Skyscraper with floating cube might come to San Francisco

The 54th floor would be transparent, creating the illusion that the floors above it are floating, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of one another.)

While the tower is supposed to help provide much-needed housing, it’s not clear how much each unit would cost. If approved, it would offer 118 studio units, 118 one-bedroom units, 472 two-bedroom units and 118 three-bedroom units, though just 15% of them will be “very low income” (Developer Align Real Estate and architect Arquitectonica did not respond to SFGATE’s interview requests). 

Meanwhile, the Bay Area might be experiencing the most severe housing crisis out of all U.S. metro areas. Plan Bay Area 2040, a regional transportation and land use plan developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments, wrote that the complex issue has been decades in the making thanks to regulatory barriers and tax trends like “fiscalization of land use”: the trend of discouraging housing developments and approving high-tax retail and commercial developments instead.    

In the 1970s, permitting of housing units slowed and continued to decline over the following decades. “There has been a particular mismatch between employment growth relative to the housing supply,” the plan said. 

“Generally, however, the policy drivers — things that local, regional and state governments have the power to address or alleviate — fall into a few interrelated categories: regulatory barriers and tax policy challenges that act to restrict the production of all types of housing, especially infill development; and insufficient support for affordable housing.” 

Additionally, the housing shortage has become so dire, those with vacant properties in San Francisco might get taxed up to $5,000 under a measure on the November ballot. In 2022, a report from the city’s budget and legislative analyst revealed that more than 40,000 homes and condos in San Francisco sat empty while the city struggled to shelter 7,754 homeless residents

SFGATE news editor Amy Graff contributed to this report. 

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