W Hotel gives SFMOMA expansion a bad review

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Mike Koozmin/The Examiner
Space concerns: A proposal to expand the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art would require that the narrow alley between the museum and W Hotel be vacated.
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A major expansion planned for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art could take a step forward today when it goes before the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee, but it would not come without resistance.

The committee could approve zoning changes needed to relocate Fire Station No. 1 from a Howard Street property to Folsom Street and to vacate a landlocked alley between the museum and the W Hotel.

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the museum, said she expects cooperation from the board.

“For the most part, everyone is really excited about the MOMA,” Kim said.

But according to a letter from a lawyer for the W Hotel sent to the Department of Public Works, Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission, not everyone is on board.

The hotel opposes vacating Hunt Street, according to a Nov. 9 letter from attorney Christine W. Griffith.

Griffith declined comment about her letter, but in it she wrote, “Vacating Hunt Street will substantially impair the W Hotel’s right of access as an abutting landowner.”

The Planning Commission signed off on the alley and zoning changes at a meeting Nov. 10.

But details of how the museum can use the property will be established when the project circles through the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors again this winter, according to Steven L. Vettel, a lawyer for the museum. If zoning changes are approved, the project will come back to The City for approval of the full development plan.

The project would double the size of the museum with a 230,000-square-foot expansion in place of properties at 670 and 676 Howard St. — the fire station — and using the vacated Hunt Street.

The fire station would relocate to 935 Folsom St. and, according to planning documents, it would be built before the old one is torn down.

sgantz@sfexaminer.com

Artist space

225,000 Current square footage of SFMOMA

230,000 Square footage of proposed expansion

150 Maximum height, in feet, of current building

200 Maximum height, in feet, of proposed expansion

Source: Planning Department

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