525 Harrison Street Rendering 2015 Revised

Adopted back in 2005, the Rincon Hill Plan requires a minimum distance of 115 feet between new residential towers at their closest point.  And the plan specifies that no exemptions may be made.

As such, in order to clear the way for the proposed tower to rise at 525 Harrison Street, the parcel upon which the Sound Factory Club currently sits 88-feet from the new residential tower at 45 Lansing, Planning is moving forward with legislative amendments to the Rincon Hill Plan, Planning Code, and Zoning Map for the parcel.

And with the legislative amendments slated to earn the Planning Commission’s endorsement this week along the project’s conditional approval, the proposed tower has been redesigned by Solomon Cordwell Buenz for Hines as newly rendered above, decreasing the tower’s bulk but increasing its total mass by raising its proposed height by five stories to 250-feet.

The redesigned tower includes 205 apartments, up from 179 as originally proposed, with 25 of the units designated as Below Market Rate units, and parking for 103 cars in automated stackers and 1,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space along Harrison.

As the tower looked as previously proposed:

525 Harrison Street Rendering 2015

If approved with the revised design atop the page, a design which still doesn’t accommodate a new Bay Bridge off-ramp to San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center, a ramp which AC Transit has deemed “critical” to reducing transit delays but would run through the podium of Hines’ development, construction will take approximately 21 months and is expected to begin as early as July 2016.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Orland


  2. Posted by moto mayhem

    amazing orange!

  3. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    Hines really wants to get it built in this cycle and before AC Transit can get the MTC’s blessing for their proposed on-ramp.

    • Posted by Adam

      None of these agencies has the coordination they ought to, and we all suffer for it.

      • Posted by curmudgeon

        Exactly. We’re building a $4.5 billion dollar bus station, and this issue comes up at the 11th hour. Pathetic.

  4. Posted by Matt

    Looks like a building outta Tron.

  5. Posted by Louis

    A typical end-of-cycle project.
    Stretching rules to develop the last, least attractive, site in rincon hill.
    This one likely to hang around to next RE cycle.
    Usual pattern.
    How much distance left until end of the runway?

    • Posted by SFRealist

      As soon as we all stop using Apple phones. And using Google to search. And when we all shut off our Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

      • Posted by alberto rossi

        More like as soon as venture capitalists stop throwing around money hoping to buy the next Apple or Google or Facebook. With any more bad news out of Twitter or Uber, it could be sooner than you think.

      • Posted by seriously

        when interest rates go back up and and VCs aren’t willing to risk as much.

      • Posted by soccermom

        I hope realist is right. But then, I read about stuff like wework.

        Guys guys guys, have you read about wework? They are a real estate company whose most recent valuation is $10 billion dollars and they serve the startup business market in core-plus locations.

        (Makes sense, you’re thinking, they have to buy those ultra prime buildings to offer the space to startups, right?) Yes, except they don’t actually own any real estate. They master lease office space, sexy up the interior, and then sublet it to startups, where the golden children can work together closely enough to sniff each other’s flatulence. And it’s worth $10 billion dollars.

        I’m just sayin’. That sounds like a racket I should get involved with. It’s an AirBNB distortion manifested in the office market. I suspect someone is going to learn the hard way that sublet income should not be discounted as a perpetuity.

        • Posted by SFian

          I’ve said this before…the spike in prices last time was brought on by the FacebookLinkedInTwitter IPO’s. The next crop has yet to mature….UberAirBnBDropBoxCloudera….but when it does it’ll mint another few thousand millionaires looking to buy condoshomes

          We ain’t seen nothing yet.

          • Posted by soccermom

            I hope you’re right!

            But I think the guys from Fidelity who put $400mm into wework at $10bn are sitting at the poker table and can’t spot the mark.

          • Posted by anon

            really, drop box? Surely someone will come along with something far better than that. Their ui is so garbage.

    • Posted by anon

      It’s not long now. Housing prices have peaked or will very soon. The next massive economic crisis is already unfolding around the world. This is going to be another big one with nowhere to run or hide…except in cash.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        theres still a lot of good values in the stock market. Not sure if we are there yet. Stock market is always a leading indicator for housing. tech may be overvalued, but is a tiny fraction of stock market.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        There’s a weird thing of everyone trying to predict that now–RIGHT NOW–we’re at the top of the market and it’s all about to collapse.

