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  #1  
Old Posted May 6, 2007, 4:13 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO | 555 Washington St | 400 FT | 38 FLOORS

This project is just announced:

Quote:
Condos to rise beside Pyramid
Aegon taps Lowe for 38-story tower
San Francisco Business Times - May 4, 2007
by J.K. Dineen



Transamerica Pyramid owner Aegon Group has tapped Lowe Enterprises to develop a 38-story condo tower on a vacant lot adjacent to the financial district landmark.

Lowe is proposing a 248-unit building that would trigger a redesign of the Pyramid Center, a complex that includes the Transamerica Pyramid, 505 Sansome St. and Redwood Park, the half-acre cluster of soaring redwoods at the northern edge of the financial district. Under the proposed project, the gated redwood grove would be expanded and opened up to the public, while ownership of the park would be transferred to the city. In addition, Mark Twain Alley, a dead-end which cuts from Sansome Street into the park, would be converted into a pedestrian piazza, with ground-floor restaurants spilling out from the new condo tower and other buildings along the alley.

Andy Segal, senior vice president for Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group, said the project "will offer desirable residences and commercial space while also contributing to the city's long-term housing, transportation and urban park goals.

"We're trying to create a real neat urban experience on the ground, to maximize the value of the redwoods and bring Mark Twain (Alley) to life," said Segal.

The proposed 38-story height is nearly twice as tall as Aegon originally contemplated when looking at the site in 2005, and a variance would be needed to build beyond the site's 200-foot height limit. Project architect Jeffrey Heller of HellerManus Architects said the Planning Department has pushed for a taller, more slender design, which would free up space on the ground for the expansion of Redwood Park.

In designing a building next to San Francisco's most iconic highrise, Heller said the design team faces a sensitive balancing act of being "respectful" while still coming up with an interesting building. Segal said the new structure would play a "suitable supporting role to the Pyramid." The design is still in its early stages.

"One thing you sure don't want to do is mimic the Pyramid," said Heller. "The building could be glassier, but there is a strong feeling that we don't take attention away from the Transamerica."

While thousands of units are under construction South of Market, the proposed tower at 555 Washington St. represents a rare chance to increase density on the edge of the north financial district, an area which boarders historic Jackson Square, and is a short walk from Chinatown, North Beach and Telegraph Hill. Other housing being developed in the area includes two office-to-condo conversions: Atlantic Pacific Partners' 69-unit project at 733 Front St., and K2K Development's Residences at Jackson Square, a 13-unit rehab of 845 Montgomery St.

The last wave of residential development in the neighborhood took place in the late 1970s and 1980s, and included the 1,284-unit Golden Gateway Center apartments, as well as 155-unit Golden Gateway Commons, and the 102-unit 101 Lombard St.

District Three Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents the area, said he supports housing on the site, but has not reviewed the details of the latest proposal.

"At 38 stories, they would be talking about doubling the current height limit," said Peskin. "I don't know -- we'll see what the neighborhood says."

Segal said a series of open houses would be held to brief community members on the project and a web site developed to keep people informed. He stressed that it's still early in the process.

"This is many, many months away from even a public hearing," said Segal.

In addition to a vacant lot, the development would require the demolition of a one-story building on the corner of Washington and Sansome that houses a Vietnamese restaurant and a photography studio. Aegon, a Dutch insurance firm, purchased the entire block when it acquired Transamerica Corp. in 1999.

Frederick Allardyce, a Sotheby's Realtor who is president of the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, a group active in the area, said he would be watching the development closely.

