Towers proposed for Pacific Heights 

The modest apartment buildings hunkering against the Pacific Heights slope just west of Van Ness may soon be dwarfed by a towering residential development slated to replace a row of one- and two-story commercial buildings.

The project, proposed by developer AF Evans, includes a seven-story building stretching from 1934 through 1690 Pine St. near Franklin Street, from which one 25-story and one 12-story tower would rise. The development would include about 14,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, 282 residential units and 332 parking spaces in an underground garage, according to an initial planning report. Its tallest point, the 25-story western tower, would be 240 feet tall.

A draft environmental review of the project will take place in the coming months, with a written public comment period ending May 7.

According to the San Francisco Planning Department, buildings in the neighborhood range from one to 14 stories, but most are between two and four stories. The development would be the tallest in the area, but a number of other projects have been proposed nearby, including a 30-story residential tower at Post and Gough streets and a 20-story hospital bounded by Franklin Street, Post Street, Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard.

Planner Tammy Chan said the project has raised some concerns among residents. "People don’t want more residential. That’s what it comes down to," she said.

How exactly the building, which would include commercial space on its ground level, would impact the neighborhood in terms of traffic, light and transit will be determined through the environmental review process that Chan will oversee.

Because the commercial space’s tenants have not been identified yet, the planning department will conduct the review as if a restaurant were to occupy the space. Of the likely candidates, a restaurant would incur the most personal trips during peak commute hours, Chan said.

While the building will tower over those in the immediate vicinity of Pacific Heights, it is not without precedent, said David Prowler, a spokesman for developer AF Evans. The 26-story Holiday Inn towers over Van Ness Avenue just a block away, and the San Francisco Towers on the other side of the 1600 block of Pine Street span the entire block.

"Frankly, I think a better design is taller, more slender buildings instead of bulky buildings that overpower Pine Street," Prowler said. "The footprint of each of the towers is 10,000 square feet; that’s four San Francisco residential lots." A lower building that came right up to the street, such as the opposing San Francisco Towers, would contain roughly the same amount of units, Prowler said, but would create a "canyon" effect on Pine Street.

Going up?

Proposed buildings in vicinity of Pine Street development:

» A 30-story residential tower proposed at Post Street between Gough and Octavia streets

» A 13-story residential building proposed at the southeast corner of Bush and Franklin streets

» A new California Pacific Medical Center campus proposed on Cathedral Hill, including a 20-story hospital on the block bounded by Franklin Street, Post Street, Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard

» A nine-story medical office building proposed at the northeast corner of Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard

amartin@examiner.com

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