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Giants Back Away from Waterfront Density, Embrace Affordable Housing at Mission Rock

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On the heels of news that the San Francisco Giants will bring their mixed-use Mission Rock development to the November ballot for voter approval, the team's leadership has revealed that they are planning twice the affordable housing and reducing building heights for their redevelopment of the parking lot across from AT&T Park. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the Giants plan to submit today a ballot measure for a plan including 1,500 units of housing (33 percent of it below market rate), 1.5 million square feet of commercial space for local retailers, eight acres of parkland, and a new Anchor brewery. The plan must go on the ballot because of Proposition B, which requires voter approval for waterfront developments on port property that exceed height limits.

The Giants' modifications to the plan, which came to light just after Friday's news that they would seek approval under Proposition B, seem designed to appease voters critical of waterfront development and to score points among affordable housing advocates by amping up the below-market-rate-unit count to match Mayor Ed Lee's goal of making one-third of new residences permanently affordable. By getting out in front of divisive issues, the team—which is acting as developer on the project—could stave off 8 Washington-style outcry over a "wall on the waterfront" and rally popular support around the project, as Forest City's Pier 70 successfully did last year in the Dogpatch.

Just as Forest City lowered heights for portions of Pier 70, the Giants have dropped the heights of some buildings from 380 feet to 240. Just 10 of the site's 28 acres would host buildings, and heights would range from 90 feet to 190 feet for offices and 120 to 240 feet for residences. No buildings would rise within 100 feet of the bay.

More important than the math, as Forest City showed with its extensive community engagement efforts, will be devising a development that the neighborhood will embrace. So far, Giants seem to be listening. The team's general counsel and senior vice president for the Giants, Jack Bair, told the Chronicle's J.K. Dineen that residents want the development to feel like a San Francisco neighborhood. Accordingly, the details that have emerged so far outline a mix of buildings designed by different architects, with local retail rather than chains, in effort to give Mission Rock the atmosphere of a neighborhood that is growing organically. Even 8 Washington slayer Art Agnos sounds pleased so far.

One question that remains, however, is what level of affordability the below-market-rate residences will target. No details on the area median income of future residents have been announced.

· Giants Add Affordable Housing, Shorten Heights in Building Plan [SF Chronicle]
· Wars on the Waterfront [Curbed SF]
· Touring the Yard, the Giants' Take on Shipping Pod Chic [Curbed SF]
· Previous Coverage of Mission Rock [Curbed SF]

Mission Rock

Pier 50, , CA 94158