100 Folsom Street Rendering

Opposition to the proposed twisty tower to rise up to 400-feet at the corner of Folsom and Spear, and the proposed 220-foot tower to rise at 75 Howard, is organizing. And next week, former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos is slated to rally residents and neighbors of the Infinity to join the cause against another “wall on the waterfront.”

From an email to ‘Save Rincon Park’ which is quietly making the rounds:

“Like the 8 Washington waterfront high-rise that San Francisco voters overwhelmingly rejected, the proposed 400 foot luxury condo towers at 160 Folsom Street and the proposed 240 foot luxury condo towers at 75 Howard Street on the Embarcadero would create the overwhelming effect of a wall on the waterfront. If approved, these two projects would overwhelm the waterfront and diminish the pedestrian experience, just as the old double-decker Embarcadero Freeway previously did for decades until it was finally removed.

The San Francisco Planning Department’s draft environmental review of 75 Howard found that it would have a significant detrimental impact on users of Rincon Park on the waterfront by increasing the shadows cast on Rincon Park and significantly eliminating sunlight on Rincon Park on most days throughout the year. The proposed 100 foot height limit increase to build a 400 foot luxury condo tower at 160 Folsom would also cast significant new shadows on Rincon Park on the waterfront.

San Francisco’s Sunlight Ordinance – Prop. K – was approved by voters in 1984 to protect city parks from falling into darkness from excessive shadowing by new high-rise developments. However, a loophole in the law exempts from protection waterfront parks under the jurisdiction of the Port – such as Rincon Park and the Embarcadero Promenade.

Since the proposed 160 Folsom project would be built primarily on public land dedicated for redevelopment it is required to have 35% of the units designated as affordable – whether it is built within the existing height limit or at the higher 400 foot height to allow for more luxury penthouses. The proposed 75 Howard project would have no on-site affordable housing.

The proposed developers of both 160 Folsom and 75 Howard have announced their intention to seek approval of their height limit increases and project proposals from the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this summer. They have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on powerful lobbying firms to grease the wheels for their proposals to slide through City Hall. It will not be easy to defeat them – now is the time to stand up.”

The Infinity, at which next week’s meeting will be held, includes two ‘waterfront’ towers which rise up to 400-feet, across the street from the proposed tower at 100/160 Folsom.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Oh Dear

    The only “walls” that Agnos protests are where rich people live. Where is he when they plan to build 400 foot monsters right across the street from a 35′ residential enclave in western soma? Obviously he is making a tidy retirement income.

    • Posted by Robert M

      A lot of us like to enjoy the waterfront. I personally agree with this group. The city had set heights and now every developer wants to increase them to make more money as the uber rich are willing to pay. I would like to be able to enjoy the park without having the sun blocked out by these huge buildings. If we let this one increase their height, then that sets precedence for the next one. Soon we’ll have 100 story buildings and the entire waterfront will be dark at certain times of the day.

      • Posted by Anon

        Totally agree with Robert.

        Rincon Park is one of the best & most beautiful parks in the get the beautiful bay bridge in the background. And it’s quite popular when it’s sunny outside.. it would be such a shame to have even one more minute of darkness there.

        • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

          The beautiful bay bridge causes a lot of “darkness” in the beautiful Rincon Park though. What a shame.

        • Posted by Brian M

          One more minute of darkness?

          You are almost parodying yourself.

      • Posted by Enoughalready

        “Soon we’ll have 100 story buildings and the entire waterfront will be dark” .. and that folks is how you use hyperbole to scare people into supporting a cause

        • Posted by Bay Guy

          What will nimbys think when the ocean begins to rise? Who will they blame then?

        • Posted by Frisco

          “The entire waterfront will be dark” except in the morning and most of the afternoon. It will continue to be dark at night, however. Who will save us from the rotation of the earth!?

      • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

        @Robert, I’ve been in the park several times, during various parts of the year, over a number of years and don’t really remember shadows from the Infinity (which is roughly the same height and location as the proposed 400′ tower) being cast on the park. Is it really that bad?

      • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

        What do you mean it will be dark? Are you trying to say there is less direct sunlight, which is entirely different from being dark?

        If you want to maximize direct sunlight, there are lot of things to consider. For example we should chop down all the trees. Trees not only block direct sunlight, they also grow each year, blocking even more sunlight.

      • Posted by Amewsed

        Night time causes darkness and shade too. How about going into court to obtain an injunction against the sun from setting?

        Forget the warning labels on soda cans, there should be a warning label at all entry points in SF, “Entering this City is hazardous to your health. Decades old city politics will induce migraines, cause premature aging, and result in violent tendencies. Vaccinate the young with a healthy dose of common sense is required.”

      • Posted by Bill Bostitch

        I wonder how many of the commenters in favor of the height increase are Tishman employees or people hired by their PR team.

      • Posted by Chris Brown

        This isn’t the waterfront. And, the arguments are especially so much nonsense coming from the Infinity residents who live in a luxury highrise apartment. Their “wall” is okay, but someone else’s is not? Got it.

