The designs for a six-story hotel to rise behind the historic Art Deco façade of the Central SoMa garage at 224 Townsend Street have been drawn and proposed. But the City isn’t digging the plans.
As designed by Stanton Architecture for Stonebridge Reality Advisors, which is in contract to purchase the property but hasn’t yet closed on the sale, a new six-story, 105-room hotel would be constructed behind the garage’s façade, a facade which was built in 1935 and is a contributing element to San Francisco’s South End Historic District Addition.
From the architects of the project:
“This new portion of the building will be set back approximately 21 feet from the Townsend Street so that the entire ornate portion of the existing building will continue to read as a distinct entity [and a] new wall will be set back approximately 18” from the Clyde and Ritch Street facades.
The new portion of the building will be approximately 55 feet in height with the massing tapering back from the adjacent side streets to furnish sunlight access to the public right-of-way. Two valet street spaces off of Townsend street will serve the hotel.”
And from San Francisco’s Planning Department to the development team in a letter mailed last week:
“The Department supports the retention of the two-story portion of the building with the Art Deco façade. However, the project retains only the historic façade and does not attempt to integrate the subject building and its character‐defining features into the new development in a coherent manner.
The building massing needs refinement to address historic preservation issues. Given the surrounding historic district, which is identified as a Priority Resource in the Central SoMa Plan, the proposed height should be reduced in height and bulk. A five‐story vertical addition is not compatible with the double‐height one‐story massing of the rear portion of the building, since the new addition overwhelms and dominates the existing one‐to‐two-story building.
In addition, the stepped massing on the fourth and fifth floors is not compatible with the surrounding district, which possesses a boxy massing with no upper‐story setbacks.”
Also noted, the “bay [window] projections are not characteristic of the South End Historic District Extension” and should be eliminated, perhaps along with the wood siding, which “is not a characteristic of the surrounding district, and appears incongruous with the surrounding buildings.”
But the Department does support “the lack of off‐street parking and loading.”
We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in as the plans are refined or fall apart.