Mission Bay Block 1

The former San Francisco Giants Parking Lot D, which is bound by Third, Fourth and Channel Streets, and fronts Mission Creek, was closed last month and the heavy equipment is now in place to prepare Mission Bay Block 1 for the construction of 350 condos.

As rendered below, the development will include a 16-story building on the northeast corner of the block and a 7-story building fronting Mission Creek, with around 14,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor and parking for 335 cars.

Mission Bay Block 1 Rendering

In addition, a 250-room hotel will rise up to 160 feet on the southeast corner of Block 1, at the intersection of Third and Channel.  The hotel construction is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015 with a grand opening opening in 2017.

Mission Bay Block 1 Site Plan

The original redevelopment plan for South Mission Bay called for a 500-room hotel and up to 50,000 square feet of neighborhood retail to rise across Block 1. But in 2013, with the Mayor’s backing and despite the fact that hotel room and occupancy rates were already on the rise, the then development team convinced San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors that a 500-room hotel was “not financially viable” and the site was rezoned (and then sold).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Memo-san

    Is that what it’s going to look like? That big ugly, blocky, gray clipart building? Ffs.

    • Posted by JimmyL

      I’m shocked they didn’t call you for advice… SHOCKED

  2. Posted by Futurist

    Good news. Build it.

    And ignore all armchair non-professional comments here about design.

    • Posted by Frank C.

      Also ignore poor advice from alleged design professionals.

    • Posted by Mark

      I’m curious to see some stunning examples of architecture that you’ve created. Also, don’t think for one second that you’re the only “professional” commenting on this site.

      • Posted by anon

        He remodels kitchens, so look forward to some sweet stainless steel!

      • Posted by anon

        I can show you thousands of examples of stunning architecture that I did not create. Not that hard, really.

    • Posted by NoeNeighbor

      @futurist. Yeah, it is outrageous that people express their opinions on a public forum.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Sure they can. But it mostly amounts to childish rants. No substance. No knowledge. Only dislike.

  3. Posted by Brian M

    But, but…where will all the DRIVERS park? That’s all that matters. Will there be enough PARKING for the games?

    • Posted by Orland

      Getting tighter and tighter in Lot A.

      I noticed they are now selling spaces on the empty plot where the Warriors plan to build.

      Obviously, all just interim measures. Things are going to get hectic when the Giants build out their Mission Rock development with a “first come, first served” policy as between residents and game day fans in their parking structure if accurate as has been described here previously.

      • Posted by Josh G

        Or you could live next to these places (like me) and just not own a car …

  4. Posted by alberto rossi

    Again, “northwest corner”?

    [Editor’s Note: Northeast (and since corrected above).]

  5. Posted by Some guy

    Clip art describes that particular rendering well, in real life it should be slightly more tolerable, if a bit cartoonish.

  6. Posted by rod lee

    350 condos, eh? Bet they’re going to be cheap……NOT!

  7. Posted by Orland

    Good to see this long-delayed, much – awaited portion of Mission Bay finally getting underway.

  8. Posted by sf

    I have never not once ever heard anybody say “let’s go hang out in Mission Bay.” Such a lost neighborhood.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Yeah, who’d have thought that a neighborhood still full of construction activity, and not even half built out, would not yet be a destination venue?

      • Posted by Mark

        It could be a destination, like many other neighborhoods in the city. After the final buildout, how many people are really going to say they want to hang out there? If it weren’t for the ballpark, how many people would really make King St. a destination?

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      I disagree with you, SierraJeff…much of Mission Bay is built out and there really are very few draws, not even for neighborhood residents.

      Take King Street, for instance…the retail core of the first phase of Mission Bay…why would anyone want to go there and tarry on the sidewalks. Or take Mission Bay Commons Park, which is partially developed. It was supposed to be the central park of the new neighborhood, but whenever I go by it seems strangely empty. So is the open space at UCSF.

      I think there were really serious design mistakes that were made throughout Mission Bay related to building massing, uses, and relation to open space. I don’t have high hopes for 4th street becoming a great retail corridor either. So far the only truly successful thing to me in Mission Bay is the parkland along Mission Creek.

      • Posted by Mark

        Being an armchair city planner myself, I dare not tread upon over-inflated egos on this site by offering my opinion as a 15-year taxpaying resident, but here I go…I agree with both SJ and Curmudgeon.

