One Oak Rendering 10-30-15 Prow

A plugged-in source delivers the latest designs for the proposed 435-foot-tall tower with over 300 condos to rise on the northwest corner of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue, a prominent Mid-Market development originally dubbed “One Van Ness” but now known as One Oak.

The new renderings for the 37-story tower, which was designed by SCB and Snohetta for Build Inc., now include Trumark Urban’s adjacent 12-story building to rise at 1554 Market Street for context.

One Oak Rendering 10-30-15: South Facade

High above the development’s plaza which would transform the intersection of Market and Van Ness, the “skylounge” on the 28th floor of the One Oak tower would offer some rather spectacular views for the building’s residents and guests, as would the private 39th floor balcony for the Grand Penthouse A.

One Oak Rendering 10-30-15 Southwest Facade

And with respect to why the facade design has been refined: “Facade moves must be limited and standardized to remain within the budget,” according to the architects involved.

66 thoughts on “Refined Designs And Renderings For Prominent Mid-Market Tower”
    1. really, like what, version #27; this high rise (like most on mid market street) is becoming an urban design myth 🙂

    1. It’s evolving: part of the natural and required architectural design process with any office.

      Relax people.

      1. Your two comments are not mutually exclusive. One can prefer the earlier design (as did I) without needing to be told to “relax”.

        1. Perhaps, but understanding the complex design process for any project will mean that the design will be evolving and changing. I welcome that.

          1. Well, I would propose that this change isn’t part of the complex design process. It’s part of the complex budgeting process. The previously rendered facade with its irregular grid was much more animated and held more promise of engagement with its surroundings (that is, the parts of its surroundings worth engaging with). This one’s too blandly SOMA, but still looks like a giant improvement to one of the most incoherent, shapeless and unappealing intersections in the city. And it’s also not my money.

  1. In previous updates the designers said that they were looking at interesting masonry patterns/treatments. What happened?

    [Editor’s Note: See our last paragraph above.]

    1. Also (and I’ll get grief for commenting on it), I don’t like the change in fenestration for the middle tower segment, as compared to the bottom 1/3rd and top 1/3rd. It’s not a distinctive enough change to make a difference, but just enough of a change to look jarring.

  2. This is an egregious example of one of the major faults of SF planning.

    Allowing these parcels downtown and in this area to be built to the lot line. No setbacks, no greenery. Nothing but a high wall alongside the sidewalk.

    Look at the one rendering with the adjacent proposed 12 story building included. Talk about walling off the waterfront – that narrow strip of sidewalk alongside these two building will not be conducive to building a walkable, green, varied streetscape.

    This whole corner, if built out as proposed, will be a disaster IMO.

    Compare this and Chevron Gardens (I believe it is still called that) on lower Market Despite being hemmed in by tall buildings, a vibrant plaza/streetscape exists/was built as part of the complex.

    Where has that SF gone – the one that encouraged street level plazas and parks. BofA building, Transamerica Pyramid and such?

    [Editor’s Note: First Peek At The Plaza Which Could Transform Market At Van Ness.]

    1. I could not disagree with you more. Personally, I find that street walls greatly enliven the pedestrian experience with regard to retail and engagement. I much prefer walking through dense cities with wall to wall architecture vs. dense cities with setbacks, as long as the ground floors are activated (which I am virtually positive is true with this design).

      1. agree. has dave ever been to NYC or walked up broadway lower manhattan to central park? Its one long unending wall of building on each side, yet is also filled with tons of people and incredibly vibrant

        1. Why would Dave visit NYC when he has the joys of Oakland, the Capital of California no, Capital of the Western Hemisphere, to enjoy? New York? Too many tall buildings!

      2. Completely agree with JWS. Setbacks to me are absurd. Walking down Montgomery from Clay to Market where there are virtually no setbacks but instead full lot build outs is one of the most enjoyable urban walks SF has to offer.

    2. Ha! I bet if this were proposed for downtown Oakland, you’d be bouncing off satellites at the prospect, and welcoming it with open arms…

  3. This is sadly bland compared to the first renderings. It looks like a cheap hotel now, and I wish the whole facade was more like the lower “tip” further down Market from the intersection.

