For all us armchair planning commissioners, the DEIR for 706 Mission Tower (at Third Street) and Mexican Museum is up for a look before the Historic Preservation Commission this Wednesday, July18. It's an epic account of a building so big it doesn't always fit into its own renderings, and we expect Historic Preservation to deal mostly with the 1903 Aronson Building's preservation and the setting next to Willis Polk's power station, now ignominiously folded– literally– into Daniel Lebeskind's Jewish Contemporary, the moribund plaza that is Jessie Square and the old St. Patrick's church, all on Mission Street. The big issues– parking, traffic and height plus shadows as far north as Union Square– will come up when the Planning Commission meets in August to look over the DEIR before sending it on to the Board of Supervisors. The project needs BoS approval for height, transfer of the Jessie Street garage, and a zoning change before anything can happen.
It's an old Redevelopment commission project dating back to the early '90s, and has had more than one starchitect attached to it, however briefly, and the current firm is Handel Architects– with plenty of disclaimers about potential future design changes. Although there are seven variations in the DEIR, the big one is a 47-story, 550-foot-tall residential tower that would back up a preserved Aronson Building and include the Mexican Museum on the Jessie Square side. For comparison's sake, the Paramount Tower on the northeast corner of Third and Mission is 43 stories.
As for arguing about traffic and parking, the DEIR has no less than seven different proposals on how to handle the current (and problematic) access to the Jessie Street garage and additional residential parking for the tower. Since none of us are actually on either commission, we don't have to actually read the entire 8-volume, 5-appendix tome and get to just skip around to the good parts.
· Negative Declarations and EIRS [2nd Item, SFPD]