50 First Street Design

Beijing-based Oceanwide Holdings has inked a deal to purchase the 50 First Street development site and plans for the second-tallest tower to rise over 900 feet in San Francisco for $296 million, nearly 150 percent more than the $122 million that local developer TMG Partners and Northwood Investors paid for the site out of bankruptcy in 2013.

While announced in a Chinese language press release at the end of last year and then roughly translated into English last week, the Business Times first reported the deal locally.

Foster + Partners and Heller Manus are expected to remain as the architects of the project which includes two towers rising up to 910 feet in height with an elevated first floor and plaza.  And as we first reported about TMG’s plans for the site in 2013, the proposed 50 First Street development includes over 1 million square feet of office space, hundreds of condos, and a possible hotel component as well.

Earlier plans for the development had called for the condos to fill the shorter 605-foot tower fronting Mission Street, but 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 Partners remains in negotiations with Oceanwide to oversee the development of the 50 First Street project which could be approved by the end of the year and be ready for occupancy as early as 2019.

46 thoughts on “Chinese Real Estate Giant Buys Site For Second-Tallest Tower In SF”
    1. You are being too kind. There are many fat things in the world which are possibly lovely in the eyes of someone, including me. This thing, on the other hand, is just GROSS. That means it lacks anything making it attractive in any way, and in such a fashion that an 8 year old can call it.

  1. Too fat indeed and too high.

    Initiative brewing to impose 20 story max height limit in City. iT CAN’T COME TOO SOON.

      1. Look at the photo. Table top skyline but for two out of place “tall” buildings.

        I oppose high-rises in SF, not in general and if you are going to build a skyline you sculpt it.

        Step down from the two tall building somewhat shorter ones. Don’t drop off jarringly from 70 stories in 2 building to 40 stories all around them.

        1. you could say the same thing about how 555 California sticks out from certain perspectives, but it’s part of the overall charm imo. And this render is of course just one perspective, from other angles these towers will balance nicely with the Pyramid and 555 on the other side.

          1. also I wish these renders would include the other projects in this area for a true sense of scale. Or if not all the proposed projects, then maybe at least the ones that are already, you know, built

          2. I disagree, as much as I love tall buildings and I hate hearing the “out of scale” / “does not fit in” comment, if there is one building in SF that absolutely does not fit in, that’s 555 California… I don’t like it at all.

        2. Are you aware that other planned buildings (“somewhat shorter ones”) in this area provide the transition you describe? This rendering does not show the complete picture of the skyline changes. You may want to do some research before brewing up some backwards initiative.

        3. Do you suggest they purchase 10-12 lots to build similar heights towers so that we keep a uniform skyline?

          Someone has to start… 20 years from now there will be probably 6 or more towers 800+feet tall in SF. That will be much more uniform. I hope we get to match the new ONE WTC one day.

          1. Yes. If you looked at Rincon Hill when ORH and Infinity were being built, they were pretty much in the same set-up. Now these 2 towers are becoming 6.

        4. Dave@ are you even a San Franciscan? were you even born in The City? You progressives have harmed the City in the past and are a dying dinosaur , TG.

          1. I wasn’t aware the the location of one’s birth gave one special voting rights. I’ll have to start going to Iowa and imposing my values there (even though I know nothing about current events and politics there), since that’s where I was born.

        5. But Dave, with all due respect, it is being sculpted…sort of. I think our skyline needs more variation in height. It still looks pretty flat as many of the buildings that were built were bumping up to the height limit before it was changed. My issue is that we do a crappy job at approving building materials and figuring out how to make the older concrete structures work with the newer glass structures. It’s pretty apparent in the skyline that all new construction is south of Market. We need more concrete south of Market and more glass in the Financial District towards Chinatown to create more balance.

        6. “Look at the photo. Table top skyline but for two out of place “tall” buildings.”

          And what do you supposed caused that “table top” result? Why, a freakin’ referendum on heights, that’s what…

    1. It’s newsworthy to me. If you don’t like this then what do you like on this site?

      Anyone in development, architecture or a related field will find this interesting.

  2. i guess i understand that they’d want to use the mission-fronting lot for staging, but i’d love to see that one as the first site to see development, so that in the case of low demand down the line, we’re not stuck with that one for another decade or more. plus i actually really like the 1st street buildings and i’m not keen to see them go when it’s a matter of the developer electing not to build on the vacant portion of their parcel. another one of those “if i were archon of sf” scenarios…

      1. No, the Hearst Building does not taper toward the top, and the X bracing is completely uniform all the way up.

        1. True on the taper and the non-uniform bracing, but still the Hearst is still more similar. The Gherkin has no exo-skeleton (the x-bracing is behind the glass) and is circular in plan. It also comes to a point and is has the dark banding spiraling around it.

    1. Indeed. We do live in interesting times. Can’t wait to see China in 10-15 years. Can’t think of another country in the horizon that may replace China in that time frame.

    2. Japan 1980’s…yeah, and we all know how well that ended.

      Personally I’m glad to get more Chinese presence and condo buying here. We need to maintain the high PSF’s with all the new construction coming online. I’m waiting for us to beat out Manhattan!

  3. Seems TMG did alright by themselves as “middlemen” without even securing the entitlements while holding the property.

  4. It looks like the Laurel and Hardy show. I suggest slimming down the bulky newbie, and reconsider the cross-bracing. It’s been done before, and looks too seventies.

  5. I wouldn’t mind a redesign. I wished both towers complemented each other. Right now they look like two completely different projects.

        1. No, I meant the SOM design that editor linked. I particularly like the top – *that* would be a nice feature on the skyline.

  6. The buyer in the announcement is listed as Tohigh Property Investment, LLC. (wholly-owned by Oceanwide Holdings of HK). Curious to see if their apparent sense of humor will follow through with this ‘chinese finger puzzle’ design.

  7. The skyline will fill in over the years, we should be forward looking in that respect. Restricting heights at this point seems like a very bad idea, in the few areas that we can (and probably should) build skyscrapers.

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