December 2012

Bluepeter Building Lot to Become Bayfront Park

LeeAndrea Morton

The 1940’s-era warehouse located at 555 Illinois Street – known as Bluepeter Building C – was torn down last year. The building site will become a park and storm water drainage site, with construction of the dual purpose land use starting this spring. The new drainage system is expected to be fully functional by the time the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Mission Bay Medical Center opens in 2014.

UCSF Mission Bay sits in a drainage basin; rain water from multiple directions converges on the area. Due to regulatory changes adopted by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the City’s storm water treatment system is in the process of being upgraded. Ultimately, all of Mission Bay’s storm water drainage – including 55 acres of urban watershed from the Mission Bay South Drainage Basin Area, which extends across the area east of the Southern Embarcadero Freeway, between Mariposa and Third streets – will be filtered through the old Bluepeter Building location, now named “Park P24.”

“This is exciting for us because this will be our most involved storm water treatment system in Mission Bay and it’s based on water treatment systems that you find in nature. It’s always good to go back to nature,” said Catherine Reilly, acting project manager of the Mission Bay Redevelopment Plan.

Under the system, Mission Bay’s storm water will be channeled along streets and through naturally sloped land, pass through storm water pipes and into Park P23’s pump station, located along 16th Street and Terry Francois Boulevard. It will then flow on to Parks P23 and P24, where it will be naturally filtered by the soil before it’s pumped under the street, into the bay. “From the perspective of someone walking by, they won’t even know storm water is being treated in the park,” said Reilly.

The Dogpatch Neighborhood Association (DNA) had tried to save the Bluepeter Building, but couldn’t raise sufficient funds to do so. DNA then turned its attention to the park planning process. The DNA-approved park will be built starting next summer, after instillation of pump stations during the spring. The site will include open space, waterfront viewing, picnic benches, a basketball court, informal play areas, and host such activities as concerts and picnics. Park P23 will feature an open lawn, paved parking space, and educational panels that explain the natural storm drainage process.

 “Once the park is completed, we’ll work with the community to determine what community activities and events are appropriate to that location. We want to activate the area to let people take ownership of the park and make it an important community asset,” Reilly explained. MJM Management – a San Francisco property management and assessment company – and Mission Bay Park Managers will be responsible for patrolling and maintaining the area.

“The new park is going to be a great addition to the Dogpatch,” said Reilly.

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