A skyscraper proposed for 542-550 Howard St. could rise to 800 feet. (Courtesy photo)

New skyscraper to rise in city’s skyline

A proposed 800-foot tower could soon rise in downtown San Francisco’s rapidly changing skyline.

The 61-story mixed-use skyscraper is planned at 542-550 Howard St., or Transbay Parcel F. The undeveloped lot served as a construction staging area for the adjacent Salesforce Transit Center — which at a towering 1,070 feet is The City’s tallest building — during its construction.

Following a number of revisions to the project in recent years that included a reduction in the proposed unit count and an overhaul of its exterior design, the “Parcel F” tower’s developers are seeking approvals for additional amendments at the Planning Commission on Thursday.

The list of amendments include zoning changes and revisions to San Francisco’s Transit Center District and Downtown Area Plans, as well as a conditional use authorization to establish a hotel use at the site.

If approved, the tower could become The City’s fourth tallest building, right behind the Salesforce Tower, the planned Oceanwide Center and the Transamerica Pyramid.

As currently proposed, the project calls for the construction of 165 condominiums, 189 hotel rooms and approximately 274,000 square feet of office space. Some 79,000 square feet would be devoted to shared amenity space and 9,000 square feet to retail space located along Howard and Natoma streets. The project also includes some 20,000 square feet of open space.

The tower will be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations and preferred parking spaces for clean air, vanpool and electric vehicles, according to planning documents.

The project would also include the construction of a pedestrian bridge on the tower’s fifth floor that provides public access to the Salesforce Park, located on the roof of the Transbay Transit Center.

The tower, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, is intended to become a “ significant addition to the skyline of San Francisco” and will be ”highly visible from many primary approaches to the city,” according to planning documents. Its concrete columns and core walls will be “founded on a large diameter drilled shafts into the Franciscan bedrock.”

Hines is developing the Parcel F tower, which is planned to be “the last super-tall building in downtown San Francisco for the foreseeable future,” according to the firm’s website.

Planning Department staff members have recommended approval of the project, but to move it forward, the Commission on Thursday would have to approve a resolution stating intent to initiate the proposed General Plan amendments. A formal recommendation would then be made to the Board of Supervisors, but additional approvals will still be required by the commission and the board at future public hearings.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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