      • Posted by Matt Regan

        Except neither building is on the waterfront.

    • Posted by Anon

      Does Art Agnos live in these buildings nearby? If so, I can see the issue. If not, I’m not sure the conflict of interest.

      • Posted by Anon

        I don’t believe he does. It looks like he is just supporting keeping the waterfront enjoyable.

        • Posted by Bob Newlin

          Enjoyable is code for doing the bidding of the people who own condos whose views might be blocked by these new towers.

        • Posted by Chris Brown

          Again, these towers will not be on the waterfront. The waterfront of San Francisco has had a 40-foot height limit since 1961. The only towers ever permitted on the waterfront were the Fontana Towers (in the Marina), which led to the 40-foot height limit.

          If you can explain how the waterfront will somehow be less “enjoyable” if these proposed towers go hope, I would love to here the explanation. What this is really about is some new money folks who just a few years ago moved into their own massive luxury high-rise condos wanting to keep other buildings from going up around them.

  2. Posted by sassyboyfrisco

    It’s OK for INFINITY 2 towers at 400ft across the street but NOT OK for the cool wavy tower same 400ft height. hmmm…Art Agnos, how much is Infinity paying u…i’m just sayin?

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Yup. Let’s hope the press calls him on this hypocrisy, instead of jumping on his bandwagon like they did with 8 Washington.

      • Posted by Orland

        Really. What the hell was that? The oddity of an obscure former somebody re-emerging to mindlessly mine as a “story” divorced from the actual issues.

    • Posted by Anon

      The Infinity tower which is ~400′ is further south and not as close to Rincon park & the new Transbay park. Also the skyline is supposed to taper up further south where One Rincon Hill is (and it does since it’s the tallest building near there).

      Fontana Towers is around ~230ft. Does that mean we should be able to build a tower around ~230ft next to that??

      • Posted by Alen&Chris

        As long as the developers pay the city, I think we let them develop it. If they put in another $10 million, I think we let them go to 80 stories. The rich get their awesome condos and the city gets much needed cash that I’m sure they’ll use for good. We really don’t need any parks in this area anyways, it’s all condos.

      • Posted by AnonBuster

        Fontana Towers and The Embarcadero Freeway = the sad, limited architectural-red-herring-hyperbole vocabulary of NIMBYs

      • Posted by AK

        Yes it is supposed to taper up to ORH, and still will with this tower at 400′. 400′ should be the “valley” between ORH and Transbay.

      • Posted by jlasf

        Why does the proposed tower look so much taller than the Infinity? Aren’t they supposed to be the same height? Aside from the height issue, this is a fantastic design. Please don’t kill it.

      • Posted by jwb

        The Transbay Park is going to be so, so dark with 450′ on the north and 350′ on the south. They should have let the park occupy the entire block instead of just the middle third.

      • Posted by Chris Brown

        Fontana Towers is the only set of towers ever approved on the waterfront, and what led to the current 40-foot height limit. These new towers are NOT proposed to be on the waterfront–they would not be permitted.

        And, the “tapering” effect is not a requirement.

    • Posted by Anon

      If we let every developer pay the city to increase height beyond what was approved, then we’re going to have a free for all. City officials care about getting cash in now that they can spend. Who cares what happens after.

      • Posted by Orland

        And just what is it you think is going to “happen?”

    • Posted by Anon

      I doubt the Infinity management HOA has anything to do with this. Tishman is the same developer for both projects and they have a lot of influence at the Infinity still.

  3. Posted by Ivoryhouse

    We need housing. Art Agnos is hurting whatever legitimacy he had as ex-mayor.

    • Posted by anon

      No, we don’t need any more housing. People can just live elsewhere. No one has the right to live wherever they want on the planet, especially if it is subsidized! If you disagree, please build me a subsized home in Monaco.

      There’s going to be a glut of housing anyway when techbubble 2.0 blows up.

      • Posted by cfb

        Yes, we do need more housing. People want to live here Anon, and you whining about it isn’t going to stop that. Blocking housing isn’t going to stop that. It’ll just make housing more expensive and increase gentrification, as the supply remains way too low.

      • Posted by anon 2

        Willful delusion. So sad, kind of scary

    • Posted by 4th Gen SFer

      Was it called Camp Agnos in Civic Center? The homeless camp in Civic Center? I’ve met him, seriously he is skeevy & creepy & hit on someone I knew in front of his wife.

  4. Posted by Dewayne

    These folks lose all credibility when they continually compare each of these type of projects to the Embarcadero Freeway. Hyperbole to the extreme

  5. Posted by TBK

    This whole thing is just overwhelming!

  6. Posted by moto mayhem

    it will have 35% affordable housing. I hope those same proponents for affordable housing are not once again lobbying against their own interest.

    I think the tower on the right is very cool and a departure from the boring architecture we are mostly getting.

