The giant penis in the sky


When Lily Hitchcock Coit donated money to beautify the city, and a tower was built in her name, a lot of locals suggested that it looked like a firehose nozzle, not surprising given her love of firefighters. Others over the years have suggested a more phallic image.

But that's nothing compared to the new tower that is slated for the Transbay Terminal site. The round shaft, the distinct head at the top ... it's the Giant Dick in the Sky! Coming soon to downtown San Francisco.


A stunning, sleek, signature building to give a focus to one of the most vibrant and successful redevelopments in the city.

Who wouldn't hate that? Even if it brings in billions in new taxes and revenues, and acts as a magnet for successful businesses, why would we want this when it's not a publicly-funded center for gays, illegals, the homeless and the unemployed?

Go, Tim. NIMBY'ism in a can.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

maybe they can bring in the John Hancock Insurance Co. in as an anchor tenant and the building can be know as Cock Plaza...

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

before we make up our minds as to whether this is good or not. I base my decision on what's good for Non Profit Inc and how much money we can wring out of every project. My salary depends on it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

There will be a few billion - or tens of billions - of new wealth created around Transbay over the next 20 years. It would be useful to see a detailed map of the immediate area since I think the city controls a fair amount of the land that is slated for development. It would be interesting to track them to see just how many or few public benefits the city gets from each parcel's development.

If SF is serious about being innovative and creating a city that can physically provide housing for the entire range of household incomes, family sizes, age groups, race and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and all of the other distinctions that make the city rich and vibrant, then the city should team up with a group like Habitat for Humanity and a world-class developer to create an adjacent gleaming tower, or three, and create permanently affordable condos for the entire income AMI spectrum below 135% AMI. Habitat will learn valuable experience about providing much denser housing than they currently help build, which they can apply to cities and countries across the globe.

After a few successful projects the city will learn that it can easily provide a much broader range of housing options at much more affordable prices than private developers. It's true some of the existing private speculators might lose out on some profits - a few hundred millions worth maybe - but there are 98 other Bay Area cities waiting for high density development that will welcome the developers with open arms.

We have to face facts. The private building industry has not and can not provide the range of housing needed for the various levels of household incomes. And the non-profit housing industry isn't helpful since it's entirely focused on a very small segment of the population that needs housing services coupled with medical, food and other social services. But since at least 90% of the population doesn't need social services or need a landlord to mange their housing - even a 'kindly' non-profit landlord - the non-profit housing industry is useless for helping build housing for the huge percentage of households at the 80-135% AMI levels.

With the city undertaking the development of land where all income levels can own affordable housing, matched with Habitat's outstanding program for ensuring its current and future affordability for the targeted AMI levels, government can show it can actually help solve some of society's most intractable problems.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

First, that land is mostly owned by the State, as in CalTrans, rather than the city.

Second, the city should not be seeking to gouge anyone who wants to actually build or improve anything.

Third, how could H4H build a 80-floor tower that isn't for homes?

Fourth, wherefore is your obsession with people who aren't white and straight? Are you prejudiced?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

You must have missed the word "adjacent," which implies nearby, as in, NOT the Big Dick project that was the subject of the article, but *other* nearby parcels that are in play for the extensive Transbay area being transformed. (Emphasis added just for you.)

"... then the city should team up with a group like Habitat for Humanity and a world-class developer to create an adjacent gleaming tower, or three, ...."

If Caltrans owns many of the parcels, then that works too. They're mostly broke like many state agencies. By working with the city they can receive a million or two dollars of ground rent each year from their parcels over the next 100 years and the city gets to help provide housing for the entire range of AMI levels. Most people are noticing that the private developers are not capable of building middle income housing for households with incomes between 80-135% AMI, so the city needs to step in and build the housing it needs for all income levels if it truly wants a world-class city.

As far as the Big Dick project (I like the design, by the way, and never understood why The Guardian Management has always been against any building taller than 2 stories), it doesn't appear Mr. Mayor or Planning Department have read the memo that says SF needs 50 times the number of housing units compared to new cubicle spaces if the city ever hopes to have any balance in its jobs/housing ratio. If Mayor Lee refuses to read that memo - or understand the implications of the memo - then progressives have a great campaign for the next 4 years -- "Mr. Mayor, why do you hate working people and only allow new housing for rich people (and a few units for very, very poor people), and why do you keep encouraging even more jobs in SF when the current rents and housing prices are so unaffordable to the vast majority of people who currently live in the city? Are you trying to make us pay even more rent from our stagnent incomes or are you trying to force us out of the city?"

