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BTinSF Mar 26, 2007 4:40 AM

I thought there was a Mission Bay thread, but, if so, I can't find it and I believe this section is where it belongs. Therefore, I'm starting one now.

Here, courtesy of Cooltown Studios ( ) is the overall plan of development:

And here an aerial with the area overlayed (courtesy of UCSF - ):

Here is an photo of the area before any development and another some UCSF buildings built (and also some of the housing north of Mission Creek)and the UCSF development plan overlayed (also from UCSF):

And here (again, from UCSF) is a layout of their full new campus:

These are some of the new multifamily housing projects in Mission Bay (taken by KC Gridlock and previously posted on SSP at ):

BTinSF Mar 26, 2007 4:46 AM

New timetable for Mission Bay biotech. These buildings are part of the development of the area colored red and labeled "Commercial Industrial" in the diagram of Mission Bay above:


Alexandria accelerates Mission Bay
Demand for biotech space pushes up completion to 2011
San Francisco Business Times - March 23, 2007
by J.K. Dineen

Alexandria Real Estate Equities is speeding up its construction schedule and plans to build 2.2 million square feet of its life science complex at Mission Bay by 2011.

The move comes as a response to robust demand for biotech space that even the most rosy-eyed Mission Bay boosters did not anticipate.

Under a new schedule outlined in a city economic development report, Alexandria would deliver a single 165,000-square-foot building in 2008. Construction would then kick into high gear with 700,000 square feet built by 2009, another 1 million square feet completed in 2010, and a final 330,000-square-foot building ready for occupancy in 2011, according to a city report.

If the life science campus is built out by 2011, Alexandria would be at least two years ahead of the schedule anticipated when it bought the last of its parcels in 2005.

But after a surprisingly strong surge of leasing activity at its first completed Mission Bay building -- 1700 Owens St. -- Alexandria is now completing final construction drawings on no fewer than four more. The company has indicated that it is prepared to break ground on all four buildings without anchor tenants firmly in hand, according to several sources familiar with the plans. Jesse Blout, director of economic and workforce development for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said interest in Mission Bay has been heavy, with several large drug companies testing the waters.

"The fact that Alexandria is moving forward on four parallel buildings suggests they think there is a healthy market," said Blout.

Mission Bay is coming off an impressive series of leasing deals, including four medium-sized biotechs and three venture capital firms. While conventional wisdom says Mission Bay's improved prospects stem largely from a biotech space crunch due to aggressive growth of Amgen and Biogen in South San Francisco, Blout said San Francisco's accessibility for scientists living in the East Bay is also a big draw.

"People have woken up to Mission Bay, not just from the amenities there, but from a labor-access perspective," said Blout. "Talent is 99 percent of the deal in this industry."

The tight-lipped Alexandria has not said which building would be first. But on March 15, it was issued permits to start pile testing at 1500 Owens St., the site of a 165,000-square-foot building designed by SMWM. In addition, pile testing has also been done on Parcel 26 along the Third Street light rail, slated to eventually accommodate a trio of buildings -- two 100,000-square-foot structures and a 200,000-square-foot, 10-story tower.

Hot commodity

Three years ago, the plan for a life science cluster at Mission Bay was regarded by many in the real estate community as a pipe dream, after several failed attempts to lure biotechnology companies to the area. Today, it's a hot commodity with scant vacancy. Four major biotechs have now signed deals there, including FibroGen, which has committed to taking the 450,000 square feet at 409-499 Illinois St. that Shorenstein Properties is building, and Sirna Therapeutics, which was recently acquired by Merck and has leased nearly 70,000 square feet at 1700 Owens. The biggest venture capitalists in biotech have also flocked to the neighborhood, with three -- Versant Ventures, Novo Ventures and Arch Venture Partners -- grabbing space on Owens Street.

While Alexandria has been adept at attracting tenants to 1700 Owens, some Mission Bay observers say the pace of success has caught the developer a bit flat-footed. One broker active in the market said, "If we had more space up now, we'd be filling it."

Blout said the campus is "perilously close" to running out of space, but stressed that Alexandria and Mission Bay would be well-positioned to capitalize on growing biotech demand in 2008 and 2009.

"We have a little disconnect between what the market is ready to deliver and demand for that space," he said.

Alexandria Senior Vice President Stephen Richardson didn't return a call seeking comment on his firm's construction schedule. But he recently called the success at 1700 Owens "exciting and rewarding."

"Ultimately we've delivered, and the market has delivered, on the promise of a vibrant fully-integrated life science cluster," said Richardson. "Now the private sector is a full-fledged partner in Mission Bay."

