1554 Market Street

Trumark Urban’s proposed 12-story building to rise at 1554 Market Street, between Franklin and Van Ness, with 109 condos over three ground-floor retail spaces and an underground garage for 28 cars, is slated to be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission at the end of the month (June 25).

1554 Market Street: Market Street

The proposed development is composed of two distinct structures designed by Handel Architects and connected by a skybridge: one fronting Market Street with the project’s two main retail spaces, and the second fronting Oak Street with the building’s lobby, garage entrance and the third little retail space, likely a café.

Three existing buildings will need to be razed for Trumark’s project to be constructed, including the garage at 55 Oak Street and the office building at 1554-1564 Market Street.

The modern twelve-story building would rise directly adjacent to the Market Street parcels upon which the redesigned One Oak tower could rise up to 37-stories in height.

If approved, Trumark is aiming to quickly break ground and have 1554 Market ready for occupancy by Spring 2017.  And of the 109 condos, 13 are to be offered at below market rates (BMR).

61 thoughts on “Modern Mid-Market Development Aiming For 2017 Opening”
  1. Design looks like a hot mess but that is to be expected in SF.

    How are they able to have windows on the lot line? Thought that was illegal.

    What is that tall structure to the right and behind the building? Is it the old AAA building redone? If so it is wrongly placed in this rendering.

    1. If you think that’s the “old AAA building redone” in the background or don’t know what the structure is, I’m thinking that perhaps that disqualifies you to comment on this “hot mess that is to be expected in SF.”

      1. It is the old AAA building, but I think it is in the right place. This site is SW of the intersection of Van Ness of Van Ness, and that building is at 100 Van Ness, so it would be to the right.

  2. Now with even fewer slit windows on the west than before – and with a cornice-thing on the top that’s sure to be “value engineered” away.

  3. Nice project! Bold design!

    Lot line windows are not “illegal” per se, but rather there are specific code restrictions allowing them at specific locations.

    1. What happens when the lot next door gets a 4 or 5 story building? Will the owners on the lower floors of this building protest they are losing light and ventilation from the new adjacent structure?

      1. While we don’t know the specifics of the lot line windows of the (proposed) new building, it’s possible that there will be zoning restrictions for the adjacent now empty lot. That could mean the building is stepped back a certain portion by 10′ or more; And most likely (means I’m pretty sure) those lot line windows currently shown are NOT code required windows minimum natural light, nor are they operable.

        1. ^ Agreed. Lot line windows, unless adjacent to permanently deeded public open space (eg. a street), are never allowed to be counted as sufficing code requirements (be it lighting, ventilation, escape, etc.). They are going to have to be fire-rated, likely 2hr or more. They look huge, too. And they probably won’t be able to affect the zoning of the adjacent building, given that it’s going to be condos in the same HOA as next door. All this = those windows might get value-engineered out, given that in 5 years or so they will be blocked by another development.

  4. As long as they keep the gorgeous brick building at Market and Franklin I’m good with this! Will be interesting to see what tenants fill up the retail spaces for all these proposed buildings, given that retail is still vacant or unimpressive further down with the new Upper Market buildings. I’m sure there is more foot traffic here, though.

    1. A friend of mine recently moved to the northern end of Mission Bay / Mission Rock… there was actually a fair amount of sidewalk traffic (and this wasn’t even a game day), but I was startled to see that virtually every retail space was empty. And adding more buildings won’t necessarily help, because most of *them* will have ground-floor retail spaces too. I hope the city knows what it’s doing…

      1. I’ve noticed this too. And Mission Bay is up and coming. A lot of mid-Market retail fronts are vacant. Dspite Twitter, despite the condo that have been built in the area. Don’t see how more retail is all that viable here. Maybe some of the space will be taken by professional offices.

        1. I continue to have hope that as these buildings actually fill up with residents, that the neighborhoods will grow. My one concern with the Mission Bay footprints vs Mid-Market is that they are the same that we see on King by the ballpark…extremely large and wide. Harder to get niche restaurants and cafes to pay those big rents, while the smaller Mid-Market lots being developed necessitate smaller retail.

          Mid-Market, for example, is only starting to come out of its shell…for its presence on the skyline, 100 Van Ness has only been occupied for a few months. If even half of the high rises get built over the next 5-8 years, it is almost impossible not to imagine the blocks up and down the intersection of Van Ness and Market as vibrant. But it will take some time.

          Completely oranges to apples here, but the San Antonio Village development in Mountain View started off abysmally for the retail route…just Jared’s and similar chains. As the units filled up and more were built, more destination restaurants and niche shops open, and now it is starting to become very vibrant (for the Peninsula, anyway).

