Rincon Towers (One Rincon Hill) – 4/24

Rincon Towers (One Rincon Hill) – 4/24


One Rincon Hill is an upscale residential complex on the apex of Rincon Hill in San Francisco, California, United States. The complex, designed by Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz and Associates and developed by Urban West Associates, consists of two skyscrapers that share a common townhouse podium.

The taller tower, One Rincon Hill South Tower, was completed in 2008 and stands 60 stories and 641 feet (195 m) tall. The shorter tower, marketed as Tower Two at One Rincon Hill, was completed in 2014 and reaches a height of 541 feet (165 m) with 50 stories.The South Tower contains high-speed elevators with special features for moving residents effectively, and a large water tank designed to help the skyscraper withstand strong winds and earthquakes. Both skyscrapers and the townhomes contain a total of 709 residential units.

The building site, located right next to the western approach of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, formerly contained a clock tower. The clock tower was demolished shortly after the city approved the One Rincon Hill project. Construction of the townhomes and the South Tower lasted from 2005 to 2008, but was stopped for brief periods of time due to seismic concerns and a construction accident. As the South Tower neared completion, it generated controversy concerning view encroachment, high pricing, and architectural style.


The complex is on a 1.3 acres (0.53 ha) parcel on the apex of the Rincon Hill neighborhood.The site is bounded by Harrison Street to the west, the Fremont Street exit ramp to the north, the approach to the Bay Bridge (Interstate 80) on the east, and the 1st Street entrance ramp to the south.

Developer and architect

Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz and Associates, a Chicago architectural firm, designed the complex. The developer of this complex is Urban West Associates, headed by Mike Kriozere.The developer’s headquarters are in San Diego, although all its highrise projects over 14 stories are in the San Francisco Bay Area.The Rincon Hill complex is the developer’s second project in San Francisco, with the first being ONE Embarcadero South, a residential complex near One Rincon Hill and across from AT&T Park. According to the developer the total cost of the Rincon Hill project was US$290 million, rising to over US$310 million in 2009


The complex consists of two buildings joined together at the base by a row of townhomes. The South Tower and North Tower rise 641 ft (195 m) and 541 ft (165 m) above the corner of Fremont and Harrison streets, respectively.The North Tower has 50 floors, while the South Tower has 60.Because of the sloped Rincon Hill site, the South Tower’s lobby floor or the 1st Street entrance is on the sixth floor, and the first floor is five levels underground from the 1st Street entrance.It is also one of the tallest all-residential towers west of the Mississippi River.Its location near the apex of Rincon Hill, at an elevation of over 100 feet (30 m),gives it an apparent height of well over 700 feet (210 m), making it one of the biggest additions to the San Francisco skyline in over 30 years.

Both the north tower and the south tower of the Rincon Hill complex bear a resemblance to The Heritage at Millennium Park in Chicago, a building of a similar height to the south tower also designed by Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz and Associates.The architectural style for both buildings of the Rincon Hill complex is late-modernist.The three sides of the South Tower facing southeast, northeast, and northwest have a linear glass curtainwall.The North Tower has a similar design, except it is shorter and the curved aluminum and glass side faces northeast.Both skyscrapers of the Rincon Hill project contain an oval-shaped crown housing mechanical equipment.

The crown of the South Tower contains a band of 25 LED floodlights that remain lit all night. Each LED light consumes little energy and has a lifetime of 40,000 hours. These lights are used to signal the weather, just like the lights on the John Hancock Tower in Boston. The crown glows red if warmer weather is in the forecast. A blue crown signifies that cold weather is expected soon. Green means that there is at least a 50 percent chance of rain. Amber indicates that the weather will remain unchanged. This is the San Francisco Bay Area’s first weather beacon. The crown began lighting up on December 8, 2008.



The 183 ft (56 m) triangle-section clock tower, owned by Union 76 and then Bank of America, was built on the site circa 1955.After the Transbay Plan the city changed the zoning in the Rincon Hill neighborhood and raised height limits.A second version of One Rincon Hill was proposed in response to these zoning changes, in which the height was increased to 60 stories.The second version project was approved by the city on August 4, 2005.Before construction of One Rincon Hill, the clock tower was razed to make way for the construction of the towers.

South Tower

Three months after San Francisco approved the project, construction began on the South Tower with a groundbreaking ceremony on November 10, 2005. The South Tower was the second-tallest tower under construction in San Francisco.

July 2006 construction accident

On July 21, 2006, a metal construction deck collapsed sometime around 10:45 AM (UTC−7). Two carpenters and two ironworkers were injured when they fell about 30 feet ( 2.5 stories ) feet (6 m) along with the deck, sending all four men to the hospital. Three of the men were released that afternoon; one of the ironworkers was kept at the hospital with his leg broken in two places, a broken ankle, and a broken shoulder.


The South Tower was completed in September 2008, with all residential floors ready for residents.As of, April 2009, 70% of the South Tower’s 376 luxury units and 14 townhouses had been sold. Because of the occupancy rate and low profits so far, the developers had initially refused to pay $5.4 million in development fees that would be spent on rent subsidies, job training programs and community development in the South of Market area. However, the developers finally agreed to pay the city.

North Tower

The remaining north tower was scheduled to begin construction after summer 2008 and be completed in 2009.Originally, construction was supposed to commence in January 2008.Later, the developer mentioned construction was going start in March, but the construction firm wasn’t selected at that time. After March, the developer said construction was going to start in May 2008. However, following the worldwide financial crisis of the late summer and fall of 2008, the project’s developers announced that construction of the second tower was indefinitely on hold. With improving economic conditions in the city, construction started on this tower on October 2012; its first residents moved in August 2014.The north tower has now become The Harrison.