Daniel Oshiro, vice president for administrative affairs for the Gladstone Institutes, said the whole campus is creating a fertile ground for collaboration and serendipitous encounters between researchers from the commercial drug development companies and scientists at Gladstone and UCSF. He said he has also heard complaints that there is not enough lab space to meet demand.

"Clearly, the venture capital interest and research interest have put us in a temporary position where there is not enough space," Oshiro said. "I think it is because South San Francisco is full and Mission Bay is the only developable area for biotechs and biotechs like to go where other biotechs are."

In total, Mission Bay is slated to include nearly 4 million square feet of office and lab space, as well the 2.6-million-square-foot UCSF campus and the 2.5-million-square-foot UCSF hospital. Blout said he is optimistic enough that Mission Bay will be fully built out and occupied that the city should start thinking about other parts of the city where life science development makes sense. Hunters Point Shipyard and Pier 70 are both possibilities, he said.

"Based on current interest from major players and regional demand," said Blout, "we will need to start thinking beyond Mission Bay, where else this industry can go."


Derek Mar 26, 2007 5:00 AM

im glad that area is being "cleaned" up ;)

rocketman_95046 Mar 26, 2007 5:06 AM

Great news... Mission bay booming will simply help keep the condo boom going.

I wish we had an updated picture of the entire area.

fflint May 8, 2007 6:10 AM


Originally Posted by rocketman_95046 (Post 2718024)
I wish we had an updated picture of the entire area.

Came across these on flickr today and thought of this thread...

Housing component on the left side of Mission Creek, UCSF bioscience campus on the right:

Housing component and Caltrain terminal:

Not exactly new, but at least broad and relatively recent

roadwarrior May 8, 2007 7:40 PM

Interesting article by John King in today's chronicle about the development of Mission Bay:

It is most interesting to click on the video tour. While I think he hit the nail on the head about its current "bland" status, what he fails to see are the constant changes undergoing this neighborhood. I've lived nearby for the past 2 years and while I have seen many drab buildings go up, I've also seen more local establishments (shops, restaurants, bars) come in at a much more rapid pace than has been expected. I think that the end result will be much more urban than King speculates.

fflint May 8, 2007 8:38 PM

Mission Bay -- dull by design and still growing
Adventurous architecture is needed as development continues to give it a true S.F. spark

John King, Chronicle Urban Design Writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Up and Coming Mission Bay
Julio Carballido, a post-doctoral researcher at UCSF, reads on the rounded steps of Genentech Hall on the Mission Bay campus
King Street is a major thoroughfare in the Mission Bay district. The street cuts through the most developed part of the area between Interstate 280 and AT&T Park
Despite signs of life at a King Street cafe, much of Mission Bay feels sterile -- mainly because it is large-scale and formulaic
On the UCSF campus, the red stucco community center with bursts of purple and pink is a welcome change from the bland lab buildings nearby
The Glassworks may be a small building, but it has a big presence as the graceful entrance to an area in need of pizzazz
A man sits on artist-installed contemporary furniture at the neatly manicured Koret Quad on the UCSF campus

If good intentions and careful planning were enough to make a neighborhood come alive, then fast-growing Mission Bay would be a dynamic addition to San Francisco's storied landscape.

They aren't. And it isn't.

After decades of debate and six years of construction, the 303-acre district stretching south and west from AT&T Park feels more like a planning exercise than an actual place. The strict city guidelines that are intended to prevent architectural monstrosities don't stop one project from blurring into the next: It's a horizontal procession of market-driven forms, utterly lacking in surprise or small touches of delight.

The good news? Most of the privately owned land south of Mission Creek hasn't yet been developed. The challenge for the city from here on is to build on Mission Bay's attractions -- such as generous amounts of open space and affordable housing -- while pushing for more adventurous architecture and urban design.

A shot of pizzazz, if you will.

The new neighborhood starts across Third Street from Willie Mays Plaza. Since the ballpark opened in 2000, eight housing developments have opened that together contain more than 1,600 units. South of Mission Creek -- now lined in part by an attractive promenade -- there's a campus for UCSF that already includes three research buildings, a community center and a block of student apartments.

What's emerging is a distinct district within the city. So far, though, it isn't a district that will attract anyone in search of a memorable urban experience.

Instead there's the squat monotony of King Street, where wide sidewalks and young trees are framed by vaguely modern buildings that average five stories in height except where broad slabs climb another 10 stories or so.

The cladding of choice is stucco, leavened by tiles here and there. Colors run a short gamut from brick red to drab gray. Storefronts feel like afterthoughts at the base of buildings.

Some buildings are better than others, but the overall impact is numbing. The mood is reinforced by the first batch of retailers: the likes of Safeway and Quiznos, Borders and Starbucks.

What's ominous is that this dreary world comes after years of meticulous planning.

