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Old Posted Jan 29, 2004, 3:10 AM
FourOneFive FourOneFive is offline
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Some news on 201 Folsom and 300 Spear:

S.F. supes OK huge Rincon high-rises
4 buildings double area housing units
Suzanne Herel, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
2004 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback | FAQ

Developers who want to build four residential high-rises in the Rincon Hill area, more than doubling the housing units in the neighborhood and changing the city's skyline, won initial approval Tuesday from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

After listening to several hours of comments by the public and city planners, the board voted 10-1 to lift height and density zoning restrictions, thus paving the way for the project, which could go up in three to five years.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano opposed the changes.

"To the developer, I say: 'You have won the battle, but you are going to lose the war,' " said an animated Ammiano. He also faulted the city Planning Department for an "orchestrated, fairy-tale, Disneyland presentation."

The board will take a second and final vote next Tuesday.

Support for the complex was led by Supervisor Chris Daly, who represents District 6, where the towers would be built. In recent weeks, Daly was successful in requesting new benchmarks from the developers to increase the number of affordable units by about 50 percent.

Together, the developers of 201 Folsom St. and 300 Spear St. would offer up to 332 units for low-income households, Daly said. Current city requirements call for 235 such units.

However, the bulk of them would be provided off-site, which critics say defeats the purpose of trying to integrate low-income families into the mix.

Still, Daly said, "This is the highest community benefits offer I've seen up to this point."

Daly has become such a supporter of the project that he spent Monday night bartending at a pro-Rincon Hill development party at the Gordon Biersch Brewery.

Developed by Union Property Capital and Tishman Speyer Properties, the projects consist of 35- and 40-story towers to be set on parking structures, themselves six to eight stories tall. Combined, they are expected to house up to 1,640 units.

The towers are the largest yet proposed for Rincon Hill, a former industrial district near the Bay Bridge where about 1,400 apartments and condominiums have been developed since 1985.

The tallest building in the area rises 27 stories.

The height now being allowed worries critics who want to preserve views and are concerned about the impact on projects elsewhere in the city.

"We don't know what value we're going to deliver to the developer," Ammiano said.

According to the developers, the Rincon Hill towers would provide $11.2 million in new property tax revenue for the city annually, about $3.1 million in fees to the public schools and more than 250 permanent jobs.

The construction of the buildings also is expected to employ about 3,200 workers.

In addition to the residential portion, the projects would offer "neighborhood-serving retail" along Folsom Street.

At first, four supervisors argued that the issue was too important to be voted on by the full board without the input of the Land Use Committee, which hadn't gotten a chance to consider it before it got pulled back to the full board.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who chairs the Land Use Committee, said that it hadn't been looked at because of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and that the issue had been yanked and forced to a vote as a result of "incredible political pressure."

Jim Chappell, president of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, spoke in support of the zoning changes, as did others wearing stickers reading, "Don't delay, housing today!"

The projects will bring needed housing, good union construction jobs and new taxes, he said.

So, it looks like the projects are going to be approved next week. As I said in the California thread, San Francisco is about to get 2 400 foot towers, 2 350 foot towers, and 1600 housing units in one fell swoop.

BTW I included new/ updated renderings of 201 Folsom/ 300 Spear as well as renderings of the Transbay project.
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