The Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist has been working on plans to redevelop the Tenderloin parcel upon which their 27,000-square-foot church sits, as we first reported back in 2013.

As originally envisioned, the existing church and boarded-up storefronts at 450-474 O’Farrell Street were to be completely razed and a new 10,000-square-foot church, 6,000 square feet of retail space, and 12-story building with 97 apartments and 74 group housing units would rise across the two parcels,

But those plans have been abandoned.

Instead, the columned façade, bronze doors and oculus of the existing church are now proposed to be preserved, behind and adjacent to which a 237,000 square foot development will rise up to 13 stories in height, with a new 14,000 square foot Church; 6,200 square feet of restaurant/retail space; and 176 apartments over a basement garage for 41 cars with its entrance off Shannon Street.

And as designed by Kwan Henmi, the proposed development now includes the parcel at 532 Jones Street as well, upon which the iconic Tenderloin restaurant Shalimar currently sits, with plans for an eight-story spur and new neighborhood restaurant space connecting to the bulk of the development behind.

The development will require a detailed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in order to proceed as proposed, the preparation of which is about to get underway.  We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

33 thoughts on “Bigger Plans to Transform This Tenderloin Block and Local Icon”
  1. This could be a lot taller given it’s in a very dense area of town with some very tall buildings within spitting distance. That said, it’s not bad. It does need a LOT of work on the facade to help it blend in with the character of the surroundings. Even a brick veneer would be better and more harmonious.

      1. A translation of “80/130” for those who might not know: building up to 130 feet in height is allowed but with limitations to the bulk/mass of the structure above the 80-foot mark (as setback/sculpted above).

    1. The zoning does not allow a building to be that tall. Also, San Francisco is not a city where height limits are typically increased (they are usually lowered), and in the cases where height limits are raised, they are raised through a comprehensive neighborhood plan that takes years to draft and approve, not through spot zoning.

      So, the building will not be 300 feet.

  2. a much better proposal, imo. SHOCKING to learn that shalimar will go! i really hope they can secure a new lease in the immediate vicinity (since i live nearby). damn.

  3. I really like the blend of the beautiful old facade and the newer apartments! It would be nice to see more refreshing architectural choices as such.

    1. Indeed! This looks fantastic. Keeps the original fascade and offsets the new one enough to not make it look like a hodge-podge of styles.

  4. Can we skip the “it should be taller” comments with these Tenderloin projects? There is a pretty complete 120 ft (or less in some places) height limit covering the Tenderloin which was instituted decades ago to prevent gentrification and loss of remaining low income housing. It isn’t going away People arguing for ore height may be fundamentally correct but they are tilting at windmills, This project needs to be judged in terms of what is realistically possible and in those terms I like it.

    1. Thank you. So tired of the knee-jerk “should be taller” response to every proposal. Not every building need be tall. In fact, many great neighborhoods are *not* overly tall – from central Paris (denser than S.F., by the way) and central London to D.C.’s Logan Circle or Boston’s Back Bay – people and business flock to good, vibrant neighborhoods, not simply to where the buildings are tallest.

  5. There is such an astonishing absence of taste and sensibility in this design that it boggles the mind, as if a desperate plastic surgeon struggled to replace a severed limb with the only available disfigured substitute. Appalling architecture, appalling city planning and appalling general planning. AKA >>de rigueur<< for our sad little sell-out of a town lately, where our museum socialites are on the Trump team. Next up the "hot" authentic new restaurant in Chinatown will have a horse statue out front. Not kidding. Probably in the old Tower Records space.

    1. What are you even talking about? How much of this rampage has to do with this project? I assume your position is in line with “it was better yesterday” sort of argument? Or, perhaps the fact that a new building is being put up in place of (on top of, rather) a dilapidated church; “everything is terrible” kind of argument?

      Planning is a mess. The city is slow to move. Neither of those statements makes this an “unlivable city” and especially “lately”.

    2. Have you ever liked ANY project featured on SocketSite?

      I mean, total opposition to everything is not a real effective commenting policy.

  6. If you’re going to keep the columns, keep the wall and doorways behind them as well. A freestanding wall of columns in front of a modern glass building is just bizarre, and not in a good way. I’m sure I’ve seen an example of this, but I can’t find it at the moment…

    1. It’s one of the worst forms of “preservation” because obviously the whole building was intact at the beginning of the process. It becomes this strange artifact that serves only as an excuse for mediocre architecture. After all, why design something that is actually better than that which came before when you can just keep a few walls of the old building and call it a day?

  7. The church came to request support from my HOA a few months ago for this project. They’ve been a terrible neighbor for over a decade. Closing down the businesses around the church and leaving them vacant was only compounded by their reluctance to finally paint the wooden structures guarding the vacant buildings. They claim the refurb is part of their mission to “help heal the neighborhood”. Apparently, that would mean forgetting the slumlike atmosphere they exacerbated and encouraging people to replace doctors and medicine with faith ;-/ Please go heal another neighborhood. This one needs more.

    1. So you’re (justifiably) upset that the church let this area get trashed and unattractive … so as a result, you’re going to stymie their plans to redevelop it? (And, in doing so, insure that this remains vacant and rundown for years more to come?)

    2. Another Hamiltonite here. Agree that the church a bunch of scum bags for letting nearly the entire block go fallow but would like to see a change even though they stand to unjustly profit

  8. I love it. So many new units. It really fills in the area. Cleans it up. Improves the area. So much opportunity in the TL. All those nice old buildings. Get that bad element out of there ( no I don’t mean poor people, I mean people who break the law ) and this area could be spectacular.

  9. I like how for the new renderings they’ve removed the black wire fence that hems in the front of the church to keep the local heroin-shooting vagrants from filling up the entire porch area of the church (and pitching tents). Of course, they aren’t going to want to remove that in real life, since this neighborhood isn’t going to change without a change in SF government policy.

  10. This project will be a DISASTER for residents living in the area now:

    –2 YEARS of construction, pollution, noise.
    –It will ultimately drive up rents and displace current residents.

    While other churches in the neighborhood have opened their doors to those in need, engaging positively with the community, the CSC has not. They have gated the church and let their properties on O’Farrell wither and die. This is a cynical attempt to cash in on the current real estate boom.

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