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

you for some strnage people think we should subsidize. Offices bring in high-paid jobs that may, in time, pay for some of the quasi-socialistic nonsense you desire. But you gotta have the money first. and since voters aren't going to vote to tax themselves, that means more signature, landmark spires like this. Sorry.

I've seen on evidence that the city owns any land near here and, moreover, you haven't provided any. While the State is far more pro-growth than the average SF NIMBY, thankfully. This isn't about ransom and gouging - it's about collarerative pro-growth policies.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

Are wealthy people in designer clothes. Anything we can do to bring in more of that element is something I am for.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

Good! San Francisco has become a pretty staid city recently. A big penis would help restore some of its former fabulousness. We are a bold pro-sex city, and I cannot think of a better symbol in the sky.

SF's skyline has become kind of old and tired, and the Pyramid (which was also called a big prick in its day) could use a companion in the sky.

Glad to see this shiny future new addition to downtown.

Posted by Chris on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

tallest residential building west of the Mississippi. Tim must have cried tears when that was built.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

How can SF say no to a giant penis? It was a brilliant design move since anyone against the bulk and size of the project will be tarnished as someone obviously homophobic or a man-hater.

Controversy. Titilation. Outrage by the god-squad. We'll be so busy smirking at the responses people will have to the design that we'll forget to review whether the project makes sense and whether the city is getting enough pay-off from the builidng that will be worth at least 1/2 billion - and maybe as much as a billion or more - after it's approved and completed.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

Needs a giant fountain on the top "coming colors everywhere".

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

Lighten up. It looks like a big dick in the sky. Doesn't anyone else find that amusing?

Posted by tim on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

Tim, usually the word "troll" used in the context of Web forums means someone who posts simply to be disruptive to the intent of the forum and with no intention of expressing a legitimate opinion.

But, as you use the word, you seem to mean anyone who disagrees with you on any issue; whether they are polite, rude, or indifferent in the manner in which they write.

As for the building, it looks similar to several other highrise buildings currently in existence or proposed around the world. As most highrise buildings are long and thin, individuals sometimes do consider them to be a sort of phallus, similar to how one may compare a pencil or a ruler to a penis. Pointing out phallic symbolism in skyscrapers is nothing new; for example, the Transmerica Pyramid was derisively labeled "Pereira's Prick" when it was submitted for city approval over 40 years ago (and many Art Deco buildings from the 1920s were said to have phallic symbolism).

So, it is neither a particularly funny or shocking comparison to call a tall building a "big dick in the sky," unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 100 years or so and have had no exposure to highrise architecture.

We get it, you don't like the building. You think it is too tall and big, and through its height and bulk it represents the corporate hegemony that you oppose. Fine, just write that and drop the whole penis nonsense.

Posted by Chris on Mar. 14, 2012 @ 9:50 am

Bravo. An intelligent response.

Also, an intelligent response not from an SFBG writer - funny that.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 14, 2012 @ 10:28 am

I did it amusing that the amount of actual substance the left paper of record can produce on this is a comment that "it looks like a big dick in the sky"
Combine that comment with the leadership provided by a stacked study from forty years ago on high rises and it's all just really effing amazing. Do you guys sit in an editorial room for hours to come up with that?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

ROAD APPLES!!! I can never remember just when somebody ever said much of anything positive on a political blog here. It's either bitch, bitch, bitch about this or nag, nag, nag about that.
Sure, the construction of all this is going to bring a lot of jobs and money at least in the time it takes to finish the project. Long term,,,who knows?
The street people already have it better in San Francisco than any place I've ever been. Not that I want them neglected but I wish the city would take the proceeds of this and focus its efforts on re-establishing middle class jobs. It seems to me there are only two wage classes in the city. It's either the six figure folk or the service providers,,the latter having to share domiciles in order to live in the city. There is no point in creating middle class housing without middle class jobs.
I've been to San Francisco four times since 2005 and I've seen the same thing each of my stays. San Franciscans are either overtly wealthy, struggling one pay check at a time,,,or outright destitute. Sure, this is not unlike the rest of the country,,,but the differences are just so painfully pronounced in San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

Well, at least it doesn't look like a ginormous b*tt-plug, like they have in London:

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

Cool a nice shining new penis. Looking foward to when it is done

Posted by garrett on Mar. 14, 2012 @ 9:54 am

Not so sure that it is a good sign if your penis shiny, frequently a sign of inflammation or some other 'condition' - unless of course it's santorum.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 14, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

You...have seen a dick before, haven't you? This looks like a skyscraper that tapers off at the top, so if this looks like a dick, then all normal skyscrapers are only one step removed from looking like a dick. It's reminiscent of a vibrator, sure, but vibrators don't really look like dicks anymore than a bullet does.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2012 @ 12:32 pm