30 Van Ness Avenue

Zoned for a 400-foot tower to rise on its Mid-Market parcel and large enough to support the development of over 500 units of housing, the City of San Francisco is preparing to sell its 5-story building at 30 Van Ness Avenue, between Market and Fell and across the street from another prominent 400-foot tower that’s in the works.

The sale of 30 Van Ness, a 180,000-square-foot building which houses the Department of Public Works, the San Francisco Retirement System and a couple of other City agencies, is currently slated to occur early next year but will be structured with a leaseback to the City until late 2018 and possibly beyond.

Proceeds from the sale are expected to help finance the City’s proposed development of a new 17-story building along 11th Street, between Mission and Market, on the eastern half of the Goodwill site at the intersection of Mission and South Van Ness Avenue.

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Joseph A

    Not a surprise , I was wondering when this property would get attention ,
    Looking forward to it getting developed by private industry

  2. Posted by lyqwyd

    I’m so happy to see all this development happening in this area!

  3. Posted by jlasf

    So, does this mean all of the South-facing windows of the new/old AAA building will be blocked?
    If so, I bet there a whole bunch of people who will not be happy about that.

    • Posted by lyqwyd

      Depends on the final design, but I would bet not. The lot looks fairly large and I bet the final design has a podium, but that the tower will be somewhat separated from the AAA tower

      • Posted by anon

        Good call– this lot is pretty huge. Maybe the AAA tower will end up with views overlooking a podium roof deck/garden.

    • Posted by JWS

      Isn’t the old AAA building all rentals? People might be annoyed by loss of view, but it won’t be anything like the fight that owners of condominiums would put up for the view.

    • Posted by louis

      Yes.

  4. Posted by Alex

    Since this will be 400 ft I feel like they should make One Van Ness taller so that we don’t have two skyscrapers that are the same height in an area that doesn’t have many towers. Or why not make this one taller?

  5. Posted by alh

    Why is the city selling off public property to a private developer so that it can buy property from another private developer? Why aren’t we using public land to meet city targets for affordable housing?

    • Posted by whywhywhy

      They wouldn’t be able to build affordable housing (or anything) at this site without finding a place to house all the departments currently there (hence the new office at Goodwill).

      • Posted by alh

        Why not a tower with offices and retail below, and housing above? It’s 5 stories now and zoned for 400 feet.

        • Posted by whywhywhy

          Where would the current offices go during the multi-year long construction?

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          Again, where do you move the offices during construction? You can’t just plop down a 400′ tower on top of an existing 5-story building, while the 5-story building continues to be used. A sale-leaseback, coupled with the move to the new Goodwill location, makes fine sense.

          • Posted by alh

            You rent temporary space. Selling off government property to pay a markup to a huge international developer (Related) to develop property for government offices makes no sense. Keeping the resources and long term profits in local government hands does. I think we missed a smaller opportunity when former SF mayorial real estate developer Michael Yarne went private and picked up some public real estate in Hayes Valley. This flow of money from public to private hands should be discouraged.

          • Posted by swiftamine

            @ alh – maybe they could rent 180,000 sf of temporary office space, but: San Francisco Rents Pushing Professional Firms Out Of The City.

          • Posted by alh

            There will be a leaseback at their current location until “late 2018 or possibly beyond” so they’ll be paying rent for space they used to own.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            right, that’s why it’s called a sale-leaseback. and in the meantime, the City’s gotten a huge gain by the sale of the corner property.

          • Posted by alh

            A short term gain, with some of the proceeds going to benefit private developers.

    • Posted by Spencer

      i dont think we should build any more “subsidized housing ” in the city. It drives the costs up for the market rate housing. there are cheaper housing alternatives in the bay area.

  6. Posted by k

    are there any plans for the BoA and Muni building? it seems like everything around it is going to be completely redone, and I bet with new ground floor shops and whatnot. it could end up being a dead zone on the street level compared to the other corners.

