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  #81  
Old Posted May 21, 2013, 6:42 AM
minesweeper minesweeper is offline
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I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet. It looks like the building height may be reduced by 40 feet:

Quote:
In response to the concerns regarding shadow raised by the Board of Supervisors, the Project Sponsor has
proposed reducing the height of the proposed tower from a maximum roof height of 520 feet, to a roof
height of 480 feet. The sculpted roofline shown in the previous iteration of the project would be retained,
with the top of the mechanical penthouse reaching a height of 510 feet. No other changes to the tower
envelope or architectural expression are proposed. The reduction in tower height would also reduce the
number of dwelling units from a minimum of 162 units to a minimum of 145 units. As a result of the
reduced height, the Project sponsor is no longer seeking approval of the “office flex” option described in
the April 11 staff report.
Before and after:



Here's a close up of the tower base and side of the Aronson Building:



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  #82  
Old Posted May 21, 2013, 1:23 PM
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I'm pretty ignorant of the shadow effect but it doesn't seem like 40 feet would do much.
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  #83  
Old Posted May 21, 2013, 8:51 PM
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A height reduction? The only thing this city does well anymore is expanding the gap between our professed values and actual outcomes.

"To save the environment and promote walking, cycling and public transportation, we must construct dense residential and office towers in the most walkable, bikeable areas with the best access to public transportation--like Mission and Third."

How about a highrise residential tower at Mission and Third?

"The shadows, THE SHADOWS!"

*puke*
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  #84  
Old Posted May 21, 2013, 11:34 PM
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That really is poor implementation of a very important policy objective. Who are the goofs who keep getting it wrong? Planning department? Board of Supervisors? Community groups?
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  #85  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 12:02 AM
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I hope they don't go through with the height reduction. So pointless. I'm willing to bet that any shadows cast on union square from the 550' version are minuscule and only occur in the morning too. Same deal for the adjacent plaza, though with quite a bit more morning shadow hitting it (though who cares, there's an unshaded park, literally right across the street). The environmental impact report was already certified by the planning commission though, so wouldn't that mean that the "shadow allowance" for union square and the adjacent plaza hasn't been exceeded? Shadow impact would be something that's looked at in an EIR, right?

Strangely, socketsite hasn't mentioned this anywhere, and they just reported yesterday that the planning commission would be voting this week on whether to raise the height limit or not at that location...so I take that to mean the height reduction will only happen if they decide not to raise the height limit. Or maybe socketsite just never got word of that PDF that mentioned the possible height reduction, and it's already been decided that the height will be reduced? But they're usually on top of things, and it seems like they would know if that were the case.
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  #86  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 1:29 AM
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Anyone know what Millennium Partners picked up the land for? Either way, considering these are luxury condos and a significant portion of the investment is a public gift, the developers only have a couple hundred units to make their money, if that, depending on the allowed height. I'm starting to get the picture of SF NIMBYism and it's pretty extreme. Seriously, what is the difference between 480', 520' and 550'?? Also, SF developers are already forced to contribute more than I have ever heard of to the city. It's almost as if developers are doing charitable work, but making money at the same time. The impact fees, the public spaces, the donations to various charities and community groups, etc all add up to a heft portion of proceeds. Neighbors and commissioners should not be complaining or over penalizing the developers considering that they already demand an arm and a leg and a kickback and a pot of gold just for the ability to allow a private entity to build something new on a site.

As has been stated, consider that without these developers the planners' dreams of housing all of the increased employment beneficiaries and the retail and the cleaning up of the streets would be nonexistent. The plans that the city puts forth would never come to fruition. Of course the minute that any barriers to entry via regulations/NIMBYism are relaxed, those who paid thousands of dollars a land foot for entitled parcels will scream UNFAIR as land prices come down due to greater ease of development.
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  #87  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 2:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simms3_redux View Post
Anyone know what Millennium Partners picked up the land for? Either way, considering these are luxury condos and a significant portion of the investment is a public gift, the developers only have a couple hundred units to make their money, if that, depending on the allowed height. I'm starting to get the picture of SF NIMBYism and it's pretty extreme. Seriously, what is the difference between 480', 520' and 550'?? Also, SF developers are already forced to contribute more than I have ever heard of to the city. It's almost as if developers are doing charitable work, but making money at the same time. The impact fees, the public spaces, the donations to various charities and community groups, etc all add up to a heft portion of proceeds. Neighbors and commissioners should not be complaining or over penalizing the developers considering that they already demand an arm and a leg and a kickback and a pot of gold just for the ability to allow a private entity to build something new on a site.

