The San Francisco Giants announced a plan Tuesday to place an initiative on the November ballot that would transform 28 acres of parking lots in Mission Bay into a new Mission Rock neighborhood comprised of housing, commercial space and waterfront public parks.
Larry Baer, the president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco Giants called the proposed project "inspired" and said that when fully realized, it will generate $1 billion in revenue for the city.
The Giants submitted the measure to the City Attorney's Office Tuesday and will need to gather 9,702 signatures by July 6 to get it on the November ballot.
Baer said the measure, if approved by voters in November, would remove 2,200 surface parking spaces just south of AT&T Park and McCovey Cove and move them into a new parking garage slightly further south, freeing up land for a mixed-use and mixed-income neighborhood.
Baer said one-third of the 1,500 new residential rental units that would be constructed in Mission Rock would be affordable to low and middle-income individuals who so desperately need housing options as rent continues to skyrocket across the city.
Baer said the decision to place the initiative on the ballot comes after hundreds of community meetings and workshops regarding the property.
Corinne Woods, a San Francisco resident who has lived in a floating home on Mission Creek for 30 years, near the proposed construction site, said she attended many of those meetings and believes it completes the neighborhood.
Originally, Woods said, she hoped Mission Rock would be returned to 13 acres of wetlands, but as time passed, she said she realized it was not financially viable and set her goals on stopping a monolithic wall from emerging on the waterfront.
Woods serves on the Port of San Francisco's Central Waterfront Advisory Group and is the chair of the Mission Bay Citizens Advisory Committee.
She said she wants to see smaller buildings with a variety of heights to help create "a neighborhood feel." She said many Mission Bay residents don't like the long blocks that make up their neighborhood and she doesn't want to see the rest of Mission Bay constructed in the same way.
Woods said the meetings and workshops truly allowed public input and that when the project was first proposed, developers basically wanted to build a mall.
"They originally wanted 420 foot towers," she said. "We thought it was out of scale."
Woods said the proposed project reflects input from the community.
The Giants announced Tuesday that height limits in the new neighborhood would range from 90 to 190 feet for office and retail uses while rental housing would be between 120 and 240 feet high.
According to the Giants, building heights will step down as they near the water and no buildings will be built within 100 feet of San Francisco Bay.
The project will bring more transit to the area and provide the growing community with an additional 8 acres of open spaces.
Woods' role on the Port of San Francisco's Central Waterfront Advisory Group has given her insight into the port's struggles over the years and said she thinks this project would help the port, and the city, generate revenue.
"They don't have the money to build," Woods said of the port.
She said San Francisco's piers are historic resources that must be rebuilt to look like they did when they were new, even if they are going to have new uses. She said the port lands are still under the jurisdiction of the California Lands Commission, which greatly restricts possible projects.
"Their obligation is to the public trust," Woods said of the port, explaining that its property must function as a statewide resource and that greatly limits what projects can move forward.
She said if approved in November, the Giants will fund all construction and infrastructure associated with this project and, once completed, hand it over to the city.
Once the project is under the control of the city, the city will have to pay back the developer for the infrastructure investment, she explained.
Woods said she hopes that the park can be constructed first, but said that developers want to focus on buildings first because, "Buildings bring in revenue, parks don't."
The Giants are also planning to do a historic preservation of Pier 48, which once served maritime needs, but now serves as additional parking and event space.
Under the Giants' plan, Pier 48 would house Anchor Brewing Co., allowing the craft beer company to expand their business with 212,000 square feet at Pier 48 in addition to the 98,000 square feet already in use by brewers in the Potrero Hill neighborhood.
Keith Greggor, president and chief executive officer of Anchor Brewing said Tuesday the company has been looking for a way to expand for a long time and this project would be ideal for the company.
"We need to expand," Greggor said, explaining that it has been a challenge to find a space large enough to brew beer, especially in a small city like San Francisco where large parcels of real estate rarely become available.
Greggor said the approval of the ballot initiative would give his company an opportunity to expand and showcase their product to visitors from around the world.
He said that while Anchor Brewing has been in San Francisco since 1896, in recent decades other craft brewers have emerged that have been able to expand, while Anchor Brewing has not.
"If we don't expand we won't be able to stay relevant," Greggor said.
According to Baer, the Mission Rock project would create 1.4 million square feet of commercial space and roughly 11,000 permanent jobs.
To build the new neighborhood, roughly 13,500 construction-related jobs would also be created, Baer said.
Baer said the Mission Bay neighborhood is young and needs restaurants, shops, housing and parks to make it feel more like the rest of the city.
"We're really excited about creating a new neighborhood," Baer said.