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Tuesday, March 8, 2022 by Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission recommended increased density for 80 Rainey, a 550-foot-tall, 644-unit residential tower by developer Lincoln Ventures at 80 Rainey St.
The commission voted 11-0-1 on February 22 to recommend increasing the floor area ratio (a measure of density) at the site from 15:1 to 20:1 with Commissioner Solveij Rosa Praxis abstaining. . The 49-story project is now heading to City Council for final approval.
In recent months, other commissions have also recommended that the tower move forward. The Design Commission certified the project’s compliance with the Urban Design Guidelines in December, and in January the Historic Monuments Commission approved move one of the on-site bungalows just south, behind Reina, another bungalow bar.
In addition to the bungalow bars, the tower will add to Rainey’s nightlife with a rooftop bar on the 11th floor, a speakeasy in the basement, a cafe and cocktail bar, and several dining areas. Construction is scheduled for start this summer and be completed in 2025. Approximately 20 units will be affordable on-site as required by the downtown density enhancement program.
The Planning Commission also approved the removal of a heritage tree; three out of four heritage trees on the site will be preserved.
Although the project crossed several city commissions, some neighbors objected to adding more density to the area. A resident of Shore Condominiums and the property’s general manager both wrote in opposition to the FAR increase, arguing that the placement of the garage at 80 Rainey would cause more congestion in an alley needed for vehicle access .
“This driveway is barely passable because there are a lot of dumpsters and trucks unloading materials,” said Nolan Kagetsu, who lives in Shore. “The entire Rainey Street area … is becoming increasingly dense with no apparent street and sidewalk improvements to accommodate increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
A neighbor who wrote in support of the tower was skeptical of the alley argument. “Such objections are a thinly veiled excuse to prevent any future development from occurring in the neighborhood,” Andrew Gray said. “If the developers of 80 Rainey Street chose a different layout for their parking lot entrance, objections to this development would no doubt continue.”
Some Rainey residents, as well as council member Kathie Tovo, have opposed increasing the density of new towers in the past due to infrastructure concerns. Tovo, who represents the district, voted against FAR increases for three Rainey rounds last year.
Despite objections from some residents, further changes to Rainey seem inevitable. In the years to come, the area will be further transformed into several other skyscrapers – including the tallest tower in texas – are planned in the district.
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