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500 Townsend Would Trade I-280 for a View, if You're Asking

When the motley mishmash of warehouses and parking lots that make up the 500 block of Townsend Street went up for sale last February, the property was heralded as San Francisco's next big development site. Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a developer that focuses on building science and technology campuses, purchased the SoMa land in April for a reported $50.15 million. In San Francisco, Alexandria is best known for building the Center for Science and Technology at Mission Bay. Now, the developer has submitted preliminary plans to construct a 258,000-square-foot office building in the 500 Townsend block.

The new building would rise seven stories on its Townsend Street frontage and five stories along Harriet Street. It would be located next to the elevated portion of I-280, which sounds not so hot except! In its response to the proposal, the Planning Department notes that the freeway may eventually come down and be replaced by public space. Although that idea is currently just a twinkle in Planning's eye, the department has already recommended that 500 Townsend's developers think about how to incorporate it into their plans.

· Is 500 Townsend S.F.'s Next Big Development Opportunity?
[SF Business Times]
· Alexandria Acquires SoMa's 500 Townsend for a Reported $50 Million [SF Business Times]
· 510 and 520 Townsend Preliminary Project Assessment
[SF Planning, PDF]
· Could a New Neighborhood Grow in the Shadow of I-280? [Curbed SF]