The Port of San Francisco has drafted a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of Seawall 322-1, with plans to build affordable housing upon the underdeveloped half-block parcel fronting Front Street between Broadway and Vallejo.
The Site is a paved, flat, rectangular land parcel, approximately 37,810 square feet in area; and it is currently being used as surface parking [for up to 225 cars,] leased on a month-to-month basis to Priority Parking [for $47,000 a month]. The Site is approximately 500 feet from the shoreline and under current estimates of sea level rise would not be affected in 2050 and only small portions of the site identified as becoming inundated under current estimates of 2100 sea levels. Anticipated impacts of climate change will be addressed during site and building design phases.
Current zoning for the Site is C-2 (Community Business), which allows residential as a permitted use; ground floor retail and podium parking may be appropriate companion uses subject to feedback during the entitlement process. The Site is in the City’s Northeast Waterfront Historic District and a 65-foot height limit is set for the Site. Given the Site’s development potential, and its location upland, away from the water, it appears to offer the greatest affordable housing development opportunity among the Port’s seawall lots in the northeastern waterfront.
As envisioned by the Port, the proposed development on the site would include affordable apartments above a ground level parking podium (for both the building and public) and retail space with the exact level of affordability for the apartments to be determined by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and the selected developer “with appropriate public input.”
Having reviewed the MOU for the parcel and “plan to develop affordable housing in the middle of the Barbary Coast neighborhood,” the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Friends of Golden Gateway, SoTel Neighbors, and Telegraph Hill Dwellers are concerned.
The neighborhood groups’ letter of disappointment and concern which was sent to the members of the Port Commission yesterday:
We are disappointed the proposed MOU neither acknowledges nor responds to the various concerns that community organizations have previously raised. Those concerns include – but are not limited to – the following:
• Type of housing – This topic is not addressed other than to affirm the MOHCD and the developer will have sole discretion and responsibility for determining the type of affordable housing to be developed.
• Parking – Underground parking is not considered nor mentioned.
• Overall Waterfront Development – This project is being considered in isolation without any recognition of the need for a broader development agenda. We urge the Port Commission and staff to return to the Asian Neighborhood Design overall Vision Plan for the Northeast Waterfront and begin a serious dialogue with the community.
• Active street level environment – This is not addressed.
• Community membership on selection panel – One position will be designated for a community representative, which is counter to the joint letter calling for at least two.
In summary, the MOU simply does not consider the needs and concerns of the neighborhood.
The Port is planning to complete its solicitation for a development partner for the site within a year, followed by a two-year period during which terms would be negotiated and the project would be approved and construction would occur immediately thereafter. That’s the Port’s plan, at least.
As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.