As the proposed 36-story Renzo Piano tower to rise at 555 Howard Street is being designed to meet LEED Platinum standards, its processing has been fast-tracked by Planning as a “green” development.

And as the 555 Howard Street site sits within the boundaries of San Francisco’s Transit Center District Plan, for which a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has already been approved, the proposed tower is eligible for a streamlined environmental review, the certification of which was just approved as well.

We’ll note that the 405-foot tower’s proposed construction, which would take around three years to complete, calls for a reinforced mat foundation that is between eight and twelve feet thick. Driving piles down to the bedrock below is not proposed nor required.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Robert Smith

    “Driving piles down to the bedrock below is not proposed nor required.”

    What could possibly go wrong?

    • Posted by Blue

      To give the designers credit, this is a very different geological condition than Millenium. This is on the flank of Rincon Hill, with Franciscan Complex a short distance below surface…with that said, piles are always preferred.

    • Posted by Orland

      PR nonsense over science. Yeah, what could go wrong?

    • Posted by more housing please

      Nothing of course!

  2. Posted by 101

    Is this the maximum allowed height for the building within the SF Transit District?

    [Editor’s Note: The Plan To Transform San Francisco’s Transit Center District (and building heights).]

  3. Posted by Hunter

    what’s going on with that corner parking lot across from LinkedIn? And the other between Howard/Mission across from Adolf Gasser photography? Surface lots in such a dense area are insane.

    [Editor’s Note: Redevelopment of Prominent Parking Lot Parcel Delayed.]

  4. Posted by Joshua Goldstein

    Here’s to hoping that this building is never in danger of having something fall off of it during construction.

  5. Posted by Mark

    Oh look! More tiny balconies that no one will ever use.

    • Posted by Dave

      That and an absolutely unimpressive design. On a good note, based on the linked map above to height limits in the Transbay area, it looks like there won’t be many more bland towers going up – given that most sites have been built upon or accounted for such as this site and Parcel F.

    • Posted by Metroliner

      I think that building is not part of this project. This one doesn’t seem to have any outside areas other than the podium deck and the rooftop.

    • Posted by anon

      One of the greatest benefits of a balcony that faces the right direction is that it blocks direct sunlight – which means you can have your blinds open much more of the time, which, after all, is the entire point of having room with a view in the first place.

    • Posted by Peter

      I would never want to live in a high rise without at least a token balcony to step out and see if I need a jacket, before going all the way down to the lobby.

      • Posted by SoBayNative

        Amen. Or to just step out into the air.

      • Posted by Mark

        Uh, there’s a weather app for that.

        • Posted by Frisco

          And who needs windows? There’s a light bulb for that.

    • Posted by Joe

      Those balconies are from a different project – the one that just had the scare about falling concrete

    • Posted by SFRealist

      If you don’t want to use a tiny balcony I’d suggest you don’t buy a place with one.

      Some of us like them

  6. Posted by ananimal

    Jaywalking or running the red light? Nice building, tho.

  7. Posted by donjuan

    Since it has the public roof space (unlike ALL the supertalls in the area), they should upzone this to at least 600 ft so it can see over the FiDi buildings and give the public a nice view of the Golden Gate.

  8. Posted by Kento

    Yes build it! I’m planning on living in the building being built at transbay block 9. This will be a perfect addition to the booming area. I am so excited for this area once it all gets built up!

    • Posted by Mark

      I hope you take full advantage of all the fantastic restaurants and shops in the TTC, as well as the new fabulous park.

  9. Posted by Sabbie

    Are these more offices, who is going to rent them? Vacancy rate is already up a couple percent and there are 3 million more square feet coming in 2017 alone. And companies like Xero are looking elsewhere like Denver because San Francisco has cannibalized its quality of life.

  10. Posted by jamesjr


  11. Posted by Rob Silver

    I’m sick of all glass towers. The skyline will start to look bland if they don’t start mixing it up (i.e. masonry, concrete, steel). The design for this tower is pretty uninspired. Renzo Piano’s work is very overrated. He ruined the Academy of Sciences in the park.

    • Posted by eflat

      Amen on the Academy of Sciences…..totally uninspired with a food court in the middle and a silly roof that’s hard to decide what’s wrong with it other than it is just boring and unattractive. Very limited exhibitions, the basement aquarium is cramped and seemingly half the size of the old one. Preachy exhibits that are boring….

    • Posted by Matt M

      Could not disagree more on the Academy of Sciences. One of my favorite buildings in the city. I marvel at it every time I visit. Kids and families love the place.

    • Posted by Anon123

      Never been to the old Academy of Sciences but took my kids to the new one a few years ago – we all loved it.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      The Academy of Sciences is fascinating.

      • Posted by Orland

        But the building is pedestrian.

        • Posted by Dave

          The whole area is a missed opportunity – including the elevated park which has been value engineered down. The stream running its length was a selling point of the project, but its been eliminated.

          The saving grace would be to retain the smaller structures in the area such as the buildings in the foreground of the rendering. More glass towers such as this will just worsen things.

          • Posted by Joe

            more doom and gloom please.

        • Posted by SFRealist

          Pedestrian in your opinion. And yet wildly popular.

    • Posted by Orland

      So true on the surplus of boring green-glass towers. The Infinity, Lumina and 399 Fremont together are an irreversible blunder.

  12. Posted by pablito

    I like how the crosswalk pavement in the rendering is all cracked and uneven. SF – we have fancy new 400′ tall buildings, but the City government can’t be bothered to keep the streets paved downtown….

  13. Posted by keenplanner

    Rather bland design, but better than most of the Heller-Manus monstrosities. Piano usually gives good detailing, where the devil is.

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