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Empty Russian Hill Reservoir Overflowing with Potential

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[Rendering via 450 Architects]

Why would more than 4.5 acres of ocean view property in San Francisco sit inaccessible and unused for a half century and counting? For a slice of Russian Hill, it's the SFPUC-owned Francisco Reservoir, and it doesn't hold water. However, the hillside site, which abuts the Russian Hill Open Space between Chestnut and Bay Streets along the Hyde Street Cable Car route, may soon be home to a brand spankin' new park.

Built in the mid-1800s, the decrepit wood and concrete reservoir and its prospects for development have been the subject of much debate since it was rendered obsolete in the 1940s. When Curbed SF investigated the mysterious site earlier this year, the reservoir's wooden roof had been demolished, piquing interest about its possible development or conversion to parkland, but nothing firm was in motion. Since then, however, the Francisco Reservoir Working Group, a collaboration of four local neighborhood associations, has been working with 450 Architects to come up with a colorful design that has something for everyone.

The only thing the design doesn't include is a budget for demolition, construction, maintenance, or property acquisition. Tina Moylan of the Russian Hill Neighbors told the San Francisco Examiner that the group would aim to raise $25 million to cover the first three items. Rec and Parks is in the lead on financials behind acquiring property, which it has been considering doing for some time and will formally discuss at its capital committee meeting on Thursday. The department must buy the property from the PUC at a standard market value, which begs the question: What is the going rate on 19th century ruin with views of Alcatraz? - Laura Tepper
· Push to make reservoir in Russian Hill a park is renewed [SF Examiner]
· Francisco Reservoir Open Space Design [450 Architects]
· Francisco Reservoir [Francisco Reservoir]
· What's Going On at the Russian Hill Reservoir? [CurbedSF]