandrels.

Currently only zoned for 240-feet in height, San Francisco’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will need to approve an up-zoning of the parcel to 410-feet in order for the project to proceed as proposed.

The shadows which would be cast by the proposed tower upon Cottage Row Mini-Park, Hamilton Recreation Center, Peace Plaza, and Raymond Kimbell Playground would also need to be deemed as not adverse to the use of the parks.

31 thoughts on “Proposed Cathedral Hill Tower Redesigned, Planning Powering Up”
  1. While I am nothing but a proponent of upping the Geary density, I’ll be a NIMBY (even though I live nowhere near the area) and say that I hope, and pray, that when this stretch does eventually get developed, that The Fillmore and the Japanese Mall remain. Nothing historic about parking lots or gas stations, but those two places have legitimate San Francisco history and I would be so sad to see them go, even for housing that we desperately need.
    Still, density along Geary is the right step for now.

  2. An odd comment for such a location. On Geary, and two blocks from Van Ness, couple of blocks to Pine/Bush, 4 blocks from Fillmore, 15 minute walk to BART. I’d say pretty good transit around here.

  3. @sf – an odd place for a tall tower? You do realize that there are ~5 other towers of the same height right next door or directly across the street, right?

  4. Shame that the SOM design go scrapped – the new design looks like a redo of the St. Regis tower…too bad.

  5. From the original sublime to 1980’s American boring anywhere structure. Great location for higher density which I hope will demonstrate the market viability for density along strategic sites along Geary — Japantown area to Divis.

  6. Are buses appropriate forms of mass transit for high density? Subways and trains are typical in high rise districts. Have you even ridden the 38 or 49? Completely packed already. One day the tipping point of development without transit planning will hit and th city will become the Beijing of American gridlock.

  7. I fail to understand the setbacks along Post and Geary Streets. Wouldn’t a building along the property line provide for a better pedestrian experience, and encourage more pedestrian circulation at and ajacent to the building?

  8. I agree with Joe. The term “Save” should not be used by people attempting to further restrict housing and continue to drive up cost of living for the rest of us. I find it amusing how they believe this building “will endanger seniors and pedestrians.” What type of absurd claim is that?

  9. JVS – if I’m reading this correctly, the setbacks refer to the tower itself but the podium will extend to the sidewalk. So the pedestrian experience should be fine (assuming the podium is designed for that).

  10. @sf – No, buses are not appropriate transit for high density areas. Once again, we are stuck in the shithole transit gridlock that is this city. As long as SF keeps pretending that MUNI buses and light rail lines, and inefficient/dirty buses and light rail lines at that, are appropriate public transit for the second densest city in America, we will not have the infrastructure to support increased densification. However, without increased densification, the city will only become more and more unaffordable.
    One has to give first. MUNI is not going to accept facts anytime soon (if ever), so density has to rise first, unfortunately.
    As an aside, I do not think it is any surprise that Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and now private shuttles that mimic the 30 and 45, are flourishing. The new residents of SF are speaking loudly through their actions that they would rather pay significantly more money than rely on the poor transportation that SF offers (and to be very clear, I take the bus virtually always instead of cabs, and yet I do not disagree with those who do not).
    What I am terrified of is MUNI eventually buidling an inefficient and janky light-rail down Geary, instead of the high-speed subway we need, thus ensuring nothing workable will get built for another 20 years.
    Politics aside, I think BART building a second SF line is the best answer, but they are dragged down by county/regional politics. They would handle a Richmond/Western Addition central subway infinitely better than MUNI would.

  11. it looks like the image of the proposed building on the anti-development is real?
    that is one ugly high rise. and it’s ugliness looks so normal.
    good god, so many of us are logically in favor of increasing density. but then so much of what gets built is just so ugly. it’s so sad. this could be in dallas. it could be in manila, the Philippines. this building is appalling.
    jezus, I just looked at the SOM design that had been proposed. it’s beautiful. what imbeciles to have objected to that. idiots. I’m just shaking my head. that could have been built? how does this happen? there is no hope.

