100 Folsom Street Rendering

Tishman Speyer is pushing forward with their plans to build a modern 400-foot residential tower designed by architect Jeanne Gang on the northwest corner of Folsom and Spear Street (a.k.a 100/160 Folsom Street or Transbay Block 1).

In addition to the 40-story tower with “migrating bay” windows which would be offset on each floor and repeated every ten floors, creating a spiraled effect, the proposed Transbay Block 1 development includes an adjacent eight-story building on the northeast corner of Folsom and Main and four stories of townhomes along a new Clementina Street.

100 Folsom Street Site Plan

10,000 square feet of retail space would front Folsom, Main and Spear Streets, over a three-level underground garage with parking for bikes and cars.

100 Folsom Street Corner

As proposed, the development includes 399 units of housing, with 258 market rate units across the top 35 floors of the tower and 141 below market rate units serving households earning up to 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI) in the adjacent eight story building, floors 2-5 of the tower, and in the townhomes along Clementina [See UPDATE below].

Currently only zoned for building up to 300 feet in height, San Francisco’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will need to successfully approve a spot up-zoning of Transbay Block 1 for Tishman to proceed with the 400-foot tower as proposed.

And in terms of timing, according to our sources, Tishman is aiming to start construction in February 2016 and the construction period is estimated to last 30 months.

UPDATE: As for sale condos, the income threshold for the below market rate units will be between 80 and 100 percent of the AMI, not 50 percent as originally reported (which would be the maximum if the development went the rental route).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by spencer

    absolutely beautiful. finally something interesting. PLEASE BUILD THIS.

    • Posted by Futurist

      I wouldn’t say it’s “absolutely beautiful”, but I’d say it’s clever and currently trendy.
      Not to diminish the importance of new, modern architecture, but it’s almost like we have to have this collectible piece, just as Chicago does. Is it breaking new grounds in terms of design and form? Probably not.

      Is it giving us more cache as a “world class city”? probably not, although many would argue otherwise.

      To me it’s more like collecting the latest trendy signature handbag by a Michael Kors. Each city will clamor for one until even Buffalo or Cleveland has one on their skyline.

      And then we wait earnestly until the next must-have bauble arrives.

      • Posted by seriously

        is it breaking ground in terms of design and form? i would say, yes. whoever manufactures the exterior will certainly have to “invent the wheel” for this building. it’s going to be technically complicated to model, clad, and waterproof (especially with double curved surfaces), but will advance the technology and architecture as a whole. creating new technology and manufacturing methods are extremely valuable to construction and engineering in the 21st century. it’s rather simplistic to reduce it to nothing more than “trendy”

      • Posted by Rob

        I’m sincerely interested in examples of the kind of architecture you would like to see built in SF, both residential and commercial. Can you post some links? Thanks.

        • Posted by Futurist

          No, I can’t or won’t. But I can tell you I continue to enjoy and support Modern/International Style works such as the new Transbay Tower, by Pelli, the SFMOMA Museum addition by Snohetta, and the De Young museum. just to name a few examples.

          Honest, expressive architecture, free of clichés, fads or trends. That’s my take.

    • Posted by mc

      it looks like a long, partially decayed wisdom tooth. disgusting.

  2. Posted by Joel

    Woah, over 35% affordable units? They should have received even more height for that kind of a deal.

  3. Posted by busboy

    A window washers nightmare! It looks great.

  4. Posted by Ivan

    Wish Tishman could negotiate a fee or build the affordable units somewhere else like 181 Fremont did.

  5. Posted by seriously

    LOVE it! Minor critique- I want to see the white panels extend to the ground to give it more of a base. The all glass is nice, but it looks like it is just floating and detracts from a cohesive look. They haven’t resolved how it will touch the ground.

    • Posted by wiger toods

      They can’t continue down to the ground, because they extend over the sidewalk.

  6. Posted by Live Smart

    More undulation please, like when I unfurl my down comforter in the morning.


    They have the skinny flat (disguised) columns on the retail level to ground the building. Illusion of floating adds to the “do a double take* factor

  7. Posted by Serge

    Oh wow. This is actually fantastic.

