By Nancy Amdur
Following the recent opening of its Lumina luxury condominium project in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, New York-based developer Tishman Speyer has submitted an application with the city’s planning department to build another residential tower in the district.[contextly_sidebar id=”xHRo43dccUxiGS7Z4eDa6wg2LGzpvqFY”]The project, which was first reported by the San Francisco Business Times, calls for demolishing an existing one-story retail structure at 655 4th St., which now includes The Creamery coffee shop and Iron Cactus Mexican restaurant, to make way for an approximately 449-unit residential building with nearly 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The 400-foot tower would sit atop an 85-foot podium at 4th and Townsend streets and include two below-grade levels with 97 parking spaces, according to the company’s application for preliminary project assessment. Construction costs for the 41-story building are estimated at $190 million, the application said. The company originally proposed two towers covering this site and a neighboring parcel but revised its plans to include just one at the Creamery site, according to a source with knowledge of the plans. Tishman Speyer declined to comment on the project.
One possible hitch in the proposed project is that it falls within the city’s Central SoMa area, where zoning now caps building heights at 85 feet and does not permit residential or office use, said Steve Wertheim, a project manager at the San Francisco Planning Department. So as it stands, the Tishman Speyer project would not be permitted to be built. However, the city’s planning department is working to complete a revised plan for this district that would change the zoning to mixed-use office, which allows residential use, Wertheim said. The Central SoMa draft plan’s environmental impact report also is considering raising building height limits to either 320 or 400 feet. A draft EIR for this plan is under way and the updated Central SoMa plan is expected to be adopted by the end of this year or early 2016, Wertheim said.
Tishman Speyer is exploring an arrangement with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. to provide the project’s off-site affordable housing requirements at 5th and Howard streets, the application said. The nonprofit affordable housing developer acquired the 31,000-square-foot parcel in 2009, and the land now carries surface parking and two low-rise commercial buildings, according to the neighborhood development corporation’s Web site. Carl Shannon, the developer’s San Francisco-based senior managing director for Northern California, in October said the company is working with the neighborhood development corporation to build 190 affordable housing units at 1400 Mission St. as part of its Lumina project agreement with the city.
Tishman Speyer’s four-building, 656-unit Lumina complex at 201 Folsom St. has received swift interest since sales began in late September. Available inventory in its Main Street plaza building sold out, and more than 100 residences in its 37-story Main Street Tower D are sold, Tishman Speyer reported. Sales in the 74-unit Beale Street Plaza C building started this month.
The company also last week announced it leased 9,500 square feet on the ground floor at Folsom and Main streets to gourmet grocer The Market on Main. It will be operated by The Market company, which is slated to open a 22,000-square-foot flagship store in the Twitter building at 1355 Market St. this month. Tishman Speyer also developed the 650-unit Infinity condominium building across the street from Lumina in 2008 and 2009.
Other goals of the city’s revised Central SoMa plan are to support transit-oriented growth and improve streets with additional open space, according to the planning department Web site. The district, located at 4th Street between Townsend and Market streets, features many old warehouse buildings along with some “underutilized buildings and lots,” the department’s Web site says.