Located between 1st and 2nd Streets in the heart of the Van Ness-Civic Center, a 36 story mixed-use tower has been approved, with conditions, as stated in the San Francisco Planning Department report. The project includes three separate buildings with frontage on Howard and Tehama Streets and within the Transit Center District Plan (TCDP) Area. Though the buildings were originally built in the early 1900s, they are not within the confines of Historical Preservation and open to interpretation by architect Renzo Piano and the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

So what has publishers like Architect Magazine and local residents all atwitter? The portfolio of Italian-born architect and engineer, Piano, and projects like Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and The Shard in London. And 555 Howard will provide, perhaps most importantly, a gathering place to connect in the Downtown District.

Designed to meet strict LEED Platinum Standards, the project advances assertively yet with moderate aspirations compared to other sky-high projects nearby. The design calls for 69 condominiums on floors 20-36 with 15 percent dedicated to affordable housing, a 255-room luxury hotel on floors 1-19, ballroom facilities, and a ground-floor restaurant. A sky bar at the top with access to over 5,000 square feet of public open provides spanning views of the city, while the rooftop garden designed to meet San Francisco’s New Better Roofs Ordinance will be protected by 20-foot glass wind screens and mature trees.

Within walking distance to San Francisco staples like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and artistically savvy neighbor, Yerba Buena District, 555 Howard plans to bestow environmentally responsible urban design to future residents The project is expected to take three years to complete from the time ground breaks.