  8. Posted by Dan

    Ivan, why does it bother you that affordable units will be built here? This is part of the Transbay plan. Would you be happier if there were a “poor door”?

    • Posted by Metroloner

      It does look like there is a “poor door” in the plans. If you look closely at the first floor plan, there is a “podium lobby” and “tower lobby.” Seems that they are going to separate the haves and have-nots even in the elevators. That podium lobby will forever be known as the entrance to the units that were below market rate.

      • Posted by REpornaddict

        Very J G Ballard “High Rise”!.

        Love the building though, something a little Expressionist about it

      • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

        If I were paying $2000 per sq.ft. and others were paying 1/3 or less of that to live in the same building, I would insist on a “poor door”. If people who qualify for BMR units don’t like the poor door concept, then they are free to live elsewhere until they’ve saved up for a MR unit. Beggars can’t be choosers, or something like that.

        • Posted by OMN

          Wanting others to be worse off just to stroke your own fragile sense of “making it” is disgusting.

          • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

            Being envious to the point of thinking you’re “worse off” because a building has two separate entrances is not disgusting, it’s pathetic.

          • Posted by Chris

            No one who is getting beautiful, safe, and even luxury housing compared to many other units in SF is “worse off.” Affordable housing is one thing, this insistence that somehow it come with all the perks, frills, and luxuries of those paying market rate is just stupid ideology be forced down everyone else’s throats. Everyone has the right to clean, comfortable, and safe housing, but everyone does NOT have the right to the best the market can provide.

        • Posted by And Take That To The Bank

          BMR does not mean an owner is homeless or down-and-out. To qualify for a BMR an owner would need an income of about $70K in SOMA. Also, the BMR owner would be required to pay the NORMAL monthly maintenance/condo fees. On the flip side, the BMR owner would be looking at the MR owners and think they paid too much for the same amenities.

          • Posted by Name

            They’re going to be near homeless when they get their HOA bills.

      • Posted by seriously

        Social implications aside, a separate entrance for the BMR units makes it logistically a lot easier to design and plan a building. Egress, occupant load, and security concerns are lessened because of reduced connections to the expensive amenity areas and between the buildings (less stairs, corridors, elevators). The tower could function as a separate building from the BMR building.

        • Posted by NoeNeighbor

          Does having a “poor door” allow one to charge lower HOA fees to the owners of the BMR units (because they have access to fewer amenities)? If so that would be good reason to have them. One of the difficulties with BMR units is that HOA fees can undercut the affordability aspect. My guess is that purchasers of BMR units would happily give up high-end amenities in exchange for lower HOA fees.

      • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

        Won’t this building have the same issues previously mentioned for other buildings in the immediate area – BMR units, but with MR HOA fees?

        • Posted by iiii

          If I’m reading that right, all the MR units are in one part of the physical structure, and the BMR units are in a separate part. Seems to me they could set up two separate HOAs, the MR HOA paying for doormen and regular re-gilding of the roof deck (or whatever) along with the standard reserves and maintenance, and the BMR HOA only paying in for the standard reserves and maintenance of their section of the building. Or could they? Anyone know if that’d be legal?

          • Posted by soccermom

            BMR units are the ones that do not twist, running along Clementina Street.*

            It’s what we in the easychair architectural criticism world like to call a metaphor. Either that the inhabitants lack the dynamism to churn ever skyward, or that the system has trapped them in a static, orthogonal state, alley-facing. Depends on how you voted in most elections.

            *Not at all true.

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            I <3 u! 🙂

        • Posted by Dan

          It may well be rentals, so HOA fees won’t apply.

    • Posted by shza

      Because far more affordable units could be built elsewhere in SF for the same money. If the goal is more affordable housing, fees are the way to do it, not BMR units within luxury buildings.

      • Posted by spencer


      • Posted by elsewhere == nimby

        true, but if not here, where? And couldn’t far more affordable units be built elsewhere in many parts of California than anywhere in SF for the same money? Plenty of land near the Bay Point BART station for commuters and Manzanar for the work from home.
        What’s a well tended urban environment without a little segregation of the classes.