As has been stated, consider that without these developers the planners' dreams of housing all of the increased employment beneficiaries and the retail and the cleaning up of the streets would be nonexistent. The plans that the city puts forth would never come to fruition. Of course the minute that any barriers to entry via regulations/NIMBYism are relaxed, those who paid thousands of dollars a land foot for entitled parcels will scream UNFAIR as land prices come down due to greater ease of development.
EXCELLENT post simms, thank you for being a voice of reason. The extent to which SF demonizes and extorts from private business never ceases to amaze me. It's almost as if they won't be satisfied until they succeed in killing the Golden Goose that feeds all of their pet projects.

And before anyone rushes in to point out how much SF is booming right now please don't bother, whatever growth happens in this town is absolutely IN SPITE OF all the artificial hurdles the city government creates and is simply a testament to how unique and desirable San Francisco is, independent of the ill-advised "progressives" who run it.
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  #88  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 2:17 AM
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^Don't blame the planners--they work toward goals set by the city. It's the politicians who allow dumb arguments--the shadows, the SHADOWS!--to win the day who deserve the blame. Did you know the Board of Stupervisors can override the Planning Department? Yes. They. Can.
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  #89  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 3:04 AM
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No argument here, I totally agree that the politicians are by far the main problem. I don't want to go off-topic but look at Mid-Market, you could argue that the primary reason it's been a "dead zone" for so long is that supes like Chris Daly and his ilk mercilessly blocked any attempt at gentrification there for years.

And what has been a major driver in the recent renaissance of that area? Daly finally got termed out, the Mayor and Board turned a bit more business-friendly and decided to throw companies a bone (for once) by offering the Payroll Tax break and voila, Twitter moves in almost immediately and we're off to the races!
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  #90  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 3:35 AM
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^^^Yes, and fflint, totally meant supes versus planners...I get everyone on the public side confused. Thanks for the clarification.

Honestly, I wish someone with development experience in both cities could compare SF to NYC. In my 5 months here, I have heard some of the most trivial arguments against proposals for fully entitled lots. Shadows. Wind tunnels. Blocked views (well I have heard that from richies in every city I have been in). List goes on and on and on.

To me, if the supes grant entitlements for a lot, then aside from legitimate design issues there should not be this much pain for stakeholders and the county's largest taxpayers to further boost the tax rolls. It's hard enough getting entitlements...but then the fight to actually build something is FAR from over. The legal hurdles for developers looking for ways to contribute to supes'/politicians' pet charities and indirectly to their campaigns is atrocious, all so they can boost their chances or their timetable for development so they lose less money while sitting on their incredibly expensive entitled lot, which is waiting for development/redevelopment.
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  #91  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 3:56 AM
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The mayor is weak. That's what it boils down to.

And it's not about laws or charters. Any mayor can grant themselves powers via executive orders.

One of my favorite stories is how Mayor Daley of Chicago handled a decrepit building that was proposed to be demolished for new development but which was arbitrarily deemed "historic" by some "concerned citizens."

He had it bulldozed in the middle of the night so that there would be no demonstrations. In the morning, it was gone. Now there was nothing left to fight about. (Pagoda Theatre is calling...)

Willie Brown had similar strategies while developing the AT&T Park area. He was actually a quite effective leader at getting what he wanted done.

A mayor is elected by the majority of the citizenry. It isn't right that a city official elected by a few thousand people can block or destroy development that is to benefit the entire city.

