City Gathering Community Input Tonight On New SoMa Park

City agencies and planning partners are hosting the first of many gatherings to collect community input on a planned new park in Central SoMa tonight.

San Francisco Planning and San Francisco Recreation and Park are working to develop a comprehensive plan to meet the goals of the proposed Central SoMa plan, which includes the opportunity for the city to own a one-acre public open space bound by 4th, 5th, Brannan and Bryant streets.

The agencies are hosting tonight’s community meeting at the Iron Cactus, along with Build Public and TLS Landscape Architecture.

The location of the future park. | IMAGE: SF PLANNING

The park is a major component of the Central SoMa Plan, which has been under development since 2011 and aims to add 45,000 jobs and 7,500 housing units to the area. Its goals include:

  • increasing the area’s capacity for jobs and housing; 
  • maintaining the area’s cultural heritage and diversity;
  • creating an environmentally sustainable neighborhood;
  • providing safe, clean, and convenient transportation options, and
  • offering an abundance of parks and recreational activities.

At a meeting last month, Planning outlined proposed amendments to the draft plan, which still needs city approval to move forward. As currently proposed, it includes set-back and mass-reduction requirements that would ensure new developments will allow more sunlight at the street level. 

Image: SF Planning

One stakeholder with an interest in the Central SoMa plan receiving final approval is development firm Tishman Speyer.

The firm has proposed to build a 41-story, 400-foot-tall, mixed-use development at 655 4th St., (near Howard), which is currently only only zoned for service and light industrial uses.

First proposed in 2016, the proposed tower would include 449 residential units, 97 underground parking spaces, and 9,241 square feet of retail space. Its development proposal is in line with the plan, but would not be approved under currently zoning. 

Proposed tower at 655 4th St. | Image: SF Planning

Build Public and TLS Landscape Architecture have contracts with Tishman Speyer to facilitate the development of the park, Planning spokesperson Gina Simi told us.

The park is part of Speyer's other proposed development at 598 Brannan St., Simi said. While the development firm doesn't have to build the park, "it makes physical and economic sense, given they’re building everything around it," she told us.

“Tishman [would] likely construct the park at the same time as the surrounding development project,” Simi said. Build Public will help facilitate the community involvement and TLS will help use public input to design the park.

Simi told us that the one-acre park has always been an integral part of the plan. “The only reason it wouldn't be built is if the plan wasn’t approved,” she added.

The city and its planning partners will host a series of community meetings—including tonight’s—throughout the fall.

The final design will need approvals from SF Planning, SF Rec & Park, and the Arts Commission through the Civic Design Review Process. The city has yet to set an exact timeline for that approval process.


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City gathering community input tonight on new soma park