Strict Standards : Buildings Fail Test for S. F. Downtown Plan


This city’s skyline beauty pageant is getting ready to introduce this year’s contestants.

The San Francisco Planning Department last month took a look at four candidates vying to erect new structures under the restricted-growth Downtown Plan. And the preliminary review showed the proposed edifices had a little shaping up to do.

Although the official date for Planning Commission review and approval will be later this month, there has been on-going evaluation of the proposals under the city’s office-space limit plan. Selection rules that will determine what projects can go ahead include:

--Suitability of the site for an office building.


--Job profile of workers--what types and how many.

--Owner entity.

--Impact on the master plan.

--Quality of building design.


--Effect of added new space on economic growth and downtown services.

In last month’s 53-page check-up, the Planning Department recommended that all four proposed structures should undergo some changes:

--At 299 2nd St., the 16-story, $21-million office retail complex was found to be inconsistent with the size and purpose of the building.

--At 235 Pine St., the 25-story, $55-million office tower needs better base design.


--At 524 Howard St., the 25-story, $22.5-million office retail building suffers from odd design of its massive tower.

--At 1601 Mission St., the eight-story Van Ness Gateway Center needs to simplify its architectural style at the upper floors.

All four candidates scored well on most of the master-plan considerations, the evaluation review stated. The first of the city’s Planning Commission official review meetings is scheduled for April 17.