Once again, as we revealed at the end of last year, a modification to the approved plans for Related California’s 365-foot-tall tower to rise on the parking lot parcel at 98 Franklin Street, at the intersection of Oak, was in the works, a modification which would increase the tower’s height to 400 feet and yield 385 market-rate residential units, up from 345 apartments which were to be a mix of market rate and below market rate (BMR) units as approved, along with 85,000 square feet of space for a new French American International High School within the tower’s 5-story podium, 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, and a basement garage for 110 cars.

As we outlined at the time, a building permit for the development had already been requested but was on hold pending approval of the additional height and plans, with San Francisco’s Planning Department having subsequently amended the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed tower, clearing the way for the additional height.

A Development Agreement and plans for the taller, 100 percent market-rate tower have now been formally approved, an agreement which includes the dedication of the razed parcel at 600 Van Ness Avenue, which was previously entitled for a 168-unit development, to the City for the potential development of affordable units, at some point in the future, in lieu of including any BMR units in the tower at 98 Franklin Street; a waiving of some standard impact fees; and a five year window within which to break ground versus three years as typically approved.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

11 thoughts on “More Height and Time for Market-Rate Hub District Tower Approved”
  1. 5 years since announcment and now 5 more years in which to do something…or nothing. I’ll check back in in 2028 when the now-approved-for-950-feet tower get until 2038 to break ground. (2018’s enfants should be thru Le Lycée by then)

    1. our kids in french american, but in elementary. HS still 7 yrs away. will be interesting to see if she actually starts in this building

  2. Uh huh. Last time this project was featured here, I wrote:

    Related is one of the most sophisticated operators in the S.F. real estate “game”…even if the modifications to the building permit and the change for a 100 percent market rate building are approved, I fully expect them to sit on this project and not proceed to break ground in the next three years while they sit back and see if enough white collar workers return to office buildings in this area and want to minimize the time they spend commuting to pay top dollar for housing.

    And of course, now they have 5 more years instead of just three, which tends to support the notion that they have no plans to break ground anytime soon.

    Planning needs to switch to a “tough love” policy and tell developers like Related to start painting, or get off the ladder.

    1. And make room for all those ready-and-waiting brush holders?? While I agree SF’s entitlement system lends itself to gaming, at the moment I think there may be an actual shortage of stakeholders willing/able to start things. Presuambly that won’t be the case for the (whole) next five years, but at least a while.

      1. This is a fair point, I concede the timing now isn’t great. They should have put something in place at least ten years ago. But better late than never.

    2. Even Zoom is requiring workers to return to the office.

      Within 5 years I predict most of the Covid-teleworkers will be back in their offices, at least on a part time basis.

      1. Sort of: “Zoom recently announced its new “structured hybrid approach,” requiring employees to return to the office at least part-time.” So will DTSF be 40% full…or 60 % empty?

      2. Zoom like others have been laying people off recently. RTO is added as a tactic to try make people leave on their own. Work still needs to be done – if it can be done remotely, you see a shift to low cost places. So even if there’s another dotcom style big boom coming, there’s a chance much of that would bypass SF.

    3. Your assesment is correct re Related. But they rate high in skills and high in resources. i.e. They are the first developer likely to be able to star something llike this. If Planning bumps them aside, they will only trade down to someone lesser. whats the point of that, really?

  3. The headline for this post should have been ‘Market-Rate Hub District Tower Farther from Reality‘.

    I think asking for an approval to modify the project to the taller, 100 percent market-rate tower was a pretty cynical ploy by the developer to get more time to sit around (“…a five year window within which to break ground versus three years…”) and decide if they want to flip the entitled project in a few years. In my mind, the chances they will actually break ground in the next three years are about the same as that proposed 50-story residential beachfront tower on Sloat Blvd. in the Sunset District getting approval and a building permit during the same time period.

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