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  #21  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2006, 8:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTinSF
Land availability being what it is downtown, there have been other "alley" projects. The approx. 50-story "Century" that was briefly under construction before the Board of Supervisors grabbed it by eminent domain because it was thought to be incompatible with the TransBay project was also in an alley between Mission and Howard Streets.
Yeah, a lack of space is certainly a limiting factor. Perhaps with all the construction going on, maybe some of these alleys will be much improved.
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  #22  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2006, 9:11 AM
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The building's most famous feature is the skylit garden court, which the architecture guide Splendid Survivors calls "an example of Parisian opulence equal to almost any contemporary space in Paris."
Thought it might be worth a few pics for anybody not familiar with it (I love it so much I used to take my Mom there for lunch whenever she visited):






Last edited by BTinSF; Nov 20, 2006 at 8:44 PM.
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  #23  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2006, 6:32 PM
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I was wrong about the location of the garden court, by the way. I believe it's that slice of glass just peeking out to the left of the two barrel-shaped atriums.
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  #24  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2006, 4:19 AM
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Its been a long time since theres been any word of Palace Tower. Have they released any renderings, or are they still in the planning / talking phase?
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  #25  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2006, 6:08 AM
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Read the BizTimes article again, man, with attention to this: "Charles Chase, executive director of San Francisco Heritage, said he has seen the renderings of the proposed development and has 'nothing but enthusiasm' for the design." If he's seen the renderings, they exist. But as far as I know, they haven't been published, though, if they've been submitted to the Planning Dept., I believe that would make them a matter of public record. If you must see them, go down to Planning and ask.
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  #26  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2006, 10:38 PM
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when is the earliest the renderings could be released?
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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 4:31 AM
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Its been over a month since the last post. We still have no new news over this proposal, or any renderings?
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  #28  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2007, 5:34 PM
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there are renderings for the palace hotel tower which were shown at a public exhibit hosted by SPUR. i don't believe they have been made available to the media otherwise...
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  #29  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2007, 7:58 PM
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Photos

These are some pictures I took of the more recent low-rise addition to the historic hotel that would be removed to build the tower.





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  #30  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2007, 9:55 PM
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^ the ground floor facade would actually stay though, which is historic - although the actual designation of the historic resource is fairly cleverly worded to allow future development on that corner.
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  #31  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 6:19 AM
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Wow, I sure hope to see some renderings! Could shape up to be a very interesting project for the city.

keep us updated!
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  #32  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 6:54 AM
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It's nice to see you guys in S.F proposing buildings taller than 300'. I've never been to your city, but would certainly like to visit. Question though...
I know that there are no renderings yet available, but seeing as the developers have filed this information with the city, have anyone been to the Department of Planning or whatever you have in S.F to collect those documents? Here in Chicago, if zoning or something needs to be changed, developers file their proposals with the Department of Planning & Development, and those documents are available to the public. They usually include renderings and landscaping plans.

Good luck with this tower. Will continue to check this thread for updates and renderings.

Also, who is Sue Hestor? Please excuse my ignorance in asking, but as I mentioned, I don't visit S.F threads often. From the tone of the comment though, she sounds like a hard ass NIMBY. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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  #33  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 7:08 AM
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Originally Posted by BVictor1 View Post
It's nice to see you guys in S.F proposing buildings taller than 300'. I've never been to your city, but would certainly like to visit. Question though...
I know that there are no renderings yet available, but seeing as the developers have filed this information with the city, have anyone been to the Department of Planning or whatever you have in S.F to collect those documents? Here in Chicago, if zoning or something needs to be changed, developers file their proposals with the Department of Planning & Development, and those documents are available to the public. They usually include renderings and landscaping plans.

Good luck with this tower. Will continue to check this thread for updates and renderings.

Also, who is Sue Hestor? Please excuse my ignorance in asking, but as I mentioned, I don't visit S.F threads often. From the tone of the comment though, she sounds like a hard ass NIMBY. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
quite often no documents are available to the public until the draft EIR has been published, which usually does not include renderings, but will include plans and elevations. the required visual simulations often come later, but by this time most developers would have put the word out. in the case of a project like this, it has such potential for controversy that i'm sure the developers are keeping a tight lid on things until they've lined up all the political support they need. this is, after all, a building more than twice the height limit adjacent to a historic resource.

