Short Cuts

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At an April Potrero Boosters online video meeting the San Francisco Flower Mart design team presented its latest plans for 901 16th Street and 1200 17th Street. According to Brian Liles, Jackson Liles Architecture principal, the existing water tower at the back of the site would be removed and a modular office constructed on the corner of 16th Street. Hill residents have a number of concerns about the project, including expected heavy truck traffic increases, the loss of affordable housing that had been slated for the property, and the length of the Mart’s tenancy. Mike Grisso, senior vice president of development and land planning at Kilroy Realty Corporation, which owns the property, said the Mart would be offered a 25-year lease with a 10-year renewal option. Several meeting attendees worried that Walden Development, which had proposed to build housing at the Corovan site, would no longer pay $1.8 million in slated impact fees for Jackson Playground renovations, and encouraged Kilroy to provide this sum. “Regardless of whomever it comes from it is a necessary part of making Jackson a neighborhood-serving facility that can accommodate our growing community,” said J.R. Eppler, Boosters president. 


In April, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank launched Pantry at Home, a program offered to existing participants who are 65 years or older and have lost access to their weekly food pantry during the COVID-19 crisis. In collaboration with Amazon, UberEats and DoorDash, among others, groceries are being delivered to around 11,000 seniors a week. OnFleet, a logistics software company, helped create delivery routes for volunteers, who are making roughly half the distributions, all of which are contactless. The drivers knock, ring the bell or call the participant when they reach an address, leave the grocery bag in front of the door and step away. Cruise, which is providing its services pro bono, has two safety drivers in each vehicle it operates.


BRIDGE Housing’s 1101 Connecticut has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status. The building, which features 72 affordable apartments for families, is the first completed as part of the HOPE-SF Potrero Hill Master Plan, a long-term effort to develop more than 1,600 public and market rate units along with community facilities, retail, open space and neighborhood services.  LEED, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the world’s most widely used green building rating system. However, there isn’t an analytical consensus as to whether it actually creates additional environmental benefits or is worth the money and time invested in accreditation. 1101 Connecticut features solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, a centralized filtered air distribution system, on-site stormwater capture and management, and various healthy and environmentally preferable materials.


As part of massive downsizing, in which 25 percent of its worldwide staff has been cut, Uber is closing its Pier 70 office, which focused on self-driving technology. Those activities will be consolidated at the company’s Mission Bay headquarters, next to Chase Center.


Centered Body Pilates permanently closed this month, felled by the challenges of complying with Assembly Bill 5, strong competition in the fitness market, and the difficulty of running a Pilates studio during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The studio kept Potrero Hill residents and others fit and flexible for 17 years. It will be missed.


A familiar trope of global disaster stories is an individual, or group, that’s deep in the forest, on a desert island, or perhaps at Burning Man back in the day, who stumbles back to civilization only to find that it no longer exists, at least in its previous form.  Such a scenario happened with a clutch of Canyon Exploration guides, who were on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon when the virus hit the fan.  As reported by guide Jed A Gantert, “…CanX had an amazing time doing a 15-day staff training trip in March, and this whole thing came down while we were in that wonderful place. We had little tidbits of awareness of what we would return to, but while we were in the Canyon we stayed mostly present and shared so much beauty! We also trained, and we talked. All of it was punctuated by some profound evenings when we would sit around the fire and share our thoughts and feelings, with so much respectful silence and openness between each share. We knew that this time was significant, and we felt like the luckiest people on the planet, to be together on the river, in quarantine. It was like we were holding council…Holding a prayer… in the Heart of the World. I cannot begin to express how powerful of a time we had down there, and I have to say, in many ways, you were all there with us.”  Amen, brother.