It has only been two weeks since plans were first announced for the region’s potential second-tallest residential tower, and a flurry of permit activity has already been submitted to the city’s Planning Department. The 72-story proposal for 530 Howard Street is expected to rise 844 feet tall, among the tallest in the country, and could become the third or fourth tallest skyscraper in San Francisco. Bayhill Ventures, the project developer, has also submitted a request for new building permits.
The series of applications show that the developer is using Senate Bill 330, Assembly Bill 2011, and the State Density Bonus program to increase the residential capacity of 530 Howard Street and ensure a secure path for approval. The developer will achieve a density bonus of 50% by providing 15% of the base units, i.e., 68 units, which will be deed-restricted as affordable to very low-income housing. The base zoning project would rise roughly 470 feet tall and contain 450 apartments.
AB 2011, signed into law last year, provides a by-right approval for affordable housing or projects with 15% affordable housing on land zoned for commercial or retail use. The bill gives a streamlined ministerial approval pathway like Senate Bill 35 by making certain projects CEQA-exempt and providing a limited 180-day timeframe for approval.
The 844-foot tall structure will yield around 882,250 square feet, with 730,975 square feet for housing and 48,000 square feet for parking. Of the 672 apartments, there will be 424 one-bedrooms, 180 two-bedrooms, and 68 three-bedrooms. Parking will be included for 149 cars and 458 bicycles.
Amenities will start on the fifth and sixth floors, accessible via elevator from the ground lobby. The elevators open to a double-height spiral staircase on one side, which rises to the sixth-floor pool deck and fitness center. The Howard Street side of the fifth floor will include a co-working space, library, lounge, and game room. The other half will be occupied by residential services such as concierge, leasing, the mail room, and a connection to the public-access Salesforce Park bridge. On the 70th floor, nearly 800 feet above street level, residents will find access to a second amenity lounge, entertainment zone, and a shared terrace.
Among the exciting new details revealed from the permit activity is a collection of new renderings, particularly how the public will see the publicly accessible bridge that connects the tower and pedestrians along Natoma Street to the Salesforce Park, which features landscaping designed by PWP. House & Robertson Architects is the executive architect, and Pickard Chilton is the design architect. The tower facade will frame the floor-to-ceiling windows with steel-beam panels.
The foundation structural system will extend below the upper and lower layers of sand and into bedrock. According to the project report, “preliminary studies indicate that the pier embedment into the bedrock will vary between 30’ to 75’.” Magnusson Klemencic Associates is responsible for civil and structural engineering, Meyers+ is the MEP engineer, and Atelier Ten is consulting on sustainability.
If completed today, the proposal could be tied as the 72nd tallest building in the country, tied with two from Chicago and one in Oklahoma City. Its projected rooftop height is just nine feet shorter than the 853-foot Transamerica Pyramid but well off from being the city’s tallest. The Salesforce Tower still reigns supreme in the city’s skyline with its 1,070-foot height.
The project could also become the tallest residential tower in San Francisco. However, it is only the second tallest residential proposal in the city’s pipeline, after the 992-foot supertall plan at 50 Main Street. Hines is planning an 808-unit tower designed by Foster + Partners as the crowning jewel in the 2.8 million square foot City Grove master plan. The project has been making quiet progress through San Francisco’s planning department, though it has not yet passed any significant milestone since our coverage last September.
The 0.4-acre parcel is in the heart of the Transbay transit center along Howard Street between First and Second Street. Future residents will be next door to the future California High-Speed Rail and Caltrain stations. Demolition will be required for the existing surface parking lot and a four-story office building.
Bayhill Ventures is a relatively new firm led by the former chief at Hines, Paul Paradis, and former president of the Sobrato Organization, Rob Hollister. The project application did provide the potential cost and a date for construction. The development is estimated to cost around $268 million and start as early as Spring of 2026.