1298 Howard Street Site

Speaking of major developments on Howard which could be approved next week, the refined plans for 124 apartments, over 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail/restaurant/commercial space and a basement garage for 71 cars (and 188 bikes) could be approved to rise up to five stories in height on the Western SoMa site which is currently occupied by the gas station, Burger King and Starbucks combo on the northeast corner of Howard and Ninth.

In the works since 2014, construction of the project as proposed should take around two years to complete as proposed.

That being said, Chevron’s current lease for the 1298 Howard Street site runs for another two years as well. And there’s the possibility of an extension (or two).

And yes, the gas station site – which San Francisco’s Planning Department authorized for future development nearly twenty years ago – is only zoned for development up to 55 feet in height.

50 thoughts on “Plans for Prominent SoMa Corner Slated for Approval”
  1. The developer is in a “sweet spot” insofar as the Chevron lease runs two years. Revenue will be coming in. If the market is down in two years, about which time the entitlement will be close to expiring, they can up the lease for two more years. They’d have to come back after that to re-entitle is my understanding.

    Or perhaps the developer will put the entitled project up for sale?

        1. How many gas stations are even left in SF these days?

          30 or maybe even 20 by the end of 2017?

          I have tried to count things with Google and it sure doesn’t look good for people or businesses with gas using vehicles in SF. Pretty soon SF gas stations should be able to just charge whatever they want as there will be no other choices for people.

          1. SF has about 50 gas stations, per the cheap gas pricing sites. nobody buys gas or coffee or avocado toast or … in SF, too expensive.

    1. Wonder why we don’t have the small single pump stations under buildings you see in Europe and Japan? They are part of convience stores on the first floor in dense parts of cities

      Sure we have zoning issues for start.

      1. Regardless of how many gas stations are in the city, gas will undoubtedly be cheaper in Antioch, and anyone who lives there would obviously fill up there too.

    1. Garage for 71 cars but no gas station in sight. So we encourage cars on the one hand but don’t provide for their services on the other.

      1. No gas station is sight? There’s a station at:

        Tower Car Wash (Misson & S. Van Ness)
        Harrison & 8th
        Harrison & 6th
        Folsom & 5th
        Bryant & 4th

          1. There are 5 gas stations along the 16th Street corridor between Guerrero and Potrero, and another at Mission and 14th. Even with the projects you’ve mentioned, it’s still disingenuous to say there are “no gas stations in sight.”

  2. I wish it was taller but I think it’s much better than what’s there now. And I’m noticing that there seems to be a theme of these types of developments in SoMa, maybe it will be like what they are planing in Barcelona. I know it’s a dream but I can see the potential with these types of housing developments and SoMa’s existing grid.

  3. They need to learn that large blocks don’t work, they need to break up the masses and utilize taller towers with carved spaces and levels. Too big and box like, hire Renzo piano to do some micro-towers…

    1. totally agree. this looks like a communist housing project. 3-4 buildings wtih varying heights of 5 floors to 20 floors would be perfect.

  4. How about a building with a color palette that doesn’t include that ugly, overused, and soon-to-look-horribly-dated pumpkin orange color?

    1. Yes! Those stupid orange accents are my pet peeve. One building with them is interesting. We seem to have hundreds.

    2. Indeed! Thankfully they can repaint those panels, but they are still an eyesore when new. I can’t understand the obsession with them.

  5. This building will probably need to be torn down in 25-30 years for a larger structure to accommodate the only growing population. Would be better if the Planning department has a little foresight and allow highly urban properties like this to be developed to their fullest potential.

  6. Twitter, Dolby, Square headquarters and two subway stations all within a two block radius. Housing shortage so bad studios in area rent for nearly $4k. And we waste the space on this stubby five-story building. The Western SoMa height limits are an outrage.

    1. Yes and no.

      SF’s population is projected by some to top out around 1 million in 20 years or so. There are 64K units in the pipeline which would house potentially 128K residents. The current population is around 860K so the projected growth is pretty much accounted for in the pipeline projects.

      SF is already the densest city on the West Coast. Without any height up-zoning of Central SOMA, the needs for housing can be met and especially if the 2/1 jobs/housing ration planned for Central SOMA is dialed back to 1/1. Allowing for the construction of more housing in that area.

      SF is not going to up-zone areas much beyond where it is today. The era of hi-rises is coming to an end as available sites zoned for 30 stories and up dwindles. The voters won’t allow more expansion of tall buildings into areas like Western SOMA IMO. Expect push-back on the Central SOMA plan and Hub 2.0 – the latter especially as neighbors were promised Hub 1.0 would be it for increased heights and reluctantly agreed to support the original plan and now they are betrayed.

      This building is squat as noted and the way around that would be a modest height increase (to 8/10 stories) on some square blocks as long as the 5 story squat box is not replaced by an 8/10 story one. In other words large setbacks and ground level open space in return for a modest height increase.

      Central SOMA does not need 30 story towers. Why not up-zone two blocks to 15 stories instead? Keep the area mostly 8 stories with some 15 story buildings to provide context.

      Could the Western SOMA plan be tweaked? Sure – as long as the tweak does not increase maximum heights to more than 8/10 stories.

      1. Central SOMA, as well as many of the other major corridors throughout SF, could definitely use some well-planned, mixed height. However, you face major opposition from the various NIMBY groups (does Geary sound familiar?). Building more housing units and commercial spaces are one thing. Having the local communities support and the infrastructure to handle the development are essential to making it successful.

      2. Western SOMA is a post-industrial wasteland. The auto shops and warehouses are no longer needed and occupy probably the last realistically developable land for high rises in SF. The lack of inventory is what keeps SF unaffordable and in a perpetual housing crisis. The city won’t even allow developers to build in the Financial District anymore, and SOMA is filling up. The 20 year projection for housing is accentually just playing catch up for the last 3 decades of zero housing being built. I guess we will have to sacrifice realistic necessities so San Francisco can portray to the world a snow globe image.

        1. SF added about 38 thousand housing units over the last 20 years (1996-2015 inclusive), per SF Planning Dept. I guess some have to sacrifice realistic facts to portray a post-truth caricature.

  7. There is not even an attempt anymore for builders to do anything unique or distinctive in SF. Anyone who travels on business literally sees swill like this in hamlets in Mississippi and Texas. Our city government has utterly failed to protect and enhance what made this city unique in the world, instead cramming it with computer generated carbon-copy ugly condo’s and apartments. Its criminal.

  8. Wow. I worked on putting the SBUX into that development back in 1998 when it was “Andretti Petroleum”. Man I’m old.

  9. This is rather a drab box for a prominent site. Would love to see something a bit…. BETTER. And as others have said this site would lend it to be a bit taller but not just a taller box.

  10. anyone know what happened? the site is now surrounded by drug dealers, zombies, junkies and more.

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