  4. The old design was going to be an awesome complement to the Group M project down Market Street. Had a similar sort of look to it.

    With rents as high as they are, are we really going to allow the kind of blandness that plagues cheaper cities like Dallas and Atlanta? I realize construction costs are through the roof right now, land is not cheap, and external costs imposed by the city make everything here harder to pencil, but really? We’re going to go from A class design all the way down to C-?

    1. True, we get lured with an awesome design which when completed pales in comparison to the original. Yes, costs are a factor, especially when dealing with one of the most expensive markets in the world. As for blandness, you really cannot expect every single building to be a work of art once its completed and if you’ve been in SF long enough you realize the bureaucracy and crap that results in any perceived “blandness.”

        1. Blandness is completely subjective and so is “works of art”. In fact, highly subjective.

          By using those terms to express one’s opinion of the building is an implied way of knowing exactly what blandness is and is NOT as well as what a work of art is or is NOT.

          1. Look, obviously design is subjective; but at the same time, there are plenty of groups and judges who regularly award prizes and kudos for design – so clearly there must be some things that are “good” and some things that are “less good”.

            In that vein pretty much any of the buildings on this list [other than One World Trade, which is a horrible travesty of what could have been], or this list would, I think, be lauded by regular SocketSite commenters of all stripes and would be a great addition to this city.

            Whereas this redesigned One Oak is certainly not horrible, but it in no way strives for something above and beyond the ordinary – it’s a building that could be stamped out anywhere without causing a fuss or garnering any special attention.

          2. I dunno. A number of those buildings just look gimmicky than good design. For all the complaints of “blandness” and calls for “bold,” anything straying from the ordinary seems to be rejected out-of-hand. Just look at the rejection of the latest proposal for 1200 Van Ness.

  5. The previous SCB design was much more refined. . . Just saying. . .

    What happened?!

    [Editor’s Note: See our last paragraph above.]

  6. Great, get it done.It will be an amazing addition to what is currently a shockingly $hitty corner of SF.
    Bye drug dealers!

  7. Old design was superior. This city is lacking unique architecture. The last design was unique. This is bland as it gets.

  8. This is absolutely disappointing. The city just continues to allow and sign-off on uninteresting architecture. SF and SF planning should be so ashamed. Seriously. Mid-Market will be where we put our worst architecture and where we push all the things the government does want and doesn’t know what to do about — homeless, drug addiction, unending garbage. Way to go Janet Kim. Oh I can’t wait to see what the City and its developer do with the GoodWill property — it will be an architectural nightmare I’m certain.

    Yes, things evolve, but this is far from the nicer and more sophisticated original design. Does nobody care? Is it just greed? How is it that other countries and other US cities for that matter, accomplish great design with lower budgets and in less time? I’m not shocked anymore. Just sad. The people that care will move and this place will end up looking like Houston, but dirty.

    [Editor’s Note: With respect to the Goodwill site, First Peek: 560-Unit Mid-Market Tower Rendered.]

    1. I believe the developer for that property is the same as Jasper, and will have a big affordability component. Don’t expect miracles.

      1. what is your absolute obsession with Jasper? Give it up! It’s one GD building. Even if it was nothing but a giant middle finger – life does go on!

  9. The explanation for the reduction in variability is odd. It’s not like every single piece of that building facade isn’t going to be made to specification. Sure, there’s some cost to making 10,000 pieces of ten forms over 10,000 pieces of seven forms, but it can’t be that much money.

  10. It seems that the accountants have taken over the design team… The earlier renderings were much more compelling, and this has lost a lot of what was special about the project. I understand that as you make the project more realistic, things need to be standardized, but surely they can do better to adhere to the original varied facade concept… Though this is still better than most new projects around, (un)fortunately.

  11. There’s going to be around 4-5 400′ towers directly within that 2 block radius. They should decrease/increase one of them by ~100′ so it doesn’t look like a wall of concrete coming up.

