The delayed 40-story tower at Oak and Van Ness, which has undergone redesigns and some financing hiccups in the last few years, is back before Planning in revised form.
As the SF Business Times reports Friday, developer BUILD Inc. wants to bump up the unit count from 304 units, at last count, to 453 units, "within a slightly modified building form." It sounds like Norwegian starchitects Snøhetta are still on board, but BUILD needs to squeeze more units in, possibly for financing reasons. The new unit mix would be 12 studio units, 157 one-bedroom units, 160 two-bedroom units, and 24 three-bedroom units.
The project has been in planning stages now for about seven years, with Richard Meier initially signed on as architect for a more starkly designed tower. You may recall that an initial rendering by Snøhetta garnered some laughs on Twitter because its central cut-out looked unmistakably like a big mouth. Back in January 2020 we learned that BUILD was looking to potentially sell its entitlements for the project, which were set to expire last year, but they got them extended to 2022.
Now, it's back to the Planning Commission for all new entitlements, since this marks a significant reimagining. 18 months ago, BUILD had indicated that the project did not "pencil," meaning that it would not be profitable given the unit mix, rising construction costs, and the city's affordable housing mandate.
Meanwhile, BUILD has just won approvals for this 27-story project on Stevenson Street, the alley between Market and Mission. The residential tower, situated between Fifth and Sixth streets in SoMa, is going up on the site of what's currently a surface parking lot that belongs to Nordstrom's.
Rendering by Snøhetta