  9. Posted by Anon

    wow, this is an ugly monstrosity.

    • Posted by Brian M

      Thankfully, YOU are not the multi-billion dollar property owner who has hired the architect.

    • Posted by [mc]

      Agreed. U G L Y ! ! !

  10. Posted by Edward

    Excellent! Bonus for being designed by an American woman.

  11. Posted by jamesjr

    Love it. Build it.

  12. Posted by Bob

    Love the design, wish it wasnt being proposed in a provincial town like SF. Aqua in Chicago is gorgeous. Asking such a talented architect to waste their time on something 400′ is a waste

  13. Posted by Mark F.

    I like it, but why not add even more height to this?

  14. Posted by sassyboyfrisco

    nice build it!

  15. Posted by grumpy

    Not being poor or wealthy, I wonder if I’ll be able to afford to live here.

    • Posted by spencer

      grumpy, you cannot afford this building now, but there is a simple solution.
      take all your money to vegas. put all of it on a single number on a roulette table. whether you win or lose, you will be able to afford this new building. although if you lose, you will have to take the regular elevator and not the gold encrusted one.

      • Posted by grumpy

        as stupid as that solution sounds, it actually is the one that makes the most sense given SF’s idiotic housing policies.

    • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

      No, you won’t. The SF [Supervisors] in all their infinite wisdom have decided that making a majority of units even more expensive in order to give a free ride to some people they arbitrarily select is good housing policy.

      • Posted by cfb

        No one is getting a “free ride.”

        • Posted by Dr. House

          Winners of the BMR lottery are absolutely getting a free ride in the form of a golden ticket that pays for much of the cost of their home at the expense of the buyers of the MR homes.

  16. Posted by JWS

    I love the tower. My concern with Folsom Street as the commercial corridor is this. When you look at the retail fronting Folsom in this building, I see four spaces. Assuming that the towers will all have similar spaces, that’s what, 8 or so retail spaces per block?

    For the blocks in the NE of the city, what do you think is average for a preexisting block? 20-25 retail spaces for block? My worry about the big retail footprints instead of smaller footprints is diminished pedestrian activity. A dentist office or a bank branch doesn’t diminish an existing corridor if there are 5 restaurants, 5 cafes, 5 boutiques and a bar to boot. If we’re dealing with far less options per block, that changes things somewhat. I think King Street has suffered because of similar design.

    • Posted by Alai

      Yup. And they’re not very large spaces, either. If you look at older corridors, you have 25 foot wide storefronts that are 100 feet deep, and have space for a lot of different things. The new ones being built are very wide– lots of windows– but not very deep. What are they going to be good for?

      • Posted by anon3

        Agree. I can understand the market demand for wider instead of deeper storefronts, but I think it’s greatly affecting walkability. Also, for those worried about rising commercial rents pricing out mom and pop shops, fewer retail spaces will only make it worse.

        • Posted by Jon Schwark

          Agreed! They should really be putting in 2 stories of retail in Rincon Hill and down here, and no residential on the ground floor! Upper story retail is common in dense asian cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong. In the long run those spaces would serve the quirkier local businesses that we all love about the great older neighborhoods. I don’t mind all the chain stores, Starbucks and Walgreens, but I want a place for the comic book store, the dive bar and the yoga studio too.

  17. Posted by Steve

    Love it, which it was 600 feet instead-

  18. Posted by Bill

    Is anyone other than Tishman leaving comments on this page? The public meetings for this building were met with nothing but opposition. I don’t see the need to litter waterfront (or near waterfront) with more sky scrapers…Tishman already has 8 buildings within a block of each other in South Beach.

    • Posted by James

      This is not the waterfront and it’s surrounded by towers already. The opposition is unfounded.

      • Posted by Bill

        If you think 300/400 foot tower (350/450 including machinery) wont cast a shadow on the Embarcadero and affect the look of the waterfront then I might as well be talking to a dining room table. The Gap building in front of it is 290 tall but only a small portion of the building reaches that height.