as for sue hestor... well, the less said the better. she is a vehemently anti-growth land use attorney / activist whose battles date back to the anti-growth legislation and height limits which stifled development in the 1980s and to a lesser extent the 1990s. she has been known to speak negatively about nearly ever conceivable project and visiting planning department hearings to listen to her 'comments' on projects can be quite... entertaining.
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  #34  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 12:00 AM
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I think Sue Pestor has had her day in the sun. Public opinion is now against her and all for high- rise development.
He logic is extremely innacurate and dangerous. The kind of growth that downtown is promoting is very smart, because it will give more people access to what they need and want within walking distance, and will also prmote more efficient public transportation. It will also help take this GOLIATH off our backs I like to call "rent," in a more perfect world we would have an over abundance of hi- rise residential units, taking the squeeze off the market and making housing more AFFORDABLE!
What exactly is she fighting for in this case? It most certainly can't be tenant's rights. Is it to preserve the precious views of her rich friends? Frigid B!t<h
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  #35  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BVictor1 View Post
Also, who is Sue Hestor? Please excuse my ignorance in asking, but as I mentioned, I don't visit S.F threads often. From the tone of the comment though, she sounds like a hard ass NIMBY. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
A tale of Sue in her prime:

Quote:
Squinting one's eyes halfway closed last Thursday evening at the Arc, a SOMA center for the disabled, one might have perceived two shadowy sumo wrestlers squatting side by side. Their rain-making bulk might have seemed enough to crush any of the people in the room, but they would mostly have appeared concerned with each other. They'd have gnashed and puffed and murmured until their eyes bulged, as though pure, telepathic social aggression could shove the opponent out of the ring.
Squinting even further, right to the point where the most acute seeing is done with the mind, however, one might have seen these sumo silhouettes reach out and tenderly touch each other's index fingers. The fingers might have intertwined, separated, then traced paths up each other's arms until both bodies were entirely dedicated to smothering, loving embrace.

Unfortunately, if one were to have sat with one's eyes wide open, as I and around 100 bystanders did at the "Neighborhood Planning and the Future of SOMA" event held at the Arc Thursday night, one would have seen anti-development attorney Sue Hestor and builder representative Joe O'Donoghue sitting seven feet from each other in classroom chairs, blustering and hostile, as part of a panel on growth issues.

"I have so many boxes of files on the South of Market planning process that I couldn't possibly bring them all here," Hestor boasted, reminding her opponents that when it comes to boxes of paper, Hestor's bulk flattens all opponents.

"What we can do is develop programs to help SRO owners to upgrade their property with low-interest loans, zero property taxes ...," said O'Donoghue, giving renewed notice that when there's a possibility of wresting cash from flawed public policy, the president of the Residential Builders Association is a champion of lucha libre.

As the most outspoken opponent of live-work lofts, tech-firm offices, and other new structures in San Francisco, Sue Hestor epitomizes evil for O'Donoghue and his allies. As the representative of the Irish-American developers who construct live-work lofts and other buildings, O'Donoghue is Great Satan for Hestor and her anti-growth ilk. But it became clear, during Thursday evening's volley of claims, counterclaims, and other self-interested nonsense, that behind the rancor is love. I don't mean romantic love, though there's deliciousness in fantasies of Joe and Sue finally hooking up. Nor do I mean agape, the Greek word for spiritual love. I'm referring to ecophilia1, nature love: a deep, unspoken appreciation for all that gives us sustenance.

Ecophilia causes the heart of the most hardened city dweller to lift upon seeing weeds poke through cement; it's an emotion that accompanies realization of the connectedness of all life.

In a similar way, Hestor, O'Donoghue, and the rest of the pandering politicians, trembling civil servants, ill-informed neighborhood kibitzers, and self-aggrandized professional agitators present at Thursday night's event seemed to revel, to be overcome with emotion as they drew sustenance from their own life-giving ecosystem.

This politico-natural world has its own taxonomy. Some beings pose as "housing activists" and "anti-displacement activists" while helping to create and continue a "housing crisis" and a "work-space crisis" that, supposedly, cause waves of evictions of indigenous residential and commercial tenants. Examples of the activist species at Thursday's forum included Supervisor Chris Daly, who moderated the event, and housing activist Debra Walker.

Other beings, notably O'Donoghue and his cronies, pose as champions of free- market solutions to our housing shortage, while richly benefiting from a shortage that is driven by politics, rather than market considerations. O'Donoghue's phylum now has its sights set on the 15-year, $75 million to $95 million redevelopment district in the slums along Sixth Street, already a rich humus of political motives and financial rewards.

