50 First Street Design

The preliminary designs for two towers designed by Foster + Partners and Heller Manus Architects which could rise up to 910 feet in height at the corner of First and Mission have been submitted to Planning for Environmental Review.

As we first reported last year, TMG Partners’ proposed 50 First Street development includes over 1 million square feet of office space along with hundreds of condos.  A possible hotel component has since been added as well.

While the original plans called for the condos to fill the shorter 605-foot tower fronting Mission Street, the latest plans call for spreading the residential units between the two buildings and topping the 910-foot tower fronting First Street which would rise 850-feet to the roof with a 60-foot crown, a move which would make them the highest residential units in San Francisco (a title to which the 802-foot tower rising at 181 Fremont has been laying claim).

Regardless, the 910-foot tower would become the second tallest building in San Francisco, behind the Salesforce Tower which will rise to a height of 1,070 feet and overtaking the Transamerica Pyramid, the current tallest building in San Francisco which reaches a height of 853 feet.

TMG is hoping to start construction by the end of 2015 and complete the project as early as 2018.  The existing 88 First Street building on the corner between the two proposed towers will be renovated rather than razed for a third tower as was previously proposed.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by parklife

    Very Nice! This will really shift the center of the skyline towards south of Market. Particularly given the number of other buildings not shown that are planned, or under construction.

  2. Posted by JWS

    850 is to roof, correct? Still possible for a 900+ tower with crown/spire/etc? While it’s purely a trivial thing, would love to see this push past 900. From the rendering it looks like it may be close, with about 100 feet or so taller than the 800 foot tall 181 Fremont.

  3. Posted by wiger toods

    SF Gate has more images. An amazing plaza is planned for the ground level. Will be interesting to see if it survives all the way through to fruition. Once the realities of fire exits and security concerns set in, these types of open plaza ideas tend to get ruined in their execution.

    ps: no mention of parking…

    • Posted by ZeeGold

      The open space plaza is a recent design update. As of last fall, the design included rerouting Jessie to exit vehicular on Mission Street, not on First (which ran against the City’s design guidelines for Mission St.). Jessie was supposed to be the route for parking beneath the building. I wonder how they made it work.

  4. Posted by JWS

    Nevermind to my previous comment, SF Gate says 910. Excellent.

  5. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “The Celery Stick” ? Goes well with Gherkins.

  6. Posted by James

    The only relevant questions at this point are: What height is the lot zoned for? And will it cast shade on any parks to the north?

    • Posted by seriously

      it’s well within current zoning limits and with the salesforce tower next door i’d say the shadows will be fine. we can rest safely at night knowing that those evil shadows won’t be after our children in the parks. ever since my dog was killed by a shadow i vowed never to let a shadow touch me again!

    • Posted by MarketSt

      Yes, shadows prevent skin cancer. I myself love shadows.

  7. Posted by norcal

    Two Salesforce Towers? I don’t like it.

  8. Posted by Dave

    So is Jesse still being rerouted to exit on Mission? Given that violates guidelines for Mission?

  9. Posted by Joseph A

    The change to the skyline is going to be far more dramatic , because this view does not include the dozen plus towers being built , or slated to be built in the 4 block radius of Folsom & Fremont

    • Posted by boysf

      well. at least the latest starchitect towers have some architectural merit, unlike complete garbage that was approved a couple of years ago…the likes of the forthcoming 299 fremont, 340 fremont and 45 lansing. therefore, maybe this will be an improvement and detract from some huge mistakes by the planning dept.

  10. Posted by Pfffttt

    So now we have two ginormous vibrators in our skyline — excellent!!!

  11. Posted by Dan Clark

    The X design looks a bit like the stent I happen to be photographing right now. So a medical device company would be the perfect tenant 😉

  12. Posted by invented

    Shut First between Market and MIssion and move plaza to street.
    Cue from 1 Vanderbilt [in NYC].

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Yeah, who cares that with First as a de facto extension of Battery, with a direct connection to the Bay Bridge, closing a block of First would create traffic chaos?

  13. Posted by boysf

    how about starting the tower at the ground floor and slimming it down?
    the drawings are too distant and ambiguous. hopefully, the 600′ tower will compliment the 900′ one. san francisco bureaucracy has this way of taking a world famous architect’s unique style and dumbing-it-down.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Agree that I’d like to see the 600′ and 900′ towers work together, as in the prior proposal for this site.