Today's Mission Bay follows a blueprint approved by the city in 1998 -- 17 years after Southern Pacific Railroad first floated plans for the site, most of which is 19th century landfill created to hold railroad tracks and loading yards.

Not only did early visions of corporate towers and sports arenas lead nowhere, but Southern Pacific was taken over by another railroad, the Union Pacific Corp., and spun off its land holdings as a separate company, Catellus.

The 1998 plan crafted by Catellus and the San Francisco Redevelopment Authority slices the site in half. Six thousand housing units will fill blocks on either side of the creek, while the southern portion is devoted to blocks of commercial land wrapped horseshoe-like around a 43-acre UCSF research campus.

The two zones would be separated by an east-west commons that's 134 feet wide and five blocks long, starting at the bay and ending at a large traffic roundabout near Interstate 280.

Height limits and tower placement are dictated on a block-by-block basis. There are broad directives -- "tall buildings should avoid unusual shapes which detract from the clarity of urban form" -- and explicit rules that go so far as to dictate that "architectural projections" such as cornices shall have "a vertical dimension of no more than 2 feet 6 inches."

Catellus -- still the master developer despite its 2005 purchase by ProLogis Co. -- is spending more than $400 million to build roads, utilities and 41 acres of parkland that include the commons and the creekside promenade.

The goal is to create a new district that feels like old San Francisco: "Similar to the Marina, though a little denser," in the words of William Fain, whose Los Angeles design firm Johnson Fain Partners did the plan for Catellus. "People on the streets, retail at the corners, a wonderful active neighborhood right on the water."

But this isn't the Marina or North Beach, two revered neighborhoods assembled from hundreds of small buildings. It's acreage that Catellus sold off in big pieces to big builders. They'll tweak their established formats to fit Mission Bay's rules, but then bottom-line economics kick in.

That's why the current scene feels sterile. It's large-scale and formulaic -- development by spread sheet.

The benefit of the city's careful planning is that the neighborhood will improve with age.

Ten years from now there should be a leafy urbanity, since the landscaping plan by Olin Partners rolls out a sharp-looking street environment while the park designs by EDAW are subdued but attractive.

As for the 6,000 housing units, 1,700 will be for low- and moderate-income residents in buildings throughout the district. This guarantees a mix of social classes and generations; already, elders from the apartments above the library can be seen sitting by the creek on sunny days.

But for Mission Bay to become a memorable part of San Francisco, it needs more than demure buildings and decorous parks. It needs landmarks -- not in the sense of skyscrapers or monuments, but creative flourishes you won't find anywhere else.

Here's one example:

On its own, San Francisco's Kuth/Ranieri Architects has studied how leftover bits of Mission Bay could be used to enliven the image of the district as a whole. They seized on that western traffic roundabout; it's designed to be low and drought-tolerant -- out of sight, out of mind -- but Kuth/Ranieri suggests a lattice-like metal structure lifted cloud-like and airy above the circle, landscaped with vines and high-canopied trees to create a bird habitat that doesn't block drivers' sightlines.

Even if the aviary never takes roost, it shows flair that Mission Bay so far lacks. There's also opportunity in an open space beneath Interstate 280. Both EDAW and Kuth/Ranieri see an ideal spot for a skateboard park; redevelopment planners are wary that it might attract vandals and trouble-makers.

Meanwhile, Mission Bay plans call for a pedestrian bridge to cross the creek at Fifth Street. That project would be an ideal subject for a civic design competition.

The redevelopment agency is taking steps of its own to jazz things up south of the creek. One smart move: Planners have fine-tuned the rules to spawn a livelier retail zone than what is along King Street. Shops and restaurants will be concentrated on three blocks of Fourth Street, with each building stepping back five feet above the second floor to focus attention on the storefronts.

Realistically, Mission Bay will never be mistaken for the Marina. The scale of construction and modern economics will see to that.

But to the extent city officials can nudge private developers to be more adventurous, they should do so. And when there's a chance to shake up the civic landscape, do that, too. You only get one chance to build a neighborhood from scratch.

Mission Bay timeline

1860s -- Southern Pacific Railroad begins to amass tidelands along Mission Creek for rail yards and freight terminals.

1981 -- Southern Pacific announces plan calling for 9,000 residential units, 2,100 hotel rooms, 10 acres of parks and 10 million square feet of commercial space. Nobody bites.

1983 -- The railroad unveils another plan. This one includes canals and lagoons, 40 acres of parks, 7,000 housing units and 16 million square feet of commercial space. The design turns some heads, but this plan sinks also.

1987 -- Two years after Southern Pacific agrees to fund the city's community planning effort for Mission Bay, a company official says, "It's starting to be a little bit real. ... In 10 years, it's going to be one of the places where people will want to hang out."

