Treasure Island Redevelopment Plan

The U.S. Navy has officially transferred half of Yerba Buena Island and half of Treasure Island, a total of 290 acres, to San Francisco’s Treasure Island Development Authority, clearing the way for the building of up to 8,000 units of housing; 500,000 square feet of commercial, retail and office space; 500 hotel rooms; and 300 acres of parks and open space.

Treasure Island Redevelopment Rendering

A new ferry terminal with service between Treasure Island and San Francisco will serve as the cornerstone of the island’s transportation plan, a plan which includes congestion pricing for those in cars.

And Lennar Urban is aiming to start construction on the first phase of the development – which includes 500 units of housing on Yerba Buena Island, new retail next to the marina, and infrastructure projects – early next year.

San Francisco will be paying the Navy $55 million for the land(fill) with the potential for additional payments based on the cash flow generated by the project.  The U.S. Coast Guard and Job Corps will continue to operate programs on the eastern half of the islands which will be retained by the Federal government.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Frank C.

    Furious that California taxpayers will be on the hook to spend hundreds of millions or billions to defend TI against sea level rise in 20 or 30 years. And that’s money that we get zero benefit from, other than maybe an esplanade.

    • Posted by Jackson

      Can someone explain the intricacies of building in a known flood (or unstable) zone with respect to Federal law and FEMA?
      How much liquefaction was reported on Treasure Island during the 1989 quake?
      I would think lenders will take a dim view of issuing condo mortgages for this issue.

      • Posted by Dave

        Well, HSR is violating environmental law and doing so cause its the government. This is a crony project too and I suspect it will be allowed to slide on Federal and FEMA regulations.

      • Posted by Anon

        Here is a study on the liquefaction from the 1989 quake on Treasure Island. (Click on my name)

  2. Posted by friscan

    I’d be too…but aren’t revenues coming back to reimburse the City when developed and occupied? That’s the plan projection I just reviewed.

  3. Posted by joey

    I thought it was supposed to be some Burj Dubai tower.

    That island needs at least 2 more bridges going to it – a FiDi / North Beach backdoor and another from the Berkeley bottleneck area..

    We could also use a Brisbane / San Leandro bridge too.

    • Posted by Moto mayhem

      Hunters point better location for cross bay bridge than Brisbane. That should be built immediately

    • Posted by NoeNeighbor

      Gondola service would be an excellent way of dealing with transport to the City — if it could be done without interfering with shipping.

      • Posted by NJ

        Yes! Gondola from the ferry building to TI, to Emeryville perhaps?

      • Posted by anon

        I prefer ziplines

  4. Posted by Some guy

    I’m sure that fill soil is going to perform wonderfully in the next big quake.

    • Posted by Frisco

      Gosh, I’m glad you mentioned that! I’m sure nobody involved in this project even thought of it or made appropriate engineering plans.

      • Posted by anon

        Well the good thing is that now they will. Some guy’s sarcastic comment is certain to catch the attention of the engineers attached to the various projects!

      • Posted by Brian M

        Just like they “made appropriate engineering plans” for a bridge whose key components are now cracking and rusting?

        Why do they care? Lennar executives don’t live on T.I.

        • Posted by anon

          actually, the bridge passed the structural testing last week with flying colors. Strange that you’d be aware of the first story but not the subsequent followup story. Were you? And if so, why attempt to misinform?

          • Posted by Jake

            Caltrans reported two broken rods from their testing. There shouldn’t be any. That’s not exactly flying colors. They were only able to pull test about 96% of the rods because some are inaccessible. Caltrans presented that as 99.5% passed (press release at namelink) and the bridge as “safe”, the media and independent experts weren’t so generous. They have to perform more tests and analysis before they can rerate the expected lifetime of this bridge. Until then, even Caltrans can’t say if it will last as long or be as durable as was specified and funded.