    • Posted by 4th Gen SFer

      Way too much affordable housing. Needs to be way less. The developers are being way too generous.

  7. Posted by don

    This is embarrassing, maybe even more than the stupid 8 Washington failure (and that building would have served to break up the actual “wall on the waterfront” effect of Embarcaderos 1 – 4). Given widely accepted ideal standards for pedestrian comfort and appropriate scale, and since Folsom and Spear (almost 800 feet from the water) is now “on the waterfront”, Gang’s 400 foot building is in fact perfectly scaled for its site.

    But since that’s really not the issue here, I think all “no walls” public hearing comments, petition signatures, and ultimate voting rights should be restricted only to those residents living below the 4th floor.

    • Posted by Orland

      No, Gang’s building should be at least 600′ as the current proposal is embarrassingly stubby.

      This is just unbelievably hackneyed even for this town.

      • Posted by don

        yeah, I agree with you, but 800 feet didn’t fit the sarcasto-logical underpinnings of my first comment.

        I never imagined when I moved to the Bay Area I’d end up feeling such routine contempt for San Francisco, the special, special snowflake of (ahem) “world class cities”.

  8. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    Next door to the Infinity on Main street is a 400′ Lumina tower I and a 350′ Lumina tower II. Looking at all four towers, I don’t see any wall. And I don’t see adding another 400′ building in that grouping becoming the tipping point for creating a wall either.

  9. Posted by Anon

    In my opinion 160 Folsom is very ugly, and even 300′ is too tall for it.

    • Posted by Orland

      “In my opinion 160 Folsom is really ugly….”

      You know what, while you are certainly free to express your opinion, in such matters as this, it really doesn’t (nor should it) matter one bit.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      i think its very beautiful

  10. Posted by Amewsed

    So don’t building anything. There will be fewer BMR units for rentals or sales, fewer developer’s fees to the City coffers, loss of construction jobs, and related business all around. Contractors have an inflated ego so they could use a dose of reality of what’s coming. Given a slow down in China and Europe (and the Greek mess,) what you see now in SF is the best you are going to get for a while. Prices of existing homes may or may not go up since they are dependent on jobs. Businesses will continue to find efficiencies where they can.

    • Posted by Anon

      Preventing a 30 story building from going to 40 stories will lead San Francisco into an economic recession?

  11. Posted by DM

    The Infinity disclosures informed prospective buyers of the distinct possibility of neighboring tower developments in the immediate area – in other words, they knew this was going to happen. And now they want to stop it? Same as buying near an airport and then trying to close it down or restrict expansion. NIMBYISM squared to infinity/.

  12. Posted by Everson Walls

    The rendering is grossly inaccurate. The Infinity tower I is depicted to the left and rises 350′. The proposed tower to the right rises 400′, at least based on the description provided. Yes, the Gang tower is in the foreground but why does it appear almost twice the height of The Infinity? That’s lame.

    [Editor’s Note: Keep in mind the rendering above was created for Tishman Speyer to promote the tower, not for the opposition which is now organizing to oppose the height.]

    • Posted by David Baron

      The proposed tower is substantially closer from the viewpoint shown (on Folsom, probably just inland from the Embarcadero), since the new tower is right at the corner of Spear and Folsom, whereas the Infinity tower shown is at the far side of the block at the corner of Main and Folsom. (The Infinity tower that is adjacent to spear is not adjacent to Folsom.)

      It’s more noticeable that the Lumina tower, now mostly complete on the outside, is omitted from the photo.

  13. Posted by Mark F.

    There is urine and crap on the streets , the town is overrun with the homeless, and people are complaining about visual aesthetics. Yes, it’s San Francisco, folks!

    • Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

      Not “people”, just the same reactionary tools who oppose any effort to clean up the urine and crap on the streets. As I understand it, it lends “character”. And if for some reason you aren’t comfortable with your children sharing the sidewalk with jolly and kind-hearted hobos (I mean, it’s not like any homeless people ever committed any crimes) then you are 1%-er techie scum who should go back to Techistan.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Well said @Mark F. – I can’t enjoy half the parks in this city because of the homeless (the crap, the pee, the needles, the smell, the trash…), yet I’m supposed to get bent out of shape over a few minutes’ extra shadow on a park?

      • Posted by Mark

        Precisely. The homeless and drug addicts, who make living here such an enjoyable experience, run this town. Let the focus of attention be on real issues.

      • Posted by Bertie Anglis

        Good point. They invoke “enjoyment of the parks” to block the project, but do nothing to tackle bigger obstacles to enjoying the park.

        All of which shows that the “think of the parks!” angle is a red herring (much like the UCSF fat cats invoking hospital patients to oppose the Warriors arena).

        • Posted by gribble

          UCSF is not against the arena, some donors are. And recall that Benioff sold the land to the Warriors.

  14. Posted by gellan

    Is that the real rendering? Looks like the Infinity was squashed in half using Photoshop.

