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Huge San Francisco Skyscraper Could Change City Skyline Forever With 808 Homes

Written by Garrett LeahyPublished Oct. 03, 2022 • 11:48am
An illustration of 50 Main Street (far left) overlooking the Embarcadero and the San Francisco Bay (right). Courtesy Foster + Partners

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A massive skyscraper could change San Francisco’s skyline forever and add 808 homes to the city.

The 50 Main Street tower would be the second tallest in the city after Salesforce Tower. 

If approved, it would be built on the site of a two-story parking garage between the Matson Building and an office tower at 77 Beale in the SoMa neighborhood.

The site is near the Embarcadero transit station entrances and within a few blocks of the Ferry Terminal and the Transbay Terminal.

Of the 808 rental units, 118 units would be listed as affordable. Roughly half of the units would be one-bedroom apartments, while the remaining half would be an almost even mix of studio and two-bedroom units, according to an informational packet outlining plans for the project.

Developer Hines says the project will help downtown’s recovery by repopulating the area along Market Street and increasing foot traffic to nearby restaurants and businesses. 

Texas-based Hines describes the tower’s crown as “a beacon that will be a new jewel, complimenting the skyline of San Francisco with its understated elegance.”

The tower at 50 Main Street has been designed by architecture firm Foster and Partners. It features cross-braces between its middle and upper sections to protect it during earthquakes.

Hines is the developer behind the plagued 33 Tehama residential highrise which experienced two floods in three months due to a broken water main, releasing thousands of gallons of water into rooms and hallways and displacing residents into hotels. Hines was contacted for comment.

Renderings show how 50 Main Street would stack up against Salesforce Tower in terms of height. | Courtesy of Hines, Pickard Chilton, Foster and Partners, PWP Landscape Architecture, and Kendall/Heaton Associates

The estimated costs for the project are currently unknown but are likely to hit the $1 billion mark—if other projects of a similar size are used for comparison. Salesforce Tower for example, cost $1.1 billion and was completed in 2018.

As with all early stage plans in San Francisco, there’s no guarantee it will ever be built. The project still has to be approved by the Planning Commission before it can apply for building permits. The Standard has an explainer on how this works here.

City Grove Development

Aerial rendering of City Grove development that would include the 50 Main Street tower. | Courtesy of Hines, Pickard Chilton, Foster and Partners, PWP Landscape Architecture, and Kendall/Heaton Associates.

The tower at 50 Main Street is part of a larger Hines development named City Grove.

The larger development includes office and retail space at 215 Market, 245 Market, and 200 Mission. 

The project would have underground parking for up to 404 cars and a 1.25 acre public park, including an amphitheater.

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The existing office tower at 77 Beale Street would be renamed 200 Mission Street. It would be stripped of its exterior and its steel frame would be seismically retrofitted to current standards. 

Developers plan to add nearly 50,000 square feet of office space along with a new facade designed by architecture firm Pickard Chilton.

Renderings of the 50 Main Street tower, which would be the second tallest in the city after Salesforce Tower if built. | Courtesy of Hines, Pickard Chilton, Foster and Partners, PWP Landscape Architecture, and Kendall/Heaton Associates

Part of the redevelopment involves the preservation of two historic buildings at the site, 215 Market and 245 Market, which are the Matson Building and the PG&E building.

The redevelopment of the block is a collaboration between several different companies including Hines, Pickard Chilton, Foster and Partners, PWP Landscape Architecture, and Kendall/Heaton Associates.

The project must be approved by the Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission before moving forward. The Recreation and Parks Department must also approve shadow allowances for the project.

Developers will present the project to the Planning Commission on October 6 to gather “early input” from the commission.

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Garrett Leahy can be reached at [email protected]


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