Time for groundbreaking draws near for Hunters Point shipyard 

Seven years after The City’s Redevelopment Agency approved the first phase of the Hunters Point shipyard’s planned transformation, building might finally begin.

The regional president of Lennar Corp., the Miami-based developer of the site, said the company hopes to soon start building the first 88 homes in one of The City’s largest redevelopment projects.

The 88 condominiums and townhouse flats will sit atop one of two dusty hills overlooking a hazardous Navy base that could eventually be a waterfront boasting new homes, parks and retail space.

These units are only a small portion of the project’s first phase — a 75-acre hill that is expected to be the site of up to 1,600 homes, 9,000 square feet of retail and 25 acres of ­parkland.

But Phase 1 is only about 10 percent of the entire project area. Phase 2 is set to cover 702 acres at the former shipyard and Candlestick Point, and involve the construction of 10,244 homes, 885,000 square feet of retail space and 255,000 square feet of arts facilities. And its future remains very much up in the air.

On July 14, the Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to pass an environmental impact report for the project’s second portion. That phase depends on the Navy properly cleaning the shipyard before the land is transferred to Lennar.

Within 60 days of the board’s vote, Lennar was supposed to spend $7 million on “community benefits,” including job training and rent assistance to buyers, Bonner said. But the company blames a cleanup-related lawsuit for preventing it from fulfilling that requirement.

The nonprofit groups Greenaction and People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) filed suit in September accusing Lennar and The City of violating state law by assuming that the Navy will properly clean the site.

“You can’t just assume some future process will be done,” POWER spokeswoman Jaron Browne said. “Under California law, you have to address how you’re going to mitigate for the potential health impact.”

The chairwoman of the India Basin Neighborhood Association said she is anxious for the project to move forward. But she’s not going to hold her breath.

Kristine Enea said developers have been saying that construction could start soon for six years now. Indeed, in 2008, a Lennar spokesman said he expected all the Phase 1 homes would be finished by 2010.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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Kamala Kelkar

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