850 Bush Street

San Francisco’s Planning Department has finished its preliminary review of the proposed plans for adding five new floors and twenty one-bedroom apartments atop the historic Key Klub building at 850 Bush Street which is located within the Lower Nob Hill National Register Historic District and is currently home to Hopwater Distribution.

From Planning:

“Due to the subject property’s historic status, the Department requests that the project provide a more substantial setback of the five-story addition from the existing one-story commercial building at the front property line. The addition should read as a separate building, not complete the streetwall and be compatibly designed (materials, fenestration, etc.) with the Historic District.”

And in fact, “the Department may request a setback of up to 35′ from the front property line.”

In addition, while the proposed design for the addition touted “vertical steel guardrails at projecting balconies [to] create a visual tie-in with the pattern of fire-escape balconies,” as “fire escapes and balconies are not character-defining features within the Lower Nob Hill NRHD, the Planning Department recommends that the project instead explore the inclusion of bay windows,” feedback that a number of plugged-in readers saw coming.

8 thoughts on “Pushback on the Plans to Build atop Hopwater’s Historic Home”
  1. While we await more detail on why this building is historic, it should be noted it is – was – “Klub” not “Club”

    [Editor’s Note: Good catch, since updated above.]

      1. So then it’s a District rather than an individual designation ??
        If so, the proposal must present (something of) a quandry since the existing building isn’t an “apartment hotel”…I guess the “look and feel” of the area is coming into play, or the idea that it provided services for said buildings.

        But I’m still unclear on why a new building – built to the streetline and incorporating tropes like bay windows and cornices – doesn’t fulfill the purpose of maintaining neighborhood character.

      2. Thanks for the link. The description of the District in the Summary (if accurate) certainly lends support for the notion of need for great care in any new building/alterations. I’m not sure I’m convinced the proposal does not do so.

  2. I am not a historic preservation nut (for Petes sake, this whole town is recent) but I’ve always liked that old building and its sign.

    1. I say no. It’s historic. We have enough building going on in the city! If it’s not affordable, go somewhere else and leave the neighborhood alone! It’s doing fine without your penthouses!

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