Lee and Newsom have been very fragile leaders on a whole string of issues. They were and are afraid to stand up to the (and I'll be nice here) "fringe" element of San Francisco which is far from the majority, yet which always manages to make that city a laughing stock on a national scale with their insane policies.
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  #92  
Old Posted May 22, 2013, 4:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simms3_redux View Post
Seriously, what is the difference between 480', 520' and 550'??
On our side, the perverse difference is whether we create another (semi) table top group of buildings, or vary them more in height like the Transbay and Rincon Hill developments. I always thought it would be a miracle if this tower were actually built to a height of 550'--call if a symptom of living here so long.
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  #93  
Old Posted May 24, 2013, 4:19 PM
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Another hurdle crossed, a couple more to go:
Quote:
Mexican Museum, condo project get key city sign-off
By: Chris Roberts | 05/23/13 9:06 PM

The plan by Millennium Partners — which built the nearby Millennium Tower as well as the Residences at the Four Seasons — to construct a 510-foot building at 706 Mission St. was approved by the Planning Commission by a 4-3 margin Thursday despite concerns about parking limits and the “piecemeal” way The City enforces a limit on shadows cast by tall buildings.

[...]

Residents at the nearby Four Seasons building have vowed to sue to get the project reduced in size — down to 351 feet tall — so that it does not cast a shadow. A city analysis found that a 351-foot tower would not be “financially feasible.”

[...]

The project must clear one more hoop at City Hall before construction can begin. The Board of Supervisors must approve a zoning amendment to allow a taller skyscraper in the area with a 400-foot limit. A vote on that amendment, which would create a special-use district, is scheduled for June.
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  #94  
Old Posted May 24, 2013, 9:53 PM
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Those wealthy four seasons NIMBYs are a bunch of self-entitled assholes.

"boo hoo, only we are allowed to live in a shiny new downtown San Francisco highrise and have nice views wahhh wahhh wahhh"

Hopefully their silly lawsuit gets thrown the hell out.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2013, 3:51 AM
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If the Mexican Museum Tower is going to be shortened to 351' roof then I hope the architects include an ugly structural 'ornament' to still block the views of every Four Seasons resident, which tops out at 431'. Something nice and shiny that helps with the shadow problem and which shines right into the Four Seasons.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2013, 7:55 PM
minesweeper minesweeper is offline
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It looks like the next showdown on this project is scheduled for next Tuesday, July 9th, at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

They are voting on whether to hear an appeal by the Four Seasons residents, and also whether to approve or reverse the previous approval by the Historic Preservation Commission.
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  #97  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2013, 4:50 AM
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Is anyone willing to spend the time and be the voice of reason/sanity?
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  #98  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2013, 6:56 PM
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it's a tough one. on the one hand, i want to say that the board won't reverse it based on the insane amenities being furnished by the developers and the complex deal-making down the line to get it to this point. usually, this is a rubber stamp-type place in the chain. however, one ought never to under-estimate the suasory power of a gang of committed obstructionists. at any rate, this one will probably end up on the ballot as "save yerba buena gardens" or something. maybe even a full blown parks shading measure. (hah, or the full don fisher "protect our views"-type thing.)
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  #99  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2013, 2:34 AM
minesweeper minesweeper is offline
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Well, the July 9 decision got postponed two weeks, but it sounds like the Board of Supervisors approved this project yet again yesterday.

According to David Campos, the Yerba Buena Alliance, and SF Gate it was approved unanimously yesterday.

I guess that just leaves the signature gathering/proposition as the only remaining impediment.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2013, 4:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minesweeper View Post
Well, the July 9 decision got postponed two weeks, but it sounds like the Board of Supervisors approved this project yet again yesterday.

According to David Campos, the Yerba Buena Alliance, and SF Gate it was approved unanimously yesterday.

I guess that just leaves the signature gathering/proposition as the only remaining impediment.
That could be a huge impediment that we would need to actively fight; from the way I see it, that proposed proposition could affect many other projects too.

If it gets to the signature gathering stage, ask people not to sign it!
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