Two new proposals have been submitted for housing at 875 Sansome Street in San Francisco. The different applications provide a case study of how state law has changed the development landscape in the city over the last four years since increasing the state density bonus and introducing Assembly Bill 1287. N17 Development filed both projects on behalf of the property owner, Allrise Capital.
The separate applications use the Senate Density Bonus program created by Senate Bill 35. SB35 was introduced in 2017 to encourage developers to designate a certain percentage of affordable units. The developer can then use the density bonus to increase the potential residential capacity above the code-compliant “base project” allowed by local zoning, assisted by zoning waivers and incentives.
The maximum possible density bonus was increased from 35% to 50% in 2021 by Assembly Bill 2345. At the start of this year, AB 1287 introduced the ability to stack density bonuses, substantially increasing the potential residential capacity for developers that add more affordable units. The law’s potential was more highlighted in San Francisco when Aralon Properties filed plans for a 24-story tower just one block north of Allrise’s property.
When reached for comment, Oisin Heneghan, founder of N17 Development, told YIMBY that because the 14-story proposal is considered a high-rise, there will be additional requirements that could increase the development costs.
The shorter application uses a 27.5% density bonus to increase the residential capacity from 20 to 25 rental units by designating 15% of the base project units as affordable to lower-income residents. The 89-foot tall structure will yield 36,740 square feet, including nearly 3,000 square feet for the ground-level garage. Parking is included for 27 bicycles and 14 cars using triple stackers. Unit sizes include eight one-bedrooms, 14 two-bedrooms, and three three-bedrooms.
The 147-foot tall alternative will yield 46 rental apartments, including ten units of affordable housing for low-income and moderate-income households. The bonus project stacks the density bonus using AB 1287, achieving a 100% bonus above the base project. There will be 14 one-bedrooms, 26 two-bedrooms, and six three-bedrooms. Parking is included for 14 cars and 49 bicycles.
The application uses waivers for height limits, unit exposure, bulk control, and open space because of the density bonus program.
BDE Architecture is responsible for the design of both proposals. Both bay window-adorned buildings would be identical for the first eight floors, while the 14-story version simply repeats the top floor six times. The ground level is wrapped with a solid stone wall and floor-to-ceiling windows looking into the lobby and garage. The rest of the tower will be clad with brick veneer, cement plaster, and shaped metal panels.
The 0.1-acre proposal is at the corner of Broadway and Sansome Street, on the southern edge of North Beach. The proposal is close to two similarly-tall proposals for the otherwise stagnant neighborhood at 955 Sansome and 1088 Sansome Street. The attractive neighborhood has seen little new development over the years, but its proximity to the Embarcadero and Downtown San Francisco makes it an attractive area for new housing. In the case of 875 Sansome Street, the corner plot is just three blocks from the towering Transamerica Pyramid.
City records show the property was last bought in 2016 for $6.6 million. The application was filed using the Mayoral Executive Directive 17-02, requiring city staff to accept the application as complete within 30 days.