5M Project
In 1924, the
built its new
at the corner of
5th & Mission.



The San Francisco Chronicle has made its home at 5th and Mission streets for nine decades. Since 1924, the site has marked a transition from downtown to Mid-Market and SoMa’s eclectic mix of uses, which continues today at 5M.

“This is the
first great building west
of Chicago to
be designed
expressly for
on modern factory principles.”

— San Francisco Chronicle, 1924

Where Creativity
and Industry Meet

The Chronicle Building

The newly constructed San Francisco Chronicle building at 5th and Mission, 1924.


A part of the Chronicle’s newsroom operation.


Newspapers were packaged together on the
second-floor mailroom.


The Chronicle building’s downtown area has come to include an eclectic mix of neighbors and uses, from the high-rise financial district to the Powell Street station. Each of these has contributed to a vibrant downtown, with a mix of people and activities.


Transamerica Pyramid under
construction, 1971.

BART Construction

Powell Street BART Station under construction, 1969.

Moscone Center

Moscone Convention Center (and later, Yerba Buena Gardens) under construction, 1980.
–Photo Credit: Clarence Towers


By 2008, the Chronicle building had vacant office space and was surrounded by underutilized parking lots. The Hearst Corporation engaged Forest City to help imagine what to do next with the site.

Chronicle Building

Chronicle building and surrounding lots in recent years.

of the
site is

The Building

After a series of conversations and workshops with local stakeholders, as well as with growing and mature companies, Forest City decided to first repurpose and reuse the Chronicle site as it was.

We interviewed about 70 people in community focus groups, and talked to 45 local organizations. These
discussions helped us to develop project principles promoting openness and activity at the site.


We retooled newly available space in the San Francisco Chronicle building and surrounding buildings. We made partnerships and tested new ideas — for working, for art, and for connecting to the neighborhood. Looking to the site’s cross streets for inspiration, we named this endeavor the 5M Project.

A portrait of the neighborhood around 5th, 6th, and Mission streets, by Intersection for the Arts
artist-in-residence Wendy Macnaughton.

From 1
to 9 - featuring arts, making,
business incubation & community service.

5M Project

Since 2009, the 5M Project has been an exciting mix of creative groups covering sectors such as office, news, entrepreneurship, tech, arts, and education. The project is located in a dense, urban environment anchored by the San Francisco Chronicle building. Over the next several years, the site is planned for the construction of new buildings housing new residents and offices, as well as new open spaces.

MARCH 13, 2015 UPDATE:

  • Updated Community Benefits Proposal: PDF
  • Updated Timeline: PDF
Today 5M is at
the dynamic
intersection of
downtown and


The Site Today

The 5M Project sits in Downtown San Francisco, at the hinge between SoMa and Mid-Market. Since 2009, Forest City has connected with community members and growing companies alike at 5M. We’ve partnered with and hosted more than 2,500 makers, artists, entrepreneurs, companies, and members. These groups have joined the longstanding staff of the San Francisco Chronicle at this site, adding energy to this dynamic corner of the city.

Cultivating Partnerships
and Building Programs

San Francisco Chronicle

Website »

Impact Hub

Website »

Events »

Off the Grid

Website »

Events »

San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking

Website »

Events »

Best Buddies

Website »

Events »

Architectural Foundation of San Francisco

Website »

Events »

Intersection for the Arts

Website »

Events »

Yearly Events
Produced by
5M Partners, Covering
Food, Arts,
Programs, and Skills Development.

Small and Large

Urban Prototyping Festival

Exploring new possibilities for public space, artists and inventors created two dozen digital and physical installations in 5M alleyways in September 2012.

–Photo Credit: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Creative Currency

A hackathon targeting innovative programs and approaches to supporting the Mid-Market neighborhood and economy.

–Photo Credit: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts

Off the Grid

Since 2009, food trucks have turned the tunnel under Minna Street into a busy food hall twice a week.

–Photo Credit: Shae Rocco

SFMade’s YouthMade

A partnership with Juma Ventures provides local, hands-on work experience in manufacturing for college-bound youth.

–Photo Credit: SFMade

Inside Out/11M

Many faces of SoMa in a nationwide participatory art initiative by French artist JR, posted on Minna Street walls in fall 2013.

–Photo Credit: Shae Rocco

The Galleries at 925 Mission

Interdisciplinary and intercultural arts in a shared space between Impact Hub and Intersection for the Arts

5W’s Project & chalkboards

This community-led beautification project on Mary Street — paired with sculptures in and around 5M — provokes dialogue about the neighborhood.

–Photo Credit: Shae Rocco

Youth Programs

Hands-on learning workshops in arts, design and production for neighborhood youth.

–Photo Credit: Intersection for the Arts

“What moved me was how quickly that little stretch of an alley became a bit like a town plaza, with an actual community of folks that sprang up around it.”

— Dwayne Jusino,
Chronicle security officer
on The 5W's chalkboards, 2013
5M will build
on the texture
and activity of
and SoMa.


Future of 5M

The 5M Project covers 4 acres between 5th, Mission, and Howard streets in downtown San Francisco. Over the next 10 years, a phased development will transition from its current mix of office buildings and surface parking lots to include an assortment of low-, mid-, and high-rise buildings for office use, housing, public gathering, and a range of flexible venues for rotating events.

“Bring the
into 5M, and
bring the 5M
community out
into the

— Learnings from outreach, 2011

A Lively
Urban Mix

The design of 5M starts from the ground up, with people first. Forest City has relied on a community-driven design process to understand how various people relate to the neighborhood now — everything from its sidewalks and open spaces to its businesses and shopping areas. Responding to this feedback, the project’s design prioritizes street-level activity, supporting a variety of programs through public spaces and a network of alleyways.

Learn What has Shaped the Design
of the 5M Project

Concept Renderings

How the Project Will
Benefit the Neighborhood

The 5M Project is contributing to an already dynamic downtown location, at the hinge between SoMa and Mid-Market. Density and a variety of building types together support a host of benefits for residents, employees, and neighbors. In addition to the creation of over 3,000 new permanent jobs, we’ve heard community stakeholders identify the following focus areas:

Affordable housing

Youth programs and development

Highly programmed public spaces

Streets and alleys designed for people and safety in mind

The site is an ideal location for added density — it’s a block away from BART and Muni, as well as dozens of bus lines. Caltrain is nearby, as is the future Central Subway.