I have already written of the Anti-Masterpiece of Van Ness Avenue Architecture: what makes the POV of this series of pictures not just unusual but unique is I took every picture from the 8th, 10th or 12th floors of the Public Utilities Commission HQ on Golden Gate Avenue. The result: a POV that most people can’t access. Of course, City Hall, a true masterpiece of civic architecture rather messes up each picture–aside from getting between the office building and my camera, it adds much too much beauty to the scene. Nonetheless, I present a bunch of pix of one of San Francisco’s ugliest buildings, in chronological order starting with the oldest.
All pictures taken with either an iPhone 4 or Nikon CoolPix S9100 through tinted glass windows, so the colors might look a tad odd.
“Wait one moment. Is this building getting dismantled?!”
Indeed it is. Taken apart piece by piece. They have already gutted its innards, now come the “outards.”
There you have it: the death of an obsolete and ugly office building, a chronicle foretold. Yet this tale is also a chronicle of a resurrection foretold. As you will see, the steel frame is not coming down.
This is a story not of recycling, but of Recycling on Performance Enhancing Drugs. As I walked past the (de)construction site, I asked one of the laborers when the steel would come down. He told me that they will not dismantle the building’s frame, not one little bit.
“Condos. Three-Fifty, start.”
The building will be recycled. To translate from the real-estate-ese, the skyscraper will become the massive home of condominiums with a starting price of $350,000 for tiny units perhaps one-half the size of my apartment. And the clear implication: potential home seekers have already made inquiries, perhaps even offers.
We reuse everything in San Francisco. I’m sure the HVAC they install will prove vastly more energy-efficient than the old disaster. Furthermore, the exterior will look much better, if only by default.
I do wonder about one question: will it open before the second half of 2015? The scuttlebutt around City Hall (“scuttlebutt:” one of the words I most enjoy saying, along with “serendipity,” “flummox,” and “jimsonweed”) lately goes something like this: the housing boom, and the intense demand for housing, will peak in 2014. The housing bust will begin in the second half of 2015. The more you think about it, the more that should amaze non-San Franciscans. San Francisco, which has an exclusively boom-and-bust economy, has had so many booms and so many busts that we can actually schedule our busts.
Not that we want busts. But we can schedule them.
Vonn Scott Bair