        Our son recently had surgery at Children’s Hospital and during that entire week of hanging out in MB all I could think of was what a wasted opportunity MB had become. Curmudgeon pretty much nailed it with his description.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          agree as well. king street after 10 yrs is still a disaster and not intersting to the least degree. MB is a ghost-town after 5 and on weekends

          • Posted by Futurist

            But it was never intended to be full of bottle-service clubs and hooker bars.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            strange response futurist. strip clubs and hooker bars is certainly not my definition of active street life. have you been vacationing in Thailand?

          • Posted by Orland

            It’s basically an on ramp to the freeway. You expect it to develop a “vibrant street life?”

            Tear down the DAMN FREEWAY! ! !

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            tearing down the freeway would be a terrible idea and would cause mass traffic problems on surface streets. better to ahve the freeway and seperate cars fro pedes/cyclists

      • Posted by zig

        I don’t totally doubt this but is there great examples to point to where a large industrial area was master planned and turned into a thriving neighborhood of offices and residential uses? Much easier said than done with the economics and large parcels.

        • Posted by alberto rossi

          and which God commanded that the parcels be so large?

          • Posted by zig

            I don’t know the whole history of how the parcels were created and if a railroad owned them in the first place?

        • Posted by haighter

          Canary Wharf

          • Posted by Brian M

            Is Canary Wharf successful by the criteria being discussed here? There is plenty of criticism in the press over the decade about sterility and exclusivity and incompatibility with the fabric of London.

          • Posted by zig

            Photos looks like something out of Asia. Street life there pretty great? Photos make me think it is a huge office high rise zone

          • Posted by haighter

            @zig and Brian M – yep Canary Wharf is sterile, especially compared with other business districts of London (City, Westminster, etc). But it’s much more successful than Mission Bay. It’s mainly banker dudes in suits, but the shopping mall, big supermarket and restaurants make it a destination for families. The bars are all chains, but they’re full every evening, spilling out into the plazas even in winter. One of the parks has an ice rink in winter and evening concerts in summer. I doubt anyone would live there unless you worked in the area (rents aren’t cheap), but it’s no longer dead on weekends. Agreed it’s unfortunately cut off from the rest of London by high-speed roads.

        • Posted by John

          It’s because the SF board of supes has no common sense. They think building 50% affordable housing and shelters will help spur economic diversity in the area….WRONG. Sounds nice for a sociology thesis, but doesn’t work in real life. It just attracts bottom dwellers while the middle and upper class stays away. On the other hand, things like the promenade in Santa Monica (mostly comprised of upscale and medium priced retail/restaurants) attracts locals, tourists, homeless, upper class, middle class, street performers, and anyone else you can think of. Its always crowded and bustling there with all types of people. However, if you tried to propose the same thing in Mission Bay, supervisor Jane Kim will be quick to call it a ‘playground for the rich’ and dismiss it.

          • Posted by zig

            promenade in Santa Monica is not comparable to creating a new neighborhood

          • Posted by Sam

            Thank you, John. I have often enjoyed Santa Monica’s mix of all kinds of people and I couldn’t agree more with your comments. SM has lots of inexpensive parking structures too. What a great town. I have lived in SOMA for 25 years and I wish I could vote for someone like you for District 6 supervisor.

          • Posted by Brian M

            So on the one hand youa re complaining about a lack of diversity and on the other hand stating rather baldly that anyone who cannot afford a $3000 per month apartment or million dollar condo is a “bottom dweller”.

            Wow. the interenal contradictions in one paragraph of ranting word salad is amazing to behold.

  9. Posted by eflat

    Ugly!!! hope that is just a rendering of building mass. When is SF ever going to get good architecture? Most of Mission Bay is really boring and generic. Too bad, it could have been a great neighborhood.

    • Posted by zig

      What would you have suggested? I would have preferred more mid-rise residential but I think it was always going to have the feel of new “suburban” feeling area that was somewhat auto-dependent.

  10. Posted by Nycdr

    Concur another loss opportunity for good architecture. Another big box and bottom line $ development.

    I would not be surprise if the hotel gets flipped and sold to outside buyers after completion.

    I’m guessing with the cost of development skyrocketing and surmising from the renderings, the developers went through several rounds of “value engineering” hair cut to make the project work. So as one says in the industry, you start with a thoroughbred, but the budget can only afford a cow. At the end of the day you end up with a donkey. Sad, but its reality.

