30 Van Ness Avenue

Bids to buy 30 Van Ness Avenue, the five-story building which is owned and occupied by the City and sits on a Mid-Market parcel zoned for development up to 400 feet in height, and is large enough to support the development of over 500 units of housing, are due on May 28.

The sale of 30 Van Ness will be structured with a leaseback to the City until late 2018 and the proceeds will help finance the City’s proposed development of a new 17-story building at 1500 Mission Street, on the eastern half of the Goodwill site at the intersection of Mission and South Van Ness Avenue.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will aim to approve the sale before its summer recess in late July.

47 thoughts on “Bids For Mid-Market Tower Site Due In Two Weeks”
  1. This is such a windswept area. I would not buy a pricey condo at this corner. Wonder how well they will sell given so many better hi-rise condo options now available in the City.

    1. Not all condo options sit directly on top of a public transportation hub while being walking distance to Hayes Valley, Castro, Mission, Soma, etc.

    2. Walking distance to vibrant Hayes Valley and the burgeoning Mid-Market restaurant/dining/bar scene? Walking distance to several well-paying employers? Walking distance to the highest cluster of fine arts in the city? Right on top of the best public transportation in the city with easy access to Financial, Mission, Oakland, etc? High-end grocery, gyms, all city services within spitting distance? Easy access to freeways for commutes and weekend trips? Yes, why on Earth would anybody want to live here? ESPECIALLY since this building will presumably be after the 12 story on Hayes, the Goodwill tower, and 1 Van Ness are all completed, thus further adding exciting retail and further cleaning up the neighborhood?

      This thing will do fine.

        1. Thanks Ed., but I’m talking about the Mission / So. Van Ness / Otis 5-way intersection. If anything needs bulb-outs and pedestrian refuges and traffic calming, that is it. Frankly in my Haussmanian fantasies, I’d turn the whole thing into a giant rotary – in theory traffic would move better, while pedestrians would have a much better experience.

          1. Both those huge intersections ought to be stop-all-directions for pedestrians. It’s a real chore if you need to cross both Van Ness and Mission in particular.

        2. I just flashed on a circular, overhead pedestrian walkway with escalators going up and down, over a similar intersection, in Shanghai. Traffic never stops, people don’t have to run for their lives crossing…..

          1. Or close off Otis, and/or have Mission dive under Van Ness (a la Commonwealth Ave & Mass Ave in Boston, for one of many examples).

      1. Agreed in general, but I do have to mention that it’s right on top of Muni, not BART, so I wouldn’t call it the “best public transportation in the City”. In fact, getting on at Van Ness during rush hour can be nearly impossible, given that muni is already well past peak loading by the time it hit Van Ness AM inbound and PM outbound. To truly serve this increased density, Muni needs consistent (ideally 4 car) shuttles between Embarcadero and Castro (at least).

        1. I believe one of the infill stations being contemplated by BART would be in this area where the tube passes underground on ts way from Civic Center to 16th street. Of course, we’re looking at something in the range of 5-7 years out at best.

          1. “5-7 years out at best” – thanks for the morning chuckle. I’d say we’re looking at 5-7 years for the BART board to finally decide to take action on it, at which point there will be inital planning, the EIRs, then more planning, then revised planning, then NIMBY appeals, and then incomprehensibly long construction. If there’s a Van Ness infill BART station before 2030, I’ll be truly & deeply shocked.

          2. Ditto, SierraJeff…..BART hasn’t even started seriously looking at infill stations (beyond locating a few spots on a map). And I should mention that while some BART staff is interested in infill stations, and generally upgrading the core of the system (which has all the ridership, and has had no improvements for 30 years), the politics of the organization STILL favors extensions. BART to Livermore is next up….billions of dollars for precisely nothing. And of course there will be lots of effort to extend in San Jose once Phase 1 is up. The core (SF and Oakland/Inner East Bay) needs to turn around the politics at BART to support real core system improvements.

