As proposed, the former Pacific Bicycles building at 345 4th Street will be razed and a seven-story commercial building will rise up to 85 feet in height upon the Central SoMa site, with 49,580 square feet of office space over 3,240 square feet of ground floor retail.

And as designed by Stanton Architecture, the proposed project will avoid having to vie for an allocation of allowable office space development from the city’s dwindling pool of that’s reserved for large-scale development, as per Proposition M, projects with under 50,000 square feet of office space qualify as small-scale developments, the allocation for which is not oversubscribed.

But there is another Proposition which could pose a problem from the 345 4th Street project as proposed.

While most recently used for “retail,” the two-story building on the site was built for industrial uses back in 1925. According to Planning’s recently complete preliminary review of the proposed plans for the site, it is unclear if the ownership team ever obtained a legal change of use. And if the use was never legally changed to retail, it is possible that Proposition X, which was adopted by voters in San Francisco last year and requires any demolition or conversion of existing Production, Distribution or Repair (PDR) space in the area to be replaced with like space at a ratio of .75:1, could require any redevelopment of the 345 4th Street parcel to include 7,500 square feet of PDR space as well.

All that being said, the Planning Department “appreciates that the project proposes no on-site parking” (other than for bikes) and the intent to provide a connection from 4th street to the interior of the block, but is recommending a widening of the proposed mid-block passage to a minimum of 18 feet “to allow [for] a usable and inviting space.”

14 thoughts on “Proposition Could Pose a Problem for Proposed SoMa Project”
  1. While I’m all for taller buildings and eradicating surface lots downtown, do we really need more office space here? Seems like incorporating 7,500 sq. ft of PDR would be easy and worthwhile, if not changing the rest to housing. 😉

  2. The office market is softening with tech companies in particular putting space up for sublease. The Salesforce tower, aside from Salesforce, does not seem to be leasing up very quickly. Only 40% or so of the 3 million feet coming online in the next year is leased. All told there will be 8.5 million plus feet available by the end of the year (currently vacant space, sublease and new construction) with just about 5 million feet being sought. This doesn’t count the claw building which will dump almost another million feet on the market in a few years.

    This project is particularly aimed at tech companies but, by the time it comes online, that demand may not be enough to fill up this building.

    Why not reduce the office component by 7500 feet and turn part of the building into PDR?

    Why not drop the office component altogether and build a combination of housing and PDR space?

  3. And the blanding of Soma continues. I’m all for developing this parcel but why does 90% of the architecture there have to be so terrible

  4. Usable and inviting has been repeatably found to be around 7.5 feet. Making something bigger does not make it better.

  5. Funny that the rendering is based on a google earth image, complete with horizontal distortion of the post in the foreground. Couldn’t they have sent someone out to the site with a camera to take a better quality base image?

    1. Maybe they are cutting costs. Soft costs really add up especially when it takes 10 years to complete a project in SF, multiple lawsuits, dozens of community meetings, etc.

  6. I walk by that building every day and fantasize that someone will buy it and sandblast the hideous purple paint off those beautiful old bricks and restore a beautiful and perfectly serviceable old SOMA PDR space.

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