The San Francisco Wholesale Flower Market will reopen in Potrero Hill “well before the end of 2023,” according to Mike Grisso of Kilroy Realty Corporation, which owns both the Market’s existing and new sites.
“They had the option of remaining at Sixth and Brannan in a new facility but chose instead to move to Potrero Hill,” stated Grisso, senior vice president of development and land planning at Kilroy. “They had concerns about the future development and street changes around their new location and the traffic that it could bring to a neighborhood that already has heavy traffic.”
Grisso flatly denied that the move was triggered by Kilroy’s plan to turn the Market’s existing site into residences.
The Flower Market has been located South-of-Market since 1924, in an area where significant amounts of new housing have been built over the past few decades, with increased traffic congestion, particularly off the Interstate 280 Sixth Street exit.
Jeanne Boes, the Flower Market’s general manager, told The Potrero View that “we are looking forward to adding color and community to the already vibrant Potrero Hill neighborhood. The SFFM has been in the City since 1912. The move will be an exciting time for our historic market and the many small businesses which make our marketplace so unique.”
According to Grisso, relocation to 901 16th Street, at Mississippi Street, adjacent to Interstate 280, should be completed by the fourth quarter of 2023. The shift “required more than five years of planning and environmental studies,” she said. “Such a time-consuming effort is always difficult. But we are grateful for the support we received from the Planning Department and the City of San Francisco. The Project was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.”
The new 2.5 million square-foot development will include office, retail space and “public plazas,” according to Grisso. “The current location and the new location are within one mile of each other. When asked if the current site was going to be redeveloped, Grisso repeated that the Flower Market chose to move to the new location, where it will be Kilroy’s master tenant.
Development of the new location has triggered grievances from neighbors. One complained about “incessant backup beepers in what seemed like the middle of the night” keeping them constantly awake. “There was no use trying to get anymore sleep once the cacophony of beepers started echoing around the neighborhood in the predawn hours. Construction was in full swing by the time I got there at 6:30 a.m. with trucks moving around the interior of the site, trucks blocking the south bound lane of Seventh and Mississippi and a long haul semi illegally parked in the commuter shuttle stop at Seventh and 17th streets. I took photos and video and was finally approached by a worker there. He was polite and apologetic but explained that they had permission from the City of San Francisco to start at 6 a.m. instead of the agreed upon and posted time of 7 a.m. It must stop. This is a residential area, and we would like this site to return to more normal hours so we can get some sleep.”
“After discussing this report of a loud noise at 6 a.m. with our contractor, Truebeck Construction, we can’t explain how or why there was any noise before the approved work hours,” Grisso stated. “Truebeck has no record of any work being done outside of the normal hours. The permit for the job lists the normal work hours as 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. We’ll continue to work to ensure that there is no noise outside of those hours.”
“A building inspector conducted a site visit…and spoke to the superintendent on the job who informed the inspector that work normally starts at 7 a.m.,” reported the Department of Public Works. “However, he said that…four large semi-trucks unexpectedly arrived early and were outside the gate waiting to be unloaded when the construction crews arrived. The superintendent stated that this was not anticipated and assured the inspector that it will not happen again. The inspector then informed the superintendent of the Night Noise Permit process should they need to begin work outside of normal construction hours.”
Boes told The Potrero View that “The SFFM currently begins work anywhere between midnight and 2 a.m. Sundays through Saturdays.”
The facility’s new location may be impacted by a proposed Quick Build bike lane project on 17th Street.
“Any removal of street parking will dramatically affect our farmers/vendors and their blue-collar employees,” Boes told The Potrero View.