    3. I agree. But I’m happy this is getting sold, city departments are consolidating into another building in a sale-leaseback scenario (nearby – the present Goodwill site already sold to Related CA), and I’m hopeful something impactful, aesthetically pleasing, and well-designed gets built for this corner.

      I just personally wouldn’t live here no matter how many positives there are to the location based on how windy it is. It’s so windy it actually annoys me every time I’m in the area (frequently). Like, it’s really really really windy around there. And gotta preserve the hairdo. And avoid shivering. LoL

      1. If you’re shivering, you must be new to SF. Us old timers know that summer requires a leather jacket and a scarf after 3 PM in this town.

        It’s part of the charm of living on the foggy tip of a peninsula that juts out into the Pacific.

        1. I’ve been here 3 years and I still find it cold in the summertime. You do too if you’re wearing a leather jacket. Granted I don’t explore the Sunset too often, but for the 50% of the town I do (and I live on the Northside, not the “sunny” Mission or SoMa), there is hardly a more windswept part of town. A 5-10 mph breeze around City Hall produces oddly strong 25-35+ mph gusts right around Van Ness/Market and between the buildings. Actually, it’s not so odd when you think about the mechanics. The other super windy block is right on Van Ness in front of the monolithic Holiday Inn. A 10 mph breeze before and after this block turns into a hurricane right in front of that building. There are ~5-10 equivalent Holiday Inns right next to each other at Van Ness and Market. So yes. It’s ok to call this area breezy at least, because it is!

          But please still build. Wind and shadows shouldn’t be excuses to not build anything at all.


          1. Yeah, 3 years is new to SF. Since you’re on the Northside, here’s a tip. A favorite pastime for us locals is to hang out at the Fisherman’s Wharf cable car turnaround during the summer tourist season – and watch the tourists in tank tops and shorts freezing their butts off in the afternoon in the foggy 30 MPH winds – and we laugh and laugh and laugh….. 🙂

        2. I hardly consider windswept streets charming.

          Height is encouraged in this area and I’m happy to see a new building rise on the corner of a prominent intersection. Now what to do with the addicts and trash…

          1. When the main feature of that intersection is a parking lot and a donut shop, addicts will settle in.

            When it’s high rises filled with residents who paid big $$$$ to live there, the addicts will move on….

        3. after 21 years, i can count on 1 hand how many times ive had to wear a jacket in the daytime. FOr some of us, SF has the absolute best weather in the world

    4. those buyers had better buy comfy shoes. They’ll need them to walk everywhere when muni meltdowns are a daily affair.

    5. “I would not buy a pricey condo at this corner”

      Well then I suggest you don’t. Fortunately, we live in a country where you’re not forced to live anywhere.

    6. This is such a better location than that of most of the new towers its ridiculous. This area has the best transportation options in the city and you can walk from it to slmost anything you need–not at all true of, say, Rincon Hill or that suburban business park called Mission Bay.

  2. Anything that provides more activation to this specific corner. There is regularly open air drug dealing as early as 9:30 pm most days.

  3. These could well be rentals, depending on the market. This sits right on transit lines, and should be popular as long as the economy stays strong. There will be great views from many of the units.

  4. This will make, what, five 400-foot high rises within a block of the Market/Van Ness intersection? This is gonna create one hell of a vibrant retail scene nearby – Hayes Valley, Market Street…. All in all, a total transformation from what is now a sketchy intersection into a premier neighborhood.

    So far, this is looking very, very good.

      1. I was counting the Honda site – so, yeah, make it 6 towers:
        2 on the Honda site
        One Oak
        100 Van Ness
        The Goodwill site
        and now this one, 30 Van Ness

        This new neighborhood will need a new name. Little Manhattan?