  12. That building will produce enough street level line wind during the summer westerlies to blast little old ladies and thin people right off their feet!

    1. Not sure if you’re serious. But I hope you are!

      Because we all know that skyscrapers are impossible in Windy Cities

  13. This looks good, if it is ever executed and is built as designed it will set the design bar higher than SF generally gets.

    It’s a high density high rise building and the tower form look just fine to me, formulated setbacks kills architecture and urban planning. I hope Snohetta stays the real lead on this as SCB does not bring notable design to the table, just good working drawings and GC support on execution. Very visible site to watch. Notable design will make a difference in the sales prices here- hope the developers remembers if you want the bar high on revs you will need the bar high on design.

    Dear Developer / Build Inc: Good start, remember this is market and Van Ness, it is not a prestigious location on any level and if you want to do something “transformational” then you have to build something “transformational.”

    1. Louis – SCB has very strong designers leading the SF office; check some of their building under construction in the city (399 Fremont or 101 Polk). They also have some really cool projects in Hawaii.

      I don’t see any high rise on Snohetta website, is this why they are struggling with this one?

  14. On a positive note, this building is not guaranteed to see fruition. Or any of the bland buildings unforgivably proposed for this intersection.

    All of these proposals are coming at the peak of the cycle (real estate is yes, location, location, location but too cycle, cycle, cycle. Each location is not in the same cycle.

    Per Realty rack earlier this year, SF is the least affordable for homebuyers/renters it has ever been. Just 5 or 6 markets such in the US. SJ right up there.

    Rates are likely to rise next year making SF even for unaffordable.

    Money from China which had found a haven in SF is drying up.

    So how does this project pencil out?

    IMO it won’t happen, as currently proposed. Or the other Van Ness proposals. The SF cycle is over for now, not forever, but that will hopefully stop these mediocre at best projects from coming to fruition.

    I’ve ben steered right by one analyst and not the head of the NAR (who said in 2006 early it was the best time to buy real estate) or Schiller (who said in a 2013 debate that was the worst time to buy real estate) and I think these projects will fall to the local real estate economy.

    That is my hope anyways as SF deserves better than this. IMO.

    Rates will rise likely next year further making SF less affordable.


      1. You can go to Realty Track for affordability numbers directly. Don’t believe me by any means.

        Beyond that, if you want, I can provide a great summary of the current US real estate market. Beyond what the NRA and Case Schiller report..

        Not my summary, but one from an analyst whom I follow and have done very well with during the turbulent real estate years since 2007. As an investor.

        No misstatements. Affordability is at historic low levels in SF, rates will rise sometime next year and foreign money, mainly China, will fall off.

        Projects like One Oak will and are not penciling out as they did a few years ago. IMO.

      2. moto, Dave is misrepresenting Shiller (as well as misspelling his name). Robert Shiller had an exchange back in 2013 (namelink) where he explained his views on homeownership as an investment. He has shared his views on this before. His views are informed by data, not by Dubious Dave. Check out the namelink.

        FWIW, the US Case-Shiller is still ~14% below the 2006 peak, and that’s without adjusting for inflation. Inflation adjusted it is down ~27%. By comparison, NASDAQ is up more than 50% from the 2007 peak, inflation adjusted. And the NASDAQ has been a much better investment than US RE (on average) since Shiller gave that interview back in early 2013. Your investment portfolio may vary.

    1. Are you saying that because San Francisco is unaffordable, because it’s so expensive, people won’t build projects?


  15. What a mess. Look at the windows – the verticals don’t align. It towers over the lovely Beaux Arts building as well. Also, none of the boosters have mentioned how this is desperately needed to solve the affordability crisis in SF.

  16. Wouldn’t the views be a lot better if they pointed the 39th floor balcony in the same direction as the 28th floor “sky lounge”? That way it would point toward the SF skyline and bay. Instead it will point south toward the Mission.

  17. They don’t mention anywhere in this story that they are kicking the Rose Resnick blind center off site to build this over priced condo that no blind people can afford.

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