The fifty-first tallest structure in the Bay Area is Infinity 1 at 338 Spear Street, SoMa, San Francisco. The 423-foot tall tower opened in 2008 as one of the distinguishing symbols for the development south of Market Street, especially given its prominent position beside the Bay Bridge. Its undulating dark cyan curtain-wall facade reflects modernist architecture’s evolution in the new millennium, facing pressure to reject traditional ornamentation and the boxed rigidity of the 20th-century modernist design. Tishman Speyer was the developer for the construction and remained as the property owner.
The development is composed of four distinct mixed-use buildings. The tallest, 338 Spear Street, rises 40 floors to a pinnacle of 423 feet. Its companion tower is at 301 Main Street, rising 37 floors to a peak of 350 feet. 333 Main Street stands nine stories tall, and 318 Spear Street stands eight stories high. The combined project offers 650 apartments, of which 285 are in Infinity 1. Residencies provide various sizes, ranging from 500-580 square-foot studios to 1,300-3,400 square feet three-bedroom homes. As of 2018, the average apartment sold for $950 to $1500 per square foot.
The development provides 1.56 million square feet, including 30,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Five levels of underground parking provide personal transit options for residents, though mass transit is in abundance in the surrounding area. Bus stops are nearby, and the Embarcadero BART station is found just nine minutes away by foot.
Residential amenities include an indoor pool 75 feet above street level, a community room, rentable theater space, and a central landscaped courtyard. Most units have a private balcony, with the top twelve stories receiving a more spacious outdoor area.
The building design is a collaboration between Arquitectonica and Heller Manus. Both firms have made an enormous contribution to the Bay Area skyline. The building received various awards, including the California Construction’s Best of 2008 in Northern California and the CEFI Charles Pankow Award for Innovation.
Construction started in 2005, at which point construction crews quickly discovered a buried ship, as is common in San Francisco’s reclaimed land. The boat was the 1818 Boston-built whaling ship, the Candace. It is believed to have finished its sailing in San Francisco after an arduous trip through the Arctic in 1855, shortly after California’s American colonization in 1848.
Interestingly enough, the development is an immediate neighbor of MIRA, the 52nd tallest tower in San Francisco. Construction is estimated to have cost conservatively $225 million, transforming a former surface parking lot in the city center into a residential and retail destination with a landscaped courtyard open to the public.
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