          • Posted by anon

            like i said, flying colors. 99.5%. 2. get real, stats dude

  5. Posted by Some guy

    Yah, moar bridges soon pleeze. Took them 3 years start to finish to build the Golden Gate – before the transistor was invented. We should be able to do a 2nd BART tube and separate bridge above in as little time, were it not for political enviro BS. Maybe they’ll get done by 2040 or so.

  6. Posted by sf

    In a city that never runs short of bad ideas,

    Worst. Idea. Ever.

    • Posted by Futurist

      I agree. Complete isolation from the rest of The City. One traffic route. Good luck with the ferries ever making a serious dent.

      Rising sea levels are real. They seem to forget about that.

      Liquefaction will be devastating when the next big earthquake happens.

      Stupidest idea ever.

      • Posted by BobN

        Enough density to ruin the small town feel. Not enough density to make living there anything but b o r i n g.

        • Posted by anon

          there is no existing small town feel out there

          • Posted by BobN

            My impression was based on reports of a friend who lived out there in the earliest years of renting to the public. A lot of buildings were still empty.

          • Posted by anon

            I’ve spent plenty of time out there recently. There’s nothing going on. If you mean like small town as in somewhere tiny in the west during the middle of the winter? then sure. about as lifeless as that.

          • Posted by Fishchum

            I’m not sure if I’d call it a “small town feel” but there are a lot of groups that have put the existing buildings and area to good use. An excellent example would be the Gaelic Athletic Association and the San Francisco Goldent Gate Rugby Club, both of whom have poured literally thousands in the island by improving some of the existing buildings and constructing a couple of beautiful pitches. I’d like to see these groups incorporated into the new development plans.

          • Posted by Anon

            @Fishchum, special pricing would be put into effect to prevent users such as yourself from having easy access in the future. “To persuade residents, commuters and visitors to ride transit, residents will have to buy transit passes—and drivers will be charged tolls not only to use the Bay Bridge, but also to enter or leave the island.” Would you be willing to ride MUNI and then transfer to a ferry, all so that you could play rugby on the island ? For the record, I think T.I. becoming a recreation zone is far better than putting 500 hotel rooms and housing for 19,000 people who will either have to take a boat or pay extorted prices to get on or off the island.

          • Posted by Fishchum

            @Anon, I wouldn’t have a problem paying a small toll as I’m only out there a few times a year to watch matches (I’ve been an Old Boy for 10 years now). I have, in the past, taken Muni out to the island to watch matches – it’s a pretty quick trip on the 108 from the temporary Transbay Terminal.

  7. Posted by Dave

    What a shame this one-of-a-kind site is being covered with more mediocrity.

    Think of what could have been done here – its a shame.

    The hi-rise condo will be very pricey and probably mostly purchased by folks who live in SF part-time.

    The density – 16,000 people (assuming 2 per unit) plunked down in the middle of a bridge that is at capacity. Oh, but ferry service will take care of that. Yeah right.

    Congestion pricing for those in cars. As only very well off folks will live here I assume that won’t be an issue for them.

    Imagine an emergency when the island had to be evacuated – – what a mess.

    Imagine how much worse this will make Bay Bridge traffic.

    Who benefits? Follow the money. Google Lennar and see which politicians names come up. Coincidence Lennar got the Hunters Point project too?

    You decide.

  8. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Should have turned T.I. back into marsh, as an offset for expanding the runways at SFO (to allow for better operation during fog & bad weather). Building housing out there is ridiculous.

    • Posted by Alai

      Public policy should be to increase convenience for above-average income people, while restricting the construction of new housing. This will help increase the level of exclusivity.

      Because housing prices are expensive, but they could be ludicrous. Together, we can achieve it!

  9. Posted by Just My Opinion

    This seems very Roosevelt Island-like, which I believe is generally considered successful – with one BIG exception: the E and F trains don’t stop there.

    • Posted by Frisco

      Don’t forget the tramway!

