San Francisco Flower Mart 2014

While Kilroy Realty has reached an agreement with the operators of the San Francisco Flower Mart to build a new underground market for the mart’s wholesale business in exchange for their support of Kilroy’s redevelopment of the Central SoMa site, the backers of a threatened ballot measure which could kill the development have taken the next steps towards making the measure a reality.

Paperwork for the “Prohibition of Height Limit Increase and Zoning Changes to the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Market” ordinance was submitted to the Department of Elections on Friday. If passed, the measure would prevent any zoning changes or exemptions for the Flower Mart site at Sixth and Brannan unless said changes were first approved by voters in San Francisco.

Currently only zoned for industrial use and building up to 55-feet in height, a height at which Kilroy’s plans likely wouldn’t pencil, the City’s pending Central SoMa Plan recommends that the Flower Mart parcel be rezoned for office use and building up to 85-feet in height.  And in fact, draft plans for the parcel suggest that Kilroy could be lobbying for an up-zoning to as high as 160-feet.

The authors of the proposed measure to prohibit any zoning changes for the Flower Mart site would need to gather 9,702 signatures in order to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

23 thoughts on “Measure To Block Flower Mart Redevelopment Looms”
  1. actually, i’m sort of pleased that this might come to ballot.

    – kilroy has really come through with a good plan for the site, and they’d never have done so if it weren’t for the threats these nimbys represent and the fact that the nimbys have restricted everything so much that the project could pencil even with all the craziness sf throws at them;
    – with everything that kilroy has provided and the siting here and the savvy that kilroy’s team has building allies, it seems very unlikely that the project would succeed at the ballot box;
    – failure of their measure at the ballot box will teach the nimbys a lesson that’ll make them less inclined to pursue future challenges along the same lines.

    basically, we’re looking at a situation here where everyone (city planning, politicians and grandees, building trades, flower market folks, and neighborhood types elsewhere) will be on one side and a few nimbys will be on the other.

    1. You could have said the same thing about 8 Washington: great plan/use of the site, policitcal savvy, already approved and backed by the city and…defeated at the ballot box.

    2. Can’t agree with your logic here – if there is one thing we have learned in this city it is that no combination of facts, logic, sentiment, defeated measures and appeals or anything else so much as give pause to NIMBY’s. They are the defenders of the city, with a sacred duty to block any and all development that catches their eye. These are not reasonable, rational people.

  2. they’ll raise 4x that number of signatures in short order. WE love to put the screws to developers, even if that means we eventually screw ourselves

  3. We need to change this system. Its not right that any twat in this city can spend a little money, to get 10K signatures (especially with all of customary rhetoric, and conjecture) to stop a development, based almost entirely on their personal bias’.

  4. that’s not the only thing that needs to change. the historic review thing has become a monster too. between the democracy gone haywire of the appeal system, and the “all beauty trapped in amber” historic nonsense, it’s so hard to get anything done nowadays that it is barely worth trying for most

    1. Yeah, he certainly knows how to work the system. Which is a real shame for the citizens of San Francisco. His brand of politics pretty much guarantees high cost of living forever.

  5. If the initiative passed, they could kick the flower vendors out and build a 55 foot self storage facility. Those always make money particularly when a number are being converted to other uses in SF.

  6. Would like to see SocketSite do a story on SF “historic review” process. Was told by a neighbor in the Sunset District that just to rip the ugly stucco off the front of his little house (1950s) and replace with nice wood facade, the City is requiring a $5k “historic review” — that means with permitting etc. the price of the paper will exceed cost of the project.

    1. Yeah, out of hand. In my experience the planning department and building department people are easy to deal with and good at their job, but the regulations they have to enforce are ridiculous. How do you ever come back from this level of over regulation? I’m really asking…

      1. I work as a Planner and have a colleague/friend who specializes in “historic preservation”. I have sent this link and 4oceans’ anecdote to him as yet another reason why I am skeptical about mandatory historical preservation. 🙂 Even if I love many older buildings (even older industrial buildings).

    2. same experience here. I am trying to remove an ugly square facade that some idiot previous owner put on our victorian in the 70s to make it look “modern” We have paid over $6K for permits/review, etc and are going on 5 months since submitting with no word.

      1. Weird. My old landlord did precisely this to the old west SOMA Edwardian he bought next door to our building about 2 years ago — he mentioned sweet-talking the folks at the planning office that that he was “restoring the original facade” (which he was) and got his approval within a couple weeks. Did you submit the forms in person yourself or via an architect?

  7. “These are not reasonable, rational people.”

    Unfortunately for you these annoying individuals commonly referred to as “voters” aren’t going away anytime soon.

    Anyone who is ‘reasonable and responsible” would never add massive amounts of housing with basically zero improvement in infrastructure happening over the next 20 years. Transit meltdown and gridlock 24/7 here we come. A housing/dotcom 2.0 bust can’t happen soon enough.

    1. Instead, let’s require continous urban sprawl and long suburban commutes.

      Only the entitled, smug, and excessively comfortable conservative wishes for an economic bust. Why not move to Cleveland if you want “things” to remain ever the same?

    2. ” housing/dotcom 2.0 bust can’t happen soon enough.” you want the economy to crash? you do realize a crash hurts poor and middle class more than anyone.

    3. More like, “Anyone who is reasonable and responsible would never stand for doing zero improvement in infrastructure for the last 40 years–one light rail line is a rounding error on this timescale–and the next 20) despite massive increases in the number of people living and working here. People are coming no matter what you try to do to stop any building from occurring.

      Have you ever thought that this planned office building might house an office that might otherwise have been located in, say, Santa Clara or SJ? And that many of the people who would work here would be living in SF and would otherwise be taking the 101 or Caltrain to work every day? That would decrease the demand on transit and infrastructure. The same goes for building more housimg here. It is housing stock that allows former commuters to become homeowners and citizens of SF.

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