  7. Posted by Sassy

    That intersection could be a nice cluster of buildings. Hopefully the heights will vary enough to make another “hill”.

  8. Posted by unlivable city

    One of the many sad sad sad things about this monetization of every last square inch of this beautiful city its the ruining of views. Views inbound on the bridge, views from Twin Peaks, views of things above from street level. These cheesy, lowest common denominator profiteers look at our city and don’t see anything but money. Its a tragedy.

    • Posted by MarketSt

      I guess you prefer the good old days when suburban sprawl was laying waste to every square inch of pristine hillside within a two hour commute of cities.

    • Posted by Orland

      You appear to equate high-rise development (any high-rise) with despoliation. You’ve obviously never been to Vancouver, B.C. whose city center is a veritable thicket of high-rises and as livable a city as you could conjure.

    • Posted by 94114

      Like!

    • Posted by louis

      The City has essentially red-lined the “neighborhoods” re views and development. around rincon hill, trnasbay and market vanness views are gone and density is the planning deity. If you live in cole valley, noe, etc etc, it will likley never change, and the only trane you see of the housing crisis is price escalation/. “Only”.

  9. Posted by BigV

    @unlivable city: interesting — not sure what views are being ruined — many folks find the views of the city very beautiful and getting better. City skylines are beautiful — assuming you have your eyes open to seeing beauty. And — every tall building creates new opportunities for new views from the new vantage points created.

    beauty is everywhere if you look for it!

  10. Posted by Orland

    The making of a Midtown high-rise district in this area is a great new development in SF.

  11. Posted by gone on

    @ Unlivable city — well you did get slapped down due to your minority viewpoint. Not sure if SF is more emerald city or Emperor’s new clothes. SS habitués will not tolerate nimbys or provincials. You will like Manhattan or you will be gone!

    • Posted by Anonandon

      Interesting that when someone mentions historic views of the city they are indeed slapped down and told they like “suburban sprawl”. When was it decided that San Francisco had to be the bedroom community for the Peninsula? Why can’t some of this growth be down where housing is needed? If one looks at the Bay Area as the sprawling region that it is, with less density than the Los Angeles area, it is obvious that some of the growth needs to start taking place south of here. I am tired of people from the sticks moving here and after two years lecturing me about urban density and what city life is all about.

    • Posted by Orland

      Preposterous to even mention Manhattan in this discussion. As a your fellow critic mentioned, Cole Valley will always remain the same. He might have added Hayes Valley, the Haights, the Heights, Noe, Bernal, Glen Park, the Southern Hills neighborhoods, the Terraces, St. Francis/Forest Hill and the entire Richmond and Sunset, etc. Who would ever want to change them? But selected development (especially residential) at the civic core can be a very positive thing. I simply can’t fathom the extreme intransigent, reactive perspective you and others espouse.

  12. Posted by Sierrajeff

    it’s all subjective. when I come into the City across the Bay Bridge, I kind of miss the old view where the Hills Bros. coffee building stood out, and then the FiDi glimmered several blocks away – now you enter a half-canyon of apartment buildings that cut off your view of the city. BUT, at the same time, that is in itself also interesting, dynamic and energizing. It’s possible to miss the old, but relish the new.

    • Posted by Spencer

      interesting point. I also really liked the old view where the Hills Bros. coffee building stood out. cest la vie.
      progress will continue.

      One view that i dont want to be removed is the view from 280 coming into the city. everytime i bring someone in town from the airport, i take that route to downtown as it has a much more beautiful vantage point view than 101. it will be ruined if 280 is shortened. thats not the reason to oppose 280 shortening. Im just saying that is a really nice view that is o publicly accessible that cant be replaced.

      • Posted by Orland

        Yeah, well the sweep of the Embarcadero Freeway was one hell of a ride too. Thank heavens it’s gone. The tear back of 280 will have similar benefit.

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