Facing ongoing push-back from tenants of the San Francisco Flower Mart, Kilroy Realty has drafted an alternative design for their proposed re-development of the Flower Mart site which would ditch their plans for a high-tech underground market and keep the New Flower Mart above ground.
The alternate design also raises the proposed height of the tallest office tower to over 280-feet and creates a raised, multi-level plaza around which the buildings would wrap.
From the development team:
This proposal represents an alternate version of the Project, which was developed in response to feedback received from the tenants of the San Francisco Flower Mart (“Flower Mart”). The original version of the Project was developed in collaboration with San Francisco Flower Market, Inc. (“SFFM”, formerly the California Flower Market “CFM”), the former owner and operator of approximately two-thirds of the Property for nearly 100 years. Based on their expertise and knowledge of the flower business and its operations, the CFM Board of Directors, which included several tenants of the Flower Mart, concluded that a below-grade wholesale flower market and an adjacent below-grade parking area would be the best design for a new flower market (“New Flower Mart”), as it would create a smooth flow of goods between the warehouse and parking areas. After KR Flower Mart, LLC purchased the Property and SFFM took over operations of the aggregate Flower Mart, the developer presented the original below-grade plan for the Project.
Some existing Flower Mart tenants expressed concerns that a below-grade wholesale flower market may not be the best design for the New Flower Mart, due to lack of visibility and accessibility from street level. During a series of meetings with the tenants, the governing board of SFFM and representatives of the developer responded that the new, below-grade wholesale flower market would have prominent signage and access from street level. Some tenants also expressed concerns that a below-ground warehouse may be too dark and have poor air circulation, and that a parking area immediately adjacent to the warehouse could produce vehicle exhaust fumes that are potentially harmful to the flowers. SFFM Board members and representatives of the developer explained that the parking area would be sealed off from the warehouse and that skylights would bring natural light into the warehouse. Examples with photos of successful underground markets from around the world, including flower markets, were also provided.
Ultimately, some tenants still expressed a strong preference for an above-grade wholesale flower market. In response, KR Flower Mart, LLC offered to analyze the plausibility of an above-grade wholesale flower market within the Project. This proposal is the result of that analysis, and is similar to the version with a below-grade wholesale flower market submitted in February of 2015.
One difference is the parking and loading areas for the above-ground market. The parking area for the New Flower Mart remains below ground, creating the need for additional elevators, ramps and/or escalators to connect to the warehouse, while the loading area for the flower market is located above-grade, adjacent to the warehouse. The above-grade flower market also results in a multi-level plaza, with the portion above the warehouse elevated above street level.
This differs from the below-ground Flower Mart proposal, in which all plazas would be at grade. The skylights that existed in the original version have been moved to the elevated plaza to bring natural light down into the warehouse. As the flow of goods between the warehouse and parking areas is less efficient with an above-grade flower market, some tenants still prefer the original version of the Project. A majority of tenants, however, have expressed support for continuing to explore the above-grade version.
The alternate plans for the Flower Market site have been delivered to Planning and the potential for a ballot measure fight to block the development still looms.