Danielle Echeverria
San Fancisco Chronicle
July 5, 2023


A new rendering shows a proposed 50-story residential tower overlooking Ocean Beach in San Francisco’s Sunset District. Solomon Cordwell Buenz

New, detailed plans and renderings have been filed with the city for a proposed 50-story residential tower overlooking Ocean Beach in San Francisco’s Sunset District — a project that has prompted backlash from city officials and debate among residents.

The 680-unit building, proposed for a site across from the San Francisco Zoo, would rise more than 580 feet in a neighborhood currently defined largely by low-rise buildings and single-family homes. City officials have said that, while they encourage density and residential development in the area, the proposed project is several times taller than what regulations allow in the neighborhood.

The latest details come as the city is faced with carrying out its state-mandated plan to build 82,000 new units over the next eight years. Some housing advocates have pointed to this requirement as a reason to approve the project. 

The new plans, submitted by architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, show a thin, tall tower wrapped in glass, with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies on each floor, surrounded by mostly two- and three-story buildings, with the beach a few blocks away.

The rendering of a proposed 50-story residential tower overlooking Ocean Beach in the Sunset District. Solomon Cordwell Buenz

The base of the building, which would be located between Sloat Boulevard and Wawona Street, between 45th and 46th, would include space for retail, community centers and a gym, as well as underground parking. 

The project, which would include 110 affordable housing units restricted to people making less than 80% of the city’s median income, aims to use the state density bonus law, which allows for 50% more density in exchange for a higher percentage of affordable units, to build more stories. 

A new rendering shows a proposed 50-story residential tower overlooking Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Solomon Cordwell Buenz

City officials have said that the state law still doesn’t allow the building to be so large but documents show that the project applicant, Raelynn Hickey with CH Planning, has disputed the city’s interpretation of the state law.

The site for the proposed tower is two blocks from Ocean Beach and across Sloat Boulevard from the zoo. For years, it has been occupied by the Sloat Garden Center.

The area of Sloat Garden Center has become a hot spot for potential housing development on the west side of San Francisco. Brontë Wittpenn/The Chronicle


The 50-story proposal is the fourth iteration of the project in three years — the original proposal was for eight stories with 213 units, which was then increased to 12 stories and 283 units, and then to 400 condos, before the current 680 units.


Written By Danielle Echeverria
Danielle Echeverria is a reporter for The Chronicle’s Engagement and Breaking News team. She recently completed her Master’s degree in journalism at Stanford University, where she won the Nicholas Roosevelt Environmental Journalism Award for her reporting and covered agriculture, climate change and worker safety. She previously interned The Chronicle on the Business desk, as well as at Big Local News, focusing on data journalism. She is originally from Bakersfield, California.