The Baylands area in Brisbane is 660 acres of environmental baggage and city officials are consulting with a renowned “green” architect on how best to redevelop the contaminated area.
The City Council and Planning Commission are scheduled to meet Monday to discuss a planned environmental impact report on redevelopment plans for the area, which include up to 5 million square feet of commercial retail, office, hotel and light industrial space on 175 acres, 99 acres of open space on the upland portion and 118 acres of open water in the Brisbane Lagoon.
Tonight, however, the city has brought in architect James Wines, author of “Green Architecture” and founder of SITE, Environmental Design, to speak on how green architecture could be used in the area, Deputy City Manager Stuart Schillinger said.
Currently owned by Universal Paragon Corporation, the area includes a former San Francisco landfill, a former Southern Pacific rail yard and is next to a contaminated factory. Currently zoned for commercial and retail, it represents a huge opportunity for the 3,700-person city.
Schillinger said the city has held community meetings, which Schillinger characterized as positive, for the past three years in an effort to find an appropriate use for the land.
“It’s a challenge for the community because [a development] will shape the community forever and change it, hopefully, for the better,” Brisbane Mayor Cy Bologoff said.
Ideally, Bologoff added, he’d like to see green companies or companies dealing with alternative sources of energy come to the area, but a lot needs to happen between now and then, including cleaning up and reclaiming the land, which contains years’ worth of contaminants from its past usages. In addition to the landfill and the neighboring contaminated factory site, the rail yard had an aboveground storage container for oil that leaked.
Cut off in the north by San Francisco, the acreage is bordered east and west by U.S. 101 and Bayshore Boulevard, respectively. The lagoon makes up the southerly portion.
Universal Paragon has submitted a specific plan for the 450-acre eastern portion of site, and officials are in the final stages of creating criteria environmental consultants will investigate when they do an environmental impact report of the plan.
On Monday, the Planning Commission and City Council are set to meet and determine objectives for the environmental impact report on the proposed development.
Wines will speak today at 7:30 p.m. in the Mission Blue Center, 475 Mission Blue Drive in Brisbane.