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Poll: Which San Francisco mega-project needs to happen most?

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City-altering proposals are aplenty, but which is the most crucial concept for SF?

San Francisco is a town full of big ideas. Some of them happening right outside your door. Some of them pipe dreams.

As of late, it seems as if most of these big projects are really going to happen—if not already in progress! And in a town that tends to shun growth, it’s a blast of fresh air.

While the city is a far off from seeing such sights as BART running up to Marin (swoon), Discopters lacing the waterfront, or a Sutro Tower turned luxury condo complex (perish the thought), San Francisco does have handfuls of projects on the horizon.

It’s time to put the question to San Franciscans themselves and see which mega-project the city needs most right now. In other words, it’s poll time!

The 10 contestants are:

Rendering produced by Transparent House, courtesy of FivePoint Holdings

San Francisco Shipyard and Candlestick Redevelopment

Beginning in 1999, Lennar Urban’s $8-billion project plans to transform Candlestick Park areas and the former naval base into new housing developments. The San Francisco Chronicle already dubbed the project the city’s newest neighborhood and praised its affordability (new two-bedroom condos here run in the $500K-$600K range.) And Business Times reports: “As of April 2016, there are more than 200 residents living in five of the new Shipyard buildings, with more to come. About 6,000 housing units will be complete there by 2028.”

In all, there will be five phases of development, which could take decades to complete. Best of all, British architect Sir David Adjaye signed on as master planner for the Shipyard’s phase two.

“I’d like for this to be more than just a neighborhood. I’d like for it to be a gathering place for everyone who lives in the south,” the recently knighted architect told Curbed SF.

Muni Subway Expansion Project

A plan to make one Muni line, the M Ocean View, a full subway line from start to finish.

Per SFMTA, “The line selected as the spine, the M Ocean View, connects the major job centers and dense planned housing in eastern San Francisco with the densest and fastest-growing node in Southwest San Francisco.”

A much-needed extension of underground rails is always a good thing.

Rendering via 5M Development
Rendering via 5M Development

The 5M Development

According to developers, only 241 of its 688 housing units will be below-market-rate homes, while adding 807,600 square feet of office space, 50,000 square feet of public space, and 35,000 square feet of retail/restaurant.

Per the project developers: “5M is an arts- and community-oriented district planned at the 4 acres framed by Mission, Fifth, and Howard streets in downtown San Francisco. The project includes the retention and renovation of three historic buildings, including the 1924 San Francisco Chronicle Building at Fifth and Mission, and the Dempster Printing Building on Minna Street. It also includes a new office building, two new residential buildings, and over an acre of new public open space.”

Shortly after beginning in 2016, activists sued the project, claiming the 5M Environmental Impact Report failed to show how the it would increase both vehicular traffic and shade on city parks.

Chase Center centers new development.
Rendering via Steelblue

The Mission Bay Redevelopment

While some parts of this massive undertaking have already come to fruition—Mission Bay is not the same neighborhood it was a decade ago—more is on the way. Most notably, the Chase Center, a 18,000-plus seat arena that will move the Warriors from Oakland to San Francisco, will be the statement piece of the entire project.

The roughly 303-acre space will also feature thousands of new housing units, office space, parks, and retail and restaurants. Beleaguered tech outfit Uber also has plans to park it inside the neighborhood redevelopment.

Rendering by Steelblue

Parkmerced project

When Parkmerced is complete (estimated time of arrival: 2025), an estimate 5,680 new housing units will stretch out over 152 acres. It’s the largest project happening on the city’s western side.

Although developers still need a number of permits to start, the project will also include 230,000 square feet of retail, 80,000 square feet of office space, and 60,000 square feet of public space.

According to Business Insider, total cost will come to $1.35 billion.

Rendering via SFMTA

Geary Rapid

Noted as one of the busiest bus corridors west of the Mississippi, the 38 Geary project proposes a streaming of service between Stanyan and Market.

SFMTA notes, “By implementing continuous dedicated bus-only lanes and treatments to address the most common causes of pedestrian collisions, the Geary Rapid project will make traveling the corridor a more reliable and safer experience for everyone.”

Arial shot of the Transbay Transit Center from above, showing wavy curtain work, trees, and park under construction. Photo by Patricia Chang
Photos by Patricia Chang

Transbay Redevelopment

This could and should be one of the most important projects San Francisco has ever seen. The Salesforce Tower, a 61-story high-rise that’s the tallest building in San Francisco, was a good start.

But the Transbay Transit Center (recently rechristened the Salesforce Transit Center) has yet to cement a plan to connect to CalTrain. There’s no BART/Muni connection. And critical overlap with the upcoming California high-speed rail has yet to come to fruition.

Worst case, the transit center ends up turning into a $2.5 billion-plus joke.

Treasure Island Redevelopment

Not since the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition has this artificial island seen such action. Roughly 45 acres of land on San Francisco westernmost shoreline, including the 80-acre Yerba Buena Island, would add an estimated 8,000 housing units by 2030.

Notes Business Insider. ”The waterfront redevelopment will also feature a new ferry terminal, 140,000 square feet of retail, 300 acres of parks and other open spaces, and 100,000 square feet of office space.” A reported 2,000 housing units will be affordable.

A slew of architects and developers—including Lennar Inc; Stockbridge Capital; Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill; Perkins & Will; Wilson Meany; and Kenwood Investments —who, in addition to housing, plan to add three hotels, and hundreds of thousands of feet of commercial space.

Rendering by Steelblue, via Port of San Francisco

Mission Rock redevelopment

The $1.6-billion project would consist of 1.4 million square feet of office and commercial space, 1,500 units of rental housing, a brewery, and 8 acres of redeveloped park space boasting retail and restaurants.

Construction should begin in 2019. And developers will have to plan for eminent sea levels rising.

Cricket stadium rendering Rendering courtesy of Global Sports Ventures LLC

Mixed-use cricket stadium


And now, let’s vote! [Update: cricket stadium has been pulled from the poll due to ballot-box stuffing. Tsk, tsk.]