A 20-story, 220-foot-tall mixed-use building at 75 Howard St. in the South of Market neighborhood near The Embarcadero was approved by the Planning Commission last month, further transforming San Francisco's skyline. (Rendering courtesy Steelblue)

Time-lapse photos show SF’s changing skyline

It’s no secret that San Francisco’s development boom rivals that of the California Gold Rush era more than a century ago, with many projects transforming The City’s skyline.

Housing costs are soaring, and even homes that in other climates would have been considered less desirable are on the market for $1 million. City legislators are introducing new laws to encourage developers to build more below-market-rate housing. The housing crisis is dominating the Nov. 3 ballot.

Exactly how The City has changed since 2007, around when the U.S. entered the Great Recession, has been documented in a series of time-lapse photos by listing service RentCafe.com. The website used Google’s Street View to pinpoint some of the most drastic developments and compare the sites in 2007 to photos taken in the past year.

Scroll down to see 10 time-lapse photos with information provided by RentCafe.com.


1. Madrone & Nektar – Mission Bay, SoMa

Year Built: 2009

Originally planned as the headquarters of a department for Pfizer, the 5-story, 219,000-square-foot office building at 455 Mission Bay Boulevard South became home to Nektar Therapeutics in 2010. Across the street sits Madrone, a luxurious 329-unit condo tower built by Bosa Development. The building is located right next to the 99-unit Radiance, the first Bosa development to be built in Mission Bay. Another addition to the area, the San Francisco Public Safety Building at Third Street and Mission Rock houses the San Francisco Police Department headquarters, Southern District Police Station and Fire Station No. 4.

2. The Infinity, Phase II – Rincon Hill, SoMa

Year Built: 2009

Tishman Speyer Properties completed its 1-million-square-foot mixed-use development with The Infinity, Phase II (300 Spear Street). This 41-story residential condominium tower adds 285 units to the already 369 contained in the 1st tower and double low-rise buildings. Amenities include a fitness center, swimming pool, retail space and a 5-level subterranean parking garage.

3. One Hawthorne – South Beach, SoMa

Year Built: 2010

One Hawthorne developers Jackson Pacific completed the 25-story, 292,978-square-foot “boutique” high-rise condominium tower in 2010. The 165 units range from 1 to 3-bedrooms and boast a 4,500-square-foot community roof deck, top-notch fitness center and valet parking.

4. 149 Mason Street – Tenderloin

Year Built: 2009

149 Mason Street is Glide Economic Development Corporation’s 8-story, 43,915-square-foot housing project consisting of 56 studio units for individuals transitioning out of homelessness. The building features ground floor commercial and retail space, a community room, and support services. A visually striking 8-story, ceramic tile art feature “Intertwined,” created by Johanna Poethig, encircles the building.

5. 990 Polk Street – Tenderloin

Year Built: 2008

990 Polk Street, built by Citizens Housing Corporation in partnership with TNDC, provides 110 studio and one-bedroom service-rich housing units to homeless and at-risk residents with a focus on seniors. It features ground floor retail and offices for services providers, a community kitchen, computer center and roof top community garden.

6. Arnett Watson Housing – Tenderloin

Year Built: 2009

Another Community Housing Partnership property addressing homelessness is the 9-story Arnett Watson Housing at 650 Eddy Street. The 83 units range from studios to two-bedroom apartments. It offers it’s residents a community room, support services offices, on-site parking, commercial space and a rooftop garden.

7. 121 Golden State Avenue – Tenderloin

Year Built: 2015

The St. Anthony Foundation and Mercy Housing partnered to complete the 10-story, LEED Silver, mixed-use 121 Golden State Avenue. The original St. Anthony Dining Room, serving meals to those in need, was razed to make way for this new facility which boasts 3 floors of commercial food preparation areas and a dinning hall. Administrative offices and 90 units of senior apartments occupy floors 3-10.

8. Amero – Cow Hollow

Year Built: 2014

Dubbed Amero, Trumark Urban’s 6-story condominium building offers 27 flats and townhomes with spacious floor plans ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet. Located at 1501 Filbert Street, these condos feature professional grade kitchens, exceptional finishes, private decks in select homes, and a fully equipped community rooftop terrace.

9. Argenta – Civic Center

Year Built: 2008

Anka Development’s Argenta was originally slated as a condominium project but morphed into apartments in 2009 and was acquired by Behringer Harvard in 2011. Located at 1 Polk St., this 20-story tower comprises 179 one- and two-bedroom luxury, condo-quality apartments, 4,100 square feet of street level retail, and an 8,000-square-foot landscaped garden terrace.

10. Citadine-Axis – Polk Gulch

Year Built: 2009

Pushing through when most condominium projects went rental, Citadine-Axis, at 1299 Bush St. offers 8 floors of luxury, one to three-bedroom, multi-level units. Featuring 26 condos, the complex boasts a chic lobby, video intercom and security system, state-of-the-art automated parking system, and an expansive roof terrace lounge with amazing views of the city.


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