          1. As originally a part of a Redevelopment Agency, I understand that Mission Bay is excempt from the normal proscriptions upon “formula retail.” They could have filled up the currently vacant storefronts on 4th Street with chains who have reportedly been clamoring to get in. Yet, “they” (and I’m not sure just exactly that would be) have been absolutely resolute in resisting what must have been a very tempting course. Hopefully (again) it will begin to pay off with the filling up of more residential buildings with what will have to be well-heeled apartment/condo dwellers.

      2. MB 4th Street is still a virtual ghost town. However, Arden, Azure and MB 360 will be adding hundreds of new residents within the year. Hopefully, a neighborhood and a destination will begin to rise.

        1. And how does one “put” them there? Are you going to pay the market-rate rent for a non-profit to be housed there?

    2. I believe the brick building is protected as part of the “Market Street Masonry Historic District.” It’s not going anywhere.

    1. The lot next door will eventually be built up as well, not much you can do short of HOA dues making sure the building gets cleaned of any graffiti that crops up until that happens. Or even a temporary mural. The retail spaces fronting both Market and Oak Sts. will be a welcome addition to the street level experience.

  5. It looks like the terraces on the units at the jutting-out levels (7th and 11th floors) are no different than those of the other units, leaving all that potential terrace space unused. Weird.

  6. @JWS – Part of the problem IMO is that these buildings are built to the lot line. No real green space to entice residents out. Even if they don’t plan on shopping at one of the stores.

    They are walled off and in SOMA the condos built on platforms allow residents to access some of the retail from indoors. Keeping residents from venturing out.

    The lack of intimacy at the street level is a killer for perhaps mid-Market and much of SOMA too. On the weekends SOMA at street level is a ghost town. Despite all the already built condos.

    I travel to Portland and Seattle a lot and they have much more success with creating neighborhood feels in mid-size new developments. One key is many projects are not built to the lot line but have greenways with benches, fountains and artwork. Making residents want to go outside and drawing people who don’t live in the are to the area.

    1. People will venture out when they do not have an environment that stinks like you know what. Also if street people “own” the street it is difficult to enjoy yourself while they literally lay down, do their drugs or drink and mess up the place. Of course they don’t clean up after themselves, no such thing as street people respecting a neighborhood when they have no vested interest in it.

    2. Dave, I disagree completely. Hayes Valley, Valencia, Chestnut, Polk, Columbus, Fillmore, all absolutely thriving right now and have none of what you are talking about.

    3. I think part of the explanation has to be that these new constructions don’t offer smaller, more intimate, and more affordable commercial spaces. Having diverse retail is important for street life. A lot this size in the mission would easily support 3 store fronts on each side. Instead you have one large store front on Market, which is surely out of reach of the variety of small knick knack stores you see in Haight or the Mission. Combine a number of these large buildings with stores taking up entire blocks or half blocks, and you’re left with a situation where there are too few stores to even support street life.

      1. I think even the smaller spaces might be out of reach for the independent knick knack store.

        On the same block as Tower Market Mollie Stones there is a small storefront that has been vacant for 10 years now. The neighborhood did not want Walgreens to take the space when they came in hoping an independent business would lease the spot. It never happened.

        Then when CVS came in on the next block Walgreens again tried to get the space. Their store as is was too small to compete. Again they were unable to lease the space and expand.

        Because of its too small size Walgreens is closing the Portola store 06/18 and its hard to see what will come in and replace it. Everyone is wondering how long (years?) it will sit empty.

      2. I am optimistic because some of the newer developments in the Mission have taken this into consideration. The condo building on 19th and Valencia comes to mind. The lot is certainly smaller than this one, but has three store fronts (all glass exteriors). One is a juice bar, one is a make-up store, and the larger corner store is occupied by an eye-glass shop. I am happy that particular construction didn’t leave that section of Valencia barren. Unfortunately, the vast new development that just got completed on the corner of 20th and Valencia looks like it has just one large commercial space, so large in fact that only a pharmacy or grocery store could afford it. It looks much too big even for a restaurant, and unless they have a tenant locked in, I suspect will remain empty for a number of months, ruining that entire block.

      3. Yet, there are some absolutely fabulous large spaces available, especially a couple in the Mercy Housing building fronting 4th St from Channel to Long Bridge Street. Just waiting for the right tenants.

      4. Another part of it may be that the internet is replacing outright more and more retail and services. Ironic in that our Technonerd Lords of the Universe who choose to live in SF have created an economy and an industry that means dead streets in the neighborhoods they choose.

    4. 1 – I’m assuming that roof has green space to entice residents.
      2 – If I were an owner / developer, I wouldn’t want to create an area on my property where the homeless hordes can congregate and treat my property like a toilet. It’s like pulling teeth just to get one to agree to a 3′ deep alcove for an exit door let alone green space.
      3 – SF’s streets are significantly more intimate than some places I can think of. You can’t build teenie tiny little boutique shops and precious jewelbox storefronts everywhere. Plus… it’s Market, a major artery for the entire city, not Hayes Valley.

