By Meghan Hall
A development that has long been in the works in San Francisco’s Lower Polk Street neighborhood has finally received the green light from the City’s Planning Commission. 1200 Van Ness, a 107-unit mixed-use project, was originally pitched in 2016. Now, after nearly five years, property owner Derrick Chang and Van Ness Post Center LLC has neared the end of the entitlements process.
Designed by architecture firm Woods Bagot, the development will also include 26,000 square feet of retail as well as 114,000 square feet of podium commercial area. Plans indicate that the commercial area will be used as medical office space.
“We listened hard to the community during the design process, and met their requests to add a vibrant mix of uses to this downtown corner: much-needed housing, but also a health center, retail, and a more welcoming streetscape with new plantings and places to sit and watch the world go by,” said Woods Bagot Senior Associate Valentino DelRio in a statement. “We were also careful to integrate the building and landscape into the historic scale and character of the neighborhood, while using historic materials in new ways to activate the street frontage.”
The residential portion of the building totals 130,000 square feet. Units will be a mix of 59 one- and 48 two-bedrooms, “low-slung” townhomes on the podium roof, and townhouse style apartments located along Hemlock Alley. Plans indicate that the townhomes will total about 2,391 square feet. Residential amenities include a rooftop garden, fitness center, 1,000 square feet of open space on the sixth-floor podium, and other various amenity spaces. A 275-car garage is also planned.
The podium of the building will include five stories and will house retail at ground level and the office space. Above, eight stories of residential uses will rise. In an effort to blend the new building into the existing neighborhood, Woods Bagot divided the podium facade into a series of bays that will be clad in “warm” terracotta. The building further breaks along Post Street, framing the main entry into the building, while the podium itself will cantilever gradually and then narrow towards Van Ness Ave. The cantilever will then reveal a double-height retail space below and an additional rooftop restaurant above.
Woods Bagot characterizes the neighborhood as “eclectic” and thus robust frames surround large podium windows. Charcoal metal frames will be used at the residential levels, and the terracotta materials used on the podium will carry–lightly–up the building as well.
The property’s owner, Van Ness Post Center LLC, has owned the property since September of 1997, according to public records. The project site totals about 0.87b acres and is currently developed with a 190,650 square foot building that was originally constructed in 1911.
The building is three stories tall and currently contains about 53,450 square feet of health services, 46,220 square feet of retail, and just under 75,000 square feet of parking. The existing structure will ultimately be demolished in order to make way for the new project.
The project site is extremely well located, just off of State Route 101 in a commercial part of town. Numerous other businesses are located in the area, including Jane on Larkin, Piccolo Italia, Kasa Indian and Ben Thai Cafe. Attractions like Union Square and Jefferson Square Park are a handful of blocks away. 1200 Van Ness is also not far from San Francisco City Hall, the War Memorial Opera House and UC Hastings College of the Law.
When the project team intends to break ground is unclear, according to Woods Bagot. Once ground is broken, however, documents indicate that construction of the development would occur in multiple phases spanning about 25 months.