  15. Posted by hillsandwater

    More like “Save (the views of the rich people living in the Infinity Towers located in) Rincon Hill”

    Ridiculous, hypocritical, and so so obvious. How does anyone take Any-fight-for-a-dollar-Agnos seriously anymore?

    • Posted by seriously

      Who WOULD want their penthouse views compromised?? I certainly don’t. Now dance, my NIMBY puppets! In the name of shadows and social justice!

  16. Posted by Dave

    This project is DOAhether the planning commission approves the extra height or not. It will be killed at the ballot box as was the Washington project.

    Developers need to stop exceeding existing code – as Hines is doing SOMA right now. It is stirring a new anti-development move in SF. If developers keep this up voters will be forced to approve more draconian measures such a a 10 year moratorium on office construction and a radical reduction in maximum heights allowed in the City.

    • Posted by Gil

      All to the voters own detriment. Limiting supply enriches developers and ensures only the most wealthy can live and operate business in SF. How many ballot initiatives is it going to take for you guys to learn this?

      • Posted by anon

        Your description of the outcome of limiting supply sounds fantastic to me! Count me in!

      • Posted by 4th Gen SFer

        I keep suggesting developers limit BMRs so all the SJW’s (aka Social Justice Warriors) will have to move out.

    • Posted by zig

      This is just about rich people’s views

  17. Posted by Ian

    I live at The Infinity and I am in favor of this new project at 400 feet. The Infinity HOA has no voice in this matter, although other Infinity residents on the north side of the buildings surely must have an opinion. One resident has organized a meeting next Thursday at 7:00 for “Save Rincon Park” featuring Art Agnos as guest speaker. Feel free to join and shout him down. This has nothing to do with saving a park.

  18. Posted by Gil

    Again, you never hear anything from these people about the homeless that litter these parks and the waterfront. This is the true quality of life issue here. So, cool looking architecture is bad, but a transplanted homeless person with severe mental disturbances bathing and relieving himself in front of hundreds of people is overlooked? You can’t take these people seriously.

    And for every project they kill, they are killing tens of millions of dollars of contributions to the affordable housing fund. This counter argument needs to be brought up more often. By wanting to kill these projects they are denying hundreds of affordable units to come to market.

    Shame on them!

  19. Posted by bill

    Just the fact that this is being held *across the street* in a brand new building which contains two towers of equal or greater size than the opposed “walls” beggars belief. San Francisco is a living, breathing Christopher Guest movie.

  20. Posted by Bill Bostitch

    Is it just me or does it seem hypocritical that Tishman Speyer markets Lumina as waterfront but at the community meetings for 160 Folsom TS say that this new building is not waterfront, even though 160 Folsom is 1 block closer to the waterfront and will have a more direct impact on the Embarcadero? Seems like they want it both ways…these people will do whatever they want to our city under the guise of below market rate housing.

  21. Posted by sfcommie

    Four Seasons people, and now Infinity folks. 160 Folsom is a block away from Embarcadero and next to other 400’ers. And to compare it to 8 Washington.. Rincon Park argument is such a spurious one too. It gets plenty of sun light till mid afternoon and 160 Folsom will hardly add any shadow to that of 22 Folsom. If it does, it’ll be at the southern edge of the park. It will be a hard sell.

  22. Posted by rod lee

    I’ d rather see these two projects built than see the Warriors Complex develop in the waterfront area.

  23. Posted by jsimms3

    I’m fuming. That’s all.

  24. Posted by friscan

    This is frustrating. The Gang building is a fine height for where it is and is premised to provide 35% affordable housing. Beyond those metrics, it’s (in my opinion, but shared by many others) a beauty.

    I hope and trust that leadership in San Francisco will accept the responsibility to provide us with housing, including an ambitious inclusion of affordable housing, scaled appropriately per our extensive and already-in-the-books planning envelope, and gift the area with something architecturally noteworthy. I especially hope and trust this leadership has the backbone to stand its ground when faced with the as-usual opposition — citing these qualities and our larger civic need that make this project “right.”

    • Posted by Mark

      Leadership? What leadership? Lee grudgingly took the MUNI challenge and has only ridden it once for a publicity shot. You really expect someone who couldn’t care less about our transit needs to be any more concerned about providing affordable housing and cleaning up the streets? World-class city my a**.

  25. Posted by d-b

    So much for civil discourse.

  26. Posted by Frisco

    San Francisco IS a wall on the waterfront. Better just tear it down.

  27. Posted by sf

    These aren’t so much “waterfront” as “officefront.” Reminds me of an apartment complex near me that is right against a freeway retaining wall, but is called “Riverside Apartments.”

  28. Posted by Grubber2

    A few points. I live at the Infinity and use the park every single day as I have a dog and routinely run the embarcadero.

    The proposed 160 Folsom is directly north of the existing Infinity tower and would no more be a wall on the waterfront or a shadow menace than the Infinity. It’s completely absurd and inaccurate to make a claim to the contrary and it begs the question of how can a “wall’ be one full city block away? Just like 8 Washington this is about preserving views for my fellow building residents and it’s complete b.s.

