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Startchitect Jeanne Gang Reveals Plans to SoMa Tower

Scott Lucas | July 11, 2014 | Story Architecture

San Francisco's starchitecture spree continues unabated, as famed Chicago architect Jeanne Gang unveiled plans last night for a 400-foot tower to be built at the corner of Folsom and Spear, a block from the Embarcadero. The 400-foot tower will include 390 condos, as well as street-level retail.

Plans for the project were revealed last night at the citizen advisory commission for the Transbay district surrounding the in-construction Transbay Terminal transportation hub. The commission voted 7-1 to continue to study the plans, which include a lower alternative. That's also in the works because the 40 story version would exceed zoning limitations for the parcel by 100 feet. (Slightly ironic, given that the tower would be plopped down close by to the new 1,070-foot tall Salesforce building.) In exchange for exceeding the height limits, the main proposal would include 139 of the 390 condos as reserved for low-income residents, which exceeds the city's requirements.

Plans for the higher tower would require approval of the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors (though Proposition B would not require a city-wide vote on it, though it would be built on a parcel that includes a city-owned parking lot.)

The architect, who was the subject of a recent New Yorker profile, says she draws inspiration from the bay windows of older buildings in the city. The exterior tower, which is relatively slender, stacks its balconies in an 11-story sequence that is diagonally repeated as it rises. Details of the project could still change as it moves forward.

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