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Giants’ massive Mission Rock project moves forward

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After more than a decade of planning, the Giants’ Mission Rock project secured approval from the Planning Commission last week. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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The San Francisco Giants knocked the Planning Commission out of the park last week with plans to build a neighborhood on an underutilized parking lot in Mission Bay.

After more than a decade of planning, the Giants’ Mission Rock project secured a round of city approvals on Thursday to build up to 1,600 homes with 40 percent of the units priced for low-and moderate-income households.

In addition, Mission Rock will include 8 acres of open space, 1.4 million square feet of offices and roughly 244,800 square feet of retail and industrial spaces. The project also calls for the renovation of the adjacent Pier 48 bulkhead.

“Today marks a very important milestone in our journey to transform this very important part in our neighborhood,” said Jack Bair, general counsel for the Giants. “This land was not destined to be a surface parking lot forever.”

The Planning Commission unanimously voted to certify the environmental review of the project, among other approvals. The project will still need to go before the Board of Supervisors, Port Commission and state bodies.

“This is going to be the heart of south Mission Bay just like the Giants ballpark is the heart of north Mission project,” Planning Commission President Rich Hillis said.

San Francisco voters set the affordable housing and open space requirements for the project in November 2015 under a ballot measure that garnered 74 percent of the vote. Critically, Proposition D set a 240-foot height limit.

“There is a very good feeling about this project and there is a reason for it, because the people of San Francisco had the most to do with it,” former Mayor Art Agnos said. “Look what the people of San Francisco brought to this commission, the best project, in my opinion, that The City has ever seen.”

A rendering of the proposed Mission Rock development near AT&T Park. (Courtesy San Francisco Giants via Planning Commission)

The project will include a mix of units including two bedrooms for families as well as affordable housing for a range of income limits from 45 percent to 150 percent of the area median income.

At the lower end, 2 percent of units will be rented at 45 percent of the AMI for a person earning below $36,300 or a family of four earning below $51,900 based on this year’s AMI levels from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

At the higher end, 17 percent of the units will be rented at 150 percent of the AMI for a person earning below $121,050 or a family of four earning below $172,950.

The remaining units will be rented at 55 percent, 90 percent and 120 percent of AMI, according to the Giants.

The Rev. Arnold Townsend, vice president of the San Francisco NAACP, praised the project for having “deep levels of affordability.”

“They have all the bells and whistles that the people in this town like and that the people in this town have been demanding from so many developers for so many years and they have finally found someone crazy enough to do it,” Townsend said.

Furthermore, two dozen of the units will be reserved for young people transitioning out of foster care.

Since the project is slated to be built up against the San Francisco Bay, the Giants have also included measures to withstand sea level rise up to 66 inches with elevated buildings and streets that curve upward to a “Mission Square,” according to Fran Weld, director of real estate for the Giants.

“Retreat is one way of adapting and doing smart developing is the other way,” Planning Commissioner Christine Johnson said. “We chose the other way, and I think that is really great.”

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