1990 -- Voters narrowly defeat a Mission Bay plan that includes 8,000 housing units, 3,000 of them affordable; 6.4 million square feet of commercial space and 52 acres of parks. Developer now is Catellus, a Southern Pacific spin-off.

1994 -- Catellus teams with San Francisco Giants to propose a complex that would include a ballpark, an arena for the Golden State Warriors and "a technology-based indoor-outdoor entertainment experience." The Warriors decline the invitation. Giants go on to better things. Catellus goes back to the drawing board.

1996 -- Catellus changes direction again, saying it will concentrate on building residential buildings north of Mission Creek.

1997 -- The UC Board of Regents votes to build long-discussed UCSF research campus at Mission Bay on 43 acres donated by Catellus and the city.

1998 -- The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopts a new plan for Mission Bay. Besides UC, it includes 6,000 housing units, as much as 6.8 million square feet of commercial space, a 500-room hotel and 43 acres of public parks.

1999 -- Construction begins on UCSF campus.

2000 -- The Giants open their ballpark at Third and King streets in April. Seven months later -- and 19 years after the first prediction of a bright future -- ground is broken for housing at Mission Bay.

alex1 May 8, 2007 9:23 PM

it's amazing at what the area around the ballpark looks like these days. My first time in SanFran was a year before the stadium was built (my brother moved some 5 blocks from it). It was relatively sparse back then. Things have definitely changed in a good way.

fflint May 8, 2007 9:56 PM

Mission Bay -- dull by design and still growing
John King's midterm grades

John King
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Glassworks: Developer: Catellus. Architect: Brand + Allen. Containing just 44 condominiums and 10,000 square feet of retail space, this five-story box is the smallest building in Mission Bay. With a taut skin of ceramic tiles and glass, it's also the best. A-

The Beacon: Developer: Catellus. Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill. This building tries hard to make lively urbanism out of 595 condos packed atop a base of shops and offices. But the careful collage of bar-like slabs ends up feeling heavy and static instead. B

Rich Sorro Commons: Developer: Mission Housing Development Corp. Architect: SMWM with Paulete Taggart Architects. Some buildings are designed to be backdrops -- such as these brick-clad, mid-block apartments for 100 low-income families. And that's fine. B

Avalon at Mission Bay: Developer: Avalon Bay. Architect: Fisher-Friedman Associates. This 18-story tower makes a few stabs at distinction, such as a glass fin at the corner on the upper floors. But the drama is undermined by penny-pinching that's as plain as the drab stucco on the outer walls. C+

Avalon at Mission Bay II: Developer: Avalon Bay. Architect: GGLO. You wouldn't think a 17-story tower could be instantly forgettable -- but I defy anyone to look at this nondescript container for 313 apartments, turn away, and then remember what they saw. C-

Mission Creek Senior Community: Developer: Mercy Housing. Architects: Santos Prescott and HKI&T. There's some good energy here, such as the metal bay that slides out along the creek below 140 stucco-clad senior apartments above. The library branch adds to the fun. B+

235 Berry St.: Developer: Signature Properties. Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy. Overall it's a bit subdued, but it's also sophisticated and clean -- stepping back from a four-story base along the creek to seven stories on Berry Street. The black slate is a sharp accent. B+

255 Berry St.: Developer: Signature Properties. Architect: McLarand Vasquez Emsiek. The same developer as at 235 Berry and the same dictated-by-zoning form. But this hunk of white concrete is ungainly and crude. Nice corner terraces, though. C

fflint May 8, 2007 10:07 PM

Big buildings, grand plans for UCSF
But with little attention paid to human scale, a public university excludes the public

John King, Chronicle Urban Design Writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The UCSF campus in Mission Bay is nothing if not ambitious.

Lab buildings swathed in travertine stone flank a central green the size of Union Square. One parking garage is cloaked by strips of clouded glass arranged in DNA patterns. The entry plaza is as wide as Market Street and includes a Richard Serra sculpture with 49-foot-tall planks of rusted steel.

What's been built so far has a $685 million price tag. At least 12 more structures are on the way, plus a 14-acre hospital next door.

It's a remarkable investment in the future of San Francisco -- but the result could be a grand opportunity lost.

What exists today is stocky on the skyline and sluggish on the ground. More troubling, this public university turns its back on the outside world -- as though the surrounding streets were nothing more than service alleys.

Some problems are unavoidable, such as the way lab buildings are molded by the demands of medical research space. Other ills can be treated. The key is for UCSF is to do everything possible to make the campus a true part of the neighborhood around it, not just an enclave where researchers test the boundaries of science.

