New SF Flower Mart Rendering

While playing coy with respect to their larger plans for developing the Central SoMa site, Kilroy Realty has officially announced their agreement with the operators of the San Francisco Flower Mart to build a new underground market for the flower mart’s wholesale business and 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail space for vendors around a new public at Sixth and Brannan.

Under the terms of the agreement, California Flower Market, the current operators of the mart, will continue to manage the existing and future markets, all current vendors and tenants have been offered a five-year extension of their leases at existing rents, and all tenants in good standing will be offered space in the new facility.

Kilroy is aiming to have the new Flower Mart and office project overhead ready for occupancy in 2018.  But the threat of a ballot measure to block the proposed development still looms.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Sounds like a fantastic, sensible compromise – but the warehouse-type use underground and build above.

    And I understand Agnos is still vowing to continue with the ballot measure – WTF? Wonder how all those Telegraph Hill types would feel if their ilk had been around 60 or 70 years ago, and saved the old (noisy, dirty) fruit and vegetable warehouse district that used to lie at the eastern foot of the hill. Would the Telegraph Hill NIMBYs work as hard to preserve that use? I somehow doubt it… !

    • Posted by sfw

      They would surely be against Coit Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge.

      • Posted by James

        In fact many people were against the GG Bridge and Ansel Adams even took photos of the Gate to commemorate the view that would be lost. (Thankfully the bridge proved them wrong.)

  2. Posted by foggydunes

    Innovative and beautiful solution!

  3. Posted by Dave

    The ballot initiative will continue as the opposition is as much about stopping the major SOMA upzoning being foisted here as well as about saving the Flower Mart.

  4. Posted by jsimms3

    I think at this point it is undeniable that Agnos and Peskin are simply anti-growth. This is a wonderful, big city solution that helps the little guy, perhaps makes things even better for the little guy. So the only reason to continue opposition is really in the name of preventing any and all future growth.

    Agnos and Peskin are the classic examples of the liberal 1%ers, politically. They are so far left – I’m absolutely positive they are also of the belief that there are WAYYYY too many people on the planet and that we should follow the Georgia Guidestones, which call for some sort of elimination of humanity down to about 500 million people, a more “appropriate” number.

    I really hope people see through them this time.

    And RE: Kilroy being a Los Angeles firm – their main office is actually here in SF at 100 First where they have most of their top executives, who also live here in SF/area. I think it’d be funny if on paper they “officially” moved their HQ to SF to get this deal done so that Peskin/Agnos couldn’t use the “outsider” argument.

    PATHETIC, at this point, is how I would describe these two man-babies. Saving the flower mart was a valid cause. But mission accomplished. Anything beyond that is mere politics and vitriol, pushing some sort of agenda. Their agenda should be called out…if they are making the claims they are about various “targets” of their’s, then the defense should fire back with claims that Agnos and Peskin would like to see a reduction in Earth’s population by any means necessary.

  5. Posted by Bob

    Let the aging baby boomer NIMBYs have their last gasps, they’ll be gone soon enough

    • Posted by anon94123

      I hope this happens! A very imaginative and attractive solution.

    • Posted by Mike Kennedy

      Bob.
      Pekin is actually fairly young. He just looks over 60 and certainly acts like that.

  6. Posted by DM

    I agree with Bob. They’re like the old Cubans in Miami/Dade dictating U.S. Cuba policy. Who knows, maybe Marco Rubio (the pathetic pipsqueak) and Peskin (ditto) will become soul mates.

  7. Posted by Beatrice Plotter

    In Japan, Beijing (and elsewhere,) they have thriving businesses underground in their subway stations. Many locals eat, shop, and otherwise do their daily business to and from work. I loved the experience! This is quite beautiful with its skylights and shops.

    Man-baby is a funny new moniker. Given their age, I suspect they are well past manopause.

    • Posted by sfw

      The same is true in Budapest- many restaurants, bars, and retail in the subway tunnels/ connectors.

      • Posted by Beatrice Plotter

        Are they only on the Pest side, or also on the Buda (hills) side? I didn’t get to visit the underground — too busy soaking up the mineral baths (which is quite painful to me.)

