While every San Franciscan has their own perspective about the cost of housing, most of us agree that housing costs too much. In a location catalyzed by a high availability of transit, enhanced by the new subway, Central SOMA has the potential to create dense housing in an urban environment. Real Estate developers see an opportunity to make money by converting parking lots and derelict buildings into gleaming sky scrapers; for other stakeholders this is more controversial. Here are the major housing developments we know of in the neighborhood. Please tweet @CentralSOMA if we’re missing something.

655 4th Street

While this architecturally interesting building appears as four towers, it will be two buildings on the current 4th & Townsend site of The Creamery, HD Buttercup & Iron Cactus. The 425-foot project will include 960 condos, a 38 room boutique hotel, 24,500 sqft of office space and an 18,500 retail space along a central courtyard that will be publicly accessible. This project is just north of the Beacon (with its Safeway store), across the street from Walgreens and kitty corner from the Caltrain Depot. Wonder if the retail space will have room for The Creamery 2.0?

636 4th Street

Kitty corner to 655 4th Street, and next to the Pinterest building, this 250 foot building will also be kitty corner to the office building at 4th & Brannan and just down the street from the massive developments at the current locations of the Flower Market and Tennis Club. The proposed tower will have just 271 apartments over 4,450 sqft of retail split into three units along with a parking garage on Bluxome.

300 5th Street

This 160 foot tall building, directly south of the c. 2017 Mosso is planned to have 130 apartments over a 1,000 sqft retail space. This is a pretty small lot currently occupied by a Shell gas station, and one of the few taco trucks in the neighborhood. It is quite close to Victoria Manolo Draves Park.

One Vassar

This is the biggest housing project in the pipeline including an office tower with 446,000 sqft, a historic office building with 65,000 sqft of office space, a residential tower with 489 apartments, a 486 room hotel and a 24,000 sqft market hall. The two towers aspire to rise to 350 feet with a 15-story modern addition to the historic 645 Harrison Street building (former headquarters of Twilio) to a total of 200 feet. Part of what is interesting about this project is that, like the 350 5th project and an office project a block farther west it is on that stretch of Harrison that parallels I-80 which will provide some noise reduction at street level. It is also quite close to South Park and near the big parking lot at 3rd and Harrison. The size of this project mirrors some of the large building in the adjacent East Cut neighborhood.

Other Projects?

Even though these projects collectively bring 1,850 residential units and 486 hotel rooms to the neighborhood, San Francisco has an insatiable demand for housing. The tension between developers earning their hurdle rate of return, neighborhood groups that want below market housing, current residents who might well not like any change and new residents who can’t afford infinity per month…not to mention millions of square feet of new office development in the neighborhood means that inevitably new housing projects will appear. If we’re missing something, let us know!


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