The project will be Millennium Partners’ third deluxe San Francisco high-rise — the group built the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at 757 Market St. and the Millennium Tower at 301 Mission St. Resale prices of units in those two buildings regularly crack $2,000 a square foot…

Even by Millennium Partners’ lofty standards, the tower and Mexican Museum will be a complex and expensive undertaking. Millennium Tower, which has 419 units, cost $460 million to construct. The Mexican Museum tower, by contrast, will cost more to build but will have fewer than half the number of units.

Ambitious features

The stratospheric costs are being driven by the fact that the project includes a $30 million museum, the restoration of a historic building, and a huge underground garage that also serves as the foundation for the Contemporary Jewish Museum and Jessie Square itself.

While the developer is paying $5 million to the city’s affordable-housing fund, the project won approvals before San Francisco voters passed Proposition K, which sets a goal of 33 percent below-market-rate units. Veteran South of Market affordable housing advocate John Elberling of TODCO, which owns and manages affordable housing, called the project’s community benefits “a fair deal.”

“This is the only way the Mexican Museum will ever get done,” he said. “That’s an extraordinary, special civic benefit that makes sense.”

The project, however, isn’t welcomed by all its neighbors. While luxury projects in San Francisco regularly are criticized by affordable-housing advocates, the Mexican Museum tower has faced opposition from an unexpected quarter — owners of units at a neighboring luxury tower.

Over the past two years, the building has been the target of two lawsuits filed by the Friends of Yerba Buena Gardens, a group of mostly Four Seasons residents who argue that the project violated state environmental study requirements as well as the city’s planning code in the process of winning approvals. Courts have rejected both lawsuits, but the petitioners have appealed the cases to the First District Court of Appeals

Millennium Partners Vice President Sean Jeffries said he would not wait for a decision on the lawsuits to start construction.

“We have completed design drawings and released them to the general contractor,” Jeffries said. “We think we can start in July. We can’t be certain of when the court decision is going to come down, so we are going to go ahead and start construction.”

Critic wants shorter building

Matthew Schoenberg, one of the Four Seasons condo owners who is suing Millennium Partners over the Mexican Museum project, said he supports the Mexican Museum but favors a shorter building — 351 feet instead of more than 500 — as well as changes to the way the tower’s parking and entrance are configured.

“It was never our intention to stop the building from being built,” Schoenberg said. “We believe it’s the perfect home for the Mexican Museum, and having the Mexican Museum is a positive to the area.”…

Jeffries said his group will continue to talk to the Four Seasons homeowners to see if a compromise can be reached… (more)

Luxury condos vie for views. We thought this was a good followup to the affordable housing articles.

As if developers need bigger profits. See item 1 on the SF Supervisors Consent Calendar for March 17,2015:
Item  1. 150027 [Building Code – Temporary Fee Reduction] Sponsor: Mayor Ordinance extending the reduction of all Building Code fees for staff services by 7% until October 31, 2015; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.