Turf Wars: Cathedral Hill High-Rise Faces Tower of NIMBY Discontent

Tracy Elsen
1481PostStreet_2014_05_websplash_sm.jpg
1481PostStreet_2014_05_websplash_sm.jpg

[Renderings via ADCO]
The first time that developer ADCO tried to bring a condo tower of 30-plus stories to 1481 Post Street in Cathedral Hill back in 2007, residents joined together to NIMBY the SOM-designed development out of existence. Last year tower came back with a new 36-story design (two stories shorter than the previous version), and neighbors are again ready for a fight. The Cathedral Hill Neighborhood Association has hired a PR firm and is planning to comment extensively on the recently released environmental review. At a community meeting run by the neighborhood association this week, concerns were raised over shadows, views, traffic, and the changes that the tower may bring to the neighborhood. Meeting organizers encouraged the more than 200 attendees to write letters to the Planning Commission and provided a detailed packet on how to do so, with letter outlines and examples included.

The new design, by SLCE Architects and MWA Architects, would bring 262 housing units to Cathedral Hill and rise 416 feet into the sky, well above the area's 240-foot height limit, meaning that it needs special approval from the Board of Supervisors. More than half of the units would be two-bedrooms or larger, and there would be one parking space per unit. The new design specifically addresses many of the neighborhood's concerns over the previous design by adding a pedestrian walkway, a landscaped garden, and wider sidewalks.

However, new concerns have been raised, with a group called SOS Cathedral Hill collecting signatures for a petition to oppose the building based on traffic, pedestrian safety, and concerns over public-transit capacity. SOS Cathedral Hill is supported by the company that owns the adjacent Sequoias senior housing community. Many of Tuesday's meeting attendees were residents of Sequoias concerned about the proximity of the new tower to their community. In fact, the owners of Sequoias have even commissioned an alternative design for the site from architects Heller Manus that would stand only 28 stories high.


· Not so Fast at 1481 Post Street [Curbed SF]
· New Cathedral Hill Tower Proposed Where Others Failed [Curbed SF]
· 1481 Post Street [Official Site]
· SOS Cathedral Hill [Official Site]
· Adco revives controversial Cathedral Hill high-rise with new design [SF Business Times]