  12. @JWS, did you miss the memo? We are all supposed to get off the slow dirty bus and start biking. MUNI refuses to even offer any public plans for fixing its own mess and spends more time and planning on bike lanes and parking meters than even getting their station escalators to work.
    BTW- you are absolutely right, a slow light rail down Geary is NOT the answer for a city like San Francisco. We need high speed underground (or over ground?)transit now!

  13. @Good Christian-
    What does it mean that a building could be Dallas or Manila? How does a tower really say “this is SF” unless it looks like the Golden Gate Bridge or a Victorian? All architecture is derivative of something else somewhere, and the best current language we have is tall/glass/steel. Even if it becomes an amazing design, it could be located anywhere.

  14. We should simply be extending BART up Geary out to Ocean Beach. Far move valuable than the SJ or Livermore extensions. It would have over 100,000 daily riders starting on day 1.
    I find it hilarious that the NIMBY site shows the building bookended by two equally tall buildings.

  15. @Turin – thank you for the reply. I infer that the podium is set back from the sidewalk: “building would consist of a ground-floor podium element… The 20-foot-tall ground floor would be set back about 47 feet from the Post Street sidewalk and about 10 feet from the Geary Boulevard sidewalk.”

  16. You’re right. I missed that bit. Not sure what the deal is on the Post St side; that seems excessive. But 10 feet on Geary sounds like it could function as a wider sidewalk, which isn’t bad.

  17. There is 30 days period (June 13-July 12) for comments on this project about its NOP and EIR published by San Francisco Planning Department. Write to Ms. Sarah B. Jones, San Francisco Planning Department, 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103
    This project not only changes skyline, create shadow over surrounding area, also make this block busier than ever with 262 units (roughly 524 residents) plus cars, traffic that commercial cafe, gym bring in on already busy Geary/Gough/Franklin blocks. It is going to be nightmare
    Another important fact is if this section has height limit, why design a 150 foot taller building? Kind of sneaky from the builder. At least it should fit within height limit.

  18. @ jeremy
    I meant to be disparaging when I said the building could be in manilla or dallas. it probably sounded stupid – what I meant was just a “2nd tier” or non-major city where you’re more likely to be confronted with ‘bleh’ architecture.
    to be honest, I’ve never even been to manilla. but in my head was a remark a friend made about 1 rincon (a building I detest) – she said (perhaps diplomatically?) that it could be anywhere, like manilla. (she is more diplomatic than me).
    I love steel and glass. love the potential of a high rise. the line drawing of the proposed building in the article didn’t raise red flags but when I saw a rendering of the building on the anti development site

    I was surprised by how ugly it was.
    [as an aside, it’d be useful if these kind of comment boards and email clients generally could make it easier to insert hyperlinks in your notes so people could efficiently point to what they are talking about].
    anyway, that whole area is a blight imo. I crossed the street a couple months back and it felt like it took > half a minute. into the welcoming arms of that cathedral. [hah, death star as noted elsewhere].
    I agree with others lamenting all of those other nearby buildings (the sequoia?) – in our dreams, they would be demolished.
    the SOM building looked sooo much better than what’s proposed or what is around it. what a shame that’s not in play any more. curses to the nimbys!

  19. @good christian
    This site has a field for you to enter a URL. You can also put inline links in your comments if you know basic HTML (anchor tag)

  20. @Julian
    This is San Francisco, one of the densest cities in America, not a sleepy rural town. Tall buildings are expected, and 500 additional people is trivial.
    I say build up, the only sad thing is they didn’t build the original design, which was taller, and more attractive.

  21. We should simply be extending BART up Geary out to Ocean Beach. Far move valuable than the SJ or Livermore extensions. It would have over 100,000 daily riders starting on day 1.”
    Without a single parking space
    Meanwhile San Jose has the most inefficient LRT system in the world and we are building very expensive grade separated heavy rail BART extensions 40+ miles away from San Francisco.

  22. Agree completely with JWS, FedUp, and Zig.
    Those super-extra-slow, limited-to-two-cars, manually-operated LRV vehicles that Muni loves so much are NOT the answer.
    Fast, efficient, high-capacity Bart, all the way down Geary IS the answer. That line would be extremely popular with commuters and tourists alike, and would likely have over 100K daily riders from day one.

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