Peering a block away up Indiana Street near Esprit Park, I noticed the telltale signs of an active construction site. From my current distance, I could make out a chain-link fence surrounding a large property containing bright orange plastic barricades, portable toilets, and refuse containers. Following a citywide trend, Dogpatch’s residential development has blossomed in recent years and today several projects in the pipeline are either approved or nearing approval. I decided recently to drive through the area in search of any new development activities.
Compared to the glassy high-rises budding in SoMa’s nascent Transbay and Rincon Hill neighborhoods, Dogpatch’s new residential buildings are generally shorter and far less interesting from a design and engineering perspective. However, these structures are notable because they are continuing the locality’s steady gentrification and adding a denser population to a historically small neighborhood.
The site I stumbled upon happened to be collectively referred to as 650 Indiana Street, a two building complex currently under construction by real estate developer Build Inc. Located between I-280 and Indiana Street, the property is approved for a 111 unit complex (16 BMR) spread over two five story buildings varying in height between 58 and 72 feet. At the time of my visit, most excavation looked to be completed with work focused on a 79 stall subterranean parking garage.
As the structures begin to rise, a reinforced concrete frame will extend up to the first floor and be followed by four additional stories erected with wood. Based on onsite signage Palisades Builders is the general contractor for constructing both buildings.
Unlike the fresh look of Stanley Saitowitz’s 616 20th Street, architects Pfau-Long Architecture and Kennerly Architecture & Planning have penned a relatively less ambitious design for 650 Indiana Street. Boxy trapezoidal shapes, earthy tones, and pronounced horizontal lines hark back to popular home designs of the 1980’s. We shouldn’t be too hard on the architects, because when compared to the strength and flexibility of steel and concrete frames, there’s only so much design experimentation that can be done with wood supportive structures.
The buildings’ meager proportions over the relatively large lot do seem a bit myopic, especially since the city’s insatiable demand for housing – and stratospheric rents – don’t seem to be abating anytime soon. Despite the paucity in units, the new apartment complex should positively affect the local area by invigorating a lonely stretch of Indiana Street and complementing nearby Esprit Park with a new 8,900 square foot public plaza adjacent to the buildings.