"City Living Reinvented"

There's a new building under construction that has already completely eliminated my view of downtown. This makes me sad, because I really liked my view (especially the awesome deco jukebox Marriott building), but I can't complain too much because I'm in favor of tall buildings (the only alternative being sprawl). But, this building has a web site now: "The Palms SF". And oh, there's so much to hate.

First of all, hello LA! Who thinks that "The Palms" is an even remotely appropriate name for anything in Northern California?

Second, yes, you guessed it, it's more studio condos from half a million to a million plus. I was under the impression that part of the conditions on their having gotten permits was that they had to include so-many units of "affordable" housing. So maybe that means there will be a few maintenance closets for rent for only $4,000/month or so.

Third, you may notice that the illustration of the building doesn't show the ground floor. I think that what is visible is the top few feet of the second floor, with the ground floor not visible at all. That's because, as far as I can tell, the bottom two above-ground floors are parking. Not commercial space; not shops; not even apartment entries, but a featureless loading dock. For a preview of what I expect this to look like, visit the mini-Palo Alto mall-chain hell that has sprung up near the new ballpark, particularly the south side of Townsend between 4th and 3rd (next to Safeway). The entire block is a featureless white wall, occasionally punctuated by parking ramps. It's one of the most horrible, pedestrian-hostile designs imaginable: it says "do not walk here, this is not a destination". It feels like you've made a wrong turn and are lost on a frontage road behind a mall. A place for cars and explicitly not for people.

The front of the building has a double-height area on the ground floor, which I assumed was going to be commerical space (it's almost supermarket-sized) but it appears that that will just be an extravagant lobby. They say that the only commercial space in the building will be a restaurant, and restaurants don't usually get 30' ceilings.

Fourth, they say "Imagine Yourself at The Center of San Francisco's The South Of Market Neighborhood... Have it all at your fingertips. Walk from your new home to a wide assortment of San Francisco's culinary treasures, stroll to museums, Whole Foods Market, theatres and great lifestyle shopping." Atrocious grammar and idiotic capitalization aside, it has not gone unnoticed that they left out the fact that there is a nightclub directly across the street and a bar around each corner. ("Not for long", I hear someone gleefully whisper!)

Fifth, "Private 30 seat theatre"? WTF? There's an 18 screen movie complex four blocks up the street! I guess that's too far. They'd probably drive.

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