Treasure Island Rendering (Image Source: SOM)
It’s been over two years since we first plugged you in to SOM’s design for an ubergreen urban redevelopment of Treasure Island. And ever since then, The City has unsuccessfully been trying to talk the Navy down from an upfront payment in the “hundreds of millions of dollars” to deed the island to San Francisco.

“We thought we had big problems with the Bush Administration and the Navy because we couldn’t get a zero cost or no cost transfer of the property,” Mayor Gavin Newsom told The Examiner. “We thought that would change with the new administration, so we kind of delayed the last six months of the old administration until we got a new secretary of the Navy.”

The new administration does not support handing over for free Treasure Island or any of the other dozens of shuttered military bases around the nation, according to a recent letter from Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and the environment.

San Francisco officials, however, are confident there will be a deal before the end of the year.

The Mayor’s Office has been pushing for a mostly back-end deal (up to 50% of the profits) funded by the sale of 6,000 plus residential units and 700,000 plus square feet of commercial space once the development is done. But the Navy hasn’t bitten.
If a deal is in fact brokered by the end of the year, however, The City believes infrastructure work could start as early as 2011 with the first residences ready for occupancy in 2013 and an Island complete by 2022.
The (SOM) Master Plan For San Francisco’s Treasure Island [SocketSite]
Model For Turning Treasure Island Into A “Green City Of The Future” [SocketSite]
Feds, city haggle over cost of isle [Examiner]

17 thoughts on “Treasure Island: We Have A Plan, So Can’t We Just Have The Land?”
  1. It looks like someone was playing sim-earth in that picture. Paste some buildings here, farmland there, a police station in the middle…

  2. In Tokyo the bay has been filled in for thousands of acres of infrastructure and new city center use:
    Most of it questionable perhaps but I’ve always thought it’d be cool if we could fill-in the bay somewhat. Cool place to plant the terminus of the HSR to LA, LOL.
    But right now the issue isn’t lack of space but rather lack of employment. Down here in Sunnyvale I see a half-dozen major Class C efforts sitting, see-through. I’ll know the recession’s over when these get leased.

  3. Many of us like Troy think that we are in a recession. But after talking to my parents who went through the Depression, they believe that we are experiencing a major Depression minus meat rationing.
    My parents think that the media and economic pundits who call these turbulent times a recession, never experienced the Depression because they weren’t born yet. They also think that most don’t believe we would ever be in another Depression in this day and age.
    I didn’t either. But I’ve never seen anything quite like this either. Maybe we really are in on e and just want to believe it’s not as bad as it really is.
    I guess when Treasure Island finally becomes a planned development, the planned but unbuilt second towers on the current new construction begin to rise again and existing property is on the market for a few days instead of many months, with multiple offers, we will have the hindsight to know what in the heck we have been in all of that time.

  4. With all of the unemployment, one would think that someone could figure out a way to make this happen now. People get jobs now; the government gets money later.

  5. As I recall the target was for about 14,000 residents. Since virtually all the working folks living there will have to take the bridge to oakland or SF can you imagine traffic between 6 and 9 AM and then between 3 and 6PM?.
    Way too dense a development. Hopefully these plans will go by the wayside because of the economy.
    Suposedly if, and its a big if, any of the now stalled towers SOMA (like 2 Rincon Hill) ever get built it will not be for at least a decade.
    I doubt this project will advance but it does I see more like 2030 – 2040 for buildout. No way this is done by 2022.

  6. I know this will be politically incorrect, but what if Treasure Island became more like a Cavallo Point area? A historic “green” resort with housing that does not have density as its goal. I would rather have San Francisco Fidi/Soma/Mission Bay continue to increase density while having places such as Treasure Island be a close refuge where you can enjoy what is unique about the Bay Area.

  7. Gil – you really need to read some of these plans that you so often dismiss (prior to reading). A toll from TI is planned to be implemented, as well as high speed ferries going and coming to the Ferry Building every 10-15 minutes. Think 8 minute ride to the Ferry Building. Very few parking spots will be built on the island as well. The intention is to market to and sell to those looking for a car free or car light existence. Won’t affect those that feel they have to drive or need a car. They simply aren’t the target demographic for this project.

  8. Seems silly to me to build in a place which is so near sea level that most of it will be flooded in 50-100 years anyway due to expected sea level rise (2 ft by 2050 and as much as 4 ft by 2110).

  9. Most of it questionable perhaps but I’ve always thought it’d be cool if we could fill-in the bay somewhat.
    The bay’s already been filled in quite a bit. Candlestick Park, SFO, Mission Bay, the Dogpatch, the Ferry Building, Crissy Field, and many other sites sit on bay fill, not to mention dozens of the other sites around the Bay Area. Only something like 5% of the current shoreline is natural. If it weren’t for grassroots activism in the early 60s, it would be filled in much more today.

  10. A toll from TI is planned to be implemented, as well as high speed ferries going and coming to the Ferry Building every 10-15 minutes. Think 8 minute ride to the Ferry Building.
    When BART first started, there were no railings on the ceilings to hold onto while standing. Since the trains were going to run every 3-5 minutes, nobody was ever going to have to stand.

  11. EH – true, but if you never build the parking for cars on the island, it will be pretty hard having a problem with too many cars using the Bay Bridge since the cars will have nowhere to go once they get to the island.

  12. Who is going to buy these units with no parking and a toll for anyoone who wants to visit you?
    It would be one thing if we could put all of SF’s public housing on this site and just tell them to not a own a car but I cannot imagine asking people to pay market rates and literally live on an island with no car to come and go as you please.
    Maybe a few bicycle enthusiasts. They could have critical mass every day arounf the island.

  13. If no developer thinks they can sell units without parking, it won’t be developed.
    Gil’s concern was that thousands of new cars would be going across the Bay Bridge. I was addressing that concern – either we’ll have thousands of new residents without cars OR we won’t have any development at all. Either way – there won’t be thousands of new cars going across the Bay Bridge.

  14. Imagine the chaos if this was built and the Bay Bridge has an emergency closure like tonight. How would residents be able to easily get to work if even bus traffic was suspended. (Ferries?)

  15. The whole idea of this plan is that there are frequent ferries connecting to SF (and other places?). So, it wouldn’t have actually been a big deal. The plan discourages people using the bay bridge (for obvious reasons). I forget the method they proposed, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now, but it was basically some form of congestion pricing to make actually using the bridge during to exit TI during prime commute periods prohibitively expensive.
    There are lots of reasons to doubt that TI will ever happen. (rising sea levels anyone?). But dense development WITH high speed ferries could actually make the transporation system work.

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