    • Posted by BobN

      Roosevelt Island is half the size and considerably more dense.

  10. Posted by minka

    Such negativity here. If the residents use the bridge rather than the ferry – well, they’d be idiots. It seems to me there will be plenty of people who want a quiet residential neighborhood with a short ferry ride to the financial district. It will off load rental demand from San Francisco proper. Seems fine to me.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      what if they dont work in FiDI, and instead work on peninsula or in other areas of the city that are not easily accessible by ferry. plenty of people will drive.

      • Posted by zig

        Some will but it would be a dumb place to live if that was the plan. Of just about anywhere is the Bay this will likely have the highest per captia ferry ridership by self selection of people wanting to live here but also because it is one of the few ferry stations a good number of people could walk to. Most of our ferry terminals are park and ride which just makes them require too many mode switches.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          people dont tend to keep the same job for more than 2-3 yrs in the bay area. you might buy on TI with a job in Fi-DI and then be in San MAteo in 2 yrs.

      • Posted by Frisco

        Work in the FiDi? Rent on Treasure Island.
        New job in Redwood City? Move there.
        That’s the argument when people can’t live in the city, just move somewhere else, don’t complain.
        Now everyone is worried about displacement from a neighborhood that doesn’t even exist yet?
        Get real.

    • Posted by EcceMorons

      “If the residents use the bridge they’d be idiots” – Well, they WILL use the bridge, and in doing so, will turn every other user of the bridge into an “idiot”.

      This is NOT good transportation planning.

      Residents who choose to live here might possibly have jobs in the FiDi, but jobs move, fast. What happens when they’re transferred, or choose a new job, somewhere other than the FiDi? Even if they were using the ferry originally, they’ll now be in a car, on a bridge full of suddenly newly-minted “idiots”.

      • Posted by Alai

        You’re right! Or what if they’re transferred to Houston? We shouldn’t build any housing until we get a hypersonic rocketport.

        Seriously, though, access to jobs using the transportation options available (ferry, ferry + bart or eventually caltrain, buses) compares very favorably to lots of locations in the area. If you rule out housing in places where there’s a lot of car traffic, you’re effectively ruling out housing anywhere there’s effective public transit.

      • Posted by zig

        I don’t think they are limited to the FiDi. They could also take BART and any number of company shuttles. We shouldn’t minimize the convenience of being able to walk to transit on one leg of the trip with this level of access.

    • Posted by Orland

      Anyone know if the plans include an opening in the current causeway connecting YBI abdominal TI with bridge with enough clearance to allow for a direct route for ferries between SF and Clipper Cove? It seems having to otherwise go to the east and then wheel around either north or south each and every trip would be awfully wasteful and time consuming.

      • Posted by Alai

        I believe the plans have a new ferry terminal on the west side of TI, so it’s just a straight shot. You can see it in the rendering.

        • Posted by Anon

          Alai, do you work for in the San Francisco City Planning and Community Development Office? I ask this only in that your posts always seem to promote the current thinking at both Planning, and the MTA.

          • Posted by Alai

            No, nothing of the sort. I’ve just lived here all my life and it’s interesting to me.

        • Posted by Orland

          Ah, right you are. Thank you. I had been under the impression that it was going to be on Clipper Cove making it the focal point of the development.

  11. Posted by Dave

    This should have been designed – form and function, as something spectacular for San Francisco residents to cherish and use. Bay Area residents too and o course visitors.

    A museum, monument, a grand park.

    Crony capitalism got in the way. The merging of big government and big business. Google Lennar as I noted above.

    I wonder if a petition and initiative could stop this? Let San Francisco residents have the final say. If they should anywhere it is here.

    But no, the government probably has this “protected” so it can’t be challenged by the little folks. Just like HSR is allowed to violate environmental law that the little must adhere to.

