585 Bryant Proposal

If you’re already concerned about the proposed eleven-story building to rise at 585 Bryant Street, we have some bad news to share, news which shouldn’t catch any plugged-in readers by surprise.

Not only will San Francisco’s Central Corridor Plan likely raise the height limits for development along the entire south side of Bryant between Zoe and 4th up to 130 feet, but the Plan will likely to raise the building height limits along Brannan Street, on the other side of the Palms, to at least 85-feet as well.

Proposed Central SoMa Height Limits Along Bryant, 4th and Brannan

And in fact, the northeast corner of Brannan and 4th is slated to be up-zoned for a 200-foot building to rise, replacing the little Wells Fargo, Starbucks and parking lot which currently occupy the underdeveloped site.

41 thoughts on “Bigger Plans For Bryant And Brannan Than Many Might Realize”
    1. 4th & Brannan is hardly downtown San Francisco.

      As it happens, at this moment I’m assisting on a transaction to build a 7-story multifamily in lower Manhattan. Not everything has to be 500 feet tall.

      1. Then why do the freeway sings along the 280 at the 101 merge say “Downtown San Francisco” and terminates at 6th and Brannan?

        1. because that’s about as close as 280 (not ‘the 280’ btw) gets to downtown. if you’re going downtown, that’s as far as you get on a freeway.

      2. Where is anyone getting 500 feet? SOMA which currently still consists of mostly two-story old industrial buildings is perhaps the ugliest and flattest part of San Francisco. And, even with the rezone, it would neither be covered with towers (let alone skyscrapers of 500 feet or more) or have even have 1/30th the density of Manhattan. The plan would allow some modestly tall towers, but most of it would be built (if and when it gets built) to 5 floors or so. Aside from the downtown core, SF will never be a city of tall towers. Most of SF is 2-3 story buildings, and it will stay that way.

  1. Taller is better.
    More housing means taller buildings. Period.
    The new mega projects at 5th and Folsom and 8th and Folsom should have been 20 stories.

    1. The one on 5th looks like someone chopped off the top half. It has a huge footprint and seems to be wider than tall.

  2. Looks like it’s time to throw out the observation about height not being a proxy for overall density, nor for “good neighborhood”. Some of the best neighborhoods in the world – from the perspective of vibrancy, walkability, and tourist draw – hover around 6 to 8 stories in height: central London, central Paris, Dupont, Greenwich Village, etc.

    If all of SoMa were build to consitent 85 feet, it’d be a far better outcome that plopping the occassional 200′ or 400′ tower here and there, surrounded by 2-story brick warehouses and auto body shops. I’m not (necessarily) arguing for that outcome, I’m just noting that there’s nothing inherently wrong with such a scenario – and it’d still be a much marked improvement over the current state of development.

    1. This is correct. You can achieve tremendous density at 6-8 stories. I like towers as well, but they’re a very different beast to plan, finance, and build.

    2. If you’re advocating removing street lanes to shrink streets to the same width as most in central London, Paris, then I’m totally with you.

      However, you also seem to be one very concerned about space for cars. I personally would love to see 6-8 story buildings with much narrower streets as in those cities, but that seems to be a non-starter in car-first San Francisco, so height is really the only way to get decent density.

    3. Be decisive, dude. All of your comments are full of waffling “I don’t want to make a decision either way, I don’t agree either way, I’m not arguing either way.” Self assuredness is very attractive.

      1. I don’t particularly care if you find me attractive. What I do care about is making sure an accidental flame war isn’t started because someone misinterprets a short comment. And as it happens, on this subject I am open to different interpretations – I’d be happy with spaced Vancouver-style towers throughout, or with solid 6-8 story density.

    4. Not only is this constant debate predictable and terminally boring, it invariably fails to recognize the most walkable city in the US — New Orleans whose neighborhoods are almost exclusively built to 2 and 3 stories.

      I’m all for clusters of lofty buildings where appropriate and agree Vancouver is eminently livable, but height in and of itself is not always a good thing.

      1. New Orleans is the most walkable city in the country? lol lol lol lol lol lol

        Have you been to New Orleans? I mean outside of the French Quarter?

        1. Yes, often and very recently.Many others. Garden District, Magazine St., Algiers, Market District, Maringy. Most enjoyable walking city in the country.

          1. And you consider those areas more walkable than Boston? Or New York? Or SF? Baffling.

          2. New Orleans is ALL about walking and comes closest to a European scale along with the city of Quebec.

          3. If New Orleans is all about walking, then why do so few walk to work and so many drive to work?

            The commute to work mode split for New Orleans is 5% walk and 81% drive, according to the US Census.

            No neighborhood in SF has that high a percentage of workers that drive to work.

