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Huge waterfront power plant development with 2,600 homes approved

Planners heap praise on 16-year plan

A tall brick smokestack next to a residential mid-rise building, with a grassy park in the foreground.
One of the old smokestacks will be preserved, seen here from the perspective of a planned park nearby.
Rendering courtesy of SF Planning

Nearly a decade ago, San Francisco shut down a dated and dirty waterfront power plant with plans to converting the land into new homes and businesses. That goal is now almost a reality after the SF Planning Commission exercised its own power to usher the redevelopment forward Thursday.

The body gave the Potrero Power Station overhaul, an unanimous stamp of approval at the hearing.

Developer Associate Capital says the actual construction will take 16 years, in the end resulting in a little more than 2,600 homes—down from over 2,680 proposed at one point—along with 1.8 million feet of commercial development.

Up until 2010, the waterfront site was the home of the Nrg Potrero Generating Station (yes, it was spelled “Nrg” and pronounced “energy,” which is almost reason enough to forget the plant all on its own), which then-Mayor Gavin Newsom closed down in response to longtime neighborhood criticism calling it an environmental hazard.

The Associate Capital plan is fourth-largest multi-phase residential development in the pipeline right now. Redevelopment plans were on the slate since 2012, but the company didn’t actually buy the site until 2016, making this, by SF, standards, a fairly speedy process.

Commission members approved the power station plan (which recently tinkered with its designs, including adjusting building heights, which now range up to 240 feet) and heaped praise on the developer Thursday, with Vice President Kathrin Moore particularly noting that she was previously not a supporter but was sufficiently impressed now to back the proposal.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors gets final say on the matter.