Outside the warped ecosystem of San Francisco land-use politics, none of these animals could exist. If an errant meteor were to suddenly destroy the canopy of bogus economic postulating, corrupt political cronyism, and cynical political mau-mauing that protects planning politics here, these people would become instantly irrelevant; their world would be cinders, and in their hearts, they know this. So while Hestor, the no-growth lawyer, and O'Donoghue, the builders' frontman, are enemies in name, their hearts are (or certainly should be) filled at bottom with pure, ecophiliac love.

Sue Hestor has cause to feel confident. She is, right now, at the top of the political food chain.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has just passed legislation that creates a development ban in the city's Mission District. The ban satisfies Hestor's decades-old fight to stanch construction in San Francisco. The Mission measure is drafted along the lines of last fall's failed Proposition L ballot initiative. It places a one-year moratorium on the construction of new lofts and tourist hotels, requires that large commercial projects receive special permissions, and bans all apartment construction unless one-quarter of the units in a building are rented at a subsidized rate. The measure effectively prohibits housing not built by politically connected nonprofit builders, or by private developers with the political juice to obtain government-subsidized financing.

This development ban makes sense if one understands that the careers of Hestor, many of the people within the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition (which backed the measure), and scores of activist hangers-on depend on a "housing crisis." They are professional helpers of people in danger of losing their homes; their livelihoods disappear when San Francisco has available, cheap housing. So they pass development moratoriums such as this, which keep housing expensive and unavailable, and keep the crisis that only they can fight going. And going. And going.

During the next few weeks, the city Planning Department will be working up a neighborhood plan for the South of Market area. The plan was, in fact, the topic of Thursday's meeting. For most of its history SOMA has been a nasty, crime-ridden industrial zone riddled by a spattering of tiny alleyway housing districts. Despite a recent surge in live-work loft housing development, SOMA is still mostly a foul place -- four-lane, one-way streets, dilapidated sweatshop buildings, iron-barred apartment windows, row after row of slum hotels. Current zoning, you see, reserves much of the area exclusively for light-industrial use.

Given the city's continued massive demand for new housing, the district could become home to tens of thousands of new apartments, grocery stores, parks, shopping districts. A simple stroke of the pen eliminating the industrial distinction could create a beautiful San Francisco-style neighborhood in the warmest, flattest, nearest-to-downtown region of San Francisco. But "housing activist" types, including Hestor, have made preserving this squalid industrial zone a rallying cry. The reasons for this insistence on decay are difficult to fathom when considered on purely economic or social-justice terms.

By preventing developers from buying property in this district and making it into shops or housing, the industrial-zone distinction essentially creates a low-rent subsidy for auto repair shops, furniture factories, sewing sweatshops, metalworking shops. Without this subsidy, these businesses could not pay prevailing rents in the area; they would move, and the area would become a neighborhood, complete with housing that would lower rents citywide. The current cycle of housing scarcity, where the wealthy cannibalize middle-class housing, middle-class apartment seekers cannibalize working-class housing, working-class people cannibalize SRO hotels, and SRO dwellers are forced into the streets, might be broken, or at least interrupted. The resulting lower residential rents would make it easier for people of lesser means to live here, and in turn make it possible for businesses with lower-wage employees to locate here.

Historically, however, Hestor has adamantly opposed allowing a zoning change that would accommodate a rebirth of SOMA because, she maintains, such a move would drive out small light-industrial businesses, such as auto repair shops, that now populate the neighborhood.

Opening the Sixth Street area to real economic competition, however, is not necessarily at the top of the agenda for Hestor's nemesis, Residential Builders Association President Joe O'Donoghue, either.

A building boom that focused on SOMA housing, you see, wouldn't necessarily benefit the RBA, even though the group's members have built more than half the city's new housing during the past three years in the form of live-work lofts. RBA members' status as S.F. builders of choice has depended on the exploitation of a massively profitable loophole in the building code. The lofts that resulted from that exploitation -- squat, ticky-tacky quasi-workshops -- were marketed as luxury apartments, and for a while they sold, given the absolute scarcity of any other type of apartment in the city. This bizarre state of affairs -- where RBA builders were able to sell the city's worst apartments, in the city's worst neighborhoods, for crazily inflated prices -- was aided by the efforts of housing activists who claim to despise live-works. By campaigning to keep industrial zones in SOMA, Potrero, and the Mission, the activists allowed RBA builders to rake in tens of millions of zoning-loophole profits.

Without the industrial-zoning controls, this usuriously profitable situation would have disappeared; the potential for building significant amounts of housing here would have attracted builders of national repute, forcing RBA builders to compete on business, rather than political, terms. And the steel-framed, multistoried apartment buildings that would make SOMA a great neighborhood are generally beyond the capabilities of the RBA's small-time developers.

