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San Francisco mayor London Breed and city officials celebrate topping out of new city building at 49 Van Ness

Mayor London N. Breed today joined City officials for the “topping out” ceremony of the new civic office building at 49 South Van Ness Avenue, marking the completion of the building’s steel frame. The new building will have office space for approximately 1,800 City employees from several departments and will house a one-stop Permit Center.

“It should be easy for people to interact with their local government and get the help they need, which is why I am excited for the new Permit Center to provide a more seamless and streamlined experience,” said Mayor Breed. “This new building will help us better serve the countless residents and merchants who apply for permits each day by providing a central and convenient location where they can find resources and receive the services they need.”

The Mayor’s budget includes funding for a one-stop Permit Center at the new civic building, which will bring all of the City’s public-facing permitting agencies together in a single location. To complement the Permit Center, Mayor Breed’s budget for the next two years includes $7.7 million to make the City’s permit applications digital and available online in the next three to four years. Additionally, the Mayor’s proposal includes funding for the implementation of electronic plan review (EPR). EPR will allow departments to electronically and concurrently review plans, and add electronic comments on the plan to provide a consolidated response to the applicant, which will help streamline approval of housing construction permits. By updating the permit process, it will be easier and faster to increase all types of housing in San Francisco, open and run a business, and plan a community event.

The 16-story civic office building is scheduled to open in summer 2020 and will include a conference center, multi-purpose training center, and a childcare facility. 49 South Van Ness will be seismically safe and environmentally friendly; the building will be LEED Gold certified and will have a recycled water system, solar roof panels, and on-site electric vehicle charging. The office building shares a 2.5-acre site with a neighboring 39-story privately-developed residential tower that is also under construction. The residential tower will have 530 units and 20% of the units will be affordable to low, middle and moderate-income families.

“We are always looking to make San Francisco government more efficient and responsive to residents while safeguarding public funds” said City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly. “This building protects the City from rent increases on the private market and simplifies the permitting process for our residents.”

“Today marks a major milestone in the construction of our new civic office building,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “Public Works is proud to be a part of this project and we are looking forward to moving into this state-of-the-art building next summer.”

The building is a public-private partnership that was approved by Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the Board of Supervisors. The 49 South Van Ness project started in 2014 with City Administrator Kelly, Public Works, and the Real Estate Division overseeing development and working with Related California, architects at SOM, and the contractor, Pankow Builders.

“49 South Van Ness/1500 Mission is exactly the type of development that land-constrained San Francisco needs today and will continue to need in the future – an innovative mixed-use complex that combines much-needed mixed-income housing with a One Stop Permit Center integrating several essential City departments into one location – all directly adjacent to numerous public transit options,” said Matthew Witte, Principal at Related California.

“We are proud to provide an impactful project that will service San Francisco City and County and benefit the community for generations,” said Pankow Builders Project Executive, Baris Lostuvali.

The City departments that will occupy office space at 49 South Van Ness Avenue are:

  • Public Works

  • Department of Building Inspection

  • Planning Department

  • Department of Public Health, Environmental Health division

  • Entertainment Commission

  • Office of Cannabis

  • Board of Appeals

  • Recreation and Park Department

  • San Francisco Fire Department

  • Public Utilities Commission