    Since Art Agnos was voted out of office primarily because a tent city of homeless people occupied the Civic Center and he did nothing to resolve it, it doesn’t surprise me that he is more worried about fictional shadow casting buildings than the fact my wife won’t walk Rincon park at night by herself since the 3 or 4 permanent homeless and mentally ill park “residents” intimidate her. Oh, and yes they use it as their toilet also.

    If Art truly wanted to “democratize” the waterfront and preserve it’s openness and beauty he should rally for a cause to solve the mental illness and homeless crisis that grips much of my hood.

    • Posted by BTinSF

      Er . . . you seem sensible and you are right. Thanx.

  29. Posted by cfb

    Maybe reasonable people can actually do something this time? Discredit Art Agnos, have a proper information campaign that lays out all the facts clearly, that has equal or better circulation than whatever propaganda the NIMBYs put out. Give non NIMBY people a reason to actually vote, and don’t let NIMBY misinformation and lies get all the attention again like with the BS “no wall on the waterfront” campaign.

  30. Posted by ldr

    i’ve lived here (soma) for over 25 years and would love to see some 100 story buildings go up and up and up. i think the proposed building is very attractive and will make a nice addition to our skyline.

  31. Posted by jsimms3

    If I recall, isn’t there also a clamoring from Infinity residents in particular (since they are currently about 90% of the population of that area before other buildings fill up) for amenities and grocery options nearby?

    I don’t know one thing about Rincon Hill park and I only occasionally walk the area to blow steam and check on construction progress, but now I’m hearing from a lot of posters/Infinity residents that there is a very large homeless population.

    So as it stands now, the neighborhood is a rather desolate neighborhood without neighborhood amenities and a high proportion of homeless street/park dwellers relative to a small permanent population of taxpayers.

    So I ask a few questions:

    1) What percentage of Infinity residents face this direction, and of those which proportion care about blocking this tower? Is it mainly residents with north facing views? What percentage of the current permanent population (Infinity/neighboring buildings) is actually opposed?

    2) Is not having a relatively stubby, short 240 ft condo tower that supplies funds to a much needed affordable housing development long in the works in the TL and already downscaled due to lack of funds worth keeping an ugly garage in place, along our waterfront? (referring to 75 Howard)

    3) What’s more important: ensuring absolutely no more shadows in a park or cleaning up the park and either sheltering the homeless elsewhere or increasing the day/nighttime population of non-homeless park goers to increase safety?

    4) What’s more important – getting enough residents in the neighborhood to drive demand for neighborhood amenities and increase street presence and thus safety/feel, or blocking all new towers and thus killing future prospects for more residents/amenities in the name of preserving north facing views of some residents of 1-2 existing “wall on the waterfront” towers and preventing minimal increases in shadows on a park that apparently is already occupied by lots of homeless anyway?

    5) Will there *actually* be noticeably more shadows from these developments?

    6) Where the hell is Rincon Hill Park? lol

    I really hope logic prevails. This is not so much a case where not having this tower affects MY rents, per se, since this would be luxury + affordable, but it’s part of the overall wave of NIMBYism in this city that IS having direct impacts on MY personal finances and financial well being, as a young person with nary enough to save up and invest in anything as it all goes to rent. So I basically have utter disgust for NIMBYs. Like I hate these people…I would tell them horrible things to their face and pray upon the gods to wipe them out somehow if I could. Lol

    I suppose I selfishly want lower rents and more people to be able to live in this city just as some people selfishly want fewer people to live in the city and for their views to be protected and home prices to go up. Opposing viewpoints – but they’ve had theirs and I’ve yet to even be given a chance thanks to them! To some people’s point – there ARE other cities and I don’t have an innate right to live here. But that’s just what is going to happen at some point – a lot of people, companies, and good things WILL inevitably leave and SF may become less desirable as a place to live and do business. That would be the result of complete overreach.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      You have a good clear mind. One that will take you far in life and business. You may rent now but your thought process shows me you have the chops to be a homeowner and when you scale up, own investment properties as well.

      People told me the same thing since I was a child. I was the kind of kid who thoroughly enjoyed playing Monopoly (even now) because I understood the principles involved. Applied the same principles to the business world.

  32. Posted by Columbo

    Dear Art Agnos: You opposed the Warriors on Piers 30/32 BUT applaud the arena moving to Mission Bay. You opposed the “wall” on the waterfront at 8 Washington at 136 feet BUT you think the new Mission Rock towers proposed by the Giants at 240 feet are at “reasonable heights”. As a resident of China Basin/Mission Bay just know that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. We’re getting out the vote here in our ‘hood just becuase we are sick of you. So, now you oppose the new twisty tower. Can’t wait to vote YES on that. Can’t wait to get the neighbors to vote YES on that!

    • Posted by Amewsed

      You got the YES vote from me!

