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The Port of San Francisco has drafted a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of Seawall 322-1, with plans to build affordable housing upon the underdeveloped half-block parcel fronting Front Street between Broadway and Vallejo.

The Site is a paved, flat, rectangular land parcel, approximately 37,810 square feet in area; and it is currently being used as surface parking [for up to 225 cars,] leased on a month-to-month basis to Priority Parking [for $47,000 a month]. The Site is approximately 500 feet from the shoreline and under current estimates of sea level rise would not be affected in 2050 and only small portions of the site identified as becoming inundated under current estimates of 2100 sea levels. Anticipated impacts of climate change will be addressed during site and building design phases.

Current zoning for the Site is C-2 (Community Business), which allows residential as a permitted use; ground floor retail and podium parking may be appropriate companion uses subject to feedback during the entitlement process. The Site is in the City’s Northeast Waterfront Historic District and a 65-foot height limit is set for the Site. Given the Site’s development potential, and its location upland, away from the water, it appears to offer the greatest affordable housing development opportunity among the Port’s seawall lots in the northeastern waterfront.

As envisioned by the Port, the proposed development on the site would include affordable apartments above a ground level parking podium (for both the building and public) and retail space with the exact level of affordability for the apartments to be determined by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and the selected developer “with appropriate public input.”
Having reviewed the MOU for the parcel and “plan to develop affordable housing in the middle of the Barbary Coast neighborhood,” the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Friends of Golden Gateway, SoTel Neighbors, and Telegraph Hill Dwellers are concerned.
The neighborhood groups’ letter of disappointment and concern which was sent to the members of the Port Commission yesterday:

We are disappointed the proposed MOU neither acknowledges nor responds to the various concerns that community organizations have previously raised. Those concerns include – but are not limited to – the following:

• Type of housing – This topic is not addressed other than to affirm the MOHCD and the developer will have sole discretion and responsibility for determining the type of affordable housing to be developed.
• Parking – Underground parking is not considered nor mentioned.
• Overall Waterfront Development – This project is being considered in isolation without any recognition of the need for a broader development agenda. We urge the Port Commission and staff to return to the Asian Neighborhood Design overall Vision Plan for the Northeast Waterfront and begin a serious dialogue with the community.
• Active street level environment – This is not addressed.
• Community membership on selection panel – One position will be designated for a community representative, which is counter to the joint letter calling for at least two.

In summary, the MOU simply does not consider the needs and concerns of the neighborhood.

The Port is planning to complete its solicitation for a development partner for the site within a year, followed by a two-year period during which terms would be negotiated and the project would be approved and construction would occur immediately thereafter. That’s the Port’s plan, at least.
As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by jsimms3

    Wow, now the rich NIMBYs are digging themselves a hole. Their whole argument and what they used to corral the middle/lower class troops against 8 Washington was the fact that there was no on-site affordable housing and that the city didn’t need more housing for the rich.
    Now, the Port wants to do affordable housing literally 2 blocks away (keep in mind that there is another affordable housing project topped off on Broadway), and the same people are vehemently opposed. Underground parking? Feasible if they can sell units at market rate and build enough units. Not feasible with a small/medium sized affordable housing deal.
    These people are incredible. I hope this is a conspiracy to expose the NIMBYs for who they are.

  2. Posted by james jr

    Irony to the max.
    I hope the city approves a 15 story SRO that blocks all their NIMBY views.

  3. Posted by Mark

    Are we not surprised? After all, Friends of GG and THD are involved. I think it’s crossed over NIMBYism to just plain ridiculous at this point.
    With a city in desperate need of housing, let’s keep a prime parcel a surface parking lot.

  4. Posted by sf

    I KNEW this would happen! Only a matter of time.. and it took less than 6 months for the hypocrisy to reap it’s ugly head. These people who were fooled into voting against a luxury development on the waterfront were coerced with arguments that affordable housing should be built, not $8 million condos for rich foreigners. Well, here is the consolation prize, an affordable housing development on the waterfront.
    And the transparent veil is lifted.
    And SF doesn’t care and will be duped again. And again. And again.

  5. Posted by Frank C.

    While I agree this is idiotic given the housing crisis, seems that people often assume that all NIMBY’s are the same. Not true at all – it’s like thinking all members of a given political party are the same.
    It’s actually a shifting coalition, case by case. Some of these folks probably weren’t against the ballot initiative. And many in SF who are very “pro development” are not so pro-development for parcels in their own personal viewshed.

  6. Posted by lol

    I would LOVE to see a Skywalker Ranch situation happen there.
    As others have said before me, I always find it a bit fishy when high net worth dwellers come out of the trenches to defend the little guy ;)

  7. Posted by James

    What is the “Asian Neighborhood Design overall Vision Plan for the Northeast Waterfront”? It doesn’t appear to be a city plan.

  8. Posted by anon

    As Frank mentioned, many people are failing to understand that there can be many reasons why a project is opposed. So multiple diverse parties can join together in opposition. As the saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
    Anyway, I don’t expect too much opposition to this project – there are already 3 affordable housing buildings within two blocks of the location…including one directly across the street (Front St).

  9. Posted by anon

    I’m sure this thing will get more than it’s fair share of opposition for the simple fact that it’s a piece of new construction on the turf of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, and they don’t like to see anybody new walking around their ‘hood. But it doesn’t have the primary thing that led to the ridiculously obscene amount of opposition to 8 Washington: at only 65 feet tall, it doesn’t have the height that it’s neighbor project down the street had.
    So, the THD’s will certainly throw a lot at this, but they won’t open up their entire arsenal, which is reserved for battling against the Warriors’ Arena.
    Although I still wouldn’t be entirely surprised to start seeing advertisements showing the 65 foot building from the point of view of an ant, saying that “Evil greedy developers are trying to steal all your money so they can pave over the entire bay with tract homes and replace all the Victorian houses with Hong Kong style skyscrapers! Vote NO on 8 Valejo!”

  10. Posted by Michael

    “I don’t expect too much opposition to this project – there are already 3 affordable housing buildings within two blocks of the location”
    I think that’s exactly why there will be a lot of opposition from the neighbors.
    This won’t be a fight over views, it will be a fight over exclusivity.

  11. Posted by John Brooke

    The thing that always struck me about the THD was how much they claimed to love living in the “Hill” but on an individual level, with few exceptions, most seem like very unhappy people. Look at AP and NS!!

  12. Posted by Jim

    The AND Vision Plan is not an official plan of anyone – it was a sham plan for affordable housing and a bike repair shop for the 8 Washington site – totally financially infeasible – that they used to help kill 8 Washington.

  13. Posted by West SOMA

    Living in Western SOMA we have the lion’s share of the City’s SROs, drug rehab clinics, mental health clinics you name it we got it. Yet here in this part of the city, the community is fortunate enough to have an Affordable Housing development which houses regular working folks that make a fairly large income (even though it is 80% of the median) and they will end up killing this project too! How about using that site as a city community health center on the ground floor, with a recycling center, and add a large SRO above it. I think that is a fair share concept whose time has come.

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