      Frankly I’m not thrilled with this building – I mean it’s Foster, so great for the City; and at first blush the design is nice. But the skyline images (more on SFGate) show what a behemoth this building could be – another B of A tower.

      • Posted by James

        Interesting comparison to the BofA. It would have been even bigger had they not included the plaza in front. This proposal maximizes floorspace (& bulk) by putting the plaza directly beneath the building.

    • Posted by Dave

      What do you mean starting the tower at the ground floor? Doesn’t it, the tower, start there? I guess the slimming could take place more quickly at the bottom floors to reduce bulk.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        He means as opposed to starting the “first floor” 70 feet up. (Just clarifying – I happen to disagree; I love the height, just not completely thrilled with the width/bulk.)

        • Posted by boysf

          reason i said what i did: i think they have the ability to build that many square feet and i am sure they will do it one way or another.

          • Posted by FoggyDunes

            There is some requirement that new buildings provide some ratio of new public open space (in relationship to total building square footage). I don’t know the exact percentage, but maybe this is the developer’s way of providing required public space without reducing the building footprint?

  14. Posted by cfb

    Yeah this thing is nice looking, but then you put it in SF’s skyline and it looks fat and awkward. It would look so much better if was slimmed down a bit.

  15. Posted by Tommybabe

    Why wait…Lets build it NOW!!!

  16. Posted by PaulSF

    NO…back to drawing board. There are so many different unique materials, colors and design opportunities. WHY another tall, “tapering towards top” building with a flat roof. It should be dramatically different than the Salesforce tower. Not a fat, squat version of same. PLEASE push them to be creative. I think at this point architects just give us what they think will be approved.

  17. Posted by Joseph A

    I see no issue with the tower , if we want more varied designs then the city just needs to approve a few more doze towers ,
    Like what I see though

  18. Posted by Snark17

    I think it looks nice as is, and complements the Salesforce tower shape and height.

  19. Posted by invented

    It’s too bulky although I can hardly see the picture. It overwhelms; should be less bulbous. It’s off.

  20. Posted by Zugamenzia Farnsworth

    I feel it’s too bulky. It has a Laurel and Hardy effect next to the Salesforce Tower. Additionally, I’m not wild about the diagonal line facade treatment, which was new and exciting 40 years ago. Not to mention, there’s yet another gargantuan new tower going in a few blocks away with the diagonal facade treatment. I understand the diagonals might be structural but I’m not convinced this is the best design we can get, especially considering it’s size. It looks like the Salesforce Tower’s chubby visiting cousin.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      LOL x2. “Laurel and Hardy”, now that you say it, I’m not going to be able to get it out of my head.

  21. Posted by Joseph A

    I think what most of you are missing is that there are going to be more buildings rising so though will dominate the skyline for a few years , that should pass before the end of the decade

  22. Posted by Alex

    I don’t like the idea of having the Saleforce tower look so similar to the new one being built at First and Mission

  23. Posted by soccermom

    When all these towers are full of people with good jobs, houses will be worth even more.

  24. Posted by James

    The Chronicle’s illustration is misleading. If you look at the renderings in detail it shows that the surface doesn’t taper smoothly, it’s actually faceted along the diagonal ribs, more like Foster’s Hearst Tower in NY. I think it will end up seeming like a giant quartz crystal, quite different from the Transbay tower.

  25. Posted by BobN

    It’s a lot like The Gherkin in London, but with no tip.

    Is this a metaphor for U.S. vs. English circumcision rates?

  26. Posted by eflat

    is this what “starchitects” see in SF? We have been give 2 vibrators/dildoes to dominate our skyline….
    Salesforce tower was enough…a giant finger to SF’s skyline, now we get a squat version of the Salesforce Tower….hello at planning, any body awake?

  27. Posted by MF

    Lots of armchair architects all up in here, how about one of you take the program requirements and sketch up your alternate utopian paradise for us to judge here. yeah, I thought so. So many complainers, no one wants ANYTHING in their backyard (NIMBY), AFTER they move in. Typical, useless blowhard-loudmouths, ending many of their conversations with, “wake up, people!”

    Do you know how much tax revenue and how many jobs this site will permanently create, besides the jobs created in the 5 years of construction? Everyone wants new housing, new jobs, new opportunity; but your attitudes are not in step with that.

    See you at the ribbon cutting ceremony @ First & Mission, opening day!

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