"The opportunity is trying to retain the character of the city's original waterfront while making it work for people living here now," he said.

jkdineen@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4971

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...ml?t=printable
There are, to my knowledge, no public renderings yet and, as Aaron Peskin's comment suggests, there's a long process ahead, but expansion of the redwood grove and creation of a real park should be powerful incentives to the "neighborhood" NIMBYs.
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted May 6, 2007, 5:53 AM
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I personally think they should not let Transamerica stand in thier way. Yes, it is a great iconic building, but that should not limit the potential of this new project. I dont think it will block too much, and even less if designed properly. I say this because they always seem to use that as an excuse to limit taller and more outstanding developlment. Here, however, that excuse does apply to a certain extent, unlike in other occations.
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Friday, April 3, 2009
Developers press plan for tower by pyramid
San Francisco Business Times - by J.K. Dineen

The Aegon Group and Lowe Enterprises are pushing ahead with a proposed 38-story condo tower next to the Transamerica Pyramid, hoping that the residential market will have bounced back by the time the highrise could be finished in 2012.

In the revised design by San Francisco-based HellerManus, 555 Washington St. would start with a rectangular base and twist a quarter-turn as it rises, morphing into a circle at the top. The design, with a footprint that is 30 percent less that the zoning allows, enables the developer to expand Redwood Park, the half-acre cluster of soaring redwoods at the northern edge of the financial district.

Under the proposed project, which requires a variance for height, the redwood grove would be expanded and ownership of the park would be transferred to the city. In addition, Mark Twain Alley, a dead-end that cuts from Sansome Street into the park, would be converted into a pedestrian piazza, with ground floor restaurants spilling out from the new condo tower and other buildings along the alley.

The draft environmental impact report on the 330,000-square-foot project was published March 25, and the 248-unit project could be before the Planning Commission for approvals in the fall.

Project manager Andy Segal said the developers have been meeting with neighbors and building support for the project.

“We challenged HellerManus to come up with a design that complements the Pyramid, that fits into the skyline and that was an attractive piece of architecture,” said Segal. “By most accounts they have succeeded.”

HellerManus principal Jeffrey Heller said the idea behind the design was to “create something with some taper and shape and reduced upper tower mass.” He said the twisting of the tower into a cylinder would “relate to the sloping angle of the Transamerica without being a mini-me.”

“You don’t want to do an intrusive box,” Heller said. “You want the silhouette of the building to become more serene and passive, subordinate and uncompetitive to the Pyramid.”

Thus far, opposition to the proposed development has been surprisingly quiet. Sarah Stocking, president of the Jackson Square Merchants, said: “I don’t have a problem with the height. I think it will help make this area a more vibrant area — the more the merrier.”
Source: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/...ml?t=printable
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 1:03 PM
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This is old but it's still the closest to a rendering I can find:

Quote:
Some Hints At What’s In The Design Works For 555 Washington



We still in need of a rendering miracle (tipsters?), but some hints at what’s in the works for the proposed 38-story residential tower at 555 Washington adjacent to the Transamerica Pyramid and by way of a tipster (and neighborhood circular):

A slender and distinctive cylindrical structure that respects the Pyramid and blends into the backdrop of taller, existing towers as seen from North Beach and Telegraph Hill.
A variety of transportation options including proximity to public transit, 75 bicycle spaces, and new underground parking to avoid burdening neighborhood parking resources.
Upwards of 250 quality new homes, including approximately 115 family units with two or more bedrooms.
Source: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2...5_washing.html

Maybe with the new BizTimes article, Socketsite will once again try to come up with something--and be successful.
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2009, 4:10 PM
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A rendering is posted on Socketsite:

http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2...he_s.html#more




as well as a link to the Draft Environmental Report which includes additional renderings:

http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfi...ngton_DEIR.pdf
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 8:02 AM
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Wow, its been almost a couple of years since the last post here, but it seems the wait was well worth it. The building is somewhat reminiscent of Calatrava's Twisting Torso, which I also very much like. I also love the Redwood Park section of the proposal. After all, we don't see as many of them as we used to around here. Great proposal though, I hope it pulls through.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 3:53 PM
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Does anyone else think it looks like a lopped-off and twisted Transbay?
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 4:30 PM
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This is gorgeous. The finest work I've seen from Heller Manus.