The university's original home is on Parnassus Heights near Golden Gate Park, a site stuffed to overflowing long ago. Because of this, UCSF in 1991 began hunting for land where it could erect an additional campus.

Mission Bay entered the running in 1996, when new Mayor Willie Brown and Mission Bay landowner Catellus offered UCSF 43 acres, gratis. It was a sweet deal all around: UCSF received a spacious blank slate with no contentious neighbors. Brown scored a political coup. Catellus jump-started a project stuck in limbo.

Ten years after the UC Board of Regents made the selection official, a visit to the quad shows how far the campus has come.

The 3-acre green space designed by Berkeley's Peter Walker & Partners includes rolling hills and clusters of pines. Both the scale and the landscaping have an orchestral sweep.

The scale is monumental; the landscape has a grandly public feel.

There's also drama in the community center on the green's west edge. It's a massive cube of red stucco cut by two deep notches: an entry courtyard with walls of vibrant purple and a fourth-floor terrace of glowing pink.

To cap things off, literally, a slender campanile forms a 120-foot-high shaft -- no function, just form.

"We wanted the building to really come out of the ground," says Ricardo Legorreta, Mexico's best-known living architect, who designed the building with his son, Victor. "We feel architecture should be sculpture."

The community center isn't exceptional by Legorreta + Legorreta standards, but it's a welcome jolt in context. That's because the lab buildings around it are blandly overbearing, tedious from afar and deadening up close.

This is especially true of the first building to open, Genentech Hall, an immense 434,000-square-foot monolith with 3-acre floorplates. It is only five stories, but when you add up the high ceilings required for laboratory space and the ventilation shafts on the roof, it tops off at 120 feet.

The design is stiffly formal -- a semiclassical veneer on an oversized box -- and from Interstate 280 Genentech Hall looms like a beached ocean liner.

The show for pedestrians is equally grim: There's no hint of human scale in the block-long structure, just blank walls on the ground and punched windows far above.

To be sure, the architects are in a bind. Today's biomedical research buildings require elaborate mechanical and ventilation layouts, often more than one per building. This translates by default to squat forms.

Worse, the Mission Bay campus sits on filled land -- mucky soil that can't be excavated. That means no basements in which to hide boiler rooms and the like. They end up on the ground floor instead, consuming space that otherwise could be geared to students and the public.

But the first phase of the campus also suffers from UCSF's focus on researcher convenience. These buildings are designed from the inside out, the outside be damned.

When Genentech Hall received a 150,000-square-foot extension to the east, for instance, the campus plan called for a 25-foot-wide break between the two buildings to make this block along the green a bit less forbidding. Scientists, though, wanted to walk down hallways to their colleagues without stepping outside.

They won. The public lost.

The comfort of researchers and graduate students is important, absolutely. But this campus exists because UCSF received a civic gift. The university shouldn't repay the favor with the architectural equivalent of "Keep Out" signs.

Fortunately, there are signs that UCSF is growing more comfortable with its surroundings.

One building that has particular promise is a cancer research facility being designed by Smith Group and local architect Jim Jennings.

It would be another bulky five-story structure, but the outer wrapping would form a refined collage, with each surface material signaling a distinct use inside. Scientist offices would be contained within a wall of glass panels ranging from clear to opaque, for example, while service areas would be behind terra-cotta screens that complement the nearby stone-clad structures.

There'd also be a glassy public passage through the building -- connecting a landscaped courtyard on the south to Mission Bay's common on the north.

It's a welcome and overdue gesture to the neighborhood. Let's hope it signals a more inviting design approach to come.

BTinSF May 18, 2007 5:50 PM

UCSF Hospital at Mission Bay moves forward

UCSF gets OK from UC Regents to raise $500M for Mission Bay campus
San Francisco Business Times - 2:55 PM PDT Thursday, May 17, 2007
by Chris Rauber

The University of California Board of Regents gave UCSF Medical Center the go-ahead to raise $500 million or more to build a $1.3 billion, 289-bed UCSF Medical Center facility at Mission Bay.

The decision, expected by CEO Mark Laret and other UCSF Medical Center officials, means it can move ahead with plans to build a women's, children's and cancer hospital at Mission Bay by 2014, the projected first phase of a larger hospital campus there.

The planned facility will be located on a 14.5-acre parcel just south of UCSF's 43-acre life sciences campus at Mission Bay.

"There will be room to expand" at the site, said UCSF spokeswoman Carol Hyman, possibly including expansion of the cancer center or transferring other clinical operations from UCSF Medical Center's main Parnassus Heights campus at a later date.

UCSF simply ran out of space at its existing Parnassus Heights and Mt. Zion campuses, and also needs to meet state seismic safety requirements. The new Mission Bay hospital complex will help it meet both needs, officials say.