  5. FOX PLAZA 2
    will be low income housing for twitter…. and they don’t even pay a dime to build it….

  6. Toured the newly re-skinned old-AAA building at 100 Van Ness last week (thank you SPUR & Emerald Fund).

    The roof garden area in the early/mid afternoon was delightful, and the building has undertaken some “wind remediation/alleviation” touches following wind tunnel studies.

    It was very interesting standing at the southern end of the roof looking at all the future development areas – outlined in comments above – and realizing that in a few years we’d likely be looking up at our new neighbors. The Market & Van Ness area is going to be completely unrecognizable, but with all the transit & access options, plus emerging adjacent neighborhoods it’s the right call.

  7. 100 Van Ness roof might be great however that building’s wind is wrecking havoc with the preschool next door. Watch the parents and their children try to get into and out of their yard during the strong wind. The playground is not used after 4pm because of the wind.

    And all of 100 Van Ness’ garbage is being blown into the playground!

    1. 100 Van Ness has been there for a very long time (albeit with a different skin). You’re not saying that the wind on the playground is new, are you?

      1. Lol. So true! But in an activist mindset, an evil developer just created that wind out of the blue with this “new” building housing young professionals! That is the battle we are fighting here. Need I say that the average San Franciscan is by far the most entitled person on the planet?

        I can complain about the wind in the area – it would actually still be windier in this area without the buildings there. #topography #weatherpatterns I can also choose not to move to this area. But I would never go out of my way to block some pension fund’s investment in a housing project (because every time one of these developments gets crushed, teachers’ pensions and other pensions lose out at the end of the day), let alone far from my own home and non-impactful to me, on the basis that I hate “greedy developers”, “wind will be increased”, a shadow might form on a park or preschool, and that “rents will skyrocket as a result of more construction”! The absurdity.

  8. Developing Market @ Van Ness makes too much sense. Build the towers but make them visually attractive – not just more class boxes. This part of town is only going in one direction – up. Don’t fight it – adapt or die.

    1. The whole irony is that we are in a death spiral of letting some new projects creep through, but not after 500 ill-informed non-architect non-stakeholders have had their say with a project, and then we complain about the boring architecture and use that as an excuse to block more development!

      For the most part, a developer backed by institutional money who is willing to shell out $10-200M just for a piece of dirt occupied by some building that must be taken down is willing to spend an extra $2M or so on a decent architect.

      If we just let the friggin’ process, the same process that works in other major cities that are still lovable today, work itself out, we’d have:

      a) more environmentally friendly buildings (ironically)
      b) better architecture
      c) higher quality materials
      d) likely lower rents today had we had more stock to begin with and dramatically lower rents whenever the economy isn’t as frothy as it is right now

      I see all of these as positive outcomes to reduced interference by us morons who should never think we know architecture better than the local office of a prestigious architectural firm. But we are entitled and opinionated on everything. I guess that comes with the territory of this city, and everyone knows it.

  9. I hope that, as they fill up the intersection of Market and Van Ness, that someone somewhere is thinking about the space and construction-space needs of a future MUNI subway intersecting MUNI at this location.

    It would be a real shame to have another “smooth” “convenient” transfer like the one planned for the Market/Chinatown stations.

    1. Well BART runs through there a level below Muni, so any further Muni underground there would be pretty constrained anyway. I think any Muni line running under Van Ness could peel off Market SW of the Civic Center station, and then turn up Van Ness around Hayes.

      1. BART has already veered off to the southeast by that point, I’m sure, otherwise there’d be a BART station at Van Ness. I guess any eventual Van Ness subway would, nevertheless, have to dip way down under both MUNI and Bart, even if it’s a block or two away by that point, since the trains don’t make tight turns. Plus, you’d think it would curve and end up at 3rd and 16th, where it could connect to a T-line subway.

        Yes, I’m dreaming…

  10. Would like to apply for available one bedroom or possible market rate condominium for myself were should I start I heard it’s a lottery and I work for civic center area. So walk to work will be great.

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