After about five hours into a public hearing over the FiDi's twisty cylinder, its fate has been more or less sealed: 555 Washington's doneski. Or to put it in developer Andrew Segal's words: "If we have to recirculate the (environmental impact report), I think we're done."
It sounds like they're done, then, as the Board of Supes voted unanimously to grant the appeal of the EIR, which the Planning Commission narrowly certified by a vote of 4 to 3 just a month ago. Segal's words were interpreted by one supervisor as an ultimatum: "You say you want to work with people. At the same time you're putting a gun to our head." This, in fact, followed a desperate plea from the project team to toss the appeal and let the 400-foot tower somehow — somehow! — through. They even pulled what the Chron's calling a Hail Mary, saying they'd be willing to cut the project down to a "code-compliant" 200-foot building.
The play, unfortunately for them, didn't fly. Supe pres David Chiu noted that before the Planning Commission had even approved the EIR for the contentious luxe sibling to Transamerica, he'd suggested (in vain) to Segal an alternative that would have complied with the site's 200-foot zoning.
What's with the sudden change of heart? "It's challenging at this point, given the stage we're at ... but this is the first that I'd heard that you were willing to have this conversation." Chiu also noted a number of problems he saw with the "so-called code-compliant alternative," saying it assumes the public right of way (Mark Twain Alley) is for sale, and is inconsistent with the city's urban design rules. Many speakers noted that the hearing was not over the project itself, but merely over the "adequacy" of the environmental report. Still too big a hurdle — supe Chris Daly, minutes before the kill vote: "In nine and a half years I have never seen a project sponsor completely fail to address the subject document." And so ends 555 Washington's long journey?
· S.F. supes knock down plan for new condo tower [SFGate]
· Board shuts down contentious condo tower plan [SF Examiner]
· One Hurdle Cleared With Twisty Cylinder's Enviro Report Certified [Curbed SF]
· Twisty Cylinder to Play Sidekick to Transamerica's Pyramid [Curbed SF]