Eucalyptus trees nixed from Mission Bay designs

Hardier species, news racks among elements in new streetscape plan for area

Newly relocated Gap employees won’t see many eucalyptus trees in their new Mission Bay neighborhood, but there will be blue-gray news racks and plenty of street lights under a revised plan approved Tuesday.

The latest streetscape plans for the Mission Bay redevelopment area call for replacing eucalyptus trees, which some consider an invasive species, with cajeput trees, an evergreen.

“The eucalyptus is not native” to the Bay Area, said Jacinta McCann, managing principal with EDAW Inc., a firm working with The City on its streetscape plans. “They require more water.”

The Mission Bay area is a difficult environment for trees to grow in, said Amy Neches, senior project manager with the Redevelopment Agency.

“We need trees that will thrive in that environment,” Neches said.

The replacements, cajeputs, which are sometimes called punk trees, are originally from Australia. The trees were brought to the United States originally because of their ornamental bottlebrush flowers.

The Mission Bay redevelopment area, which includes the upcoming Third Street Rail system, will also feature Chinese scholar trees on Fourth Street, which is slated to become the commercial hub of the neighborhood.

“Third Street light rail is crucial” to the redevelopment area, Neches said.

Muni’s new Third Street Light Rail system is slated to begin limited service to Mission Bay in January, and it is scheduled to be fully operational in April. The 5.4-mile line is slated to provide service along Third Street, beginning at the Caltrain Depot at Fourth and King streets and running to the intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Sunnydale Avenue in Visitacion Valley.

Mission Bay, a former rail-yard site, has seen a flurry of development activity in recent months, including the Gap Inc.’s announcement in August that its Old Navy employees would be moving to a 283,000 square-foot building at 550 Terry Francois Blvd. that overlooks The Bay.

The latest plans for the area include additional 30-foot street lamps as opposed to 20-foot lamps in an effort to make visible the shops anticipated to move into Fourth Street, Neches said.

News racks, much like the standard green racks seen in many parts of The City, will be blue-gray. The color choice was picked to be consistent with the lights and furnishings being added to the neighborhood.

mcarroll@examiner.com

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