The Hub Heights: Existing

San Francisco’s Market Street Hub Project, which could lead to number of significant zoning changes which would allow for the development of more height and bulk in the area around the intersections of Market and Van Ness Avenue and South Van Ness and Mission, is officially underway.

The Hub Heights: Current

In exchange for increasing the number of “affordable” housing units to be built, the proposed height limits for the area, which currently max out at 400 feet, could be raised to 500 feet for the 10 South Van Ness Project and up to 520 feet in height for the City’s parcel at 30 Van Ness.

And while not rendered in the images above which were prepared by Planning, nor any of the other recent presentation materials, the corner parcel at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, upon which an 8-story building currently sits, is proposed to be rezoned for the development of a tower up to 600 feet in height, which would make it the visual hub of the neighborhood.

The Hub Heights: Proposed

59 thoughts on “San Francisco’s Hub Heights 2.0 and Potential 600-Foot Tower”
    1. Agreed, taller is better, but I wonder if developers will be required to do some wind mitigation? Just walked down the block across from 100 Van Ness yesterday, and the wind tunnel it’s created is insane. Add 4 – 5 similar towers and the environment would make a terrible pedestrian hub.

        1. Clearly you don’t spend much time in this area. The wind can be super gnarly coming down Fell/Oak onto Market. I’ve seen being people get blown off their bikes.

          1. I remember riding the 8 Castro trolley bus outbound years ago. Passing the Merchandise Mart, a little old lady was literally holding onto a tree for dear life as her feet were lifted off the sidewalk due to the wind tunnel effect in that area. I’ll never forget it.

        2. You obviously don’t spend anytime in the neighborhood. My bf lives at 145 Fell. The wind is out of control.

        3. I live in the innerSunset… I have to keep practically everything nailed-down due to the wind. When you are surrounded by water that is just the way Mother Nature manages things. Perhaps Hunter should move to Phoenix!!! ???

      1. I’ve heard of some places that don’t only have wind. They also have snow. Human beings wisely never live in those places.

    2. Ditto to that! In fact, up to 700ft would be even better if 40% affordable housing is brokered in return.

    1. The market bounced back and VC’s raised another billion to distribute, so we likely won’t see any serious correction for at least 18 months.

  1. Would be nice to see this part of town become more than just a visual hub…how about a commercial/residential and transportation hub?

    Nix Van Ness BRT and extend BART from 16th/Mission to a Van Ness station and up to the wharf. Build more commercial space to entice businesses to relocate from other parts of the city. Add retail that doesn’t shutter by 6pm so that residents have somewhere to eat or something to do other than retreat to their respective apartments/condos after they come home or on weekends. Integrate the area with existing arts near Civic Center to create a more robust arts district, as well as tie in with adjacent neighborhoods, like Hayes Valley and Upper Market.

    Make the hub a true destination.

    1. god, i hpe both Van Ness BRT and Geary BRT get nixed. they are hoorible projects for very little gain. Keep the street space and build subways. on both van ness and geary. sorely needed

        1. agree they are ignoring the impacts, the lacking infrastructure, and the overall district-wide concerns of major development in terms of seismic safety, and livability post EQ…

  2. I’ve heard that at least three of these buildings will not be built at the up-zoned height because the developers are moving forward with smaller buildings because Planning has been taking so long to get this process started. Not to mention that even when the study is actually completed, there is the risk that it won’t even be approved… This will be a lost opportunity, IMHO.

    1. I’m sure the developers would wait for an extra 15-20 stories of units. That alone would buffer their margins quite a bit.

    2. I’ll also add that no one owns the 500 ft or 600 ft plots of land yet. That’s probably the biggest addition to the hub plan.

  3. Hopefully the height increases will not be approved.

    Didn’t the nearby neighborhood agree to some height increases here? Does this not go beyond what they agreed to?

    IMO, if the increased heights get approved, the surrounding neighborhoods should put forward an initiative blocking the height increases.

    1. No such thing as neighborhood elections, putting it up to a vote for the whole city “Should the city allow increased affordable housing with the upzoning of towers in a downtown central location surrounded by subway transit near the heart of the city and by other towers of similar height” doesn’t really sound like a winning initiative?

      1. I’m not opposed to the height increase, but I think you underestimate opposition to “luxury housing” if spun well. Remember how far 8 Washington really was from the waterfront.

        The number of people who actually live in the City and vote in elections is the important issue here, and I think the majority of voters don’t see themselves getting into those buildings and therefore can be easily convinced to oppose them.

