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Phil Matier: Another High Rise Proposed On San Francisco’s Waterfront

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San Francisco's Embarcadero (CBS SF)

San Francisco’s Embarcadero (CBS SF)

PhilMatier01-370 Phil Matier
Whether it's politics, personalities or analysis Phil Matier is one of...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Another political battle could heat up at San Francisco City Hall Thursday, stemming from a new residential high rise proposal on the waterfront.

The development would be near Howard Street and the Embarcadero, and comes at a time when there’s already a fight over the 8 Washington project and much debate over the new Warriors arena.

I’m already willing to bet that this latest proposal flies right through the bureaucracy and gets built. I think the people that drive in and out of San Francisco have noticed the excess of construction cranes for the last couple of years.

The high rises are going up at an alarming and rapid pace. Almost overnight it seems. But you should also notice where all the development is going. It’s all happening south of California Street, Market Street and in SoMa.

You can build just about anything you want on that side of town, but the consensus seems to be you can’t build if you go north towards Telegraph Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf and near the Ferry Building. That’s where you get some real resistance.

The reason for this goes back to the debate of high-rises vs. sprawl. The Sierra Club stepped in and said ‘you’ve got to stop the sprawl’. The answer was high rises.

Theoretically with centrally located high rises, they thought you wouldn’t need cars, because they’re built near mass transit, which eliminates the need for parking garages.

So the high rise became a popular idea, but the issue was where to put them. SoMa was an easy target because at the time it was largely unpopulated so there was no one to object to it. The city’s northern end has historically had something to say about buildings that obstruct their view.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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