San Francisco's Mayor Lee points Metreon redevelopment toward 2012 target 

Renovation of the troubled Metreon complex at Fourth and Mission streets was hailed Thursday by Mayor Ed Lee, who used a commemorative press event to highlight the important role that he believes is played by San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency.

The Westfield Group’s $30 million renovation of Metreon will soon begin with a facelift of the 360,000-square-foot building’s first floor. In late 2012, that will be followed by the opening of The City’s first Target store — which is also the first location of the retail chain’s new small urban format. About a dozen eateries will fill out the building at street level with a 470-seat “dining terrace.”

In November, the Redevelopment Agency unanimously approved signage and block design changes needed to get the project moving. Metreon and several nearby buildings including SFMOMA, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Moscone Center were built under the agency’s scrutiny.

Sony opened the glass and steel Metreon in 1999 as a shopping and entertainment destination. But the company pulled out a few years later, and Westfield bought the building in 2006.

The Redevelopment Agency, which first targeted the neighborhood as a redevelopment zone in 1966 and still owns the land, is under the gun from Gov. Jerry Brown, who wants to eliminate such agencies throughout California.

“We do it right here,” the mayor said, shortly before wielding a ceremonial sledgehammer and taking a healthy swing at a column on the building’s fourth floor. “It’s job creation; it’s job sustainability.”

The project is set to provide 600 construction jobs, half of which will be set aside for local workers. The completed center should provide 700 permanent positions. The Mayor’s Office expects the renovation and new tenants to generate $15 million in annual tax revenue, with $4.4 million going directly to The City.

A new main entrance is planned for Fourth Street and another Mission Street entrance for the second-floor Target. The third floor is the current site of AMC Theatres, which also is planning a major renovation but will remain open during the building’s overhaul. Westfield plans to make the fourth floor and its panoramic terrace an event space set to open in September.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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