88 Bluxome Street Site

The threatened ballot measure to block the redevelopment of the San Francisco Tennis Club site, an initiative we first reported in May, has paid off for club members as the development team of Alexandria Real Estate Equities and TMG Partners has agreed to include a new 12-court club below the proposed office development, and fund the resurfacing of 24 public courts and other improvements, in exchange for the “Don’t Demolish Recreation in San Francisco Initiative” being withdrawn and allowing the 88 Bluxome Street project to proceed unopposed.

88 Bluxome Rendering: Bluxome Street

Ten years ago, Pulte Homes had planned to build over 500 condos on the Tennis Club’s Central SoMa parcel, but those plans were withdrawn in 2008 with the economy turning and club members having organized to Save [Their] San Francisco Tennis Club.

34 thoughts on “Initiative to Block Redevelopment of SF Tennis Club Site Pays Off”
  1. Best and brightest, why would the developer simply not close the tennis club and demolish it, causing the club members to disperse, and then after some time, pursue the development without the tennis courts? Seems that the only leverage the club members have is to block the development, but if the developer destroys the resistance to redevelopment by closing the club, wouldn’t that make the club members less likely to rally to save their private club?

    1. Your expectation is that a property owner can choose to demolish her own building if she wants to, but this is San Francisco after all, and there are many reasons (some good and some bad) why elective demolition is not a foregone conclusion.

      1. A good point regarding the need to secure permits to demolish, but what prevents the developer from simply declining to renew the lease to the tenant? If the developer eased out the tennis club, would the members still rally to save the club and block the development, say twelve months or eighteen months on?

    2. A plan that seems more appropriate to the villain in a gilded-age novel, and one that would probably not go unnoticed in a city like San Francisco. “Causing the club members to disperse”, “destroy resistance”– do you hear yourself?

      1. I agree that the proposed actions by the developer are unusual. However: the club members have used the political process to their benefit, in this case to extract concessions from the developer. Why wouldn’t the developer try something similar, but in this instance use their ability to fail to renew the lease to decrease the political resistance of the club members?

    3. Money? As it is the M allotment is used up and 8 or so years worth of M allocation has been proposed by various developers – I believe there is 2.5 million square feet of office space proposed for the blocks around this project alone. If this project were taken out of that mix by the developer sitting or waiting out the tennis club (good luck on that), it’d not likely se the light of day for a decade or more.

  2. Like when the kid screams for ice cream long enough, the parents finally give in and buy it.

    The future urban-planning diabetes track.

  3. These courts should be open to the public and not be a private club. We all share in the costs so we should all benefit.

    1. What is the cost you are sharing in this case? Looks like they are going to resurface public courts as well.

      1. One cost I’m paying is the externality of having a smaller, more expensive project so that a few wealthy NIMBYs can continue playing tennis. There’s no free ride, so if something is added to this project to appease someone, it has to be paid for somehow – whether a reduction in size, increase in cost, VE, loss of public space, etc.

        1. In my opinion things worked out well in this case, they are building the tennis courts literally underground.. No loss of public space, no loss of potential housing units, the developer gets to rent out the underground space (no details about how this actually works, so maybe there isn’t even increase in cost if Bay Club has to pay a ton of rent)..

        2. I think this worked out just fine, and how exactly Sierrajeff are you “harmed” by the use of a few tennis courts by what you call (all the time) “wealthy nimbys”?

          What are you not offended by?

          1. Again with the polemics. In the past you and I have agreed on many things. Why must you be combative in every discussion?

          2. Unfortunately, you have changed your tune. You are far more conservative than you used to me. When you use the term “wealthy” and “nimbys”, it changes the game.

        3. “One cost I’m paying is the externality of having a smaller, more expensive project so that a few wealthy NIMBYs can continue playing tennis”

          – Care to give us a dollar figure for that cost? Because if not, you’re just blowing smoke.

          1. Isn’t this what property tax is for? Compensating the city for use of the land? If you are thinking in terms of “opportunity cost”, then every party is going to find parcels of the city that are not creating value directly for them. If we had dozens of tennis clubs taking up space all over the city in its densest areas, I might agree with you that this is imbalanced and a waste of space. But I find that hard to argue here.

            Cities benefit from diversity. If I had to choose between zero and one private tennis clubs, I’d choose one, so that people who like to play tennis and are willing to pay for it will get some benefit. And I’d hope that something I enjoy and am willing to pay for, but that may not be attractive to others, might also get some space in the city, and in a place near me not way out in the Richmond.

  4. Isn’t the Caltrain tunnel to the bus station supposed to run under brannan st? Are the tunnel’s engineering requirements compatible with 30 vertical feet of open air immediately adjacent?

      1. The animation is great at pointing out all the b.s. fed to the public during the beginning stages of HSR: the monument sign depicted over the tunnel: “Downtown Extension 2017” Now that’s comedy!

  5. I don’t think going from a 24-court to a 12-court club is a good deal for members. We should continue with the initative and have a lawsuit waitin on our back pocket until the developers meet the tennis needs of existing members.

    1. It’s the unbridled pursuit of narrow self-interest (on all sides) such as this which makes this city so frustrating.

    2. you shouldve gotten nothing and the land should be developed as the owner of the land desires. 12 courts is a blessing and gift for you

  6. And why should the members get a “good deal” or any deal at all. They are just dues-paying members. And they had plenty of chance to buy the tennis club over the last several years, and as I understand it never even made an offer.

  7. Playing tennis in an underground parking lot would seem to me kind of depressing. That said, SFTC hasn’t gained or bought any sympathies from me.

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