Sound Off

Appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle Real Estate Section

From time to time, the editors of the Real Estate section at the San Francisco Chronicle will ask leading area real estate agents their opinion and thoughts about various topics related to the Bay Area’s housing market. This is right up our alley given our track record, experience helping buyers and sellers in various parts of the Bay Area and given the fact that Kevin used to be a reporter and lawyer, so you know there‘s an opinion just waiting to get out.  

Babel tour detail illustration

This Week‘s Question:

What are the pros and cons of the proposal of a 55-story skyrise in the Outer Sunset?


It’s apt that the parable of the Tower of Babel is real estate-based. ‘Babel Tower,’ as us agents would probably call it, is the biblical explanation for the origin of the world’s languages as the project grew too big for people’s own good. The latest Tower of the Outer Parkside proposal already has people talking passionately and often past each other when it comes to the hot-button topic of transforming our city to add desperately needed housing. Changing the character of any neighborhood is bound to raise hackles especially in one that sees 90 single home sales a year versus 4 to 10 condo sales a year.

The development’s sponsors were already facing a stiff sea breeze of opposition to their previous proposal for a 10-12 story development, so why not ask for 55 stories?! In doing so, they adopted the tactic that developers often use: ask for way more and, after years of battles, settle for what they wanted all along. The 55-story false idol project plan punctuates this point: it’s too big for its own good. But hopefully, everyone can broker a workable mid-rise development short of divine intervention that skips over those extra years of battles. 

This appeared in the Sunday, April 23, 2023 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle and on SFGate. 

Illustration of improvised tower in the Outer Parkside
SF Chronicle Article Reprint

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