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In Exchange for Waterfront Height, Developer Offers Tenderloin Affordable Housing

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A 25-story, 160-unit waterfront tower planned by developer Paramount Group for 75 Howard Street has drawn ire from neighbors who complain that it is too tall, too likely to cause shadows, and will replace too much public parking. In an effort to combat resistance to the Skidmore Owings & Merrill-designed tower, Paramount has now offered to help pay for a development of 100 below-market-rate units in the Tenderloin in partnership with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. (TNDC), reports the San Francisco Business Times. The proposed building, at the corner of Eddy and Taylor streets, would also include a street-level grocery store.

Paramount's 75 Howard tower is significantly above the current height limit for the site, so its Tenderloin proposal is likely a core part of efforts to push for height-limit exceptions on Howard. (Unlike the recently voter-approved Pier 70 project, 75 Howard does not need to put its proposed height increase before voters under Proposition B, because the site is owned by Paramount, not the Port of San Francisco.) Paramount's support for the Tenderloin building would fill in a key funding gap for the project, which will also receive money from the Mayor's Office of Housing and TNDC.

Developers are also increasingly seeing a mandate for 33 percent below-market-rate housing, especially after the passage of Proposition K, which set a city goal for 33 percent last fall. The 33 percent figure is well beyond the 12 percent required by law, but for controversial projects like 75 Howard, developers seem to be betting that offers of more below-market-rate housing will help build community support.

Right now the tower is still under environmental review. According to the Business Times, Paramount will hold community meetings ahead of the project's hearing before the Planning Commission, which will likely be later this year.

· 31-Story Residential Tower Project in SoMa Hopes for Approval [Curbed SF]
· Developer of Contentious Waterfront Tower Set to Fund Tenderloin Affordable Housing Project [SF Business Times]
· Previous Coverage of Pier 70 [Curbed SF]