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Behold: Conceptual Designs for SoMa's Grand-Scale 5M Project

Renderings have been released for the 5M project, an ambitious mixed-use development devised by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox and urban designers SITELAB Urban Studio. The conceptual designs for the project—a joint effort by Forest City and the Chronicle's owner, the Hearst Corporation—show a spunky duo of textured towers clad in materials like recycled brick and red metal mesh. The tallest of the proposed structures is a 470-foot residential building on Fifth Street, between Minna and Natoma. The proposed office high-rise to the south will feature two towers rising to 430 and 380 feet. The buildings are meant to riff on the brick-and-timber character of the neighborhood, and their varied shapes will deflect ground-level winds. Plus, certain parts of the commercial side of the development will feature "Silicon Valley scale" acre-plus floor plates ideal for tech companies whose spatial needs would otherwise send them to Silicon Valley.

There's also public space aplenty: With a new plaza slated for what's now a parking lot and a pedestrian path planned for the Mary Street alley, the project exceeds its commercial public space requirement by roughly 18,000 square feet. What's more, there'll be a rooftop deck complete with a grassy knoll on top of the renovated Chronicle building.

The draft Environmental Impact Report for the project—whose name, if you haven't guessed by now, is a contraction of Fifth and Mission streets—was released three weeks ago, and the developers are hoping to obtain all required approvals by the end of 2015. That may not be easy, since the towers are far taller than current zoning allows. If the city approves the project in its current configuration, it could break ground in 2016.

· 5M Timeline [Official Site]
· Bold Vision Released for High-Rise Complex around SF Chronicle [SFGate]
· Forest City Reveals Plans for 5M [SF Business Times]