75 Howard Street 220-Foot Design

The official renderings have yet to be released but a plugged-in tipster delivers SOM’s new design for the proposed 20-story residential tower to rise at 75 Howard Street, with 133 market rate condos over 6,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space and a basement “parking vault” for 100 cars.

Paramount Group, the developer of the project, had originally proposed to build a 31-story tower which would have risen up to 348 feet in height on the 75 Howard Street parcel as rendered below, a proposal which included 186 condos and parking for 175 cars, but growing opposition to an up-zoning for the site led to the new design above which fits within existing zoning for the site.

75 Howard at 350 Feet

The 75 Howard Parking Garage which currently rises up to 91-feet in height on the site was built in 1976.

39 thoughts on “Scoop: New Waterfront Tower (Re)Design”
  1. So it will be roughly the same height as 201 Spear St. directly behind it and it fits within the existing zoning? Don’t worry, the no wall on the waterfront crowd will find a way to get it down to the height of the existing parking garage.

    1. Whoa whoa whoa, that existing parking garage is contributing to the Wall On The Waterfront. It needs to be closer to the height of the Epic Roasthouse if not lower. We can’t risk having a shadow cross the Embarcadero, if that sidewalk loses even a second of sunlight this city is going to decend into madness.

  2. from the bay vantage point, the new building certainly adds to the effect of making the waterfront look like a canyon wall. There certainly is no tapering effect as seen from the water.

  3. the 31 story building is so much nicer and fits much better into the landscape and skyline. the new design is squat and ugly. FU Agnos and Peskin, and all the uberwealthy NIMBYs

  4. I know it’s only preliminary, but the rendering suggests that the building will not be totally transparent. Therefore it will likely cast a shadow during most of the day, and, if there’s a full moon, possibly at night as well. This is an intolerable assault to our waterfront.

  5. The new design could be interesting. Glad to see they are working within the existing zoning, although surprised they zoned it for 250′, seems tall given the buildings next to it (not behind it). All the other tall buildings are either behind a shorter one or their design (Gap) accomplishes the same thing. The park across the street is fantastic… I wish more of the water front had such a nice green space… and I do believe that we should manage the amount of shadows that are added to it. With our SF weather direct sun light does a lot for making outdoor spaces enjoyable.

    1. You obviously need lessons in astronomy, geography and geometry if you’re seriously concerned about the amount of shadowing these buildings pose for Rincon Park.

      1. That is an opinion, but the draft EIR of the previous design (not an opinion, but science) suggests that your opinion is wrong. Here are their findings:

        “The net new project or variant shadow would fall on many of the sunlit seating areas in the park where many park users prefer to sit and would adversely affect the use of those areas.”

        1. For full context, and if we’re going to quote the EIR report (vs pull selected text):

          “In summary, the proposed project or variants would cast net new shadow on the northern and central portions of Rincon Park in the afternoon on most days throughout the year. The affected areas include landscaping (the grassy lawn area), the pedestrian path adjacent to and west of the sculpture, the seating areas and the pedestrian path along the eastern perimeter of the park, and the seating areas east of the sculpture.

          Although the proposed project or variants would not castnet new shadow on Rincon Park in the morning or at mid-day, it would cast about 9,715,526 sfh of annual net new shadow on Rincon Park in the afternoon throughout the year. The net new project or variant shadow would fall on many of the sunlit seating areas in the park where many park users prefer to sit and would adversely affect the use of those areas. Expressed as a percentage of the TAAS, the proposed project or variants would result in a decrease in sunlight of about 2.2 percent per year. Rincon Park is a sunny park along the waterfront, and the current height limits on the west side of The Embarcadero preserve afternoon sunlight on Rincon Park.

          The net new project or variant shadow on Rincon Park would be substantial and would adversely affect the enjoyment and use of the park. For these reasons, the proposed project or variants would have a significant and unavoidable shadow impact on Rincon Park.”

    2. We should get rid of all trees in all the parks around town. They cast an intolerable amount of shade.

        1. The parks in this city would be a lot better if they had 10 minutes more shade and 1/10th as many homeless people, instead of the alternative.

          1. i agree. i could go for 50% more shade in return for 90% less homeless, or 20% more shade for 50% less homeless

          2. I’m sorry, but I fail to see how shadows and homeless people are so closely linked. Can we not limit additional shadows on parks and also come up with a plan to help reduce homelessness?

            Also while there are quite a few homeless people in this particular park (and area) I’ve not found that they overrun the park. At least during the day they don’t seem to limit anyone’s enjoyment.

          3. Because if the issue is the usability and attractiveness of parks, the presence (and detritus) of homeless people is a far bigger impact than a few minutes of shade. It’s somewhere between ridiculous and hypocritical for people to propose picketing and ballot measures to shave a few feet off a building, due to a few minutes of shade it might produce – but then do absolutely nothing about the bigger and more substantive impacts caused by homelessness and grime. Exhibit A for this is the building being built at the NW corner of Kearny and Pine – it’s across the street from the tallest building in the City, but is limited to 5 stories so as not to cast an additional iota of shade on St. Mary’s Park. That simply does not make sense.

            (Let’s put it this way – the eastern end of Golden Gate Park, at the end of Haight, is not subject to any building shadows, and can be a very sunny spot – but how many of you would want to go there to play with your kids or have a picnic? I thought so….)

            Besides, most people *don’t* get bent out of shape about shade. In fact as someone who’s had 3 skin cancer surgeries, I always seek out shade, not sun – perhaps I should start a protest group, saying that the City is endangering me by limiting shadows….

