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Flower Mart Redevelopment Spreads Across Block

Nearby parcels, a long-pursued prize for developers, sell for $31 million

One long-deferred redevelopment plan is now being absorbed by another, as Kilroy Realty expands its planned takeover and revamp of the San Francisco Flower Mart and surrounding blocks by also purchasing 620 Brannan Street, right next door.

According to a newswire story added to Kilroy’s site this morning, the developer dropped $31 million in cash on the 1.75 acre property that has been owned by real estate company Zappetini since the 1950s and is presently home to the Shibata Floral Company. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, this will allow developers to add a retail component.

Developers have had their eye on the corner of 5th and Brannan streets for years — you may remember the feistiness of neighbors and merchants when the Academy of Art offered $15 million for it in 2008, back when they too were trying to redevelop the Flower Mart parcels. In 2012, Zappetini themselves made a bid to erect a 567,000-square-foot office building on their Brannan Street lots.

Obviously neither of those efforts blossomed. It was almost inevitable that Kilroy would set its sights on the other parcels as well, given that they are immediately adjacent to the Flower Mart, and thus constitute the St. James Place card in Kilroy’s game of SoMa Monopoly. The addition allows them to expand any eventual development up to 2.1 million square feet of mixed-use property (pending city approval).

The company is, as always, quick to mention that the "thriving wholesale Flower Mart" will "provide an anchor" for whatever they build. Many times bitten, the developers are probably twice shy after mostly resolving a longstanding grudge match over the fate of flower sellers, one that involved the intervention of former mayor Art Agnos and the threat of a ballot initiative that could have scuttled the entire multi-million dollar deal. The company insists they never planned to oust the Flower Mart.

"The Flower Mart has been a San Francisco institution for over a century," reads the 2014 Planning Department assessment of the Zappetini proposal. "Any development on the project site will be assessed for its potential impact to the ongoing operation and viability of the Flower Mart."

640 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

640 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA