Potrero Hill Power Plant:Aerial (Image Source: local.live.com)
Having been shuttered on January 1, 2011, a request for qualifications (RFQ) has just been issued to “at least 50 national and local developers” that might be interested in acquiring and developing the 22-acre central waterfront site upon which “Mirant’s” old Potrero power plant sits bounded by the Bay, Illinois, 22nd and 23rd Streets.
While a deed restriction currently prohibits housing, “the site could be redeveloped for offices, institutional use or biotech space.”
Potrero Hill’s “Mirant” Power Plant Finally To Close January First [SocketSite]
Power plant site juices developers [San Francisco Business Times]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by neighbor

    Why does it prohibit housing?

  2. Posted by Invented

    Moscone expansion? (and to properties southward)
    Good transit, water taxis, and on…..

  3. Posted by lyqwyd

    my guess (and only a guess as I have no actual information) is that the restrictions are in place due to potential industrial waste from being a power plant for so long.

  4. Posted by contrarian

    my guess is that it is to retain a bit of the waterfront/maritime character of the area and not give it over to high density residential highrise developers and their listing RE agents.

  5. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    What lyqwyd said. When whoever buys it and attempts to develop gets around to filing their environmental impact report…well that’ll make for some interesting reading.
    Headline of this post should begin: “Calling All Environmental Remediation Consultants…”

  6. Posted by Potrero Resident

    If there are environmental issues that would inhibit residents from living there, I would hope that those same concerns would still be valid for office/biotech workers.
    Would love to see residential units developed there instead to help with the housing shortage in SF.

  7. Posted by lyqwyd

    @PR
    I don’t believe they have the same requirements, and I don’t think they should for the following reasons:
    1) Kids are generally more susceptible to environmental hazards, but there are generally no kids at offices or industrial spaces.
    2) People spend less time at work than at home, so less overall esposure
    3) People were working there while the toxins were being put into the environment, which is a more dangerous time, and that is not prevented.
    generally the requirements between residential and commercial uses are very different.

  8. Posted by bigV

    that close to caltrain (22nd street location) will make it a great place for offices and daytime use, which will further support diverse redevelopment of the dogpatch neighborhood, which is already getting LOTS of new housing…..

  9. Posted by Former Plant Worker

    I used to work at the plant. My recollection is that part of the deal to shut the plant (with then Mayor Newsom) was that it never be used for residential use. Besides, the PG&E switchyard that is shown in the photo isn’t going anywhere. There is a lot of DNAPL in the soil, but that is from the former manufactured gas plant, not the current power plant.
    Check here:
    http://www.pge.com/about/environment/taking-responsibility/mgp/potrero.shtml
    and here:
    http://www.pge.com/about/environment/taking-responsibility/mgp/adjacent-to-potrero.shtml

  10. Posted by Schaetzer

    1. A large portion of the site was formerly tidelands. That means it would probably be under the jurisdiction of the state lands commission. It’s difficult to do anything that is not somehow remotely related to maritime use – witness the fights over uses along the embarcadero. The power plant was built in another age, another time, when that wasn’t so much of a problem. I believe that ALL the non-maritime uses that have gone in along the embarcadero have ended up being martime-related, commercial, or institutional. I’m not aware of any residential uses whatsoever. If I’m wrong, I’m sure somebody on SS will call me out on it.
    2. The site is surrounded by LARGE scale utility uses. The PG&E yard is just one bit one. The transbay cable (from Pittsburg) comes ashore adjacent to the site and terminates at a huge, new switch station at 23rd and Illinois. It is heavy duty. It provides much of the power that allowed for the shut down of the two power plants.
    3. Regarding former uses, the entire property is deed restricted to industrial or commercial use. No residences, hospitals, health care facilities, schools for persons under 21, and no day care center for children or adults are permitted. You can access a copy of the covenant here: http://geotracker.waterboards.ca.gov/regulators/deliverable_documents/4737888932/Deedrestriction%2Dswitchyard%2DGYC%2DRecorded%2Epdf

  11. Posted by Potrero Resident

    My previous comment was less factual and more theoretical. I have no idea what applies to residents versus commercial but if a plot of land is not considered safe for residents, it should apply to commercial imo.
    The rebuttal to my argument of a) kids generally not being in commercial space and b) people generally spending less time at work (I disagree as I easily spend much more time at work vs home) just doesn’t smell right to me. Toxins aside, i would love to see residential units there even though it sounds like it would never be allowed (never say never).
    Interesting fact about the switch station at 23rd and illinois. I hope it’s safe. I’ve heard that power lines above ground can be considered unsafe so I just see this as one huge power line.
    Please pardon my ignorance on these topics.

  12. Posted by lyqwyd

    @PR
    Home use and commercial use are different, for the reasons I pointed to above, and many more, so it’s perfectly reasonable to have different requirements about the two, in fact there already are huge differences in the requirements.
    Regarding my first point: I did not see any rebuttal above about the kids not generally being in offices or industrial spaces.
    Regarding my second point: note that I said generally. Maybe you spend more time at work, that doesn’t at all refute my point.
    Also note most people sleep at home, and don’t work 7 days a week, so it’s pretty easily to show that most people spend more time at home than at work. And of course there are many other activities that people do at home. I stand by my statement that generally people spend more time at home than at work.

  13. Posted by Schaetzer

    It has to do with exposure to the soil, not what gets built on the site. Kids are known to play in the dirt, you know.

  14. Posted by lyqwyd

    Where do you find more kids, residences or office/industrial?
    That’s why it’s perfectly reasonable to have different requirements for residential vs other. That is the topic being discussed, not whether kids play in the dirt.

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