Another angle from Socketsite:



The thing on the right is an office alternative. I hope that doesn't happen. But I posted this not for that, but because it shows the effect on the redwood grove. It will be much more open and inviting.
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 4:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scalziand View Post
Does anyone else think it looks like a lopped-off and twisted Transbay?
Hadn't thought of that, but yes.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 9:28 PM
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I agree, this is the best design we have seen from Heller Manus yet. They continue to improve.

I also hope that this "Preferred" version is the one that gets built.

From: http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfi...ngton_DEIR.pdf

Not only do I think of the HSB Turning Torso, but I also think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I see this design.

Last edited by SFView; Apr 4, 2009 at 10:14 PM.
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2009, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFView View Post

Not only do I think of the HSB Turning Torso, but I also think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I see this design.
The two leading "what it resembles" on Socketsite were the LTP and a nuclear power plant cooling tower. One wag suggested building 2 of them as a memorial to 3 Mile Island:


Source: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...num=2&ct=image
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2009, 3:17 AM
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wow, thats hellar manus?! theyre getting better - its actually an original skyscraper design
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2009, 10:03 PM
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Perhaps Heller Manus is gaining good influence from working with other great firms like Arquitectonica and Foster + Partners, etc.
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2009, 6:06 PM
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Damn this thing is sexy. Hope the residential plan makes it to construction.
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  #15  
Old Posted May 8, 2009, 5:26 PM
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I guess the big shadow debate was yesterday. From Curbed SF:

Quote:
The star of today's show is not the Transamerica's twisty cylinder neighbor. It's the potential shadow impact of the building on on the parks to the east. Because shadows will in fact happen, and they will in fact make landfall on grass, the city had to take a closer look at the whole thing yesterday. No action will be taken until the enviro report's finalized, but we did get some solid shadow numbers from the hearing, in terms of some funky units called "shadow square foot hours." Suffice to say that in Maritime Plaza, 0.88 percent of total sunlight would be impacted, largely for two summer months after 5:45 p.m. And in Sue Bierman Park, an immeasurably small amount, possibly teasing— possibly caressing— the edge of a sidewalk. And to atone for this, the developer will expand the existing Redwood Park, renovate it, gift it to the city— and then maintain it at their cost "in perpetuity." Ah... the devil, he is a tricky one.
That's a pretty huge concession by Lowe in exchange for a minimal shadow impact. I hope it does the trick. The thing I can't figure out is how this tower can really add any shadow to these parks. At the time of day its shadow would fall in that direction, it seems it would already be sitting in the shadow of Transamerica itself. Maybe Transamerica tapers enough that parts of the top corners of 555 Wash would be getting sunlight?
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  #16  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 12:29 AM
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My understanding from watching the Joint Commission hearing on SFGovTV is the above numbers refer to the code-compliant 200' alternative. The numbers for the 415' proposed alternative would be somewhat higher - but I may be mistaken.
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted May 9, 2009, 7:23 PM
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Maybe something similar to the continental center would look good on that site.



http://www.brookfieldproperties.com/...quisitions.cfm

Last edited by Double L; May 9, 2009 at 8:30 PM.
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted May 12, 2009, 5:44 PM
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Did the Sun rise in the west today? Did anyone see pigs fly? Any reports of skiing in hell?

From SocketSite:

Quote:
A Gathering Of 555 Washington And Redwood Park YIMBY’s

A plugged-in tipster notes a neighborhood meeting this evening (5/12) to "preview" the proposed designs for 555 Washington Street and an expanded Redwood Park.

The line that caught – and almost brought a tear to – our eyes:

The Jackson Square Historic District property owners, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, the North Beach Neighbors and other neighborhood organizations are in support of the new 240+ condominiums, next to the TransAmerica Pyramid.

5:00 PM in the Small conference center building in the Transamerica Pyramid block.
Plus a new rendering of the park I haven't seen before:

Also from SocketSite.
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  #19  
Old Posted May 13, 2009, 5:05 AM
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Wait ... YIMBYs? How long have I been asleep? What year is it?
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  #20  
Old Posted May 13, 2009, 4:52 PM
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I don't know. But if I see Spock sporting a goatee, I'll be sure we've somehow entered a parallel universe.
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