Originally Posted by quashlo
Yes, what exactly is this building used for?
I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, though... We've got plenty of atrocious buildings here.
Hopefully, this project will help spruce up this section of Downtown and get rid of the ghastly parking lots. I for one would like to see more residential towers go in on this side of SOMA.
The building is a telephone exchange building (or a PG&E substation--I can't remember which, but it's definitely utility infrastructure) which is why its so ugly. All such buildings are pretty brutalist--no windows and such.
Actually, the location is a lot more "prominent" than you all are giving it credit for. It fills out the block of Howard St. (that would be the street going from lower left to upper right) where the new Moscone Center West takes up the rest (that's the building with multiple bay-like projections) and so is really in a perfect spot for convention-goers. Also, it's only a block from the new Westfield SF Center between 4th and 5th on Mission. Finally, my hope is that it will bring life and good things to the somewhat down-and-out stretch of Howard west of 5th.
Also, keep in mind that I have seen Planning Department documents that described Howard St. as a sort of "valley" between the taller highrises on lower Mission St. and those going up on Rincon Hill. That's why, for example, they were ahppy to approve the Foundry Square project on all 4 corners of Howard and 1st at "only" 12 and 13 floors (and expressed gratitude to the developer for not designing something taller). I wouldn't expect anything really tall on Howard (although I think one of the near-supertalls of the Transbay project may be on Howard between 1st and 2nd--if so, an anomally).