    • Posted by zig

      I agree. A card club/casino run by the Frisco band of the ohlone/Brown indian band would have been cool

    • Posted by GoBlueInSF

      MOAR NIMBY!!!!


    • Posted by Brian M

      Because that’s really what the Bay Area is lacking right now. More MUSEUMS sucking cash from local governments and donors.

      Because San Francisco lacks a “grand park”.

      Because the entire island should be devoted to “a grand monument” because there are no monuments of any kind.

  12. Posted by anun

    Without at least a BART station here, I cannot imagine living there. Either take a boat or the bridge lol ridiculous.

  13. Posted by Anon

    Have they produced a construction traffic plan yet? Can you imagine all the dirt excavation, concrete and steel trucks that will need access to the island? (PLEASE do not pretend the builder will bring fresh concrete by barge, because they won’t) . And what about all the service vehicles that will need access to the island for trash pick up, repairs, maintenance, security, etc?

    But my question is, what happens if you have a medical emergency that requires an ambulance ride back to the city and the bridge traffic is jammed? Are they going to have a medical helicopter on standby 24/7?

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      The best option is to construct a temporary concrete plant on TI for the duration of the construction phase.

  14. Posted by Trafficgeddon

    Hmmm let’s take an already nightmarish white knuckled congested Bay Bridge… and add 30,000 more commuters to it. Brilliant!

    Get out while you can, folks. It’s just going to get worse (if that can even be fathomable). Second worst congestion in the nation, but only the 13th largest city. The brains have left the state of California.

  15. Posted by Long-time San Franciscan

    I disagree with most of the negative sentiment on this. On the topic of rising sea levels, it’s obvious to me that if things get to that point it’ll be relatively easy to build a seawall around the island. If it gets worse, it’s obvious we’ll build a seawall under the Golden Gate. So no real worry.

    As far as transportation goes, it is also obvious we need more than what is there. This may be a concrete kick in the pants of our politicians to build more – more bridges, more BART, more ferries. And congestion pricing will take care of it, assuming it’s priced right.

    The nature of the neighborhood – that will be a real test. SF Planning doesn’t seem ANY GOOD AT ALL at creating walkable, fun neighborhoods. The requirements on commercial districts, walking districts, etc are always poorly thought out. That’s more of a real concern, given the track record.

    Finally I don’t think I’d like to live there because the weather will likely suck – very windy is my guess. But I am no expert on TI weather.

    • Posted by zig

      Are you serious about more bridges and BART? I’m 39 and I think I might see another BART tube in my life time, maybe I Iive to be an old senior, but there will never be another bridge after this last fiasco

      • Posted by Long-time San Franciscan

        I am an optimist. We cut the crazy taxes of the 70s by starving the beast. Politicians respond to reality, not reason.

        • Posted by actionless action

          The “crazy” taxes of the 1970s just got moved around, cut for some things and increased for others. Fact is that total government spending in the USA as a share of GDP was greater in the 1980s than in the 1970s. And recently has been greater than at any time since WWII. The beast is as beastly as ever.

          • Posted by BobN

            Pointless, unpaid-for wars have a way of messing up budgets.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        a simple bridge like the san mateo bridge from Oakland to Hunters’ point should costs <1/3 the bay bridge costs and go 2x as fast

        • Posted by Jake

          $12+ billion is the current estimate for a new southern crossing bridge, from MTC 2012 study of bay crossing alternatives at namelink. It would be multi-modal (car and BART) and roughly connect highway 580 on the east bay with hwy 380 near SFO. The same 2012 study estimated the cost to widen the San Mateo bridge would be $2.9 billion. Both appear to be too expensive for the added capacity. BTW, the previous estimate for a southern crossing bridge from around 2000 was more than $8 billion.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            seems like a good value compared to the 4th st subway to nowhere.

          • Posted by Jake

            Come on: Union Sq, Moscone, Market St, Chinatown, and the Caltrain Station are “nowhere”?