  8. Posted by Beatrice Plotter

    Upon further review of the renderings, I should just warn those skirted pedestrians who are walking the glass floor panels (which make up the skylights below) to wear nice underwear or nothing at all if wearing a kilt.

    • Posted by Joel

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears as if there are glass guardrails around the skylight. If this is the case, it would end up being a rather tragic appropriation of ground floor plaza space. If this is not the case, I think we just found the city’s latest offbeat tourist attraction.

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        One of the Barcelona underground mercados has a street level glass panel right over the fish section of the market, allowing gawkers to look down and watch fish being cleaned.

  9. Posted by sassyboyfrisco

    Agnos is a joke…his agenda is simply ignorant and outdated!

  10. Posted by Mike

    It is a historical fact that the Sierra Club opposed the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a (gasp) CHANGE!

  11. Posted by R

    I might be mistaken, but the three buildings in the renderings look like they’re under 85 feet? If that’s the case, they fit in the Central SOMA Plan… I’m sure a fair amount of the lot isn’t being shown here, but does that mean Kilroy might be abandoning their plans for a tower here?

    • Posted by jsimms3

      Spending that much money on a Flower Mart doesn’t yield <85 ft smaller office buildings. They're going to have to build up, and their SF track record includes solid performances by building up. They have the experience and wherewithal.

      I think what we see in the rendering concerning the office buildings is a placeholder. Plus we don't quite see the tops.

  12. Posted by jsimms3

    Let’s also pause to think about this. This is an entire level of what would be parking. Either the developer now has to dig deeper or reduce its parking. One might say – “but Caltrain and the T!”. However, that’s not entirely how it works for a project this size. There will definitely be some executive parking constructed, as well as access points and maybe allotted parking for the flower mart (and not for the office itself), and now it’s probably coming at a greater cost because of the sacrifice Kilroy is making to keep and preserve the Flower Mart.

    I can’t stand communists. Private interests, negotiations, and currency make this world go around. Not a simple “idea” of the “public good”. 2 sides came together and found a solution that works, more or less, for themselves. I’d argue one side gave way more than the other (financially, Kilroy did) in the name of political goodwill, however, nobody gave anything away for free.

    Peskin/Agnos refuse to acknowledge that people work hard to come to terms to accomplish different sets of goals, together. If everyone could snap their finger and have their way without creating harm to others, then that would be an ideal alternate universe. But in our universe…

    I just wish that in their old, grumpy, intolerant age they could concede. Just a little. Relax. Just a little. They put their names in that fight, which everyone else is seeing as a win-win. Now I wish they would congratulate both parties on accomplishing something, rather than STILL FIGHTING. How old are these commies anyway? Weren’t they around for Lenin?!?

    If I were their age, I would have long since passed the torch (which thankfully only a few people seem to have taken) and focused on how I want to peacefully and joyfully live out my last years. Politics only ages you and makes you bitter. They played the politics game and have been bitter their whole lives. Time to change course.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      where do people park who want to go to flower mart?

      • Posted by TomDrake

        If you look closely at the rendering’s bottom left corner they’re showing one or two levels of underground parking.

    • Posted by Arefugee

      Sooooo glad you’re not “their” age.

  13. Posted by Patrick

    If anyone asks you to sign the petition, take the clipboard and instead of signing it write “Attention – Please do not sign this piece of sh!t petition”. Then smile at the signature gatherer, hand him back the clipboard and walk away.

  14. Posted by Grubber2

    while it does appear to be nice compromise I am not convinced it’s workable as I drive by 6th and Brannan at 6 a.m. on weekdays and this a thriving warehouse environment with trucks double parked for blocks. What most San Franciscans see on weekends and during the day is a retail environment, but this is a busy congested and thriving warehouse and distribution location in the early mornings.

    All that being said, changing zoning has been subject to referendum in California for decades, so this is simply a risk that Kilroy will have to take. I can’t stand Peskin and Agnos, but it’s really the knuckleheads who blindly sign petitions to put referendums on the ballot (i.e. your fellow San Franciscans) who should be ashamed.

