30 Van Ness Concept Rendering

As a number of readers quickly noted, the contextual renderings for the proposed Mid-Market tower to rise up to 450-feet at 30 Otis omitted a massing for the 400-foot tower that’s expected to rise at 30 Van Ness Avenue, the corner parcel which the City is in the process of selling with a leaseback of the existing five-story building on the site until late 2018.

And while completely conceptual and not wed to any of the final four bids competing for the 30 Van Ness parcel, as another plugged-in reader notes and is rendered above, Dilworth Eliot Studios was engaged to produce conceptual designs for a 42-story tower to rise on the site as part of the parcel’s marketing, a design which included 596 residential units over 12,000 square feet of retail space.

The City is aiming to close the sale of 30 Van Ness, which will help finance the City’s proposed development of a new 17-story building at 1500 Mission Street, on the eastern half of the Goodwill site at the intersection of Mission and South Van Ness Avenue, in September.

48 thoughts on “Conceptual Designs For The Missing 400-Foot Mid-Market Tower”
  1. That is so cool! Van Ness and Market is becoming a destination location, rather than someplace you pass through on your way to someplace else. My only hope is that legacy businesses like the Rickshaw Stop manage to hang on.

  2. Really nice. Good podium height, nice tower design – I’m not usually in the “build it taller” camp, but this is a design that would be nice to see rising up a little higher. My only complaint would be to move the tower closer to Market and/or the Market/Van Ness corner – at a landmark intersection like that it’s good to have the towers at the corners, defining the intersection, and not set randomly back. (IMHO)

  3. Its an OK design – wish it had more “composition” like the Oakland hi-rise plan.

    I think the base is too massive for the height of the building. Lower the base 5 stories and that would make for a more sleek look.

    1. I believe the design you’re referring to is about half the height of this one– not sure if the same “composition” would translate to a much taller building.

      1. Which ones are y’all referencing? The two most recent Oakland posts on SocketSite have been for structures over 260FT.

    2. Disagree on the base being lowered. We really need South Van Ness to have more a canyon feel here in order to increase the pedestrian friendliness and make it feel like less of an open freeway.

  4. Conceptual or otherwise… this is definitely one of the more tasteful tower designs I’ve seen in a bit. I really like the intention of continuing the column theme down Van Ness from Civic Center. The setback is adequately placed as well. Hopefully this will be a mark of inspiration for the architects, down the road.

  5. Something seems off… referencing the delivery van on Market St to the right of the corner… the podium floor plates seem to be 4 to 5 feet apart once you get above the ground level?

  6. ^Yes, scale is off, as are surrounding buildings on Market (Argenta is supposed to be behind that building next to this).

    But this is purely conceptual to help the City pitch the site. Giving brokers something to work with in the book. I’m sure there are now countless massing studies floating around, and tons of potential iterations.

    Whoever buys the site will spend another few years refining a whole new design. This is a “next cycle” tower for sure, but they [the City] do need to sell the building and pull down some proceeds so they can start on their new consolidation tower that Related CA is going to build for them a block away on Mission.

    The sooner this sale happens, the sooner we see the Goodwill torn down and new stuff put up.

  7. By allowing multiple building to build up to 400 ft the city is a creating a bland skyline that looks more like a wall than the crown that people want to look at from afar. However, by creating differing heights and building towers like these taller one creates a skyline that people actually want to see. Look at the different plans that were released for 30 Otis. Their final design that showed the max height of the surrounding buildings looks a lot nicer than all the building building to 400 ft

    1. Exactly. The 400′ limit made the FiDi plateau, and it’s continuing here. It creates a boring tabletop silhouette.

  8. Not bad, I’d like to see the tower pushed to the corner of Market and Van Ness. A grocery store would be a great addition too.

    1. A grocery store would be great for the crop of new developments there but the 12,000 sf retail space they’re advertising isn’t large enough to accommodate a Whole Foods or Safeway who typically look for 30-35k sf spaces. A TJ’s however would work at that size as their stores are smaller. Loading bays for delivery trucks along a busy intersection would be an issue that would need to be addressed. Maybe the Goodwill site a block down would be better suited for a grocer.

  9. Although involvement of Planning in design issues is often derided here, there has to be some co-ordinating oversight to avoid another example of what transpired in lower Rincon Hill.

    The 5 towers of Infinity, Lumina and 399 Folsom are just way too similar. How the hell did that happen?

    Want to see that avoided here.

  10. “The 5 towers of Infinity, Lumina and 399 Folsom are just way too similar. How the hell did that happen?”

    I think that area looks amazing, and I like the similar but not identical look – it creates a distinct feel for those few blocks, which I think creates an identity for that new residential area. The only building is really dont like in that area is that Jasper building. That thing looks cheap and ugly. All IMO of course.

  11. Absent from the total renewal of these blocks is the B of A building (in which the SFMTA is located) which just LOOKS like it’s the podium of the high rise meant to be in that location.

    Anything in the works?

  12. It looks revolting – even the boosters here should see that – and it dwarfs the beautiful Beaux Arts building on the corner.

    This is not the answer to the housing crisis. Just another design for the enrichment of developers and investors. Most ordinary families would or could not live there. What is needed is small-scale development of the outer areas of SF on cheaper land – making these areas desirable – but that would eat into developer profits.

    1. Most “ordinary” families can’t live anywhere in SF, in any new market-rate housing, no matter what size the building is, because there’s such a huge shortage of housing…which has combined with the high demand (which is even higher than normal now, thanks to the tech boom), and caused prices to go through the roof and into the next galaxy. But building big like this, in a transit-rich area in the center of the city (where high rises belong), is how SF can add the most housing, and make the biggest impact on the housing shortage and lack of affordability. That should be pretty obvious.

