Developer Presents Vision for (Yet Another) Mission Bay Project
By Keith Burbank
Potrero Hill residents raised concerns about the size and shape of a proposed development at Mission Bay’s Block 40 at last month’s Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association meeting. Block 40 is located just east of Interstate 280, along Mariposa Street. Mission Bay Development Group (MBDG) – Mission Bay’s master developer – wants to construct a 680,000 square foot office building, with space for a childcare facility, as well as possibly a cafО, at the site. According to MBDG planner Luke Stewart, some of the office space could be used for laboratories, though vacant lab space already exists in the area. A separate parking garage is included in the concept drawings.
At the Boosters meeting Vermont Street resident Yoram Meroz asked if the developer could construct a smaller building. According to Seth Hamalian, MBDG managing principal, the building needs to be of a certain size to secure financing. “The amount of square feet supports the growth in the property tax base, which then directly finances the infrastructure, parks and affordable housing in Mission Bay,” Hamalian said.
Former Boosters president John DeCastro asked if the building could be made more “curvilinear.” According to DeCastro, buildings in San Francisco, unlike in Chicago or China, are being built as “refrigerator boxes.” Hamalian responded that MBDG tried a curvilinear concept, but the design seemed even more massive than a single box-style building. The lot’s triangular shape could explain why a curvilinear edifice looks larger than a single block building, Hamalian said.
Under the proposed design one building with four sections would be constructed, giving the appearance of four different buildings. Each section would be connected by what appears to be an enclosed walkway. The development would be built to allowable height limits, with a base height of 65 feet, a midrise height of 90 feet, and a tower height of 160 feet. The first and third buildings would be lower than the second and fourth sections as the edifice stretches from south to north.
Some Boosters members said that they’d prefer not to have to see the mechanical equipment on top of the building. In response, Hamalian showed a sketch that extended the building’s wall above the equipment.
“But this makes the whole building taller,” said Boosters president Tony Kelly.
“Penthouse mechanicals are allowed to go an additional 20 feet above each of these heights,” Hamalian responded.
Block 40 is one of the closest blocks in Mission Bay to Potrero Hill. It’s immediately adjacent to Interstate 280 to the west and Mariposa Street on the south. To the east is yet-to-be-completed Owens Street; to the north 16th Street. Mariposa Park will be built across from the development, at Owens and Mariposa Streets. More open space is planned for the opposite side of Owens Street, on the south side of Block 40, but that space will be only a slope to the CalTrain tracks.
In response to a question from District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen about who would be responsible for maintaining the open space on the developed site, Hamalian said that parties leasing space in the building will pay a special assessment, the proceeds of which will be used to maintain the space.
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