Plans Nearly Tripled for 960 Howard Street, San Francisco

960 Howard Street establishing view, rendering by oWow960 Howard Street establishing view, rendering by oWow

New permits have been filed to increase the residential expansion of 960 Howard Street in SoMa, San Francisco. The updated plans use the recently passed Assembly Bill 1287 to achieve a 100% density bonus, creating a 19-story tower rising from an existing office building. oWow, the busy Oakland-based developer, is responsible for the application.

The residential proposal is the long-sought second phase for 952-960 Howard Street. oWow filed plans for the office and light-industrial structure in 2020, for which construction wrapped up last year. Phase two was filed in 2021 to create a 14-story building with 130 apartments. In 2022, oWow revised the plan to 104 units and a 12-story building.

This latest revision uses the new state law to substantially increase the residential capacity up to 274 rental apartments across 16 floors. Once complete, the 209-foot 19-story tower will yield 168,650 square feet, including 151,550 square feet for housing, 11,920 square feet for offices, and 5,180 square feet of light industrial space. Parking will be included for 59 bicycles.

Housing types will vary, with 158 studios and 116 two-bedrooms. Of the 274 units, 42 will be designated as affordable. Half of the affordable units will be for very low-income households and half for moderate-income households.

oWow made headlines in Oakland after producing one of the country’s tallest residential buildings with mass timber construction at 1510 Webster Street and plans an even larger 25-story project at 1523 Harrison Street.

oWow’s in-house architecture studio is also responsible for the design at 960 Howard Street.

The proposal is only the latest filing to use AB1287 to increase an existing project substantially. The state law has only been in effect since the start of this year, but its modification of the existing density bonus program to allow developers to achieve a 100% increase has been capitalized across the city.

The first two projects covered by YIMBY to use AB1287 are a 22-story 1101-1123 Sutter Street and a 24-story 955 Sansome Street. Other plans include 344 14th Street, 875 Sansome Street, and 425 Broadway. Outside of San Francisco, the City of Belvedere approved a 40-home project after the developer said they would consider pursuing a 70-unit alternative using the Builder’s Remedy and AB 1287 if the plans were rejected.

DCI Engineers will be the structural engineer, and Calichi Design Group will be the civil engineer. The estimated cost and timeline for construction have yet to be established.

The property is located along Howard Street between 5th and 6th Street, next to the 5M masterplan. Residents will be just two blocks from the Powell Street BART and Muni Station.

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15 Comments on "Plans Nearly Tripled for 960 Howard Street, San Francisco"

  1. Excellent! They have been working on this building for years now. Might as well just make it bigger and get more housing built. This will be a great spot for cyclists to live especially after the new Howard Streetscape project is complete with a two-way cycle track on the south side that can take riders from 11th to the Embarcadero.

  2. This is a great story of increasing the number of residential units!

    Single family zoning laws have created the housing crisis.

  3. Does anyone understand the artical? It’s all over the place, the only people who will benefit will be the developer.
    No automobile parking is a big mistake but I guess that is the plan?

    • There’s no need for parking. Transit and bike lanes are within walking distance. Cars take up unnecessary space that’s better used for retail/housing/commercial/open space.

    • This development is close to the Central Subway, and the 8, 30, 31, 12, 14, and 14R, most of which run at frequencies of 10 min or less. There is no need to own a car here. There’s still significant demand for housing in SoMa so we need to build significantly more housing, while not encouraging car usage/more vehicle traffic on our roadways. This is a wonderful project that addresses these needs.

      • some people have children and need a car. don’t act so self centered like all housing should be built for cyclists lol they should 100% include parking dor at least 50 vehincles

        • Yea, some people also have families and don’t own cars. There’s also plenty of housing elsewhere with parking… but we shouldn’t restrict housing to people with cars. We should allow car free living where it’s most convenient – close to transit. Building underground parking would have cost millions more and raise the cost of each unit.

        • You can grow up with only using Muni, I know from experience. It’s more common than you may think.
          bike parking though is very space efficient, so you may as well add *some* in. Plus, we’ve built developments accomodating cars everywhere but haven’t fulfilled demand for those who want to use bikes to commute instead. Out of all places with some cycling demand. SOMA is the place to put this.

      • “Of the 274 units, 42 will be designated as affordable.”

        And “affordable” means you make 70K or less to get into it.
        Techie Cyclists love to pretend they’re the only people in SF.

    • Literally two blocks from BART, 5 minute bike ride to caltrain, walkable to some of the best busses in the city

    • take public transit!

  4. ….and all the drugs you want to buy on 6th St…then you can sober up further down the block on Howard before you go home.

    Yeah !

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