            Central Subway is vital, although expensive. We need it longer and crossed with subways under Geary, Folsom, and 16th. And we could have the CBD sections of those for less than the cost of a bridge that has failed the cost/benefit calc every time they have evaluated it.

          • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

            The T extension/reroute would have been so much better if they had at least gotten it to North Beach in this phase.

          • Posted by LJL

            There is an unused dumbarton rail bridge already sitting there that could be rehabbed for $600M and we aren’t doing it.

    • Posted by State Farm

      You must be new here.
      Our politicians’ solution to the traffic problem is “add a bike lane.”

  16. Posted by Alex

    Hasn’t SF already learned that we need to build higher in order to deal with our housing shortage…

    • Posted by zig

      I think it is as much places like San Bruno as SF. Is there anywhere in the world where government would build a heavy rail station 10-12 miles from downtown and the local government would allow a REBUILD OF A MALL right next to it. It is beyond belief the adjacent land use at the San Mateo CO stations

      • Posted by State Farm


      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        To be fair, on the *other* side of those tracks, San Mateo has entitled the building of a mid-level apartment complex that will house several hundred people.

        • Posted by Zig

          In San Mateo at Bay Meadows? San Mateo is doing OK. Just saying the BART stations in San Bruno and SSF are a huge waste

          • Posted by Zig

            Milbrae is a huge waste too. They have development planned

  17. Posted by Alex

    I also realized that on the Treasure Islands Development Authority website they’re using renderings depicting a tower much higher than whats proposed. Are they just using outdated photos or will the tower actually be that tall. I’m glad SOM designed this

    • Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

      originally there was talk of a Burj Dubai type tower.

      – SF’s population triples Mon-Fri 9-5
      – people are drawn into SF for culture
      – the additional bridges are to relieve pressure on the rest of the system and Bay Area (SFO to East Bay)
      – SF is being positioned to be a global city (NYC, Tokyo, London) by bigger people than us

      • Posted by Dave

        I doubt SF’s population triples during the week. What is the source for that?

        SF does not have the population base to be a global city a la NY, Tokyo and London. LA is the global city of the US West coast.

        • Posted by Anon

          Agreed Dave, The “commuter adjusted daytime population” for San Francisco increases only by 162,000 during the weekdays (from a 2010 statistic.) Also, look at the Global Alpha (+ and – ) city list compiled by Wikipedia. As Dave mentions, San Francisco lost the West Coast Global City crown to Los Angeles long ago. I am constantly amazed at the myopia Bay Areans have towards the economic and cultural footprint of Southern California.

          • Posted by Dave

            Yes. The only positioning being done is to allow some political families and some big business groups to make a ton of money from this and have part of it funded by the taxpayer. Crony capitalism.

      • Posted by State Farm

        I think you mean it grows by a third, not x3.

        SF has a long way to go to overtake LA and rise to the ranks of NY, London, Paris, etc. But the evidence is that it is on its way there. The 21st century economy is definitely in SF’s favor, not LA.

        • Posted by Mark

          Except LA is building better transit projects to overturn its car-centric mess it started 60 years ago. Meanwhile, SF gets a subway to nowhere (central subway), a $2B bus station with no connections to the Market St subway, Caltrain 1.5 miles from downtown with yet another setback of connecting it to the city center…to name a few. Oh, we do get BART building its mega sprawl-inducing stations. Almost forgot about that.

          The TI is a joke at the taxpayers expense.

          • Posted by State Farm

            You are spot on as far as transit goes. Another reason why SF is becoming the new LA.

          • Posted by Dave

            Exactly. The same ill-conceived plans that brought us the litany of inefficient transit systems is bringing us TI.

            As for West Coast cities I’d day the Seattle/Vancouver complex if they eventually morph into a single defacto metro region will challenge LA. The two together have nearly the population of the Bay Area now, are growing faster and are closer to Asia (port-wise) with strong 21st century Asian connections.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            SF transportation system and planning is completely 3rd world

          • Posted by Frisco

            The Central Subway is only “to nowhere” if you consider Chinatown nowhere. Why is Chinatown “nowhere” to you?

