Alice Griffith housing project is on thin ice

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The long-awaited plan to rebuild one of San Francisco’s most distressed public housing projects could be financially derailed if supervisors kill a proposal for the massive redevelopment of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s long-touted plan to rebuild the Alice Griffith housing project, aka Double Rock, is financially tied to the redevelopment of the shipyard. The master developer, Lennar Urban, is required to kick in some $46 million for construction and infrastructure to help pay for rebuilding the public housing, according to city officials. The proposal for the Hunters Point project is to build more than 3,700 new homes, including affordable and market-rate housing.

The Lennar funding is, as of now, the only hope that the project will break ground in 2012.

Alice Griffith, which includes 256 housing units, sits on the 702-acre site. The price tag for the entire redevelopment is more than $200 million. The City is relying on a mix of private grants and federal, state and local funding to help pay for the project, said Doug Shoemaker, the mayor’s director of housing.

Moving forward with the rebuild of the public housing faces a key step Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors is slated to vote on the environmental documents for the shipyard project. Critics of the plan have lingering concerns about building on polluted former Navy land and construction of a bridge over the Yosemite Slough.

“Everyone on the Board of Supervisors is absolutely united in believing we need to clean up the shipyard and redevelop these southeast neighborhoods,” Supervisor David Chiu said. “We are all evaluating whether the plan Lennar put forth is the right plan or if it needs to be improved.”

But a “no” vote for the shipyard will stall the Alice Griffith redevelopment project, which is part of the mayor’s SF Hope initiative to rebuild The City’s eight dilapidated public housing projects that have been neglected by the federal government.

“If it doesn’t pass, we wouldn’t just stop and abandon Alice Griffith,” Shoemaker said. “We would figure out a way to move it, but we would just have to live with the fact that it would take a long time.

Alice Griffith residents, however, say they cannot wait much longer, according to Michael Cohen, the mayor’s director of economic and work force development.

More than 650 residents are living in Double Rock, which has long been considered the most dilapidated public housing site in
San Francisco.

“Even though we are living in bad conditions, we want to see better for ourselves,” said Stormy Henry, a Double Rock resident. “We need for this project to go through.”

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

 

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Alice Griffith redevelopment:

256 Units
504 Additional affordable and market-rate housing
$200 million Total cost
$46 million Amount that master developer Lennar Urban is paying for construction and infrastructure
$62 million Contribution from local sources
$97 million Contribution from federal sources
$2 million Contribution from private grants

Source: Mayor’s Office of Housing

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