  33. Posted by Dave

    If I were a betting man I’d lay odds this never gets built.

    There will be an initiative to stop it. It will easily win.

    Question is will the initiative require it to conform to existing code (300 feet) or downscale the zoning on the site to 200 feet. That is what is being looked at by those in the process. How to word an initative. Some are arguing that a blanket downzoning of all blocks w/in 3/4 blocks of the Bay is the best solution rather than a piecemeal approach. The latter approach would kill the Giants Mission Bay project.

    Any more money the developer spends on trying to save the project is money down the drain IMO.

  34. Posted by jsimms3

    What’s ironic is that private property in the form of water rights are insanely protected in this state, but private property in the form of strict land is not protected at all!

    The heavily protected water rights of some landowners could be bad for the “greater community” as a whole, i.e. the state (though i’m not for a taking, just noting this fact), and the lack of protection for private property in San Francisco is also contributing to the housing emergency here.

    I think this is one of the most mishandled states and cities in the country – if were were interior like IL or MI, we’d already cease to exist. Being on a beautiful coast is about the only thing keeping the place alive and flourishing. But there are two coasts, and there’s always Seattle/Portland. We are all going to reap the rewards for horrible stewardship of our resources and our prime geographical position. Most of us will unfortunately pay for the sins of the few. When is it time to cut losses and get the hell out?

    • Posted by Dave

      Getting out is not easy if your job is in the Bay Area.

      its easier if you are willing to change companies or if your company has offices say in Seattle or Portland.

      I am in the latter caegroy but getting a transfer to the Northwest takes years.

      Portland would be one for me, Seattle two. Totally different world up there – not just physically.

      During the downturn I bouth a rental property in Portand with a 180 degree view and almost an acre of land. Its rented at a nice positive net flow right now and how soon I can move there is anyone’s guess.

      The Northwest is not the only option. Denver nd Atlanta are dynamic cities with relatively reasonable housing costs and good job bases. If you can take the wether.

      Find a spot you love, invest in rental property there and who knows what will happen 5 years down the road.

    • Posted by Orland

      I’m quite familiar with and very much enjoy Seattle, Portland and Denver.

      Can’t imagine leaving SF for any of them.

    • Posted by Anon

      jsimms3, if “you were in Illinois” it would be Chicago, and shocking as it is to imagine, Chicago is very much a waterfront city. In fact, I would say Chicago does a much better job of using its waterfront as parks and public spaces, while at the same time allowing towers right up to the edge of the public waterfront park space. One of my favorite things about Chicago is the long line of towers along Lake Shore Drive and I actually consider that to be America’s greatest urban highway.

      • Posted by Orland

        So very right on. But that the Embarcadero even began to resemble Lakeshore Dr.

        • Posted by Anon

          And may I add Honolulu to the list? A city with a vibrant waterfront open to the public, yet at the same time lined with tall hotels, condos and offices. Honolulu is not afraid to build up. Check out the new Ward Village project going up on their waterfront with towers by Richard Meier, I have friends who live up in Manoa Heights and they love their view of the Honolulu skyline, especially at night. How is it that Honolulu, Seattle, Vancouver and Chicago can have towers along their waterfront, and we can not? Why are wealthy homeowners in the hills of Honolulu enjoying looking at a growing skyline, but here in S.F. they fight every new change?

          • Posted by Giuliani

            Honolulu is not a great city planning or architecturally speaking. It’s super depressing in terms of urbanism. That a terrible example in my opinion. Also the new towers do nothing to help the quality of life of the people who live there, only as investment properties for the rich.

      • Posted by jsimms3


        My point was far more macro. I’m very familiar with Chicago. Fantastic waterfront city and a city with a fantastic downtown park(s) and Lincoln Park, all lined with buildings far taller than any in San Francisco.

        My point was more about economics. San Francisco and California are soooo mishandled, almost to the point that IL as a state is also mishandled. IL as a state is not doing so well (and quite frankly, Chicago also has some issues), but CA is doing quite well right now, lead of course by the Bay Area/SF. The fact that CA is on the coast really really helps it, but if it were an “interior” state (read not necessarily as a non-waterfront city), we’d be screwed.

        Our citizens and our politicians take for granted several key, inherent advantages, and it really really sucks.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          SF is doing well because of its ingenuous private enterprises, in spite of its inept government trying to screw it up on every level at every opportunity.

  35. Posted by Orland

    Wait a minute! Didn’t the developer of the 75 Howard project just recently agree to scale the proposal back to the zoned height? Agnos doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    • Posted by Orland

      Yes, reduced to the maximum allowed height of 220′ according to a May 27, 2015 item here at Socketsite as reprinted from SF Biz Times.

      • Posted by Orland

        In the above link to the 75 Howard property, there is an excellent illustration of the entire Embarcadero from a vantage point off shore of Rincon Park. The Gang building is barely discernible behind the GAP HQ.

