CitiScape Property Makes Front Page News!

It appears that San Francisco Planning Director John Rahaim and I share similar appreciations. Please note this front page story from yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle

John Rahaim values texture in a building, the tactile qualities that reward close inspection and make a structure come alive.

And he’s been studying San Francisco buildings intensely in the 13 months since leaving a high-level post in Seattle to become this city’s planning director.

Prior directors have used the post to shape the skyline and protect residential neighborhoods in ways that still are debated. Rahaim so far has kept a low profile – steering several long-delayed plans to final approval and now wrestling with the budget realities of a department where income from fees has fallen 25 percent in the past year.

But a low profile doesn’t mean a lack of attention. As Rahaim settles into his job, he’s showing an increased confidence in mapping out where the department’s resources should be aimed: toward plans focused on individual streets or small districts rather than sprawling swaths of the map, for instance.

“We’re entering an interesting phase in San Francisco’s history,” Rahaim says. “The challenge in the next round of growth is, how can we allow the city to grow with grace and texture?”

To illustrate how new buildings can enrich the civic landscape, Rahaim took a Chronicle writer on a tour last week of recent changes that, in his eyes, offer examples that others might follow, including…

Fulton Grove (Daniel Solomon, 1992)
Rahaim came upon this collection of 22 wood-shingled, three-story townhouses by chance: He almost signed a lease for one. And while he didn’t close the deal, he left with an appreciation for the compact allure of the complex and, in particular, the narrow through-block “alley” with its cobbled pavement and tall eucalyptus trees that manage to make a terrain lined with garage doors feel urbane.

“The auto court is more than just a driveway because of the paving and the trees … it’s a semipublic space” offering a visual landmark and a pedestrian path, Rahaim explains. “This is a great model for South of Market.”

Read more about it here

Jack (Proud Property Manager of Fulton Grove)

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