  18. Posted by anon

    there is so much farmland between Seattle and Bellingham, Dave. Don’t see it.

  19. Posted by Dave

    Another logistics nightmare – schools. The kids, few though there will probably be, will have to take the ferry then transfer to MUNI? Will they get preference to be assigned the closest schools to TI? This will put a crimp in after hours school activities they want to participate in.

    The well off will mostly occupy these condos and will likely send their kids to private schools. Take high schools – the 2 top-rated in SF are SI and Lowell. About as far away as you can get from TI and still be in the City.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      kids. i didnt even think of kids. that is quite a conundrum.

    • Posted by zig

      Do you think people with kids might consider this or are they helpless?

      • Posted by Anon

        Am I not the only one that thinks this will be nothing more than a Senior Citizen / Retirement community? No children, no street life, no “undesirable” people… reminds me of one of those Scottsdale Arizona Retirement communities.

  20. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    Sing this song it fits the project to the tune of “you got that loving feeling”
    and the real estate interests and banks are gone gone gone, ooooooohhhhhhhhhhh do wop do wop do wadeee…

  21. Posted by Dave

    Wish there was a way for voters to stop this or at least vote yes or no on it. Where is Campos when you need him? This project draws opposition from both sides and its a more worthy endeavor than the Mission moratorium.

  22. Posted by Stop Driving

    I’d be interested in hearing where all of you naysayers think we should build housing for the droves of people moving here every year. It seems pretty stupid to just let this island sit there with hardly anyone on it while we are facing housing moratoriums in the City. Regarding the sea level issue, you realize that’s not a problem unique to Treasure Island, no? And the solution will most likely be a seagate at the Golden Gate Bridge, so no need to relocate Redwood city, let alone abandon a large plot of land in an ideal location. Do you people realize anything east of Montgomery in the FiDi is built on bayfill? If they could build the Embarcadero Center in the 70s, I think we can build a modern and sustainable community on TI.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      And you do realize that the Golden Gate strait is 300′ deep at the bridge (the narrowest part), *and* in the spring melt season [most of them anyway, when we have snow!] carries as much water as the Columbia River? A barrier at the Golden Gate is nowhere near as simple as the Thames Barrier or some Dutch dikes.

  23. Posted by John

    With 290 acres of land being turned over to the city, how does this allow for 300 acres of open space… along with all the planned development?

    [Editor’s Note: As reported above, that 290 acres represents roughly “half of Yerba Buena Island and half of Treasure Island,” it’s primarily the other half which will become open space and parks.]

  24. Posted by Pablo

    The island needs at least 10 more feet of fill to cover up the radioactive waste soil and protect against flooding.

    The cynic in me sees the City not doing this important step – grabbing the developers cash now – and handing future generations a big mess to clean up. our kleptocracy in action. Sad. TI could be really nice if it was done right.

  25. Posted by Could Anything Be Worse?

    What about the concerts? Once those hipsters move in, and they’re condos overflow with festival gear and the buildings are sinking in the mud, they’ll complain about not being able to fund oversees vacations with Airbnb rentals, and the rave shows will become mosquito infested glutton free blab fests. Worst. Idea. Ever.

  26. Posted by sonofsoma

    Am I the only one who thinks the only kind of development that makes sense on Treasure Island is high end, large, single family homes. Something along the lines of a Blackhawk or Newport Beach or Tiburon with a yacht harbor, etc. The Bridge (especially that on ramp to The City is a total deal breaker) unless it can be made into a positive.. like the ultimate in ‘luxury waterfront living’ – or some such. High-rises, BMRs, transit-first and all the rest.on TI ? C’mon..

  27. Posted by soccermom

    Probably you and one or two other people.

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