        Though a block further inland and to the north, much more prominent appearing is what promises to be an exciting 550′ design at Transbay Block 5. Will Agnos et al. go after it next? Though currently zoned for 550′, the speculation here that the “No wall on the waterfront!” crowd may actually seek to generally downsize anything within sight of the Bay may not be off the mark.

  36. Posted by Chad

    Don’t be fooled by this bogus campaign. This has nothing to do with affordable housing or the unlikely possibility the building will cast a shadow on Ricon Park. This is simply some of the Infinity residents who don’t want their views blocked.

  37. Posted by Louis

    Yep, there is the intellectually un-stylish but true statement:

    “No, we don’t need any more housing. People can just live elsewhere. No one has the right to live wherever they want on the planet, especially if it is subsidized! If you disagree, please build me a subsized home in Monaco. There’s going to be a glut of housing anyway when techbubble 2.0 blows up.”

    why does more housing HAVE TO be created here? If housing curtails then yes tech job creation will do the same. But why do we HAVE TO have every new tech job possible?

    The SPACMO coalition (SPUR, HAC and Mayors Office) promotes the new vision of manifest destiny for San Francisco, celebrate the scraps of benefit they “negotiate” and then stands by weakly while developers and tech investors reshape the physical and cultural terrain of SF.

    Jobs would eventually migrate elsewhere, perhaps become more diffuse, optimize technology and thrive. Not sure there would be anything wrong with that for SF.

    • Posted by Zig

      You see to be missing the point that tech salaries support the ever increasing housing prices thereby displacing many others.

  38. Posted by Brian

    This is BS! 160 Folsom is NOT on the waterfront, in fact in will be tucked in with all the other towers in the area…and 75 Howard will simply blend in with the existing wall that is already there! Someone is getting paid to oppose these developments. Stop wasting our time!

  39. Posted by Orland

    The whole “No wall on the waterfront” campaign is Bull!

    The current most pernicious “wall” is, of course and without doubt, the Ferry Building. A full 1200′ literal wall visually and physically cutting off the heart of the City from the best of the downtown bayshore. In my most Reaganesque baritone, Mr. Agnos, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL! Open up that beautiful vista obliterated from a pining city’s view neigh a century and more now. We will, of course, save the lovely campanile to anchor the now “restored” waterfront.

    Second on the hit list: those infernal bulky pier bulkheads up and down the Embarcadero blocking everything in sight. While we’re at it, rip out those damn piers (sorry, Exploratorium!) themselves thereby eliminating years of bay fill to return it to its natural dimensions.

    Just the other day I was walking down lower Mission St. when I noted I could barely make out the very inviting forest atop YBI. Just a crescent of beautiful greenery against an unbelievably blue sky. I imagined being able to see the entire lovely perimeter of the lush island with bridge against bay water and sky. Unfortunately, such is virtually completely thwarted by that useless historic Agriculture Building right abreast the foot of Mission. Tear that damn thing down too.

    Now, we’re really talking, “No wall on the waterfront!”

  40. Posted by unlivable city

    Anyone who has driven in North Miami Beach knows exactly why these towers should have never happened. They turn a whole area into canyons of crowded ugliness.

    • Posted by Orland

      I don’t necessarily agree with your premise at all but hasten to point out that the buildings you’re talking about are BETWEEN the beach and Ocean Ave. Totally irrelevant to the discussion here where, as many have already pointed out but cannot be emphasized enough, the building in question is not even on the waterfront.

  41. Posted by sam


    Let’s rather vote on “Stop the ugly, value engineered, Home Depot box style architecture” that plagues our City Skyline.

  42. Posted by SFRealist

    It’s worth emphasizing that this is not on the waterfront by any stretch of the imagination. DIRECTLY between this building and the Embarcadero is…….the Gap’s HQ building.

    • Posted by Snowbored

      Yeah and between the infinity and the embarcadero is the hills bros complex, including a condo tower on the nw corner. I don’t think you can even see much of the infinity complex from the water, except between the hills buildings. This would be the same over the even taller gap building. This is a stretch.

  43. Posted by ElitistPig

    This building isn’t even between the Infinity and the waterfront. Any idiot who moved into the Infinity and thought they wouldn’t build anything around it, you know… like the Infinity, deserves to have their ‘view’ blocked.

  44. Posted by Orland

    “Jake” run off for the weekend? I’m sure there have been shadow studies done which he would have at his fingertips. I’d love to know the results.

    Ms Gang’s* building, in addition to being quite removed from Rincon Park, is to its west and largely north of the area of concern insofar as shadowing. Any “shadowing” (and I use that term cautiously as it is so far removed that it would be very indirect and rendered diffuse by plenty of ambient light) would be further limited to only the last moments of daylight on only the longest days of summer when the sun sets somewhere over Pac Heights.

    This is so absurd I think this time a majority of voters will see through it even in an “off year” (but Nov) election.

    *Should this actually go to the ballot, the proponents of the development should not be at all shy about exploiting her status as one of the leading architects of her gender.