        1. If they work in significant affordable housing as planned, the politics gets reversed. Hundreds of affordable housing advocates will accuse near by ‘rich people’ of blocking development for selfish reasons. Look what happened to 160 Folsom. The nay-sayers are being categorized as wealthy condo owners trying to save their views while current BMR owners are pleading for it to pass. I think the city found a political loophole to increase density.

          1. Perhaps. 8 Washington DID try the “providing affordable housing” line and still didn’t win, AND its opponents were tarred as rich people wanting to protect their views and fancy tennis club. And still lost. And 160 Folsom isn’t being put to the ballot.

            But agreed that the package of community benefits, including affordable housing, is what helps win the politics

          2. Well 8 Washington didn’t have BMR on site. This could be the key to getting new height increases from here.

          3. Why are you guys in such a tizzy over a non-existent election? Dave’s just blowing his usual pipedream.

      2. That is probably because it would be called the Preservation Of San Francisco Culture & Architecture Ordinance.

      3. Well in essence there are neighborhood elections based supervisor districts. And the choice of supervisor can have a significant impact on development in the neighborhood [e.g. see Chris Daly]

    1. Yep! This part of town has some of the ugliest buildings in the city. It could definitely use an upgrade.

  4. Market/Van ness has been a wind tunnel forever. I doubt any amount of “mitigation” can change that – short of semi-enclosing the sidewalks.

    The wind issue is one of the factors which, IMO, will keep the area from developing a vibrant retail presence.

  5. Re: wind. It could be a lot worse, like downtown Buffalo (love those winds coming off Lake Erie!). Question is, what do other large cities with wind issues do successfully to mitigate the problem and make the area more hospitable?

    1. Build Inc. is taking some interesting approaches for wind in India Basin through building orientation, street design, and strategic screening to have it pass above the street. Can’t eliminate it, just reroute and manage it.

      1. I just walked down Michigan Avenue today….packed with pedestrians, and no wind to speak of. In fact, I cannot think of another American street that so successfully combines architecture, shopping, landscaping, and dynamic pedestrian activity. What is surprising to me is that the auto traffic does not take away from the experience, and this made me wonder why we are so quick to point to cars as being the problem to San Francisco’s pedestrian no-go zones.

        1. Michigan Ave is loud and unpleasant for hanging out on. It’s fine as a traffic sewer (ped and auto), but that’s it. I’d equate it to an inferior Champs de Elysee or a superior Van Ness. It’s clearly better than what we’ve managed in SF for that kind of street, but it ain’t first in class.

        2. i also love Michigan Ave and think its a great pedestrian experience. However, you got lucky with the wind. I was there just 2 weeks ago and 30 mph blowing of snow down michigan. it can often be howling wind. However, the atmosphere makes up for the weather most of the time.

        3. I agree Michigan Ave can be a great urban pedestrian experience. Regarding the wind, what can make Chicago the “Windy City” are the prevailing westerlies off the plains. Michigan Ave happens to be oriented north-south thus avoiding the kind of wind tunnel effect of many of our streets which enhance the gusts off the Pacific.

          1. Orland Chicago isn’t named the Windy City because of the wind. It’s after politicians. It’s not even considered a actual Windy City. San Francisco has more winder days then Chicago. Look it up

  6. I remember a really bad wind tunnel was when I worked as a valet downtown on Leidesdorff and Sacramento St. The gust was one of the worst I’ve experienced. But Fox Plaza is easily the worst.

  7. This is so depressing. The minute I saw the bs planning stuff about re-imagining the newly christened ‘hub’ I knew it was smoke for something bad. Its turning San Francisco into that awful portion of Wilshire Blvd in LA around the Hustler Building, where you walk down alleys and behind the ugly towers are regular little neighborhoods. Like something you would see in Guangzhou, China. But SF?

    I find it hard to believe that this will achieve anything except really really ticking off voters who will swing us back to the bad old days of Chris Daly & Co. Sad and awful.

    1. FWIW, under Chris Daly SF approved the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, the Rincon Hill Plan, and Trinity Plaza just to name a few.

  8. sadly the needed transit improvements to accommodate all those people will be bitterly opposed by old cranks and white people, so enjoy the traffic nightmare you’re going to have there. Boo transit! boo moving people around from their high rise hives! build build build!!! if you don’t sonja trauss will send you a mean note on the internet!!

    1. I know a lot of white people who live in high rise “hives” and support improved transit projects. Would you like an introduction?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *