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Plans for Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick Point developments get update

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Buildings on Parcel G are observed beyond a dry dock during a U.S. Navy-led public bus tour of the old Hunters Point Shipyard on June 9, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

City leaders fast-tracked residential and commercial re-development at Candlestick Point and the Hunters Point Shipyard Tuesday, approving amendments to development plans for both areas calling for land use revisions and affordable housing for seniors.

One of the amendments shifted a piece of land at Candlestick Point known as the Jamestown parcel to the jurisdiction of the Planning Department to allow for faster development. The site is slated for a “stand alone” affordable housing project providing 104 units to low-income seniors.

The Board of Supervisors also voted unanimously to approve modifications to the project plans that would bring more commercial and residential uses to the Candlestick Point area.

The plans for Candlestick Point under the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan cover two zones, the first of which originally included plans for a new San Francisco 49ers stadium.

The Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan is slated to bring some 10,500 residential units to the former naval base in two phases, though Phase II of that work has been slowed over the past year by revelations of an alleged fraudulent radioactive cleanup there.

On Tuesday, the supervisors approved the transfer of 118,500 square feet of space designated for research and distribution and office use from the remaining portion of the shipyard development project to Candlestick Point for development into retail, commercial and residential use.

Nadia Sesay, Director of the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, the lead agency on the project, said that the amendments to the redevelopment plans were necessary because assumptions made during the project’s approval processes over the last decade — such as the eventual relocation of the 49ers stadium to the Shipyard — did not materialize.

“Of course now we know that the 49ers have left us for Santa Clara, and when the developer began to look at how a non-stadium alternative [plan] could to be implemented, they found that the alternative did not respond as well as it could to market conditions,” said Sesay.

Community members expressed reservations on moving ahead with development at the shipyard pending the retesting of sites where fraud has been alleged on the part of U.S. Navy contractor Tetra Tech. The civil engineering firm is facing a multi-billion dollar lawsuit from Bayview Hunters Point residents over allegations that include the swapping of contaminated soil samples with clean ones by employees of the firm.

Last month, two former Tetra Tech supervisors were sentenced to prison time after pleading guilty to falsifying records.

“I am really concerned about the risk of current residents in Parcel A and the surrounding community,” said Michael Boyd, president of Californians for Renewable Energy, referring to a site where more than 300 units of housing have already been developed. “I have a feeling that there is more environmental work that needs to be done by The City.”

But former city planning commissioner Linda Richardson called the redevelopment the “economic engine of Hunters Point” — an area historically home to low-income families, and denounced further delays.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes Bayview Hunters Point, advocated for the project to move forward, but acknowledged that “this work is happening in the shadows of an ongoing, fraudulent soil testing scandal.”

The Navy has agreed to retest areas of the shipyard where soil samples are known to have been compromised as well as Parcel A, which has previously been declared safe by regulatory agencies.

“While the cleanup is going, the work we are doing today will allow the developer to get entitlements to do pre-development work,” said Cohen, and promised that The City would “remain vigilant about the safety of workers, residents at shipyard and around shipyard.”

“We will not move forward with any development [at the shipyard] until we are certain that the soil is safe,” she said.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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