Posted: May 6, 2011, 4:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ventura, California
Executive Park residential development OKd in S.F.
Will Kane, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, May 6, 2011
Called the little sibling of the larger development at Hunters Point Shipyard, a plan to build 1,600 new residential units in a triangular area tucked between Candlestick Park and Highway 101 was approved unanimously by the Planning Commission Thursday.
Developers and the city have been mulling proposals for the desolate area known as the Executive Park since the late 1970s. But no plan gained traction until last summer, when the city approved a huge development at the nearby former naval shipyard.
The $2 billion investment in the shipyard project - which will bring 24,000 new residents to the area - will create the community and infrastructure that will enable the smaller Executive Park development to succeed, said Jonathan Scharfman of Universal Paragon Corp., one of the project's developers.
In fact, the city even slowed work on the Executive Park plan so it would be approved after the Hunters Point project, he said.
"This is a piece of a larger vision for a new residential gateway to the city of San Francisco," he said. "We don't feel like a stepchild; we feel like we're part of something larger."
Eventually, the roughly 70-acre site, which is now mostly parking lots and temporary office space, could have more than 2,800 residential units in a number of towers, some up to 240 feet tall. A patchwork of condominiums has already been built and will remain.
The project faced little opposition, because the area does not currently provide much value to the city, commissioners said.
"This is one of those rare places where because of the changing economy, we're realizing the suburban business park just doesn't work anymore," said Kathrin Moore, a commissioner notoriously skeptical of developers' promises.
An important consideration for the development will be creating a sense of community in the desolate, blustery area, boxed in by Highway 101, Bayview Hill, Candlestick Park and the bay.
To that end, commissioners approved the project on the condition that the full Board of Supervisors, who will hear the project next, consider moving one of the 16-story towers east, away from the freeway.
Moore said she didn't want residents stuck with a view looking directly onto the freeway.
The neighborhood will have a center away from the busy traffic, Scharfman said.
"It will have a neighborhood town center so people's day-to-day needs for a neighborhood grocery can be met without getting into a car," he added.
The development will also be a roughly 10-minute walk from the nearby Caltrain station and a quick bus ride to the Balboa Park BART station.
"There's a strong, strong business right now in transporting workers who want to live in San Francisco to their jobs in Silicon Valley," Scharfman said.
Espanola Jackson, a resident of the Bayview neighborhood, said she was pleased to see the project move forward.
"It is important because of the fact that it's just an empty slot right now and they want to come in and make the area more beautiful," she said. "We're always last on the city's list to change things. Maybe that has changed."