Treasure Island Redevelopment Plan

Lennar Urban is aiming to start construction on the redevelopment of Treasure Island in 2016 and the first phase of the massive 8,000-unit development, 500 new housing units on Yerba Buena Island along with retail next to the marina, could be completed by 2018, according to the Chronicle.

In addition to a new round of radiation testing that’s being conducted by the Navy, the redevelopment of Treasure Island hinges on the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island, challenging the project’s environmental review and impact on Bay Bridge traffic.  While Lennar prevailed in court back in 2012, an appeal of the ruling is expected to be decided within the next two months.

The design and implementation of the transportation plan for the island, including the adoption of a congestion pricing program for those is cars, the first such program in the country, is slated to get rolling in 2015.

Lennar has yet to announce a replacement source of funds to finance the near billion dollar Treasure Island project which includes residential towers rising up to 450 feet in height.

21 thoughts on “Treasure Island Redevelopment Could Break Ground In 2016”
  1. If the citizens for a sustainable Treasure Island want their little patch of land sitting only feet above the water to sustain rising sea levels, they better hope a developer comes in to install density (and a voting base) that will support serious infrastructure investment on the island. Otherwise nobody is going to approve of the expensive levy system that will be needed to keep the island above water 50 years from now for the sake of the sprawling shanty neighborhood that exists today.

    1. You’re implying that the anti-development reactionaries are capable of long-term thinking?

    1. If we disassemble Treasure Island could we please approve the SFO runway improvements to allow for FAA approved landing configurations?

      1. Yes! Now that would be a trade well worth it – I’d bet that an SFO runway expansion would be a much better economic multiplier than the TI redevelopment. And it’d be pretty cool to have a vibrant tidal marsh right there off downtown.

  2. The development of Treasure Island is insane when faced with the risk of liquefaction and rising sea levels. San Francisco city officials supporting development only see increased property tax revenue versus the risk.

    Perhaps it is time for a “Proposition C” on the next ballot to hear the voters input on assuming the risk. 🙂

    1. When all the sane places to build are protected from development for one reason or another, then you’re left with building in insane places.

    2. I’m with Jackson.

      But instead of proposing a ballot measure to restrict or simply stop development (is building in the Netherlands “insane”? Of course not, they just have the appropriate measures in place to deal with their environment), what really should happen is that a ballot measure should be voted on that would impose on all new residents of Treasure Island a special property tax over and above existing levels, that would pay off the bonds issued to pay for the required infrastructure (e.g., ” the expensive levy system”, pumping stations, enhanced sea walls, and so on.)

      This is exactly what a Mello-Roos District was designed to support, and it should happen before the new buildings get built, and a bunch of people move in and start getting protected by Prop. 13 and then decide they don’t want to pay for the necessary infrastructure, but will happily take advantage of the increased property values once the infrastructure is present (that someone else, or all state taxpayers, have paid for).

  3. Go ahead and develop it to whatever density imaginable, but not one penny of future public dollars for any mitigation post-quake or post-sea-level rise. Costs would be entirely borne by the people who buy or build there. I think this would be a great and fair deal.

  4. its a mixed bag starting with how do you get on and off of the island , given how near impossible it is to even reach the Island due to bridge traffic ,
    BUT , if the transportation issue could be solved, and the developer was willing to build dutch quality dykes , that means of course greatly increasing the density , then sure I would be in favor of a significant development of the island

  5. Are people surprised at Treasure Island Development? Are they unaware of the infrastructure, adaptation and transportation investments that are part of the deal that took five years plus to develop, with intensive community input, and extensive Board review and appeals processes? Newcomers to SF since 2011 can be forgiven for being in the dark — but they should do their homework before critiquing. And anyone who was in the City between 2006 and 2011 has no excuse for not knowing at least the basics of this plan, which certainly received its share of media coverage, public scrutiny, controversy…and when finalized and adopted by unanimous Board vote, international awards.

    1. I don’t think most people here are “surprised” about it, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still think it’s a stupid idea. You can add all the water taxis, filtration ponds, and mixed-use developments on a pig that you want, it’s still a pig.

  6. A nice backgrounder of Treasure Island on SF Public Press:

    “In the next six months, local officials and a consortium of private developers will begin to finalize legal papers for Treasure Island’s future as a high-density eco-city. Renderings of the gleaming towers, parks and gardens suggest harmony and community. Yet the promise of an urban Treasure Island, one of the most complex and risky redevelopments in San Francisco’s recent history, has for more than a decade been wrapped up in a process driven by power and influence. The mayor got neartotal control. Political friends got plum jobs and contracts. Critics were exiled. City and state conflict-of-interest laws were waived. Independent inquiries and the will of voters were nakedly rebuffed.”

  7. Is there an explanation for the fact this development will be underwater within a few decades? I don’t understand their sea rise resiliency and/or response strategy. Perhaps they live in that tried and true place called Denial?

  8. No mention at all that we are building housing on a nuclear waste site?? By blocking development in SF, NIMBYs are now literally cancerous.

  9. sf: The Navy or the EPA will clean it up, one way or another. Of course, that takes time, which is why “completed by 2018” is Not. Going. To. Happen.

  10. Hey Jamie, that was a great piece, thanks for posting it. I am not among those “surprised at Treasure Island Development”, but I’d never read that story.

    Upthread, ‘R’ wrote:

    If the citizens for a sustainable Treasure Island want their little patch of land sitting only feet above the water to sustain rising sea levels, they better hope a developer comes in to install density (and a voting base) that will support serious infrastructure investment on the island.

    And with higher density comes higher risk to life and limb due to the seismic issues, so each unit needs to sell at a high price.

    From the piece that Jamie provided a link to, above:

    The firm reported that seismic issues were “10 times more important than any other concern.”Developers also had “doubts about the financial feasibility of the project” and concerns that the cost of seismic improvements in an earthquake zone would “necessitate a level of density on the island that would be ‘unethical.’”

    Emphasis mine.

    I’m going to go look for that report, I’d love to learn what number they came up with for a level of density that defrays the cost of seismic improvements and still pencils out a profit.

  11. The article Jamie posted should be required reading and is an excellent example of what we used to have in the Bay Area which is real in depth “journalism”.

    1. Eh – it’s a little too breathless for its own good at times. Some of the first directors of the Treasure Island Authority were the S.F. Director of Redevelopment and Director of the Port Authority, who (gasp) were Willie Brown supporters. OMFG.

      Well, it doesn’t surprise me (or alarm me) that there’s internecine political contributions among City officials – while having the directors of both the Redevelopment Agency and the Port on the board seem to me a great way to maximize high-level attention and cooperation on the project.

      I’m not saying T.I. is pristine (see above; if I had my druthers it’d be returned to marsh in exchange for enlarging SFO’s runways). But this article is hardly the Pentagon Papers.

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