          4. Ok… but we are talking about a proposed development. The development may limit sun access, so we can address that. But the development doesn’t have a direct connection to the homeless in the parks, so it isn’t related to the development’s shadows, or the height, or the design, or the…

            I’m sorry for your need to have skin cancer surgeries, that is tough and I hope you’re ok, but it is still irrelevant to this discussion (and this development).

          5. You had to select the building at St. Mary’s Square to make a point? That is the absolute one instance in which I agree with tailoring the new building to reduce its shadowing effect. Being right on top of and to rhetoric southeast of that popular place for tranquil contemplation would have a devastating impact on its usage.

          6. @Orland – a (nicely done) façade might have made the space more contemplative, instead of exposing it to the noise and bustle of Kearney… and as it is, it will be exposed to the noise of rooftop equipment on the new building.

            I think a better solution would have been to raise St. Mary’s Park a level or two – raise it further from the noise and soot of Pine and Kearney, and thereby allow the building along Kearney to be taller too (indeed, imagine that the park had been extended *across* the new building too – doubling the park’s size).

          7. I just came from St. Mary’s Square, and am comfortable that the development as approved, along with the tower on Pine and associated historic renovation, is the most worthwhile project currently under construction in SF. And, I do believe that, in addition to improving access to the park, the development does provide for its expansion.

            I am currently sitting at the Folsom St entrance to Rincon Park. The subject building is well to the NW and most of the park and all of the greensward to its south.

            Even within two weeks of the summer solstice (when there is maximum potential effect) late in the day, the sun is nowhere near the building in question (pretty much directly over the GAP Building) and there absolutely no shadows from any of the structures along Embarcadero. *Conceivably* the arc of the sun could touch the airspace above the current parking garage about 9:00 this evening. In 2 two weeks, it would never come into play.

            I’m calling BS.

          8. Ok…but again you’re not looking at the EIR: page 4.H.17 & 22 & 24 – June 21st the building would be adding shadows by 3:00pm.

            “Any development of substantial height (approximately 100 feet or taller) on the project site would shadow Rincon Park”

            “CADP generated shadow calculations for a 200-foot-tall alternative that would comply with the current height limit for the project site. This alternative would cast about 4,517,994 sfh of annual net new shadow on Rincon Park (a reduction of about 53.5 percent when compared to the proposed project).”

            Now I’m calling BS.

          9. Call and raise!

            A 2.2% increase in overall shadowing (possibly duplicated by later already approved projects such as Transbay) is hardly substantial in my estimation. Especially so when you consider how generally the text discusses the fact of new net shadowing without regard to the quality. Anyone familiar with the area will recognize that the bulk of the heaviest shadows will be on the narrow northernmost strip which is actually the entryway to the park as people use it by its very design. The objections to the project upon the basis of decreased sunlight to Rincon Park represent a far extreme position as to the City’s nature and future.

          10. Now we’re getting somewhere! You’re right that its 2.2%, but you’re wrong to assume that 2.2 is a small number. It’s 2.2% over the year, that means that all the time that shadows 0%, it will need to average out with times where it is a much higher percent. If you’re looking to sit in the park after 5:00 in summer, you’ll be in the shade; for a while.

            It’s also not limited to the northern “strip”. And the report is somewhat qualitative in that it studies usage patterns and cross references that with the shadow patterns.

            But back to your original comment at the top: I guess this concludes my lesson to you on how to evaluate shadows based on information, geography and geometry, not on gut feelings.

          11. I wouldn’t be chortling too much if I were you as my original comment was couched in terms of degree. You still need some learnin’ in what is obvious from experience and observation: this building significantly removed from the northwest quadrant of Rincon Park will have minimal impact upon its use and enjoyment.

          12. 2.2% = an average of 15.84 minutes of additional shade per day, all at the end of the afternoon. Wow, that is a travesty.

            (And, as Orland notes, without taking into account shadows from upcoming buildings such as the Salesforce Tower.)

          13. You can’t just multiple 12 hours by 60 minutes and then take 2.2%… sorry. From the EIR, again:

            “On June 21, the net new project or variant shadow on Rincon Park would begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. and last until approximately 7:15 p.m.” – This is more than 15.84 minutes…

            The report does take into account the Transbay District Developments – there is a whole section regarding cumulative impact.

            Come on people – read before you write!

          14. For clarity, on summer solstice (June 21st), shadows are cast from 430pm to 715pm; 165 minutes. On winter solstice (December 22nd), shadows are cast from 345pm to 354pm; 9 minutes.

            Obviously the amount of time shadows are cast will vary by day of the year. The question I have is, what amount of time in shadow is considered intolerable?

  6. What the hell is that? I’ve had it with this Wall on the Waterfront crap. We started with a decent building and now we have this. WHAT IS THIS? This doesn’t even look like a building. You want THIS thing on the Embarcadero? No. Absolutely not. It looks like a termite mound. Stahp. You can have a view of one moderately tall and elegant tower or settle for this goddamned travesty. Get over yourselves and stop “prote(ruining)cting” the waterfront.

  7. it should be thinner and taller. just what we need, another Watermark (potentially beautiful, bad proportions).

  8. SOM typical design, and glazing systems, no concept, no design ingenuity, and certainly not a “design” by any standards internationally……its a cookie-cutter formula façade (computer generated) to look like it changes around the perimeter…

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