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SoMa’s $1 billion 5M megaproject breaks ground

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Four-acre development will include parks and rooftop gardens

Rendering of a park with a grassy diamond-shaped lawn, new buildings, and new streets.
5M’s main park.
Renderings courtesy of Profile Strategies

After a decade of planning and legal rigmarole, construction of the 5M housing project, designed by San Francisco-based firm Sitelab, began last Thursday.

The four-acre development, located at the border of MidMarket and SoMa, will include a 288-unit residential building on Mission, featuring 57 below market rate units (all at 50 percent of average median income); a 400-unit residential building on Natoma; and a 630,000-square foot office building on Howard.

“The new office tower will rise to 395 feet, and a 400-unit condo tower will reach 470 feet,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The project will also add a 23,000-square-foot rooftop public park on top of the publication’s office at Mission and Fifth.

The Dempster Building and the Camelline Building, two historic resources, will be repurposed and used in the project, which will include an open space for the public, retail, and dining.

Developers Brookfield Properties and Hearst, who own the existing Chronicle and Examiner buildings, will helm the construction.

Activists briefly halted 5M in 2015, claiming it would result in further gentrification and displacement in the area. The Chronicle notes that a whopping $76 million gift of public benefits (including money for affordable housing, transit projects, and other community arts-based programs) helped the plan win approval.

5M has reportedly already forked over $500,000 in benefits that include $150,000 to the San Francisco Arts Commission and $350,000 for improvements to the dilapidated Old Mint Mall across Mission Street from the project.

The new development will be completed in two phases. The first phase is anticipated to be done by late 2021.