Planning’s preliminary review of Amazon’s plans to build a 58-foot-tall distribution and delivery station upon the Prime Showplace Square parcel at 900 7th Street, a nearly 6-acre parcel which is bounded by 7th, Berry, De Haro, Carolina and Channel Streets, has been completed. And while the review didn’t raise any red flags, it did outline a number of concerns and (non-binding) recommendations.

From Planning’s assessment:

To accommodate the mix of [Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR)], design and nearby residential uses in Showplace Square, development in the area must balance the need for goods movement with the safety and mobility of pedestrians and bicyclists.

The project site sits at the nexus of Showplace Square, SoMa, and Mission Bay…[and as] an especially large city block fronting six city streets, the project site has the unique opportunity to improve the connections between neighborhoods.

As currently designed, the Project would bring significantly more trucks, cars, bikes and pedestrians to the area without improving connections for them. The proposed design would foreclose opportunities for a walkable, urban frontage along 155 De Haro and fronting the project’s own site, should the use ever change from a last-mile facility.

Given the project’s location, size, street frontage, and goods movement activity, Department staff recommend connecting the street grid by extending Alameda and Carolina Streets. This recommendation would enhance access for deliveries, vehicles, and pedestrians and is consistent with public input to the Showplace Square Open Space Plan update.

In addition, to provide safe access between the aforementioned neighborhoods, Planning would like Amazon to add pedestrian and bicycle safety features along Berry Street.  The Department is recommending that Amazon explore the inclusion of “a small retailer or coffee shop” overlooking the proposed open space, to “greatly enhance the compatibility of the building with surrounding context.”  And as “the proposed number of parking spaces [at the facility] would induce a significant number of trips and conflict with City policy of prioritizing sustainable travel modes,” Planning is recommending that the proposed number of off-street parking spaces for facility staff be reduced.

And yes, as San Francisco’s Sea Level Rise Action Plan has identified the site as a future inundation zone, “the project should elevate finished floor levels to mitigate against flood risks.”

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

22 thoughts on “No Red Flags for Amazon’s Big Project as Proposed, but…”
  1. This will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    I hope the city doesn’t take a DeBlasio and run them out of town.

    1. Amazon’s proposal to build a massive office tower campus in Queens and this project are nothing alike.

      The New York project saw them demanding massive tax exemptions, and this one doesn’t seem to. This project would however see prime land perfect for mixed use (i.e. residential and commercial) near a transit hub instead be used as a place for trucks to load up. And beyond that, this location wouldn’t do anything to improve delivery schedules compared to say an otherwise identical facility down off Bayshore between 101 and 280.

      1. New York offered huge tax concessions, the company accepted, and the Amazon was pilloried over its non-union practices. Same thing could of course happen here. Of course, instead of waiving taxes, our city wants to make public what is now private (through the grid expansion) so its the inverse of the tax benefit scenario.

        Except that they are so darn good at making it easy for me to buy stuff, I don’t like Amazon. I just like what they can do for me.

      2. Yep, it’s a “D” in a PDR district…where’s all the the outrage ?!?!

        But I agree it’s next-to-nothing like the Queens project – that was actually the mini-HQ Plan wasn’t it? hard to remember with the Amazon Hype train running 24/7 now (unlike, say, BART) – it’s a warehouse.

        In fact that something normally fit only for a centerfold in “Logistics Weekly” is generating clicks and clucks on a Real Este site might …just might, be taken as evidence that SF has peaked.

      3. Prime land for residential use? Under a freeway in an inundation zone?

        Live just above work, never leave!

  2. ….but the usual trivial demands which opponents will say aren’t enough, and which supporters claim will jeopardize the project (even tho they add to it a cost equal to about .0006 seconds of Amazon’s annual Revenue ).

  3. “… Department staff recommend connecting the street grid by extending Alameda and Carolina Streets.”

    This is basically a request to restore part of the historic street grid. That seems like a reasonable request though Amazon will likely protest.

    I wonder what the deal was when street segments like this were reallocated to become private property. Did the developers pay the city for those former streets?

    1. There is, I believe, a fairly normal process for abandoning streets: a notice is filed, a hearing is held, etc.; now the notice is probably in 4pt type in the classifieds of some legal journal – tho it’s likely the Charter sets some semi-reasonable standard for what is a ‘paper of record’ – and the hearing may be at 4:30 on a holiday weekend, but there’s some semblance of transparency…It’s not like Salesforce just fences off Mission Street one morning and puts up ‘no parking’ signs due to some “deal”…it has to have been abandoned in fact.

  4. This is Recology now, right? So there are already loud trucks pulling in and out. If I lived next door, I think I’d prefer Amazon delivery vehicles over garbage trucks.

    1. It doesn’t have to be either of those things though. Like yes, if the only choices were between Recology trucks lumbering in and out and Amazon vans, I’d probably choose the latter as well. While there are far fewer in and out trips by Recology on a daily basis than there would be for Amazon, but the Amazon vehicles are also much closer to being replaced by electric vans, eliminating any reasonable noise and pollution concerns. Point being that a piece of land like this, so close to a sizable transit hub, is not best used solely as a truck depot and large scale distribution center. Take the UPS facility between 16th/17th/Utah/San Bruno as an example; nobody would propose building that today at its present location instead of housing and/or commercial space.

      1. LoL god forbid a distribution center not be strategically placed next to a major transportation corridor, ie highway

        1. Except the neighborhood is increasingly transitioning from industrial to residential… Makes more sense in the Bayview or Dogpatch in an area where there are exclusively warehouses.

          1. Do you know about PDR zoning and how it came to be? SF fights a lot of ‘transitioning’.

  5. What a waste of prime real estate and land use. Over at the marginal and “anything would be a vast improvement” 101-280 interchange, you have land use battles between the property owners and the Mission based housing developer “activist” non-profiteers, while at this heart of SF location an area the size of Dolores Park is being plunked down with an ugly box the size of a small planet – something that clearly belongs in the blighted Bayshore. Feckless SF land use policy at its worst. And since 16th has been “reimagined” by the trolls at the SFMTA into a traffic hairball that pushes drivers on to adjoining streets, just imagine what adding a fleet of Amazon delivery trucks will do. Plannings earth-shattering recommendation: “we recommend all staff use a doily when placing hot liquids on the table.” Good grief Willie Brown!

  6. I’m sad this location isn’t being used for mixed use building of housing and retail, especially with how close it is to Caltrain.

  7. I’m definitely in the camp of ‘the previous plan (namelink) – residential which did, incidentally, include a restored street grid – was much better, and this use belongs perhaps in the no-man’s land between the freeways south of Cesar Chavez, west of the Caltrain tracks.’

    1. There’s a bill in the house to help fund removal of freeways that caused urban blight. I could imagine 280 could fall under that. 980 is definitely an option to, especially if the A’s stadium goes in at Howard Terminal.

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