The days are numbered for the Pacific Euro Hotel, which sits on one of two parcels now slated for a new four-story, 63,000-square-foot office building downtown.
On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved the office building for 871-891 Evelyn Ave., just west of Castro Street at Bryant Street and a stone's throw from the train station. It is about three times taller than the nearby buildings on the historic 100 block of Castro Street.
Council member Jac Siegel said he was not a fan of the building's modern design, which he said did not fit the downtown area. Other council members complained that the developer did not illustrate what the building would look like from the Castro Street area. But generally, the council was happy to have the development, which they said would allow growing companies located downtown to expand while staying in the area.
Developer Daniel Minkoff said the building would be for the high-end office market, and would meet high LEED standards for green design. He noted the use of high quality building materials, such as limestone, which would extend onto the sidewalk.
Council member Ronit Bryant was not so impressed, saying she had concerns with how the building would affect the "pedestrian experience" downtown.
"I will not be able to support the project without adding some living green" element, such as "a trellis or potted plants," Bryant said. "Otherwise what we're putting downtown is another blank wall."
A motion by Bryant to require some form of planting on the site as determined by the planning department failed in a 3-3 vote, with council member Means absent. That gave way to a compromise from city manager Kevin Duggan: Have the developer voluntarily do whatever is deemed possible for plants around the building, which leaves little room for greenery on the site.
Because the city's downtown precise plan encourages ground floor retail space, the project required a provisional use permit to allow office space on the ground floor. Council members were unsure there would be demand for retail on that portion of Evelyn, though the building could be modified to allow it in the future.
The building will have one level of underground parking, which allows for 34 spaces. Another 43 spaces of parking required for the project are in a nearby parking garage, which the city pays for through fees from downtown projects which commonly do not supply their own parking.
Downtown residents did not show up to oppose the project. In the past, residents of condos at 108 Bryant St. have expressed concerns about Pacific Euro Hotel's effect on their neighborhood.