Bus Stop Housing Moves
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved construction of more than 500 housing units, at least half of them affordable, at the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s Potrero Bus Yard. As part of the five-year project a 100-year-old storage yard and trolley bus maintenance yard located on 4.4-acres at 2500 Mariposa Street will be rebuilt.
The Dogpatch (DNA) and Potrero Boosters neighborhood associations are working with the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to make Minnesota Street, from Mariposa to 22nd streets, a permanent Slow Street. Minnesota was one of more than 30 corridors SFMTA temporarily designated a Slow Street last year as part of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slow Streets use signage and barricades to minimize thru traffic on residential roads, encouraging walking, biking, and shared space. “We’ve canvassed the length of the Minnesota Slow Street with flyers and discussed the Slow Street initiative at recent DNA and Potrero Boosters community meetings,” said Donovan Lacy, DNA vice-president and co-chair of the associations’ joint Livable Streets Committee. More than 80 percent of District 10 survey respondents supported a permanent Minnesota Slow Street, including those who live on the throughfare. “We also received endorsement from additional neighborhood groups such as PREFund, which runs a preschool nearby and supports elementary schools. Minnesota is a key north-south corridor in Dogpatch. By reducing the number and slowing the speeds of thru traffic, the Minnesota Slow Street provides a safe connection for children, older adults, and people with disabilities to the green spaces that exist in and around Dogpatch, including Mariposa Park, Esprit Park, Irving Murray Scott School basketball court – also known as the Dogpatch Community Court – and Woods Yard Park and Playground. We heard from some opponents that can be categorized into two buckets: those that believe the Slow Street isn’t working properly so it should be eliminated, and those under the misunderstanding that designating a street as a Slow Street prohibits local traffic,” Lacy said. “Local traffic is still allowed on the Slow Street.” A SFMTA survey on this issue is available through April 5 at www.sfmta.com/reports/minnesota-street-slow-street-perception-survey.
Crews arrived last month to install $29 million worth of infrastructure – water lines, sewer mains and fiber-optic utilities – for the next phase of Rebuild Potrero, a 25-year plan to replace Potrero Annex-Terrace’s 619 public housing units with new apartments, nearly tripling the density by adding almost 1,100 new homes. The 80-year-old public housing complex, centered on 26th and Connecticut streets, is replete with dead end, potholed, streets, disconnected and isolated from the rest of the Hill. Sewer backups are common, along with leaky pipes, moldy walls and lousy cell phone reception. Eric Shaw, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, said beautifully designed buildings and well-planned community spaces won’t work “unless you have good bones to flesh out. You have to have the infrastructure in order to build the community you want to create,” he said. “You have to have the architecture piece, you have to have the social piece, you have to have the street trees and sidewalks, but nothing happens until unless what is in the ground is done right.”
The Willow Arches at the Mission Bay Kids’ Park was refreshed last month with new willow material woven into existing branches. Repair work was completed by the same artisan craftspeople from The Willow Farm, a San Mateo venture, that fabricated and installed the original arches more than seven years ago. “The goal is to not put a band-aid on the disfigured areas but instead, integrate new willow material in a way that enhances the arch form and aesthetically reinforces the structure,” said The Willow Farm co-owner Leyla Curry. The Kids’ Park, nestled between Long Bridge and China Basin streets, opened in 2016. Hundreds of kids visited the playground every weekend in the before times, according to Cathy Hickey, manager of Mission Bay Parks, which oversees the space.
The Mission Bay Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) created an informal committee last month to coordinate community responses to a proposal by retail giant Amazon to develop a parcel delivery service facility at 900 Seventh Street. The committee was formed three weeks after Amazon filed a preliminary project assessment (PPA) application with the San Francisco Planning Department in February. The volunteer group includes the CAC’s Donna Dell’Era, Sarah Davis, Toby Levine, Yoyo Chan and Michael Freeman, as well as J.R. Eppler, president, and Alison Heath, secretary of the Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association. Amazon representatives didn’t respond to an invitation from the CAC to participate in the meeting at which the committee was formed. The property, presently a truckyard, is zoned for production, distribution and repair (PDR); community groups are concerned that Amazon’s proposed operations will vastly increase truck traffic throughout adjacent neighborhoods. The PPA under review by the Planning Department would demolish two single-story buildings and two portable storage structures on the 5.8-acre site and construct a new three-level building with 650,000 square feet of delivery service uses, including approximately 17,400 square feet of accessory offices, with parking on an unroofed fourth level. “We’re not opposed to Amazon going in,” Freeman told The View. “It will create jobs, so that’s certainly a positive. We just want to make sure it doesn’t conflict with the neighborhood. We want to look at how to remediate a huge problem with some of the nearby intersections. The PDR zoning originally anticipated for that spot was for light industrial, not an international shipping company with a fleet of 500 trucks running all hours of the night and day. They had no idea of an Amazon facility with semi-trucks coming in, and delivery trucks all over the streets. They need to do an in-depth study for traffic impact.” Gridlocked streets could impede emergency vehicles trying to get to University of California, San Francisco’s nearby hospitals, and parents taking children to a future public elementary school to be constructed on Owens Street, Freeman noted. Amazon’s paid $200 million for the property to Recology in December. The Dogpatch Neighborhood Association has been in conversations with Amazon over issues at their 888 Tennessee distribution site for more than a year; and with the Potrero Boosters related to potential impacts from the Seventh Street facility.
Mother Goose Returns
A Canada goose that captivated the hearts of Mission Creek locals by nesting in a hollow atop a wooden piling at the old Carmen’s pier returned to the same spot with her mate a month earlier than the pair was first noticed a year ago. Christened Rita La Gansa – gansa is Spanish for goose – by Jose Vega-Boza last April, the bird was seen again in February, serenely contemplating motherhood in sight of the Fourth Street Bridge and the Creek’s north bank promenade. Papa Gander paddled in the water below. It’s common for these avian migrants to return to the same nesting ground each year. Most couples stay together all their lives. Incubation periods for Canada geese extend from 24 to 32 days; the new goslings will likely depart before summer.
Real Estate Revives
The Dropbox headquarter buildings centered at 1800 Owens Street, at 16th Street, sold for more than $1 billion last month. It’s the second most expensive building transaction in San Francisco, behind the 1998 sale of the Embarcadero for $1.2 billion, well more than what the Transamerica building fetched last year, $700 million. At $1,440 per square foot, it’s the highest price per-square-foot price in San Francisco history. The buyer wasn’t disclosed by seller Kilroy Realty, but the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “A source with knowledge of the deal who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly said it was KKR, the private equity giant.” Dropbox leased the entire complex in 2017, a move that, like most office space leasing companies, it’s trying to undo. The company subleased just under 135,000 square feet to Vir Biotechnology, not even half the amount of space it’s trying to offload. Proposition I, passed last November applies; the real estate transfer tax is double. As the Chronicle pointed out, Kilroy Realty contributed $225,000 to oppose the initiative.