San Francisco Is Excited About Its Newest Neighborhood

Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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Treasure Island Erupts in Flame, Music, Light

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Treasure Island viewed from above.

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Just how excited is the City about its newest neighborhood? It's already throwing parties and Treasure Island is yet to officially become a part of San Francisco.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom  and U.S. Naval Secretary Ray Mabus Wednesday on the shores of Treasure Island to  commemorate an agreement between the Navy and San Francisco that transfers  the island's naval station over to the City.

Newsom was the last of the three to sign the agreement, which  marked the culmination of almost two decades of work.

"We couldn't do it alone," he said. "We needed to work with the  Navy, we needed the process of an agreement, and we needed a private  partner." 

The City and its private sector development partner, Treasure  Island Community Development, have worked together over the past decade to  craft the redevelopment plans.
     
Since December, when the Navy and San Francisco first reached the  agreement to transfer the island land for more than $100 million, that  two-page document has grown to more than 80 pages of legal definitions and a  financial framework for the site.

Because of the involvement of private partners in the development  of Treasure Island, the agreement includes special protections customary in  the private sector for these types of transactions, according to a statement  released by the mayor's office.

Treasure Island is the last remaining piece of naval land to be  turned over to the city; the others were the Presidio and the Hunters Point  shipyard. About 10 percent of the city's roughly 49 square miles lies within  those three formal naval bases.

As part of the agreement, the city will make a guaranteed payment  to the Navy of $55 million followed by an additional interim payment of $50  million.

Slightly disheveled by the wind blowing across the bay, Newsom  praised Pelosi and Mabus for their commitment and stewardship.

"We needed to create a different paradigm and a different  framework through the participation agreement," Newsom said.

Mabus recalled that he had been secretary "for about 10 minutes"  when Pelosi phoned him to ask him to support transferring Treasure Island.

"We were ready with new leadership to capture the opportunity,"  Pelosi said in her praise for Mabus' dedication to the project.

All the speakers recognized that they were standing on the  shoulders of former Mayor Willie Brown, who strongly advocated for the  transfer during his time in office and often flew to Washington, D.C., to  directly advocate for the City.

"His leadership has been relentless on behalf of this project,"  Pelosi said of Brown, who sat in the front row of more than 150 people  assembled outside Building One.

The development plans for a new commercial town center and  residential neighborhood include up to 100,000 square feet of new office  space and 8,000 residential units. Historic structures on Treasure Island are  also slated for rehabilitation.
     
Last month, the City's planning department released a draft  environmental impact report for the project. City officials will need to  approve a final version of the report after the department incorporates  public comments.

Construction could begin as early as mid 2011 if the environmental  review of the project goes according to schedule. A public hearing for that  draft environmental report was held on Aug. 12.

The project will create more than 2,000 temporary jobs per year  during its construction, and a handful of construction workers wearing DayGlo  safety vests and hardhats were among the crowd today.

"The transfer of Treasure Island is a win for San Francisco, it is  a win for the state of California, a win for the United States Navy and a win  for the U.S. taxpayers who paid for this base and all the infrastructure  that's here," Mabus said.

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