1601 Larkin Street is back before the Planning Commission on Thursday, this time hoping to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report and finally get project approvals after 5 years. If you recall, the contentious original project began in 2007 and included replacing a vacant church with new Stanley Saitowitz-designed condos. The neighbors weren't having it, calling the plans too large and too out-of-scale with the neighborhood. But the property owner disagreed, claiming the church structure was economically infeasible. Most importantly though, the Planning Commission wasn't having the project at all - they didn't certify the EIR when they saw it in June 2010 because it didn’t have enough alternative projects analyzed. The developer, uh, disagreed, and sued the City.
Fast forward to now, and after many meetings, the design for the project has been changed by new project architects Ian Birchall & Associates. The mass has been reduced, materials changed, and a whole slew of setbacks added along Clay Street. There are also way more solid walls compared to all-glass glazing of the last design, and the whole thing would be finished in a light-colored limestone plaster materials. The Planning Department is still recommending further "sculpting" of the top floor, so it blends with the neighborhood better, but recommending certification of the EIR and project approvals none-the-less. We'll keep you posted on how it all plays out.
· 1601 Larkin Street applications [SF Planning]
· Past 1601 Larkin coverage [Curbed SF]