        I think it stems from the fact that a couple of people got famous for predicting the real estate crash and everyone wants to be them. Or maybe it’s a great way to proclaim how unusually savvy and farsighted you are.

        The problem is that people have been predicting this for like four years now. Hasn’t happened yet. Apple is still cheap. And Uber is sitting on a humongous pile of money (note: I refuse to take Uber myself, but I recognize their success). They ain’t going away anytime soon. Neither is Anrbnb, or Square, or Salesforce, etc. etc.

        • Posted by anon

          Square isn’t going away ?

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            if you’ve travelled much outside of the US, you could see how square’s business could grow exponentially (unless a better technology surpasses them). those portable credit card remotes in EU, Asia, Latin America are terrible

  6. Posted by sf

    Money can’t buy happiness, but it can certainly buy corruption.

    • Posted by wiger toods

      it can also buy me a boat, a yeti and some silver bullets….

  7. Posted by invented

    Hotel Tokyo Disneyland.
    Why not build a confident beautiful building that borrows from the bridge, views and water?

    • Posted by Orland

      Now, that’s some constructive criticism. This is getting messier in more ways than one.

  8. Posted by cfb

    Looks like a nice design to me, even it’s not amazingly exciting (i feel like some of you expect every new building to be an architectural masterpiece). We don’t have any towers that look like that in SF, with the staggered window frames and the orange and grey color scheme (I know some of you hate that trend, but it’s not played out here in SF at least)…And as always, we need the housing. I hope it gets built.

  9. Posted by Dave

    Nice way to get around the rules.

    What is the point of a code orr rules if they can be ignored at whim.

    The PC is running a risk here of a draconian initiative that would blanket dis-allow any exemptions and freeze height limits permanently.

    I believe in exceptions to the code but they should be the exception and not the rule.

    • Posted by david m

      for a building right next to the freeway? i don’t think so.

    • Posted by alberto rossi

      “I believe in exceptions to the code but they should be the exception and not the rule.”

      There’s a koan struggling to hatch from this sentence.

      • Posted by NJ

        ha – how about this for one hand clapping? “I believe in exceptions to the rule, but they should be the exception and not the rule”

        • Posted by alberto rossi

          maybe not a koan, maybe a Dr. Seuss rhyme

  10. Posted by Dave

    One additional thought.

    I assume any interested government agency can initiate eminent domain proceedings. This is a classic case IMO where an argument can be made for an eminent domain taking.

    Now that would be an interesting development.

    • Posted by zig

      It seems you just make stuff up

  11. Posted by Turin

    Regarding the 115′ rule, are 399 and 340 Fremont really that far apart? They seem closer than that, although they must be staggered just enough. Same with 399 and ORH2.

  12. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    a tower next to every tower,
    a tower next to every home,
    the planning commission and mr. rahaim
    have blocked my access to get home

    nice haiku to it… 🙂

  13. Posted by seriously

    “Building feeling blah? Add colored metal panel!” -Every Architect 2010 – 2020.

  14. Posted by Mark F.

    Correction: We are building a $4.5 billion homeless lounge and toilet.

  15. Posted by Mike

    Build it. It looks great! You have the choice to not live here. Get over it! Move on!

  16. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    Some of us have the choice of electing people who will stand for those that exist here currently… That’s what is needed. SO make sure you vote this fall…

  17. Posted by Dave

    Its important to vote this fall for folks that will represent homegrown interests.

    For instance, I’d ask district supervisorial cndidates if they will commit to veto any upzoning of the Van Ness/Otis /Market area.

    The M and O plans got community support and allowed for up to 250 foot heights on some lots near this corner. For the PC to push that now, or consider pushing it, to 400 or even 600 feet. There is absolutely no need to go taller than 20, 22 stories in this area. The city needs supervisors who will block these kinds of moves by the PC.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      i would only vote for supervisors who don’t block increasing height limits. i live here, and my interests are more housing in areas with such great public transit. the rest of SF has crappy transit.

    • Posted by Alex

      The homes have become a necessity. With booming home prices we need to build more and that mean building taller in areas like Van ness

  18. Posted by MDG399

    Likey Likey

  19. Posted by boysf

    my gosh. I thought i would not say it but..
    this one needs to be a lot taller!!!
    so as to mask crappy 45 lansing (jasper) and really crappy 340 fremont.
    but not 399 fremont. i give that one a pass.

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