        • Posted by Name

          It’s right next door to he Infinity, which is 400 ft. Calm down,

        • Posted by sfjhawk

          It’s actually shorter than the Infinity Towers and believe me (I’ve lived in one of the mid-rises since ’08), there are no shadows being cast upon the Embarcadero.

    • Posted by MarketSt

      Public meetings around here are dominated by non-working, semi-hinged constituents who have nothing but time on theirs hands and a selfish interest in trying to keep the world around them from changing.

      • Posted by lyqwyd

        Was gonna say the same thing!

      • Posted by spencer

        agree. most productive members of society dont have time to attend.

        • Posted by elsewhere == nimby

          yes, the productive rich only have time for their private meetings with public officials. Sadly, they must send their hired lobbyists, lawyers, pr & re flacks to do their bidding in public; ever so much more efficient.

          • Posted by frog

            No, we’re curing cancer. And commenting on Socketsite.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            I can’t speak for the “productive rich” (whatever that is – if they’re being “productive” then what’s the problem?), but as for me, I’m at work 50 or more hours a week, and so No, I don’t have time to attend any of the interminable feel-good “public input” meetings at which the bored and lonely raise nonsense issues just to hear themselves speak.

          • Posted by elsewhere == nimby

            frog, are you employing the royal “we” or some poll of richies?
            the idle rich might have time to attend, but then they wouldn’t be so idle, would they?

          • Posted by shza

            Is “elsewhere == nimby” the same person as “two beers?” If not, uncanny.

  19. Posted by Jamie Whitaker

    Looks interesting for sure, and I am glad they learned from previous for sale BMR condos and will pursue two separate HOAs, one for the BMRs and one for the market rate. I’m also very glad to get the BMRs built in since those neighbors will probably be there for a LONG time – meaning they will actually care about the quality of life in the neighborhood.

  20. Posted by keenplanner

    3 levels of underground parking? How about no parking at all?

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      How about you let the developer and the market decide. If you’ve got millions to design and build a parking-free competitor – and you think the numbers will work out in the end – go right ahead.

      • Posted by anon3

        You’re right. Only money should talk. The idea that a common man can have an opinion of how his city should look is absolutely ridiculous.

        • Posted by frog

          You have plenty of opportunity to have an opinion – at the ballot box. But no, the common man should have little opportunity to affect things at the micro level.

  21. Posted by anon

    From the outside it was interesting but the floorplans are going to be a disaster. Very few people really like living in a home with walls that are curved or are not at 90 degree angles. It makes furniture placement very, very difficult. A lot of useless (and very expensive) square feet.

    • Posted by emanon

      I guess all the “very few people” are already living in the Infinity or on the wait list for Lumina.

    • Posted by Name

      Only squares.

    • Posted by swiftamine

      And yet there are so many kneejerk architectural critiques about “boring boxes” being built around the city. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… no matter what is designed people will allways try to rationalize their complaints with weird logic.

  22. Posted by mdg399

    LOVE IT! – and yes – 500 – 600+ feet is also good.

    Looks like the Apt building in Malmo Sweden designed by Francsico Calatrava. We should be so lucky to have this built here – I cringe at some of the comments – usually by the same people – who seem to hate just about EVERYTHING except what already is. It’s sad…pathetic really…cheer up. You know what people said about the GG bridge before it was built? They HATED the idea. (In fact, the Egyptians said the same things about the pyramids…only they didn’t have blog forums then…they had hieroglyphics written in donkey poop on walls and papyrus scrolls using ink made from crushed scarab beetles…!!)

  23. Posted by jessica

    I think the design of this one is awesome. Bizarre and fascinating, I’d be pleased to come across this building in any city, and would love to see more creative architecture like this in San Francisco.
    I live in SOMA.

  24. Posted by paul hwang

    not loving it.

  25. Posted by Sam

    Not only is the design truly beautiful and respectful of its surroundings, but also the terraces are relatively sheltered, solving an often ignored problem, the cold fogwinds of SF. I hope this is built but I doubt it will.

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