    • Posted by ElitistPig

      I know, I mean, why can’t developers just accept a little bankruptcy / no profits so they can create a unique little jewelbox of a building. All buildings should go through that process.

      • Posted by eflat

        Good design does not translate into bankruptcy or no profits.
        Bad design is often value engineering (look at what Sangiacomo did to Arquitectonica’s Trinity Plaza
        Shameful. Shameful that the rest of us have to live around the mess Sangiacomo has made of a once bold design just for more profit. You think he would want to leave something to be admired for by the city that made him wealthy. Instead of the dreck he has built all over SF.

        • Posted by Orland

          Funny, Trinity Plaza is exactly what this rendering reminds me of. Without, of course, the hole in the middle of the building (OOOOO. Wasn’t that ever cool?)

  11. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    If hotel occupancy rates (rising) is an issue, it would be great if parking lot A eventually picked up the 250 rooms cut from the original plan for the hotel in a hotel in parking lot A.

  12. Posted by John

    As a Mission Bay resident, these ugly building designs literally feel like a slap in the face to all the people who live here.

  13. Posted by DM

    Mission Bay is a lost opportunity. With the passage of time and demographic churning, the area might catch on. It’s strange nobody explains the lack of height is due to soil conditions. Remember phase 2 of the Golden Gateway? It was to be a mirror image of phase 1 but soil conditions quickly torpedoed it and we ended up with ho-hum low rise.

    • Posted by anon

      “Soil conditions” do not inhibit height in 2015. It’s true that they did in the past, but it’s quite possible to build very tall buildings very safely now in any type of soil. It’s just a matter of how expensive the piles will be. The bedrock in Mission Bay actually isn’t all that deep, so I’m certain that we could have had much taller buildings if we wanted them.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        This is quite true. Plenty of MB buildings have been set upon piles only 20-40′ deep.

        MB reminds be of the “new cities” (Neustadten) created in central and eastern Europe during the Soviet era. These were satellite developments built outside of the historical city centers. The old city centers were left to crumble as a cautionary example against the shining new Soviet buildings. Mostly apartment and office blocks with a supermarket, pub, park, and rec center thrown in. The result was clean and new but sterile.

        What would cool is if one of MB’s superblocks were broken up into 25-50′ parcels (hey, what a concept!) and sold off to individual developers to create a little organic funk. Yes, that’s the exact opposite of parcel aggregation done in other parts of the town to enable big developments, but that’s the concept. Deep Ellum in SF. Or Valencia St.

        • Posted by Futurist

          Seriously?

          We have enough “organic funk” in the rest of SF. Check our parts of the Mission of the T’loin if you need your fix.

          It’s actually refreshing to have a neighborhood comprised of new architecture for a change.

          • Posted by Orland

            For the most part, I agree, but MB360 is looking like something it is going to take half a century to develop any “appreciation” for.

          • Posted by Brian M

            I actually can;t understand the hate for Mission Bay. Compared to suburban neighborhoods, I rather like the clean, slick design. But I also like Valencia and parts of the Tenderloin as well. Can’t we accept that there may be neighborhoods with both characters?

            I do agree with MOD’s concept of incremental urbanism, though. But in that case, people would be complaining that things are moving too slow or that there are too many incompatible uses yadda yadda yadda.

    • Posted by zig

      Lack of height is because john burton lives in potero hill

  14. Posted by jamesjr

    It is very quiet in MB on the weekends, but it makes for a very pleasant walk from Yerba Buena Gardens along 4th Street past UCSF to Mariposa then across to The Ramp then along the water back to the 3rd Street bridge, the ball park and the Embarcadero to the Ferry building then down Market, Mission or Folsom downtown.

    • Posted by Orland

      Interesting meander. Anyone know the status of the proposed pedestrian bridge across Mission Creek at 5th Street?

  15. Posted by Futurist

    I can only laugh at all of the negative comments over the design and “lack of” everything in MB. Typical SS commenters.

    Guess what people? It’s not done yet. It will continue to build out and develop and evolve over many decades. The housing is modern and so unlike much of SF that it’s a shock to those who cannot deal with change. I guess they would prefer we transfer some of the grit and filth and crap from 6th st. to MB to give it a more “authentic SF vibe”. I guess they would rather see more old wooden Victorians and Edwardians that what MB is becoming.

