Tallest towers in San Francisco, mapped

Transamerica pyramid building

The city’s skyline has always been swoon-worthy, but over the last decade, the view has become even more grand—not to mention crowded—as skyscrapers have sprouted taller, taller, and taller. From the Salesforce Tower to 555 California, San Francisco’s high-rises have set examples of height and grandeur. Read more

History of the Twitter Building

Twitter building in San Fransisco

How the internet reshaped Market Street’s Art Deco monolith

The Twitter building, once known as the Western Furniture Exchange and Merchandise Mart, got its start as a Depression-era furniture showcase

This is a story about adaptive reuse, unplanned obsolescence, and the way one building can straddle two centuries and come to embody the fickle nature of commerce in a modern American city.

The hulking, Mayan-inspired, Art Deco monolith originally known as the Western Furniture Exchange and Merchandise Mart has stood on its Market Street block between Ninth and Tenth streets for 81 years now.

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The most polarizing buildings in San Francisco

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Building

Love ’em or loathe ’em, these structures won’t be ignored

Thom Mayne’s jarring yet alluring Federal Building, an 18-story structure with a curtain of perforated steel punctuated by a large square cut-out framing a privately owned public park, and the Glen Park BART station, a concrete public transportation dream, divide many. Read more

Union Bank Plaza undergoes $20 million renovation

Renovated Union Bank Plaza in DTLA

The first phase in the historic preservation-minded rehabbing of Union Bank Plaza (UBP) in Downtown Los Angeles has wrapped up. Completed in 1967, the 40-story office tower, designed by Harrison & Abramovitz and Albert C. Martin & Associates in the International style, became the first L.A. skyscraper to be named as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) earlier this year by the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission following a unanimous 5–0 vote. The nominating application for HMU designation was put forth by the Los Angeles Conservancy in July 2019.

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Rising Construction Costs

Building construction site

Labor and materials are arguably the two most critical ingredients of any construction project. No buildings transform skylines, no bridges span rivers and no homes rise from foundations without them. That’s why pricing of these two production components can mean cost-cutting is in store for other areas of the job budget or, given steep-enough increases, the scuttling of the project altogether.

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Arts District High Rise Starts Work

SF Arts District Building Construction

San Francisco-based developer Carmel Part­ners has broken ground on its first Arts District project. The planned 35-story project designed by Works Progress Architecture will rise at 520 S. Mateo St., near the Fourth Street Bridge. The main tower will include 475 live/work apartments, including 50 affordable units.

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Hewitt Street Getting a Hotel

New Hotel on Hewitt Street

Yet another hotel has been announced for the Arts District. Hospitality firm the Radisson Hotel Group announced plans to construct a 140-room Radisson RED hotel at 440 S. Hewitt St. A groundbreaking date has not been set, but the company expects it to open in early 2024.

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Anaheim Stadium turned into a mega mixed-use district

Anaheim Stadium

Last Wednesday, the owners of the Anaheim Ducks hopped on the “professional sports team turning the area around their stadium into a mixed-use district” bandwagon with the announcement of “ocV!BE,” a 115-acre neighborhood that will set up shop around the team’s Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

The hockey team’s owners will realize that vision by developing the (currently unused) landscape of surface parking lots around the Honda Center. In return, the Southern California city will receive 2,800 new apartments with 15 percent set aside for affordable housing, 825,000-square-feet of office space, and 30 acres of public green spaces, including a “wellness park.” Read more

510 foot, 45-story tower in San Francisco

Hero Sunrise building

This 510 foot, 45-story tower with a rising profile near SFMOMA will repurpose the 10-story Aronson Building, which survived the 1906 earthquake and fire, and add a residential skyscraper next to it, care of Handel Architects. The older building will play home to residential lofts on levels five through ten, as well as the upcoming Mexican Museum on levels two through four.

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5M development broke ground in June

5M on Mission St San Francisco

The long-delayed 5M development broke ground in June. The four-acre project, located at the border of MidMarket and SoMa, will include a 288-unit residential building on Mission, which includes 57 below market rate units (all at 50 percent of average median income); a 400-unit residential building on Natoma; and a 630,000-square foot office building on Howard. Read more