Fourth And Townsend Site

Tishman Speyer has filed their preliminary application to raze The Creamery coffee shop, the Iron Cactus Mexican restaurant, and the rest of the little buildings on the east side of Fourth Street between Townsend and Bluxome, and construct a 41-story tower with 450 condos over 10,000 square feet of retail space on the Central SoMa site, as reported by the Business Times.

While the 655 4th Street Site is currently only zoned for development up to 85-feet in height, the parcel is slated to be upzoned for building up to 400-feet as part of the City’s pending Central SoMa Plan.

And while Tishman doesn’t own the HD Buttercup parcel to the east along Townsend, an earlier filing outlined the developer’s intentions of building a 350-foot sister tower on that parcel as well, with a proposed public plaza on the corner of 4th and Townsend, across the street from Safeway and Caltrain.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by gone on

    and yet some will deny “Manhattanization”. Which can be described as a neologism coined to describe the construction of many tall or densely situated buildings which transforms the appearance and character of a city (per wikip).

    • Posted by cfb

      This may surprise you, but Manhattan isn’t the only place in the world with lots of high rises.

      Build it! We need housing most importantly. But in my opinion, another plus (if you aren’t an irrational highrise-hating NIMBY) is that having a few taller 300′-400′ towers to go along with the short ~200′ ones already there in Mission Bay, will make the skyline look a bit more aesthetically pleasing when viewing from the west…because it won’t end abruptly at the Rincon Hill towers anymore.

  2. Posted by Serge

    How does a 400 foot tower fit with all existing buildings there?

    • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

      @Serge, in the Central Corridor Plan, on page 48, there is a version of the plan that shows a 400′ height limit on that site. There are other up zoned sites less than a block to a couple of blocks away reaching 250′.

    • Posted by cfb

      There are already a few 100’+-200’+ buildings across the street and within a couple block radius of this site…and there are several more farther away, by the waterfront/bay bridge…so it’s not like high rises are an alien thing to Mission Bay. And the central SOMA plan would raise height limits so that there would be a few more smallish towers linking the mission bay cluster up with downtown. Not to mention that if the Giants development ever gets built several blocks away there will be even more 100’+-300’+ buildings in the area.

  3. Posted by Beatrice Plotter

    Building more condos is a good thing. For buyers, more competition for your dollars means lower prices and higher quality. I love seeing higher ownership rates in SF (actual owners, not speculators.)

  4. Posted by grrr

    The sidewalks in this city, especially down heavily traveled fourth street are impossibly narrow for the traffic they have — which will only grow. Height is fine; however, the podium bases and footprints of ALL new buildings need to be smaller. And plant more trees.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      That’s actually a very good point. As we get denser (which I support 100%), we should mandate wider sidewalks.

      (Personally I’d support allowing developers to build a few stories higher if they pulled their footprint back even 3 feet and cut in on corners.)

  5. Posted by guyfox

    Grrr – a central part of the Central SoMa plan is the narrowing of streets and widening of sidewalks to the City’s new standard of 18′.

  6. Posted by gone on

    We nimbies are the only defense left between charming and hell hole. Enjoy your density and lower housing prices. Heh!

    • Posted by Chris

      Yeah, because Fourth and Townsend is so freaking “charming” right now. Why do you even care what is built there? Anything is better than what is there now. And, no, you “NIMBYs” (spell the acronym correctly) are pretty powerless because anymore even when you fight something tooth-and-nail, it still gets approved.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Actually for me this is one of thos melancholy moments of redevelopment – yes, 1-story is a ludicrous use here, what with Caltrain, the Central Subway, and the towers eventually marching down from Rincon Hill. But, this corner (with its odd little angles and such) is definitely a bit of quirky San Francisco, soon to be replaced with more bland cookie-cutter-ness. Again, don’t misconstrue my words, I don’t want to lie down in front of the bulldozers to save The Creamery. But it is a tradeoff of old and unique for more-of-the-same glass towers and street-level “retail”.

        • Posted by Jake

          yeah, I still miss the neighborhood bar and restaurant that was replaced by the Walgreens across the street.

          The big loss around there was when they demolished the train station at 3rd and Townsend back in the 1970s.

          For a flavor of this old commuter locale, you can hear Jack Kerouac reading from the opening of his “October in the Railroad Earth”

    • Posted by zig

      It good for the economy: good for office workers who commute using CalTrain and Muni, good for those who build the buildings, good for those who provide services to the the new workers, good for me with my house situated along Caltrain

      Hard to see what is bad about it.

  7. Posted by Sam

    The Creamery is going? But where will 22 year olds become instance receivers of millions of venture capital funding now! I like this height here, this area should get heavily built out considering the proximity to Caltrain, though it is already at capacity, and the T extension. Also, as a Mission nimby, I like the idea of making Soma east of 6th street into Manhattan.

  8. Posted by James

    Awesome. Build build build!!! If you don’t like it, you don’t have to live there.

  9. Posted by anon

    Absurd. If you want to build 40-story buildings in an area where there are none, move move to Houston or Dubai..

  10. Posted by R

    I’m for up-zoning in this neighborhood (as well as a few other strategically viable locations) but completely agree that a 400ft tower is “out of character”— in the current context. At the same time, it’s hard to believe anything taller than 50ft wouldn’t look out of place.

    Give it another 15 years; let the skyline grow a little. Things will fill in nicely where they need.

    Just, please… Let’s not do anymore of this Tishman Speyer roundtangle architecture shit. Way too “office park” looking for me.

  11. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Yes, a high rise district has to start with one building and it will stick out until the neighboring parcels are built up.

    I take this upzoning as an indication that the existing Caltrain station will continue to exist even after the transbay connection is created. The Chinatown trolley isn’t enough to support increased density. Best guess is that some trains will terminate at 4th and King to lighten the load on the underdesigned transbay terminal.

    “roundtangle” is my new favorite word.

    • Posted by zig

      you seem to have a lot of confidence that people are actually thinking about these things and planning ahead?

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        haha. Yeah rather than planning it would be jumping at the opportunity when the political and economic stars align.

        I do believe that Caltrain will have to maintain operations at this site. Even if Caltrain and HSR can work with a common interchangeable platform height that transbay won’t be able to keep up with the Caltrain corridor volumes. And if Caltrans and HSR cannot come to terms it will make the problem even worse.

        The only way I can see the Caltrain SF yards being redeveloped is via air rights.

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