            The number of people that live in just the Nob Hill/Civic Center area and walk to work is greater than the total of everyone in New Orleans that walks to work. And NO has about 5 times the workforce population of NH/CC area of SF.

            For work commuting at least, New Orleans looks more like LA than SF, Boston or Wash DC:
            – Los Angeles 3% walk, 83% drive
            – San Francisco 10% walk, 45% drive
            – Boston 15% walk, 46% drive
            – Wash DC 12% walk, 41% drive

          4. This debating by extremes is getting old. Can we focus on substance instead of hyperbole? Maybe N.O. isn’t the *most* walkable city in the U.S., but it is a *very* walkable, and attractive, city. And maybe its commute patterns fail to reflect that because of 1950s and 60s freeways that sliced up the city, and because of historic segregation in housing, rather than whether its neighborhoods are build out at a 3-story level versus a 30-story level.

  3. What’s the point of putting in a muni LRV line in and then not allowing tall buildings near it. This is near Caltrain too. If we’re going to create some density, this is the right place to do it.

    I lived at 4th and Brannan for 7 years. It was a great block with a certain feel, but it wasn’t a community.

    Also, happy to see that on Bryant, SMP machining’s building will remain. They’re the only machine shop inside the city limits that I know of. Not all techies work on software.

  4. Agreed. A single solution, i.e. towers in every space, is a one size fits all non-solution. Over-building in one form, like over-investing in one stock, puts a city’s assets at risk. Variety is more interesting and has made San Francisco the attraction it is. A diverse portfolio is the way to go.

  5. sf is not an attraction because of the buildings. its an attraction in spite of the buildings. its the bay and the natural beauty of the hills

    1. This is a very astute observation and a key point in the “build more now” discussions. We need to build, obviously. People want to live and work here. And we can all understand why that is so. However, building is not going to add to SF’s beauty, but it has the potential to ruin it. So this all needs to be carefully considered. Most people here get that, and the voters (who have the real power given our initiative process) clearly get that and take it to extremes. But the “build more and taller and anywhere” crowd needs to comprehend this if they don’t want to be ridiculed.

      1. The bums and druggies dying on SF’s streets are the real problem to SF’s beauty, but nobody wants to argue that, and instead points to building housing as the reason SF is dropping off of international tourist charts.

        Own up to your problems and responsibilities, SF!

      2. FWIW, I haven’t seen a ton of “build more and taller and anywhere” comments here nor have I personally heard that from anybody I’ve spoken with. I have read a lot of comments and heard a lot of people saying “build more and taller near transit and in parts of the city that already have tall buildings.” That happens to apply to many of the new projects that come up on socketsite.

        1. Its because the demo that follows Socket is more about developing San Francisco so it is the Modern equal of any city around the world , rather then it being a curious place to visit because its look and feel is Old World ,
          Though I think its important for aspects of historical San Francisco to be retained , I think its just as important that the city develop the Downtown & SOMA,districts, plus the Van Ness, Mission, Market St, and Geary corridors with cutting edge urban design. My wish would be that SF add 200k units of housing in the city core.over the next 30 years.

      3. “However, building is not going to add to SF’s beauty”

        Why? The Chrysler building (to choose one random example from hundreds of buildings built in the last 100 years) was derided and called a monstrosity when it was being built and now that building is a tourist attraction itself. If we build attractive buildings they absolutely will add to the city’s beauty! By contrast, if we attempt to preserve in amber the most worthless examples of architecture of our city (like the rows of warehouses, decaying old hotels, shuttered gas station lots) they detract more and more from the city’s beauty as they continue to rot.

    2. Which is why all of the postcards show SF’s downtown skyline, and very few show the smaller buildings.

  6. “Anyone concerned about 11 stories should move out of SF and into the suburbs.”

    Anyone who thinks 11 stories is not tall enough should move to an actual city.

  7. Given the proximity to the 3rd street rail, and Caltrain it should surprise no one that we are going to see taller buildings within the enter SOMA east of 7th Street with the sole exception probably being the properties that border South Park ,

  8. LMAO…looks like the Palms is gett’n boxed in…PriceChopper alert! stay tuned as the penthouse units go on fire sale next month…

    1. Don’t be silly, they’ll just draft a ballot measure that limits heights so that any new building in the city is lower than the Palms. And after that passes, someone will draft a ballot measure requiring all buildings around them to remove floors until they get a nice view. And that too will pass. Eventually SF will be nothing but a single person standing in a barren field. No ugly view-blocking buildings or pesky view-blocking trees or hills. Just that one person enjoying their god-given right to have unimpeded views of the bay and ocean. Anyone who gets in the way of the view gets shot.

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