San Francisco Commercial Real Estate News: Warehouses become highrises

Warehouses become highrises: Map of S.F.’s Central SoMa real estate boom
Source: San Francisco Business Times
Reporter: Cory Weinberg
Posted: April 6, 2015

When you look at the map of some of the most ambitious projects that developers are proposing in South of Market, they’re concentrated along the new Central Subway and near the current Caltrain station at 4th and Townsend Streets.
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On Friday, the Business Times reported that a family trust called Solbrach Property Group filed plans to build a 350-foot residential highrise with 426 units at 4th and Brannan Streets. Around that block, huge office and residential projects by CIM Group and Tishman Speyer will transform the industrial area that is being rezoned.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to green light the rezoning by early next year. That will unlock huge value for landowners to build taller office or residential buildings, which would replace the existing — and less lucrative — production, distribution and repair buildings. That value has created pressure for the city to extract enough money from developers for affordable housing, which I detailed in a February cover story.

Even though the Solbrach residential development is in the very early stages, it could turn into a showdown over heights. The proposed tower will sit on a plot that’s only 16,000 square feet, so it’s not one of the largest in the neighborhood. The Planning Department only wants the building to be 250 feet high — at most — and neighborhood activist John Elberling echoes that sentiment.

“Jamming a luxury highrise into there really is too much. We want to focus development of that maximum scale — residential or commercial — on the large sites in SoMa that are at least one acre in size,” said Elberling, who runs the affordable housing advocacy group TODCO.

The Planning Department recently published guidelines for large development sites “that offer tremendous potential for transformative new development.” In its guidelines for how high developers can build, it reiterates that “the predominant character of SoMa as a mid-rise district should be retained,” instead of it becoming a slew of highrises.

Link to article: Warehouses become highrises