  45. Posted by citicritter

    blocking sunlight is good, it causes skin cancer..hehe

  46. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    The sad thing about this “no wall on the waterfront” campaign is that the “wall” in which these folks want to stop actually already exists. It just depends on your perspective (literally).

    I recently took a ferry to the Ferry Building from Jack London Square, and for those who’ve traveled that route, you know that the approach to the Ferry Building is from the southeast. I happened to think about this thread as we approached the city, and went up front to view the buildings from the water and paid close attention to the building masses as the ferry approached the city. Oddly enough, as the ferry approached the dock from the southeast, there was in fact a wall on the waterfront effect, except it comes from observing it from the water, not from the land. And as others have already pointed out, the rendered 400′ tower in question when viewed en-mass with all the other buildings doesn’t really add much to the walled effect that already exists.

    Point being, if the backers of “No Wall on the Waterfront” really and truly were 100% behind “protecting” the view esthetic, they should really be campaigning to demolish practically all the buildings now existing over a couple of stories on the Embarcadero from the Bay Bridge to Embarcadero Center and three to four blocks inland…

    BTW, I thought the effect was very compelling. The 400′ tower in its shape and color I believe will only add additional interest to the effect.

  47. Posted by Gil

    Funded by the .01%, fueled by the angry and embittered working and middle class. This is 8 Washington 2.0.

    Art Agnos is a member of the idle rich with hefty pensions being paid by taxpayers for his lavish lifestyle. The No Wall people are the left equivalent of the Tea Party, angry working class voters being used by the rich for legislation that is against their own benefit.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      its so sad that the top 0.01% lead fights against luxury towers so they can keep their own view, and that it is easy to empower the anti-gentrification anti-height crowd into their sphere of influence. THe building was iriginally higher and actually looked better then. The developers ahve already compromised . this town is hurting itself, overally while helping the superrich with the anti-luxury message.

  48. Posted by bleeper

    I read through the EIR and the impact of 75 howard if built will be 2.2% less than what exists now. 2.2% less sunlight over the span of a year. WTF is wrong with this town? Can anyone ever call shenanigans?

  49. Posted by boysf

    recently, we have gotten architectural duds the likes of jasper and 340 fremont. even worse is the crappy and cheap 299 fremont.

    so they get a world renowned architect and do something interesting for a change.

    result: in this backward town, they want to stop this? where were these folks when the real garbage was approved?

    IMHO it should be built a lot taller and stand-out like j. gang’s other works in chicago.

  50. Posted by Dave

    If the anti-growth crowd can stop both of these projects as well as the Warriors and Giants Mission Rock, all likely, then the whole Transbay Center, as envisioned, could collapse.

    There is opposition mounting to the tower with terraces (Parc?). The parcel F plans are problematic I’d think for any developer. This tower will shade 20% of the Transbay elevated park. Why would the city build a signature park and then place a 750 thigh tower next to it?! The developer is going to have to greatly reduce the height of what they build. Let’s see if that affects the auction price.

    • Posted by cfb

      The Transbay terminal park is new and privately owned, and is thus exempt from the shadow rule. There’s already an 802′ foot tower going up directly to the south of it.

      • Posted by Dave

        Why block the park from sunlight/ Why is nothing thought out.

        I can tell you the revolt against TPTB that upzoned SOMA radically with no voter vote is coming.

        These progressives are no more such that the Boehner’s. Thye have sold out for the buck. Look at Lemmar, TI and Hunters Point.

        We’ll see how far their machinations go. Thankfully there is the initiative process.

        In my neighborhood circle they are talking the Pelosi/TI development. Whether it can be done I don’t know. But unless San Franciscans try their city will be destroyed by crony capitalism. Government and big business.

        • Posted by anon

          Won’t it be awesome when the average price of a home is $3 mil in SF? Yay for the no-growthers!

  51. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    It now looks the local chapter of the Sierra Club is now involved: Don’t darken S.F.’s waterfront parks

    • Posted by Orland

      These fools could use a lesson in astronomy.

  52. Posted by Matt Regan

    Neither of these buildings is ON THE WATERFRONT! Neither of them fall under the Prop B height restrictions passed by the voters. They are in the urban downtown core of San Francisco. If you can’t build high, dense, transit oriented homes there just where the hell can you build them?

    San Francisco seems to care more about shadows on a little park than it does about the environment. Every home this city refuses to build means that another commuter is forced out to Tracy or Patterson or Brentwood and into a long carbon consuming commute each day. If you really care about climate change San Francisco, why are you so opposed to infill transit oriented homes?

    • Posted by NoeValleyJim

      Contact the Sierra Club and tell them how wrong they are. I did, and cancelled my membership.

  53. Posted by Sam

    The progressive nimbys will stop every beautiful proposal that comes up. When will San Franciscans wake up to this mendacity? The Infinity Towers do not shadow Rincon Park. They merely add a beautiful background and provide urgently needed housing. No Wall on hogwash.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      they are not progressive. they are regressive.

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