But financial support from the state of California is expected to be limited, so the UC Regents' vote gave UCSF the authority to move ahead with a massive fund-raising campaign that aims to raise at least $500 million. Other funding will come primarily from loans or other forms of debt, Hyman said.

On completion of the first phase, the approximately 865,000-square-foot hospital complex will include:

A 183-bed children's hospital, along with pediatric primary and specialty outpatient facilities.
A 36-bed women's hospital and some women's outpatient services.
A 70-bed cancer hospital.
A central utility plant, underground tunnel, bridge, helipad and parking facilities.

Officials said the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will provide "a world-class" healing environment, complete with comprehensive diagnostic, clinical and support services, including use advanced robotic and imaging technology. "It's a momentous time for UCSF," Mark Laret, the medical center's CEO, said in the May 17 statement.

The fund-raising effort, conducted jointly by UCSF and the UCSF Foundation, is led by Senior Vice Chancellor Bruce Spaulding and Associate Vice Chancellor James Asp. Diane "Dede" B. Wilsey, a civic leader and philanthropist with a history of leading major campaigns, is the voluntary chair of the UCSF effort, which hopes to raise $500 million or more. Wilsey will be joined by a host of leading business and community leaders in planning the campaign, UCSF said Thursday. They include:

Barbara Bass Bakar, former president and CEO of Emporium/Weinstock's and former chair and CEO of I. Magnin, San Francisco.
Ronald Conway, founder and general partner of VC firm Angel Investors LP.
William H. Davidow, founding partner of Mohr Davidow Ventures.
Robert Lesko, executive director of private wealth management at Morgan Stanley.
Carmen Policy, former president and CEO of the San Francisco 49ers.
Richard M. Rosenberg, retired chair and CEO of Bank of America Corp. and Bank of America NT&SA.

BTinSF Jun 5, 2007 4:02 AM

Mission Bay development takes off

Mission Bay development takes off

The City’s $4 billion Mission Bay redevelopment project.
Bonnie Eslinger, The Examiner
2007-06-04 10:00:00.0
Current rank: # 15 of 6,377

The City’s $4 billion Mission Bay redevelopment project is still in its infancy but has seen a recent growth spurt, according to city officials.

While the area is “still largely undeveloped,” buildup for the new San Francisco neighborhood is getting off the ground, San Francisco Redevelopment Agency official Kelley Kahn recently said.

The development area covers 303 acres of land south of Townsend Street and north of Mariposa Street, between the Bay and Interstate 280. The Board of Supervisors approved the project plans in 1998.

“The big story of the year is how much the biotech has taken off in Mission Bay,” Kahn said. “There was just not much happening for years, and then in the last 18 months, we’ve had two buildings built and opened and there’s a robust pipeline.”

The mixed, commercial-and-residential development along Townsend, Berry and King streets has moved the fastest.

“Pretty much every parcel in Mission Bay North is spoken for,” Kahn said.

Over a period of 20 to 30 years, development plans for Mission Bay include 6,000 new housing units, 6 million square feet of office and life-science and technology commercial space, shops and restaurants, parks and open space, a hotel, a new school, a library, and fire and police stations.

South of the Mission Bay Channel, at the literal center of the development, is a 2.7 million-square-foot University of California, San Francisco, campus. The campus — which includes student housing, research space, and a community center, is located on 43 acres of land donated by The City. UCSF has also purchased adjacent lots in order to build an 865,000-square-foot hospital.

The planned residential buildings in the development area — including for-sale condominiums and apartments — will be located on either side of the Mission Bay Channel.

Of the 6,000 units planned, 14 percent will be available to “very low-income” households, those who make no more than 50 percent of what’s known as the Area Median Income. Another 5 percent are intended for low-income households with 70 percent of the AMI, and 8 percent to moderate households that make 110 percent of the AMI.

According to Kahn, of the 6 million square feet of office and science commercial space available for development, 600,000 square feet have already been built, another 1 million is under construction and another 700,000 square feet are in the planning stages.

More than $400 million in public infrastructure will be constructed in Mission Bay, to be financed through special assessments and increased property taxes generated by the development.

Mission Bay development, by the numbers:
31,000: permanent new jobs promised

11,000: new residents

6,000: housing units

1,700: housing units affordable for moderate to very-low-income households

6 million: square feet of office and life science and technology commercial space

2.65 million: square footage of new UCSF research campus

865,000: square footage of new UCSF hospital

500,000: square footage of retail space

41: acres of public open space

BTinSF Jun 18, 2007 5:02 AM

China Basin's new addition to wrap up soon

China Basin's new addition to wrap up soon
San Francisco Business Times - June 15, 2007
by J.K. Dineen
Story Images

The new China Basin is taking shape.

