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Salesforce's Pre-Leased Skyscraper Gets Key Vote

A huge potential addition to San Francisco's ever-changing skyline and a new piece of Salesforce's always-growing real estate footprint just got a key boost from the city.

A rendering of 542-550 Howard St.

The San Francisco Planning Commission approved an amendment to the city's zoning late last week that allows Hines and Urban Pacific Development to seek entitlements for a 61-story, mixed-use tower in the city's Transbay district.

Though entitlements and permits are yet to come, last week's vote pulls developers as close to a groundbreaking on the site as they've been so far.

Hines, Urban Pacific and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs bought the site, known as Parcel F, for $160M in 2016 as the last available parcel for tower development in the area. Six months prior, developer Crescent Heights had pulled out of a similar deal to buy and build on the city-owned land, citing an inability to meet the Transbay area's 35% inclusionary requirement. 

In the last few years, Parcel F has been stuck in early planning stages, partially stymied by competition with other proposals for the city's annual office space allocation allowed under Prop M.

Hines and Urban Pacific's project will still face a fight for approvals next year, but Thursday's vote makes possible entitlements for the project's scope, size and several uses.

In addition to 274K SF of office fully leased to Salesforce, current plans for the 800-foot high-rise include 165 homes, 79K SF of amenity space and 189 hotel rooms, among other uses.

Hines declined to comment on plans for the hotel and other possible uses, including its 9K SF of retail.

542-550 Howard St. rendering of pedestrian bridge

The tower would also feature a pedestrian bridge to Salesforce Park and have the same design architect — César Pelli (who died in July) and his firm, Pelli Clarke Pelli — as Salesforce Tower, which is located across the street.

The Howard Street project would become the fourth-tallest building in San Francisco if complete today. The currently underway Oceanwide Center (despite uncertainties around its future) will be the city's second-tallest at 910 feet. 

Current designs call for nine floors of hotel, 15 office floors, 29 residential floors and seven floors of shared amenities, retail and lobby space.

Hines and Urban Pacific Development also have Block 4, another Transbay high-rise, in their joint pipeline. That 47-story tower, located just south of Howard Street between Main and Beale streets, calls for over 500 units and is currently in the planning stages.

The 340 or so affordable units included at Block 4 would satisfy the Transbay requirement for both planned high-rises that 40% of new units be affordable and be built by housing nonprofit Mercy Housing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.