But if the industrial zoning stays, and Joe O'Donoghue is successful in winning contracts for his RBA members to construct a small amount of housing in the Sixth Street redevelopment area of SOMA, the builders will make a housing-market mint. If development moratoriums and outdated zoning classifications prevent new housing construction, the few units that do get built in protected enclaves of San Francisco's political ecosystem will command top dollar.

Still, San Francisco's "housing activists" have made preserving the industrial-zone distinction their life's work. Subsidizing light industry preserves the city's "economic diversity," they say. It prevents "economic monoculture." It bolster's San Francisco's "economic health." "What we need to do is protect the business in the area from displacement," Hestor said during her talk Thursday.

Never has so much ill-informed economic punditry been performed by so few: To say San Francisco needs subsidized auto body and auto repair shops inside the city limits -- just when the city desperately needs to discourage car use -- is the worst sort of hogwash. And to put forward the idea that San Francisco needs subsidized furniture factories or sewing shops in order to maintain its economic vitality would guarantee any student an "F" on a college Economics 1-A exam.

But like strip-club patrons who say they've come for the chicken wings, the ecophiles of San Francisco claim they wish to aid S.F.'s business climate and quality of life, when they're actually perpetuating a system that sustains them.

Lest one doubt this is all about love, it's useful to squint one's eyes at Joe O'Donoghue's www.rbasf.com Web page (then open one's eyes all the way to make sense of the site's awkwardly small font). There, an item from the Irish Herald lauds Chris Daly, the supervisor who never met a no-growth advocate he didn't like, Sue Hestor's pocket ally. The Herald also quotes Daly speaking thus: "I like Joe. I agree with Joe about some things and disagree with him about others. But it's important to work together."

No doubt.

1 This word isn't in the dictionary. It was coined in a pinch by an SF Weekly theater capsule contributor.

Source: http://www.sfweekly.com/Issues/2001-...mith_full.html
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  #36  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:09 AM
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What a bitch.
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  #37  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 8:08 AM
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Oh, yeah, I forgot, the citzens lives and the politics of the city revolve around the homeless, the unemployed, and the auto repair shops.

If this sounds insane to you, well, this is the case. Your tax money is used to keep you paying the outrageous rents you are paying by promoting the squalor that exists in SF. Why did the idiot residents of SOMA vote Daly back in? He is such a nutjob crybaby spoiled pig brat.
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  #38  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 8:14 AM
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Why did the idiot residents of SOMA vote Daly back in? He is such a nutjob crybaby spoiled pig brat.
You think it was the "idiot residents of SOMA" or the idiot residents of the Tenderloin? I'm in District 6 but in niether of those neighborhoods and I didn't vote for him, but it doesn't surprise me a lot of people did. District 6 contains an overwhelming majority of renters and his kind of politics plays much better with renters than homeowners. I consider that another reason to support all the condo-building going on in SOMA now. It could prevent another Daly from being elected in the future (Daly himself should now be termed out).
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  #39  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 8:31 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
You think it was the "idiot residents of SOMA" or the idiot residents of the Tenderloin? I'm in District 6 but in niether of those neighborhoods and I didn't vote for him, but it doesn't surprise me a lot of people did. District 6 contains an overwhelming majority of renters and his kind of politics plays much better with renters than homeowners. I consider that another reason to support all the condo-building going on in SOMA now. It could prevent another Daly from being elected in the future (Daly himself should now be termed out).
Why do renters think he is on their side? What has he done to reduce rents? Not allowing housing development keeps rents increased. Do the residents of his district recieve rebate checks in the mail every month, or am I missing something? SOMA has some of the highest rents in the city.
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  #40  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 8:55 AM
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^^^I don't fall for his spiel but he claims to be a "tenants rights" guy and be on the side of the "little guy" and all that. People who don't follow politics closely or who think of themselves as "progressive" buy it. Don't ask me why. But there's a lot about San Francisco politics that makes little sense to me--such as how the city's Democratic machine keeps getting its chosen candidates elected and re-elected year after year, election after election, in spite of the fact that all most of them really care about is self-preservation.

Did you see today's Chron wherein it is said that Gavin has turned to his "mentor, John Burton" for advice. Now I like Gavin, but if ever there was a political hack looking out for himself, it's John Burton--he who cut the size of the UC dorm building in Mission Bay for the votes of Potrero NIMBYs.

Boy, are we off-topic. Sorry.
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