The Draft Plan For 550 Acres In The Middle Of San Francisco’s BayFebruary 17, 2011
Originally constructed in 1937 as a possible site for the San Francisco Airport, first used to host the Golden Gate International Exposition from 1939-1940, a naval station for five decades, and now home to roughly 2,000 residents, Treasure Island is “characterized by aging infrastructure, environmental contamination from former naval operations, deteriorated and unoccupied buildings and asphalt and other impervious surfaces which cover approximately 65% of the site.”
As proposed, the 550 acre redevelopment of Treasure and Buena Vista Island would yield 311,000 square feet of renovated historic buildings, 240,000 new square feet of retail and office space, 8,000 new dwelling units (2,400 of which would be “below market rate”), and 300 acres of open space, the latest plans for which will be presented to the Planning Commission this evening at six o’clock.
∙ Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island Informational Update [sf-planning.org]
∙ The (SOM) Master Plan For San Francisco’s Treasure Island [SocketSite]
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
Good to see that nothing is planned for the radioactive end of the island.
I didn’t realize that Job Corps will remain on the island long term.
After living in SF for 6 years I finally went out to treasure island during the day. Gorgeous views, but man what a creepy place. I had no idea the place was just a wasteland of empty buildings.
I have never heard of Buena Vista Island. Do you mean Yerba Buena Island next door?
This is Yerba Buena.
Yerba Buena is the smaller natural looking island on the south. Treasure Island is the larger angular island on the north. It was built from landfill. Though they’re connected by an isthmus they’re considered two separate islands for some reason.
(Yerba Buena was also the original name of the settlement at the tip of the peninsula that became SF)
I think that Yerba Vista thing in the bay is just a creepy abandoned wasteland. They should get rid of it.
Did you know that there’s a whole bunch of creepy abandoned places all over the city, like Mission Basin, Chinapatch, and Dogbay? I’ve lived here for 6 years and never heard of these places. Someone should do something about it.
Treasure Island is hardly a wasteland of empty buildings. Yes, some are currently not being put to use, but some are. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) recently lease some field space for hurling and Irish football. My rugby club, San Francisco Golden Gate, has a full-sized pitch in addition to a fully operational clubhouse. We currently field U-8, U-12, U-18, Colts, and a USA Super League squad. All in all it’s a fairly large organization, not to mention the GAA.
I can guarantee they’ll be plenty of opposition to any “redevelopment” that doesn’t first take into account the current tenants.
I continue to be disappointed by this plan. For one thing, developers always go on and on about how people will ride their bikes and take the ferry, yet they expect local government to pay for these improvements even as they begin construction. The end result is a new traffic jam in the middle of the bridge when those services fail to materialize. On the aesthetics side of things, This will ruin the view of the north bay from the East span of the bay bridge, alter views of the bay from SF proper, and of course most of Oakland. I also think that the top of Yerba Buena should be one big park, rather than giving that land up for development into a series of muli-million dollar mansions for the super-rich. Add in the whole “landfill in the middle of an earthquake zone that could liquefy instantly causing catastrophic damage” aspect of the project, and you can see why I am sour on it.
I am not against development- on the contrary I feel that San Francisco needs to start building up once more and become even more urban than it is. Park Merced is a perfect example of what I support. The center of the bay though is simply not the place for such a large new neighborhood.
Agree with Adam that solving the traffic problem is key for making this plan work (in a perfect world where it can also get financed, of course). I think that the planners are envisioning higher frequency ferry service which could work. I think lumping the bikes into a traffic plan is clearly hyperbole, however. The most one can hope for is “bike friendly.” I don’t think anyone is serious about making bikes a key component of a TI traffic solution.
I disagree with Adam on subject of views. I think “ruin” is a bit of hyperbole as well. People can differ on what they think “ruins” a view. I don’t think a few towers on TI are going to materially impact any view. I also find it odd that we should worry so much about protecting views for drivers on the Bay Bridge. Clearly, it’s kind of obvious that the Bay Bridge will continue to have wonderful views in all directions, even with TI construction.
As for making YBI “one big park”… I think the “make this giant piece of land near a large urban area a big park” position, in this day an age, is sort of like “I want a pony.” Back in 1850, you could do this, but nowadays? Such a position also ignores the fact that YBI is also already developed with low income housing and many WWII era navy brass homes that probably deserve preservation, similar to many Presidio structures.
Adam – I don’t see much value in the view from the bridge since it is so transient. And at least one person in each car should have their eyes on the road rather than enjoying the view. I like your idea of making the top of Isola de Yerba Buena a park.
Fischum – I’m pretty sure that Kurt was kidding about the creepiness though lolcat might not have been. To be sure the island does have somewhat of an abandoned feel to it right now. Does your team play on that field surround by a fence capped with corrugated plastic pipe ?
“This will ruin the view of the north bay from the East span of the bay bridge, alter views of the bay from SF proper, and of course most of Oakland.”
Yes, it will alter the views. Any new thing that’s visible changes the view. With any luck it will be worth looking at, and thus be a positive change. Personally, I think the view from the Embarcadero would be nice with some middle-ground buildings in front of the background East Bay hills. And I think the taller buildings would line up with downtown SF, not the north bay, from the east span.
MOD – I agree, a lot of the island is underutilized but that’s definitely changed in the last 8 years or so that I’ve been going out there. I’m not sure I’d describe stunning panoramic views as “creepy” though.
Our field is at the end of California Street heading eastbound. The field is surrounded by a fence, for a couple of reasons – it deters break-ins when no one is around (although I believe we have a caretaker of sorts who lives there full time) and it also forces people to enter through the clubhouse on match days, as there is usually a $5 or $10 match fee.
This weekend: SFGG Super League side takes on Olympic Club (1:00 PM kickoff) and Cal Berkeley take on University of British Columbia as part of their annual home and away match (3:00 PM kickoff).
I mentioned the views as gorgeous – they truly are. I’ve been out there for a rugby match actually, my buddy’s friend is a ref. We had a great time.
But come on fischum, drive around the island during the day. Parts were definitely creepy – but in a good way. Reminded me a little bit of salton sea. I didn’t say it’s grotesque and nasty; it was actually a great spot for taking pictures of the old empty buildings. I just didn’t know there were so many still there.
In response to Kurt’s response-
Dream big! The only reason we don’t create big parks like Golden Gate these days is lack of room and lack of vision. There is simply not enough open space in most urban centers to create large parks in this day and age. When Central Park in NYC and Golden Gate were created it was all farmland and scrub. Even then speculators fought tooth and nail to exploit the parks and take the land for money-making purposes. Yerba Buena is in this position now- open space that has been in public or government hands since California began, and the plan is to give it to the developer to build luxury condos? Treasure island aside, the high ground of Yerba Buena should not be ceded. Restore the historic structures, put in some telescopes, and take in the views. It would not happen overnight, but developing the island would put this dream forever beyond reach when it is so close now. So yes, I want that pony!
Before forming your opinion of what can be done with Treasure Island, please visit Vancouver and check out Granville Island.
Play hoops out there regularly. Big gym out there run by the YMCA. It’s like a semi-secret lost world out there. Love that. But it is in need of some sprucing up and major improvements. I’ll enjoy its sleepy, faded vibe while I can.
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