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Kilroy: Let's Preserve the Flower Mart By Building a New One

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The future of San Francisco's 58-year-old Flower Mart looked uncertain earlier this week with the announcement that developer Kilroy Realty had agreed to purchase a portion of the market's SoMa site for $27 million. Now Kilroy is saying that their planned new tech campus will incorporate the Flower Mart instead of replacing it. Two mid-rise buildings with 655,000 square feet of office space have been proposed for the 1.9 acre lot, with architect SOM on board for the design. Speaking to the Chronicle, Kilroy chairman and CEO John Kilroy painted a rosy picture of the mart's future, promising to build the kind of modern facility that "the flower business needs to survive." Incidentally, that's also the absolute smartest thing to say at this early stage, when half of the mart is still controlled by sellers.

The Kilroy deal covers the western half of the site, which is owned by the San Francisco Flower Growers Association. The eastern half of the property, owned by the California Flower Market, was not included, but a separate deal with Kilroy could still happen, says the Chron.

Developers have pursued the Flower Mart before, but the property is a complicated one because it has numerous owners and houses more than 80 vendors. As you recall, the Academy of Art University's scuttled deal to acquire the mart back in 2008 also made room for most of the flower sellers, but the mart tenants, city officials, and pretty much everyone found the reshuffling untenable.

Another developer, Zappettini Properties, already owns a parking lot onsite that hosts about dozen flower businesses. Zappettini submitted plans last year for a 567,000-square-foot office building on its portion of the land.

· Is San Francisco's Flower Mart About to Become Office Space? [Curbed SF]
· Flower Mart Site to Become Offices; Current Tenants Won't Be Uprooted [SFGate]
· Academy of Art Bails on Flower Mart Plan [Curbed SF]
· Reprieve for Flower Mart Tenants [SF Gate]
· Developers Eye Flower Mart Again [Curbed SF]