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Dramatic, elliptical 14-story building set for SoMa

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It will be located two blocks from the ever-delayed Central Subway

Rendering courtesy of Boston Properties

Five older buildings and a parking lot in SoMa are set for demolition, and in their place will rise a rust-colored, scalloped 14-story mixed-use building from the same developers behind Salesforce Tower.

Boston Properties announced this week that the SF Planning Commission unanimously approved its new project at 725 Harrison (next door to 18-and-over stalwart nightclub City Nights), which will include 770,000 square feet of office space, 36,000 feet of retail space, and 16,700 feet of public space.

The project opens up a block of SoMa that now consists mostly of old garage and auto shop spaces—as well as an unmarked warehouse that used to house self-driving Ubers—but the striking design by HOK and its tear-shaped footprint is probably the most consequential element.

The Harrison Street project has been in the works for years. A former iteration of the project, back in 2015, called for a clumsy, cube-like design, which city planners had hailed as “playful.” Ultimately, that design was scrapped.

Boston Properties also says that as part of the deal it will set aside 15,000 square feet of for 144-units of affordable housing, although that will be for a future project.

The construction will clear away five buildings already on the combined lots.

At last week’s hearing, when the plan was approved, some members of the public criticized the building. Neighbor Chris Lawrence complained about the loss of production-distribution-repair (PDR) space in the neighborhood.

Regardless of a few naysayers, the proposal cleared its last major hurdle. Construction at 725 Harrison is set to take part in two phases, with the first tentatively planned for late 2020 and projected completion in 2021.