With the last of 3,150 tons of structural steel scheduled to be hoisted to the top of 185 Berry St. on June 19, China Basin owners McCarthy Cook and RREEF are on schedule to complete the exterior of their 175,000-square-foot expansion by December.

The addition, being built atop the existing 230,000-square-foot structure, will represent the first new speculative biotech space coming to market since Alexandria Real Estate Equities completed 1700 Owens St. in December 2006. And with Alexandria just starting construction on four more biotech buildings, China Basin will likely have the city's only new biotech space available before early 2009.

Richard Hayes, a former Equity Office Properties executive recently hired to head up leasing at China Basin, said the space will be flexible enough to accommodate both life sciences and more traditional offices.

"The good news is we can hunt from both camps," said Hayes. "We could go all office, or all lab. It will likely be a 50-50 mix."

A feat of engineering and construction, the expansion includes a seismic isolation system like those in place at San Francisco City Hall and the Golden Gate Bridge. The isolation system, designed by structural engineer Simpson Grumpertz, will reduce ground motions transmitted into the structure by allowing the two-story addition to move up to three feet in any direction, independent of the lower part of the building, according to Mike Freeman, executive vice president at McCarthy Cook & Co.

In the event of an earthquake, the addition would "float around rigid building cores" where the stairwells, elevators, plumbing and electrical systems that run vertically through the building are located. The project marks the first time the isolation system has been built "midstructure."

The two-floor rooftop addition will bring the Berry Street building to 405,000 square feet, making China Basin the largest development at Mission Bay with over 925,000 square feet.

Another challenge has been building around sensitive tenants. UCSF, which has its department of radiology and other clinics and labs in the building, has operating systems supported by rooftop refrigeration units, pumps and boilers. To keep these going, the developer had to build a complete back-up system in the existing courtyard. Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co. is the contractor on the project.

"We've bought a lot of flowers and a lot of pizza," said Freeman.

The project has just 2 percent vacancy, with Cisco, iCrossing, Level 3, and LoopNet all growing there. The owner had agreed to terms with a tenant for the entire addition, but the company -- a South San Francisco biotech -- backed out after an unsuccessful clinical trial. Rents for the new space, which will have 15-foot ceilings and a bronze glass curtain wall exterior, will be about $48 a square foot, triple net.

"It was disappointing," said Freeman. "They felt they had a 90 percent likelihood their trials would be successful, but they weren't."

Kidder Mathews' James Bennett said the project benefits from being in an area that is already built out. While thousands of housing units have been built along King and Berry streets north of the channel, the southern portion of Mission Bay faces five to 10 years of heavy construction as the UCSF hospital and biotech cluster are constructed.

"The whole log jam on King Street is finally cleared up," he said. "The retail is in place. It's an established location with excellent transportation links on two Muni light rail lines." / (415) 288-4971

BTinSF Jun 18, 2007 5:07 AM

AvalonBay puts another big bet on apartments

AvalonBay puts another big bet on apartments
San Francisco Business Times - June 15, 2007
by J.K. Dineen

Apartment developer AvalonBay has bought the last remaining parcel in Mission Bay's north of Mission Creek area from condo builder Signature Properties, an indication that rental housing is gaining steam as some segments of the condo market cool off.

The price of the fully entitled project was about $26 million, but that includes project design work by Miami-based Arquitectonica, as well as piles that Signature had already purchased for the development, according to Meg Spriggs, development director for AvalonBay.

The parcel at 353 King St., between IntraCorp's Arterra and AvalonBay Phase I, had been entitled for 260 condominiums. AvalonBay has slightly reduced the size of the building to accommodate the apartments, which are generally smaller than condos, but the number of units and the overall design will remain the same.

The project comes after several years in which rental housing developers have struggled to gain a foothold amid an overheated condo market. But with rents having increased 21 percent over the past three years, apartment developers like AvalonBay, Archstone-Smith and Urban Housing Group have become increasingly aggressive in tying up land and beginning construction.

Signature Properties President Michael Ghielmetti said AvalonBay approached them and "offered what we felt was a fair price." Signature has two other condo projects on Berry Street, 235 Berry and 255 Berry, which are selling, but not as fast as the developer had hoped.

"It's a good market for rentals and a little slow on the condo side," said Ghielmetti. "There are a lot of other condo projects and I wasn't anxious to compete against the number that are out there."

The project represents the third phase of AvalonBay's hefty bet on Mission Bay, an investment that will include 823 apartment units valued at between $350 million and $400 million when complete. The first two phases are 97 percent leased, said Spriggs. Monthly rents average about $3 a square foot, with one bedrooms leasing for about $2,500 and two-bedrooms for $3,500.