    The complainers seem to forget about the amazing canal and parkway; the waterfront park developing, the changing and evolving Dogpatch area which is growing with retail and eating places; they forget about the big development coming in and around the many brick warehouses few blocks away.

    Like I said: it’s not DONE YET.

    • Posted by Mark

      Modern architecture can be quite beautiful, as is pointed out quite often on this site. However, you are quick to poo-poo anyone who disagrees with your opinion or who dares to offer constructive criticism. As I mentioned earlier, I’d really like to see what you’ve designed. I really could use a laugh.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Yes, and there are many variations of “modern” architecture to be enjoyed. And it doesn’t have to be versions of some Frank Gehry knock-off to be appreciated nor accepted.

        And, of course, we all welcome commentary, but largely here it’s dumbed down to the adjectives of “fugly” or “boring”. All nonsense and it’s just typing on a keyboard.

        Funny how all of this bland, suburban architecture is quickly filling up with new residents, who CHOOSE to pay top dollar to live here. I support how MB is growing and evolving.

        • Posted by BobN

          Some of us ignorant, impatient whiners don’t have a problem with new architecture. In fact, we want MORE of it in this ‘hood, a lot more, taller, taller, taller. Of course, you think we’re wrong too…

          • Posted by Futurist

            As for the taller, taller, taller: yes, I do disagree with you on that.

            But have you really walked some of the newer streets in MB adjacent to the canal on the south side? There are several 20 story residential complexes that are very clean, modern, handsome and not “short”.

            No, wait. Tell me. You despise anything “only” 20 floors, but rather you insist on 60-80 floors? Am I right? Then you would love Dubai; full of soulless supertalls.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            it would be nice to have a mix of 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40 floor buildings. 40 is probably the max for this area

        • Posted by Orland

          Certainly, I agree that architects should explore and develop the art of design with new ideas and taking advantage of new materials and procedures as they evolve. And, badly done faux/neo-Victorian buildings can be positively hideous.

          But, I was recently in Baltimore and Wash DC and seeing some of the new stuff being built there evocative of there cities of yore did leave me wishing we could do more based on our own local idiom. I really can’t think of much done along those lines or in the pipeline. Perhaps, some of the developments in Hayes Valley as “updated” examples but hardly recognizable.

        • Posted by Brian M

          These are people who don’t spend much time in the suburbs. Mission Bay is not Fremont. Sorry. Even the “premiere” East Bay office parks are grim (Bishop Ranch…damn what a sterile place).

          It’s not North Beach, but let’s be careful about the suburban metaphors.

    • Posted by Frisco

      Well, yes, the canal is there, but aside from the park, the buildings don’t really seem to address it in any relevant way. I do think the 4th street development has the potential to feel like a great neighborhood once it grows in.

      • Posted by Brian M

        what about the walkway along the north side of Mission Creek? How much more directly does the architecture have to “address it”? Maybe we should permit only tent cities along the canals…that would certainly liven things up!!

        • Posted by Orland

          I think his point was that the buildings don’t take advantage of their proximity to the canal. Especially of a public nature such as waterside cafes, lounges, and the like.

  16. Posted by katdip

    The blandness of MB is a sad result of it’s design and bad planning, especially around community and family amenities. All the good public stuff is coming last, if it comes at all, so there is no incentive for people to be out on the streets. There is a video comparing MB and Vancouver at this link. Vancouver deliberately built the school and community center along with the housing, to attract families. SF did no such thing.

    You can’t compare King Street to MB, since it is essentially a freeway on/off ramp, and not all that conducive to foot traffic. The streets around King, like 3rd, Brannan, etc. are pretty hopping between the residents, Caltrain, tech businesses, etc. Not sure what it will take to get the retail streetlife in MB up and running. I would think there is adequate critical mass of residents to support more restaurants, dry cleaners, etc, but maybe the empty weedy lots are still depressing foot traffic.

    • Posted by Orland

      Azure (rental apartments) began taking residents this month and Arden (luxury condos) should about the end of the year.

      Things of a retail nature should begin to pick up soon and a space in the Mercy Housing building has finally been leased to “Shy Girl” according to the application for alcohol permit.

      Regarding the video, while I’m a great admirer of Vancouver, I’m not a real big fan of nuclear families in cities. At least, not so much this City. I’m content with a largely adult population.

  17. Posted by SFian

    This looks a lot like the trinity apt on 8th and mission. Hope the subtler details don’t get value-engineered away like the 8/mission project.

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