  7. Hey Dave, do you ever say anything positive? You seem SO miserable in San Francisco. Is the glass always half empty? Just curious.

    1. I’ve wondered that. I really think Dave would be happier in a stagnant midwestern mill town where new development and new anything is not happening and there are never problems with traffic or “crowding”.

  8. With Dave on this. The plan is a staggeringly incoherent mess, and I hope this version does not get built.

    Noted how few comments on how bad it looks – but then the build-it higher boosters love this sort of thing. Not the SF public.

    Why is so much SF architecture sub-par? There are a few recent buildings that look good – SFJazz and 8 Octavia to name a couple. Both relatively low rise and in context with their surroundings. The majority however are mad-rush speculation while the boom lasts.

    Also the point about not building up to the lot line is correct. The aim surely is to build walkable areas. Who will want to spend any time around here. Van Ness/Market area is shaping up to be wind-blown disaster.

    1. So much of your commentary is negative, or misguided.

      This new building is hardly an “incoherent mess”.

    2. 8 Octavia is by far the ugliest construction in SF in past 10 yrs. I cringe at it everyday as I come off the freeway.

      1. i disagree. The Market St. side may not be as graceful as a penitentiary, but the Octavia frontage is actually quite cool looking.

        1. the octavia frontage is horrific. this building on this post is 10x better looking. it may be cool like the federal building, but it is just as ugly

          1. And here is the problem, folks. Moto says its ugly as sin. sf and futurist like it.

            The only way this argument can be solved is through the old capitalist “put up your own money” saw. Not through arcane design review committees that require particular styles or types of architecture that “THE PEOPLE” of San Francisco (that monolithic, universal, sacred PEOPLE) LOVE.

  9. I’m of the build it people but this is really ugly. Design like this, which imho is Brutalism, should not be allowed. Planning Commission…where are you? Send this one back to the drawing board.

    1. What? Why do you get a say in what it looks like? Are you the owner??? Are you the architect??? Why should you or planning have any right to say anything about what it looks like???

      1. Exactly. We don’t need a design police. We already have too much design involvement by the (mostly) incompetent members of the Planning Commission.

        And architects have no obligation to listen to armchair comments from the public. This building is a good example of modernist, contemporary, infill urban architecture.

        1. Actually, we do need a design police unless we want to look like Soviet era blocks, and this looks like that.

          1. Well, perhaps what we really need is a public education course on the variants of modern architecture.

          2. Maybe the design police can require MAYBERRY, with Victorian firetraps and twee pastel colored “mediterranean” architecture. Just like the suburbs!

    2. First, the building is not done in the Brutalist style. Second, unless a building is in a designated historic district where all buildings have to be constructed in a certain style or in a style complimentary to a certain style, neither the Planning Department nor the Planning Commission can dictate the style of architecture–what you are asking for would be illegal, there is no statutory or regulatory authority for it. Certain elements like height, setbacks, massing, and affordable units can be regulated, but not the general style of a building. There is no rule that says a building had to be “pretty” (to a certain group of people) or built any particular style.

      1. “to a certain group of people”

        That’s the core issue here. Given the vehement disagreements on this very site…how can we empower that level of design review in a chaotic urban city approaching 1,000,000 people? How can there be agreement? I don;t even like “brutalism” all that much, but given the incompetence of modern architectus and contractors (and the costs of real materials and the reality of modern (lack of) workmanship) modern copies of traditional styles generally look awful in themselves.

        1. Hmmm… “Incompetence of architects and contractors” or maybe the realities of current labor costs and technology, have an effect on what can be built well. Maybe trying to built new versions of old buildings is the core of the problem. The world changes, but the ignorant consumer still wants Victorians.

  10. This building looks great. Even if it didn’t, at least it doesn’t look like the same plain vanilla design that every building the Dogpatch is following. We need to encourage bold design, not complain and complain until we revert to the mean.

  11. All of the new building owners should get together to hire private security guards and cleaning crews for Market Street. Until that area is kept free of the homeless and the stench they create, this will never be a vibrant retail environment. When I walk along there, the last thing I want to do is linger. This might not be the PC thing to say, but it’s true.

  12. Good infill project. This neighborhood has some good buildings – but because of the very wide streets, predominately commercial uses, the night-time bums, and the number of vacant/underutilized lots it always seems like an unsafe – no-mans land after dark.. More housing will be a big plus.

  13. Finally happening! They demolished the existing buildings and there’s a big pit in the ground. I had to know what was going up and I’m glad it turns out it’s this project. Great design. This one will have to tide us over until the high-rises on the four corners of Van Ness and Market start rising.

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