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SAN FRANCISCO-Plans for the tallest buildings this side of Chicago were filed late last week with this city’s planning department. Working on behalf of a group that includes California Mortgage & Realty president David Choo and Orinda, CA-based Solit Interests Group, “starchitect” Renzo Piano has envisioned for a Downtown site at First and Mission streets a cluster of five skinny skyscrapers, two of which would rise 1,200 feet into the sky.

The only taller buildings in the US would be the Sears Tower (1,451 feet) in Chicago and New York City’s Empire State Building (1,250 feet). They would eclipse the tallest existing building in the West, Transamerica Pyramid (853 feet), by more than 30 stories.

The filing with the planning commission was an application to start the required environmental review process as opposed to a formal design proposal, where the size and shape of the towers could be altered. The submitted documents included a map of the site and a description of the buildings but no architectural renderings. Mark Solit, a member of the development team, could not be reached over the weekend for comment.

As submitted, the plan calls for 2.9 million sf of condominiums, hotel rooms and office space in two 1,200-foot towers, two 900-foot towers and one 600-foot tower rising from a two-acre site that currently holds relatively small, class C buildings totaling about 250,000 sf. The description calls for the towers to be skinned with white terra cotta tiles and for the development as a whole to earn a “gold” rating from the US Green Building Council. At $400 per sf, the total development cost would be $1.16 billion.

The entitlement process is expected to take at least a couple of years. The development site is across from the planned Transbay Terminal project, for which an international design competition recently got underway. That development, which includes a 1,000-foot tower rising from a new state-of-the-art transit hub, is being billed as a project that will “redefine the city’s skyline.” The Transbay Terminal area is being studied for an up-zoning that would allow for ultra-tall buildings.

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