A 61-story mixed-used tower planned for the Transbay District's Parcel F — the largest of the remaining projects in the district not yet underway — just won a key approval at the Planning Commission on Thursday.
The building, only known now as 542-550 Howard Street (or Parcel F), is set to be the fifth-tallest building in the city at 800 feet tall, or 750 feet not including the mechanical features and crown. The only taller buildings will be Salesforce Tower (1,070 feet), the under-construction Oceanwide Center (910 feet), the TransAmerica Pyramid (853 feet), and the zig-zaggy 181 Fremont (802 feet). And it recently faced some shadow objections from Chinatown activists, which as the SF Business Times reports, have now been resolved.
The activists were objecting — as San Francisco groups are wont to do — that the new tower will cast a shadow on Willy "Woo Woo" Wong Playground from 8 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. between November and late January. The Business Times says the two sides "reached an agreement" about this issue, but the Chronicle reports that the 20 minutes of shadow for those three months "falls within limits allowed by the 2011 Transbay plan." The Chronicle also adds that some kind of financial payout may have been arranged to the Committee for Better Parks and Recreation in Chinatown, as has been done by previous Transbay developers to make shadow objections go away.
Architects Pelli Clarke Pelli, the same firm behind Salesforce Tower, designed this square tower with a kind of complementary square crown. Salesforce has also already inked a lease for the 15 floors (325,000 square feet) of office space planned in the new tower, and the rest of the building will contain a 189-room hotel and 165 condos. As part of the project deal, the developer, Hines, will fund 337 affordable units elsewhere.
Hines was also the original developer of Salesforce Tower, though most of their interest in the project was sold to Boston Properties in 2013, just as construction began. Hines acquired Parcel F along with Urban Pacific Development back in 2016 for $160 million, as the Business Times explains.
The massive project now heads to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. Once completed, along with the under-construction, likely-to-be-renamed Oceanwide Center at First and Mission and several other projects still underway, the downtown skyline's decade-long transformation will be complete.