      As for it dwarfing the beaux arts building on the corner….You realize there’s already a 420′ tower right next door, right? And two 350′ towers a couple blocks down market, with several more in the 300′-400′ range planned for the immediate area, not to mention the 300′ city hall dome is just a couple blocks away too (with more towers on cathedral hill/van ness past that, and all the others in downtown, etc). This is a downtown location with literally hundreds of highrises within a few miles of it, and several within just a couple blocks of it. The new tower would fit in perfectly fine.

    2. Which “outer areas” are you referring to that aren’t desirable? I’m not aware of anywhere in SF that will allow new buildings that doesn’t already have median housing prices at or above high six digits.

  13. wow! great design. are we back to the sixties bland podium topped by boring tower?
    it addresses a major corner of SF in such a sensitive manner!
    sooooo inspired!!!
    the developer should consult Sonhetta on design 🙂

    1. I think/hope you are joking about it being a great design and being sooo inspired. Regardless of the height and affordable/luxury housing concerns by other comments … this design is sooooo boring. The developers have an amazing corner lot in a key location and _this_ proposal is a generic, unmemorable, phallic stack of blocks they propose? I don’t care if Tishman wants to build a 50, 250 ft or 500 ft tower — they should at least have to make it look nice. And if the city is going to let them build even taller they should be required to have a nice innovative designe, not just maximize there profits.

      Also this luxury housing this is not going to help families live in SF. Will be investments for someone from China and probably sit empty or on Airbnb.

  14. Great Design! Van Ness and Market will truly reflect a more elegant nexus for the city. Orlando is right….what is with the BofA building? Can they at least paint it a bright white rather than that oppressive Soviet gray?

  15. Fox Plaza was also looking at a re-skin and rennnovation, along with a possible brewery!

    May be an interesting intersection near entertainment, and revitalized Van-Ness corridor…

    The SFUSD property over near Hayes now becomes more valuable daily…

  16. I remember telling Willie Brown way back to look at the triple A building and vacant lots nearby, and look what occurred… amazing to see the changes, NOW WE NEED TO IMPROVE THE TRANSIT LRV along Van Ness out to the Excelsior…

    DO IT NOW, not later, with all these people coming in its important to get systems improved sooner and not later….. BRT will not solve the future Van Ness corridor, but an extension of the LRV down Van Ness to the Excelsior will serve more people!!!!


    1. “rapid” LRV with exclusive lane, signal priority and no stops between Silver and Market, so that Aaron can get to work in 5 minutes!

    2. ITA about LRV on Van Ness. And that BART won’t solve the problem. BART down Geary is a waste of resources. Do an LRV on Geary and spend the money you’d spend on BART Geary to extend BART south from Millbrae. Far more bang for the buck.

    1. Limited areas south of Millbrae, in many cases far from the employment centers along 101, are already “served” by Caltrain.

  17. Heavy rail should only be extended to areas that are willing to build out to high enough densities to justify it. Of course, if that rule were applied retroactively, BART would only go from Civic Center to downtown Oakland. BART already has one of the very lowest ridership to track mile ratios and extending it down the peninsula would only make that worse.

    1. The Mission is more than dense enough to support heavy rail, and was back during construction as well.

      Now that said, the Mission could certainly get denser, but at 40k+ ppsm it’s already dense enough to support heavy rail. Even the current Geary corridor is plenty dense enough, with the Richmond at 35k-40k ppsm out to 33rd or so.

  18. According to [a UCTC POLICY BRIEF] heavy rail that costs $100 million/mile needs density of 140 people and jobs/acre, or 89,600/square mile. BART’s extension to Warm Springs cost $890 million for 5.4 miles, or $165 million/mile. Whether it’s 40k or 90k, I’m guessing a corridor connecting Apple, Google and Facebook to Millbrae wouldn’t qualify.

    1. it makes no sense to continue bart furhter down the peninsula to me. theres caltrain already, and we are missing so much transportation in SF, where we could add so much more density if we had transit

    2. That 140/acre density seems off because it is more dense than Tokyo, Paris, Manhattan, London, and plenty of other cities that are successfully served by heavy rail.

      Caltrain running between San Jose (5600/sq.mi) and San Francisco (18000/sq.mi.) manages to fill its rush hour trains to capacity.

  19. Note that it’s jobs+population, so for Manhattan (2.3 million jobs+1.6 million population)/23 square miles=170,000/mile or 264/acre. (All stats from wikipedia entry for Manhattan)

    1. And Manhattan’s heavy rail is incredibly overburdened. You don’t have to have crush-loaded trains every five minutes 24 hours a day to make a heavy rail investment worth it. 140/acre is an insane level of density across an entire line. Most of Tokyo is nowhere near that (jobs + housing), including many parts that have multiple lines within blocks of one another at crush loads throughout the day.

  20. The study was for recently built systems in the US only, where the challenge was to get people to give up driving. It wouldn’t necessarily translate to legacy systems or other less auto-centric cultures. The densities weren’t for the whole jurisdiction but just for the “catchment” (i.e., relatively easy walking distance) around the stations. The study also said that the density/sq mile required goes up as the cost/mile goes down. It’s also possible I misinterpreted when I assumed capital cost meant the total capital cost. It may have meant the annualized capital cost, which would of course be much lower. Mea culpa.

    Anyway, what I had in mind when I cut it off at Civic Center instead of farther down were two things: first, the fierce opposition to any new development in the Mission and, second, the sorry state of South Van Ness, which just a block away from the 16th and 24th Street stations is still autocentric, 40 plus years later.

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