Big Plans For The “Short-Sited” SoMa Block At 8th And Harrison [SocketSite]
Development Of SoMa Block Financed, Shooting For Rentals In 2015 [SocketSite]

19 thoughts on “Ground Broken For Development Of Entire West SoMa Block”
  1. Like the idea of the project , BUT , wish that this part of the SOMA would have height increased so buildings can add 2 more stories.
    As for this project wish it was less broken up from the currently planned 8 buildings , and that the central 4 were instead a single building.

  2. Four to five stories is a lot more than is there now. The most important thing is that the planning process is approving plans. We can always go back and build more later. Bringing more of the city to such heights would be a huge improvement.

  3. “We can always go back and build more later.” — I doubt anyone will be tearing down recently built properties to add more height. These new developments will likely remain for at least half a century. Just wish they made them look better because we are stuck with it for a while.

  4. I too think it should have been taller, but I’m just happy this project is moving forward. The southern part of SOMA (below about 4th/5th) is just a giant bunch of nothing right now.
    We need to get people living in the area first and get the ball rolling; if it becomes a “hot” area to live in, then heights/density will naturally increase

  5. “The most important thing is that the planning process is approving plans.”
    The lack of foresight in this kills me. Do you think after 5 years they can just make these buildings taller? They’re going to be there for a long time.

  6. From my experience, all the boosters for this massive POS will be long gone — in jail or ruining someone else’s town — right about when the tackiness of all this swings its doors open for sale by agents from “Rise” (as in, the bile in my throat… rises) Realty.

  7. Oh Good Lord. It’s an empty parking lot now, to be filled with 5 and 6 story buildings – which happens to be roughly the height of much of central London / Paris / lower Manhattan / Back Bay – i.e., some of the most lauded, walkable neighborhoods in the world. And all people can do is moan that it should be taller, it’s not enough, yatta yatta yatta.
    What’s not enough is people’s willingness to accept positive change for what it is – instead of having to find fault with everything.

  8. Right on Sierra!
    I keep saying the same thing: unwillingness to change, not accepting the APPROVED soma plan which was 5 years in the making. Where was Michael at these meetings when the plan was discussed?
    The 5-6 story plan is a laudable approach to growth for much of this area. That’s why London and Paris are such great neighborhoods.

  9. @Sierrajeff,
    If we were narrowing streets and cutting up the buildings into smaller buildings with alleys, etc, to match the built environment of Paris, London, etc, I’d be perfectly fine with the height. As it is, it’s a monolithic structure built on ridiculously wide and pedestrian hostile streets.
    Heights would help with that immensely, as the height of the surrounding buildings needs to be proportional to the street widths for maximum pedestrian friendliness. The reason Paris works at 6 stories is that most streets surrounding those buildings are 10′ wide. Here, with the buildings surrounded by nothing but 120′ streets, we need something substantially taller for a decent pedestrian experience.
    All of that said, I would be ecstatic if the SOMA plan were changed to chop up and narrow streets while keeping heights the same. That would be glorious.

  10. @sierrajeff
    Those cities you mentioned- those 6 story buildings were build two, three, four centuries ago.
    Times have changed.

  11. I also don’t think Sierra gets that most of us are not advocating the height increases for the bulk of San Francisco, BUT , this is with an easy walk / bike ride of thousands of jobs.
    I think its a waste not to build taller in the SOMA, and along a few other places like along Mission since it has easy access to BART ,

  12. I can completely get behind the existing height limits if it were resulting in the same density as we see in neighborhoods of 6 stories in Paris or Manhattan or London. We won’t see even half that with these, however, since the streets are so flipping wide.

  13. The streets in soma are out of control. It’s utter madness to me that the best the city could do for a biking line on Folsom is merely to lay down a white line. Are you kidding me? You have room for a full protected bikeline, and widened sidewalks, while still having huge amounts of room for cars. Maybe if the density here gets high enough the city will come to reason.
    [Editor’s Note: The Plan To Transform Central SoMa’s Streets.]

  14. Oh, I didn’t know about that. Fully protected and separated bike lanes, that would be something amazing in this city.

  15. @anon – toally agree w/you that to make SOMA viable, it needs smaller block sizes. Mid-block crosswalks would be a start, though they aren’t as pedestrian friendly as an outright intersection.
    @sf – huh? Those neighborhoods are lauded *today*, they’re desirable *today* – as amply evidenced by their high property values.
    It doesn’t matter when they were built (and point of fact, from central London and Paris to Greenwich Village and Back Bay, those neighborhoods were built in the mid-19th century at the earliest, not “three, four centuries ago”), our society *today* places high value on that scale of development.

  16. It’s not that 5-6 story buildings are bad. The problem is that SF is a city with a huge housing supply problem and lack of land to build, yet we recently passed restrictive height limits in one of the only areas left where we can add tons of much-needed housing units with minimal disruption to the neighborhood. There are so many empty lots, old warehouses, derelict buildings, etc that can be redeveloped with way more housing than the western SOMA plan allows, and the rest of the neighborhood that existing residents actually love would stay more or less as it is.
    Instead of really trying to tackle the housing problem, we’re doing this half-assed stuff, and it’s a huge opportunity lost.
    And why are comparisons always made to European cities, as if they’re free of high rises? High rises are going up left and right in Europe these days, but as usual NIMBYs are stuck in the past.

  17. i lived in paris for 4 years. not sure where you guys are getting info that city is built at 5-6 floors. It almost exclusively 7-8 floors for older buildings and new ones are higher. they are also building high rises in certain districts. there are very few 5 flr buildings. frankly i cant think of any that were near me.
    paris density much greater than SF and that was planned 200 yrs ago.

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