  15. Posted by jsimms3

    ^Which is why this is an office development and not a housing development. This would never work if Kilroy were trying to put up apartments or condos.

    And I agree about fellow San Franciscans. Sadly, many of them are not blind and actually buy into Agnos/Peskin’s train of thought. Unfortunately, these are the people most readily available to sign petitions in the first place. Not saying they don’t work, but they somehow magically are able to get all these petitions on the ballot every 6 months while the rest of us feel a little blind-sided come election day, having never seen clipboards or petitions in the first place.

    • Posted by NoeValleyJim

      If you rode Muni, you would see them every day.

  16. Posted by Hitman

    Nice! Unfortunately…Eviction Free SF, VanishingSF and 48 Hills, SFTU, Tenderloin Housing etc will all oppose it.

  17. Posted by brooder

    Actually, this is a terrible location for a flower mart in the first place, with way too much commercial traffic and parking going in and out. This is not retail by any means, at least not primarily. Regardless of the circumstance they should think about a smarter way to organize themselves.

    Besides that, I am starting to get really fed up about every other day someone else stepping out of the woodwork and claiming that they are so bloody great that others should pay for them to stay in the city.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      The good news is that the space need not be a flower mart forever. Some time in the future that space can be converted to a use more fitting with the location.

      Bulk distribution uses like should be sited where it is easier to get trucks and vans in and out. The vendors who depend on the Flower Mart should decide whether it is more important to cling to this legacy location or operate their business efficiently.

  18. Posted by Alai

    An interesting development: it looks like more functions are headed underground. There’s another building with a Whole Foods planned for the lower level, I believe. I guess that’s to be expected when heights are limited and space is at a premium.

    [Editor’s Note: Plans For The Transbay District’s First (Underground) Full-Service Grocery Store.]

  19. Posted by John

    All the white paint in the world and glass partitions won’t solve the fact that you’re underground. Seems unlikely to be a successful design. Consider the old Brooks Hall…

    • Posted by cfb

      So all the current patrons of the flower mart have the memory of a goldfish, and are suddenly going to forget where the flower mart is if they can’t see it from the street anymore?

      It’s the kind of place most people know about through business or word of mouth…As it is already, it’s not exactly an inviting mom-and-pop flower store where tons of random people pass by and go “OOOOH PRETTY FLOWERS!” and then go inside to buy some. It’s a damn wholesale warehouse! The largest building of the market doesn’t have a single window along Brannan street (because it’s a warehouse), aside from the cafe on the corner with 6th, and is actually pretty ugly, unless you like the mid-century light industrial look. The building on the 5th street side is also uninviting and looks like an autobody shop (it probably was one once).

      The corner of 6th and Brannan is kind of nice though, with the cafe and everything. Hopefully it can be preserved at ground level in the new building there…but 95% of the flower mart is not really a nice people-friendly place that screams “come inside and buy stuff!” Putting it underground allows it to continue existing in the same spot that they apparently like, will probably affect business minimally if at all (the cafe excepted perhaps, if it goes underground), and also allows land use to be maximized with additional office space. Which is always nice in a growing city with no room to expand outwards. The office space would increase foot traffic around and inevitably, into, the flower mart, by the way…so an underground mart might actually see more business anyways. It all seems pretty damn reasonable to me.

      If it’s really that unacceptable to Agnos/Peskin and their lemmings though, could there be a compromise where the flower mart remains on the ground floor of the new development, and gets improvements that will undoubtedly increase business (you know, like at least one window along Brannan, aside from the cafe) no matter what kind of NIMBY or non-NIMBY viewpoint you have? Windows with pretty flowers in them all along Brannan are nice, and an improvement right? Even Art Agnos can agree with that, right?

      I swear, it’s like NIMBYs are incapable of thinking rationally. Everything is feelings (which are good, until they trump reality), nostalgia, assumptions, and hyperbole. And thinly-veiled campaigns to raise property value with preserved views and restricted supply, of course.

  20. Posted by redseca2

    In the same vein as buyers of new condos in historic entertainment districts demanding the night clubs that made the place popular in the first place now shut down due to noise: I will wait for the class-action law suit from pollen allergy suffering office workers above the new flower mart.

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