In addition to Mission Bay, Avalon Bay has acquired a site near City College at 1150 Ocean Ave. and is seeking others.

"We believe the fundamentals are strong in the San Francisco market and we want to commit more resources here. We are not going to stop at 800 units in Mission Bay," said Spriggs.

Spriggs pointed to 2 percent job growth and a housing market where average prices, despite the national slowdown, are still nearly $800,000. In addition, average mortgage payments are double average rental payments.

"All those fundamentals translate into what we think is a strong rental market," said Spriggs.

There are few large apartment projects being built in San Francisco. Urban Housing Group has projects under construction on both sides of Mission Creek, the 193-unit Edgewater on Berry Street, which will open in August, and the 192-apartment 555 Mission Rock, which just broke ground. Trinity Properties has entitled but not started its long-awaited development which will bring 1,900 units to 1177 Market St. And Archstone-Smith is working with the Planning Department and neighborhood to entitle three acres at Eighth and Harrison streets for upwards of 700 units.

Urban Housing Group President Jim Brooks sees rental developers in a good position to rescue broken condo projects.

"A tightening restriction on credit is making borrowing costs higher and pushing some people into the rental pool," said Brooks. "By and large you have had an eroding (of the) for-sale market with a tightening credit market. You're seeing a little bit of a correction in land values."

zilfondel Jun 18, 2007 5:25 AM


There are broad directives -- "tall buildings should avoid unusual shapes which detract from the clarity of urban form" -- and explicit rules that go so far as to dictate that "architectural projections" such as cornices shall have "a vertical dimension of no more than 2 feet 6 inches."
bingo. that's why its drab... when the only architectural element allowed is the grid (reflection of the city's topography), then yea, you are going to get pretty damned repetitive.

This is why urban planning & development should be design-led, not formulaic planning or economically driven.


Considering that Metro Frisco has 11 million people, you'd have thunk they would have gone for a wee bit higher density than 20 units/acre. Heck, even Portland's (sorry, shameless plug) new waterfront district is hitting around 270 with stubby towers... why in the heck are they afraid of height in a brand-new district on a brownfield site?

However, the mix of affordable units is very laudable. 'Friscans should be quite pleased about it.

BTinSF Jun 18, 2007 5:46 AM

^^^Aside from the repeated use of the term "Frisco" thereby making my teeth grind ( ;) ), I don't want to have to reread everything that's been posted to find where you got that 20 units per acre figure, but if it's an average for Mission Bay as a whole, it's not very helpful because a large swath is NOT residential (it's the UC campus, hospitals, research labs, offices, open space--parks--and some retail), hence contains NO "units per acre". I'm sure looking only at the residential parts, it's far more dense than that, being pretty much made up of 5 - 13 (roughly) story apartment and condo buildings (a few buildings like the Avalon apartments and the UC housing are even taller as I recall). You can see a lot of the housing in this photo (the building along the water in the lower right, however, is the China Basin Building discussed above--not residential):

As to the reason why it's not taller still, there are two reasons. Partly it is NIMBYism--tall structures in that area would block a lot of views of the Bay from Potrero Hill and those folks screamed loudly. But mostly, as one article says, the idea for the residential was to create something resembling some existing San Francisco neighborhoods--which rarely contain anything much taller than 6 stories and are mainly 3 stories.

On the other hand, I agree with you about the maliciousness of design by committee and the SF planning process.

roadwarrior Jun 18, 2007 4:38 PM


Originally Posted by BTinSF (Post 2903478)

I'm glad to see that Avalon plans to retain the design from Arquitectonica. The Avalon II building is so bland and I don't think that the other buildings on Berry look much better, especially since they are all virtually identical looking cement blocks, with the exception of color. Hopefully this breaks up the monotony and I'm glad to see that this big hole on Berry will finally be filled. Any idea when Avalon plans to break ground? Are they waiting until the Arterra crane comes down?

BTinSF Jun 18, 2007 4:48 PM

Nobody has a comment about the rents they are getting in what amounts to distinctly mediocre buildings? $3500 for a 2/2? :babyeat:

roadwarrior Jun 19, 2007 1:59 AM


Originally Posted by BTinSF (Post 2904234)
Nobody has a comment about the rents they are getting in what amounts to distinctly mediocre buildings? $3500 for a 2/2? :babyeat:

True. However, it isn't all THAT much cheaper to rent out an apartment in a run-down, older building, without all the amenities and in a less desirable neighborhood. By comparison, it isn't that bad.

krudmonk Jun 19, 2007 5:32 AM

So is this a a preview of Newsom's plan for Bayview-Hunters Point?

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