706 Mission St (Planning, Design or Conception) – San Francisco – 94103
The Appeals Never End for the 706 Mission/Mexican Museum Project
Man, those Four Seasons neighbors won’t give up easily. After a (failed) appeal of the environmental review certification and a threatened ballot referendum over the 706 Mission/Mexican Museum project, the neighbor group is now trying an appeal of the Historic Preservation Commission’s approval of rehab to the Aronson Building. As you recall, the Handel Architects-designed project calls for interior and exterior rehabilitation of the Aronson Building and new construction of a 47-story, 480′-tall tower with up to 215 residential units and The Mexican Museum, and neighbors are pissed about the height of the tower and the increase in density (despite their own 430-foot tall Four Seasons tower). The HPC had jurisdiction over the work to the landmark building, and approved it back in May. Since the previous attempts by appellants to thwart the project at every turn have failed, they are now claiming the tower is out of scale with the landmark and the nearby New Montgomery/Mission Street conservation district – despite the HPC giving it the a-ok.
The neighbor drama-rama over the Mexican Museum condo project at 705 Mission continues, as an appeal of the environmental review certification has made its way before the Board of Supervisors today. The project includes a new 550-foot tall, 47-story tower to be adjacent and connected to the existing 10-story Aronson Building, including up to 215 residential units, space for The Mexican Museum, office and ground-floor retail/restaurant uses, and 442 parking spaces. Swanky neighbors from the Ritz Carlton condos complained that the project will bring too many people and too much traffic, but the Planning Commission went ahead with the environmental certification anyway. Now an appeal has been filed by various neighbor groups, like 765 Market Street Residential Owners Association, Friends of Yerba Buena, Tenants and Owners Development Corporation, and Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium. They’ve bumped up the complaints a couple notches – too much traffic, too many pedestrians will cause crime (nevermind those active streetscapes), the tower will cast shadows on Union Square and Jessie Square, and the project will mess up the historic Aronson Building (even though the HPC already cleared it). It’s all in the hands of the Supes now.
We’ve been following the Mexican Museum project with its associated residential tower for the past few years, and tomorrow it’s up for its final environmental certification. The road has been a bumpy one, with neighbors from the Ritz Carlton condos complaining that the project will bring too many people and too much traffic. The proposed project includes the construction of a new 550-foot-tall, 47-story tower to be adjacent and connected to the existing 10-story Aronson Building, which would be restored and rehabilitated. The project would include up to 215 residential units, space for The Mexican Museum, possible office use, and ground-floor retail/restaurant use, as well as conveyance of the existing Jessie Square Garage with 442 parking spaces. The Planing Commission won’t take anymore public comment, but if the FEIR is certified, the project will be clear to get the rest of its approvals.
Millennium Partners still has a long way to go at 706 Mission St.
Last week the developer reached an important milestone when the Planning Commission certified the environmental impact report for the project, which will include between 160 and 185 luxury condos and a home for the Mexican Museum on the bottom four floors.
But it’s only the first in a series of needed approvals. Next up the project will go to the Historic Preservation Commission, which will weigh in on plans to restore the 1903 Aronson Building. The historic building, home of Rochester Big & Tall, will be connected to a new adjacent 47-story tower. The project will then go back to the Planning Commission and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission for zoning approvals, as Millennium is proposing to exceed current zoning by 150 feet. Then it goes to the Board of Supervisors and the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City and County of San Francisco.
Millennium Partners’ Sean Jeffries estimates that the additional bureaucratic hurdles will take another three to five months. He hopes to be under construction in August or September of 2014 — more than eight years after Millennium Partners tied the property up. “It’s more slow-moving than we would like but we think it’s an important project for the city and that in the end, all the scrutiny will be good for the project and the Yerba Buena neighborhood.”
The project comes as Millennium Partners winds down sales on its last luxury condo highrise, the Millennium Tower at 301 Mission St. The final 12 units at Millennium Tower are all in contract, Jeffries said. Despite selling through the worst days of the global recession, Millennium Tower averaged $1,200 a square foot, within 10 percent of original projections.
Ironically, the most vocal opposition to the 706 Mission project comes from residents of Millennium’s first San Francisco development, the Four Seasons Residences at 765 Market St. Four Seasons homeowners have complained that the project will generate excessive traffic and cast shadows on public open space.
“I am spending a lot of my time trying to work with their HOA and the committees they have working on various aspects of the project,” said Jeffries. “There has been a lot of change in the Yerba Buena neighborhood, and a lot more is proposed, whether its Moscone expansion or SFMoma expansion."
The proposed 550-foot tower at 706 Mission is being designed by Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects and Mexican architect Enrique Norton. Rescalvo is focused on the design of the tower while Norton is working on the Mexican Museum and the street level plazas and lobbies.
J.K. Dineen covers real estate for the San Francisco Business Times.
The developer and San Francisco Redevelopment Agency staffers are preparing an environmental impact report and negotiating a revised development agreement that will likely head to the redevelopment board in April. Senior Project Manager Amy Neches said she hopes to have entitlements wrapped up early next year with construction starting in late 2011 or early 2012 . . . .
The project calls for Millennium Partners…to build a condo tower on a site made up of a 9,000-square-foot parcel the Redevelopment Agency owns and a 16,000-square-foot parcel the developers bought in 2006. The tower would house a 35,000- to 40,000-square-foot Mexican Museum, which the developers will build at no cost to the museum. Both the museum and condo tower would be connected to the historic Mercantile Building at 706 Mission St., a 1903 structure that the developers would restore. The height of the residential tower, which is being designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norton’s TEN Arquitectos and San Francisco-based Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects, would likely be between 450 and 550 feet.