88 Bluxome Street Site

As we first wrote and ruffled some feathers with respect to the half-block San Francisco Tennis Club at 645 Fifth Street when the Bay Club was sold to York Capital Management and San Francisco-based JMA Ventures in 2014:

“While plans for the Bay Club’s clubs have yet to be announced, we’d be willing to bet that plans for developing the 645 5th Street site were central to the acquisition, especially in light of the fact that San Francisco’s pending Central SoMa Plan could up-zone the Tennis Club site for development up to 200-feet in height.”

And as we added when the preliminary plans for razing the Club and constructing a five-story building with 369,000 square feet of office space and a 25,000-square-foot fitness club with four outdoor tennis courts on the western fourth of the newly dubbed ’88 Bluxome Street’ site were revealed last year:

“We fully expect a “phase two” plan to build higher across the site will eventually come to light. And we’d bet against the four tennis courts surviving as proposed.”

Yesterday, a revised plan for two towers to rise on the site, with 750,000 square feet of office space, a recreation and child care center, and 50,000 square feet of PDR space – but no tennis courts – was submitted to the City for review.  The new plans include deeding a fifth of the site to the City for the development of up to 100 units of affordable housing as well.

Ten years ago, Pulte Homes had planned to build over 500 condos on the Tennis Club’s Central SoMa parcel, but those plans were withdrawn in 2008 with the economy turning and club members having organized to Save [Their] San Francisco Tennis Club.

An opposition group formed by club members dubbed ‘San Franciscans for Sports and Recreation’ is leading the charge this time around.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by skyscraperluvr

    Won’t somebody think of the rich people??

    • Posted by Notcom

      Laugh if you will, but think of the carbon footprint if “job-creators” are forced to jet to wherever for a weekend of tennis (or at least sitting courtside and chatting).

      • Posted by info

        The vast vast majority of the members who play tennis there now already are driving from all over the City and outside the City as well. This is not really a neighborhood venue. It is where it is because it was cheap industrial land with easy parking when it was built and no one lived nearby. Hence also the fortress design of the facility. Moving it somewhere else in or out of the City won’t really change the travel behavior of the members, just adjust it. The Bay Club is not going out of business. They presumably will want to find or build alternative or new facilities for their members.

    • Posted by Elitist Pig

      Not to mention the carbon footprint of these rich people cutting down trees and paving a portion of their massive estate to build their own tennis court. It’s much more efficient to have a tennis club, imagine if all the members had to build their own court. This is such a shame.

    • Posted by frog

      There are lots of people making between 100 and 250k a year who like sports but won’t be owning a tennis court or a sports franchise anytime soon. Is this particular space a good use for a tennis club? At one point it was, but now it may have a better use. However there is a giant different between the rich and the RICH that a lot of this 1% madness seems to be blurring.

  2. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Next is the forming of opposite groups called “San Franciscans for neighborhood gas station”.

  3. Posted by Mark

    People will adjust by driving to the burbs to partake in their activities.

    BTW-the proposed development will be replacing one group of rich people with another.

  4. Posted by anon

    So, someone who pays a few hundred a month to play tennis is rich, but someone who spends the exact same amount per month on throwaway junk at the mall or on Starbucks and fast food is poor. That’s an interesting perspective.

    • Posted by Some Guy

      And it’s a valid one. There’s no way to legislate good spending habits.

  5. Posted by Lewd (but not crude)

    anon- you need to say more. Your viewpoint is dead on. Not popular but valid.

  6. Posted by Jon @ SFBARF

    5000+ jobs. 100 units of housing

  7. Posted by Orland

    5M; Flower Mart; First/Mission; now this.

    Prop M looms large.

    • Posted by Orland

      Might have added 4th/Harrison and the varied proposals to fill out Central SOMA as well.

  8. Posted by Sam

    This is an ideal place for market rate housing, no bay views where international investors buy. It’s a tragedy that no one thinks about the urgent need for market rate housing. Yet all the politicians claim to care about housing construction and housing affordability. This office proposal will make my neighborhood more of a commuter hell. Hypocrisy is the paramount value in this town.

  9. Posted by bobby

    agree with anon completely – there are plenty of members of tennis clubs who give up things like travel, eating expensive meals out and other things so they can afford the $200 a month or less to be a member so they can enjoy their hobby. Public courts are few and mostly in poor shape (not to mention there are no indoor public courts). I know members there who are far from rich.

  10. Posted by iwastherebear

    $10K divided by 12 months is $833 a month – quite a bit more than the $200, or even “a few hundred”, a month some of you are throwing out… The fact is: a half city block sized brutal fortress containing a private club for 12 tennis courts and parking is a terrible use of valuable urban land in this day and age.

    • Posted by maybe/maybe not

      You can be a member there and pay less than $200/month. I’m pretty sure most members aren’t paying $833/month or anything like it. Still, admittedly, it’s a private club (though hardly elitist in the cigars and scotch way), and one can feel that such things need to make way.

      It’s a fair debate about “best” use of any site, but IF there’s a value for an indoor tennis facility in SF, holding on to this one is a reasonable fight, since there won’t be another. The fatalist in me says that the partners in the deal (including ownership of the Bay Club) will prevail, but for several thousand folks in the Bay Area, that will be a loss. The “progress/build it/housing at all costs” faction of SocketSite won’t find that compelling, and perhaps it’s not. But these kinds of losses change the character of a place and the community of a place and can lead to the loss of whatever it was, besides a job, that attracted folks to that place.

      Not saying this is the end of SF, or something to be mourned over much – but I’d prefer to see it stay.

  11. Posted by Frog

    It is a poor use of land near a major train station. But many people are making the point that tennis isn’t some uber-rich sport. This is certainly a land use issue, but it’s not some 1%er class divide thing.

  12. Posted by Pablito

    From an urban design land use perspective – the San Francisco Tennis Club is a blight on the SOMA landscape. It’s a tilt up concrete warehouse box fortress. Even the nearby Costco has much more pedestrian friendly architecture. It’s hard to imagine a worse building.

    The lost recreation use? The City needs to step up to the plate – quit stealing our tax money – do its job as a local government – and buy some SOMA land and build some parks. The carwash at the corner of 6th and Harrison would be a good place to start.

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