July 17, 2009

Best-Case Scenario For 55 Laguna: A Ground Breaking Mid-2011

55 Laguna: Map

According to the San Francisco Business Times, A.F. Evans is in talks with Related California to partner on the on the development 55 Laguna.

Related California President William Witte said they are looking at the numbers and would make a decision in the early fall. He said they are drawn to the San Francisco property’s access to public transit, its views, and the fact that the property is large enough to develop a distinctive housing enclave. At the same time, he said “it’s a tough financing market” and under the best-case scenario the housing development would probably not break ground until mid-2011.

Related California, A.F. Evans in talks [San Francisco Business Times]
Local Housing Developer AF Evans Files For Bankruptcy Protection [SocketSite]
Openhouse Perspective On AF Evans And 55 Laguna: Minimal Impact? [SocketSite]

First Published: July 17, 2009 11:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

If they don't go forward will the developer get an extension on the permit as is happening SOMA?

I was walking past the empty lot that was to be 555 Mission - the open space stretches behind the lot to Howard Street. Nice chuink of land - it would look great greened up.

Maybe its wishful thinking but at some point, if construction does not start on some of these SOMA sites, I'd like to see the City rezone a few of them to mini-parks. The open feel around this area of Mission/Howard is refreshing and something the City needs more of downtown.

Posted by: Douglas at July 17, 2009 5:29 PM

A nice gesture, but ultimately a complete impossibility in this town. The minute a blade of grass grew on a site, there would be 20 citizen committees jockeying for the change to "save" whatever exists there.
This is not a town of compromise.

Posted by: Joe at July 17, 2009 6:36 PM

Joe,

There is a real possibility the bullet train will be delayed indefinitely and/or rerouted to downtown Oakland instead of SF.

If that happens the Transbay plan makes no sense - especially financially. The values would drop and, in that case, mid-rise condos and townhouses might replace the grandiose but faltering plans cooked up a few years back.

It's in that scenario that I dream of maybe seeing some of these vacant sites turn green. There is a nice corner lot at Howard and Second which has been vacant a decade - used for parking - which would be perfect as a SOMA mini-park.

Posted by: Douglas at July 17, 2009 6:49 PM

Douglas,

I really don't believe there is a real possibility that the high-speed rail project will be re-routed to Oakland and bypass San Francisco. Do you have a source for this information?

Prop 1A (and AB3034 that authorized Prop 1A) authorized the $10B bond to build the trunk line between SF and LA/Anaheim specifically requires the money be spent building the first phase between LA and SF. It also requires the terminus at the Transbay Terminal at 1st and Mission.

Aside from the routing, it is also pretty unlikely that HSR is to be delayed indefinitely. Voters passed, overwhelmingly, to sell $10B in bonds to fund the project. And the Obama admin has made it clear that it supports HSR and is allocating federal money and political resources to make it happen. California stands to benefit more than any other state from this because we have a solid, comprehensive plan, our own seed money and an established route.

Let's try not to be overly cynical. Or perhaps it is your wish that HSR would fail?

Posted by: area_resident at July 17, 2009 7:32 PM

Douglas you seem confused on a few counts. There is no empty lot that was to be 555 Mission because 555 Mission is an extant building. There is an empty lot on the other side of Shaw Alley which is probably the one you are thinking of. Its property line extends only to Minna, not Howard. The bit from Minna to Natoma belongs to the TransBay Joint Powers Authority and the parcel from Natoma to Howard is Caltrans land.

Posted by: Jeffrey W. Baker at July 18, 2009 9:06 PM

Let's hope that any future developers of 55 Laguna go back to the drawing board and
preserve *all* the Historic Register buildings.
Respect the past!
The large parking lots should be converted to playground space. With all the current and future construction in the area--Market/Buchanan; Waller/Laguna; Dolores/Market; Octavia Blvd. parcels there is no provision for additional open space. (Duboce Park is essentially a dog park, with an ironically caged-in area for toddlers.
I'm talking about places where you can kick a ball around, run and get real exercise--not another dog walk area or grassy strip.

Posted by: B at July 22, 2009 3:40 PM

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