Hunters Point Naval Shipyard development faces vote

The redevelopment of the shuttered Hunters Point Naval Shipyard faces a key hurdle today when plans for the biggest-ever redevelopment project in San Francisco are discussed and possibly approved.

The shipyard and Candlestick Park are the southernmost link in a chain of projects long planned by city officials, property owners and developers to reinvent the waterfront.

The eastern waterfront, from South Beach to the stadium, is undergoing historic upheaval, including the rebuild of the area in Mission Bay, which is anchored by the 10-year-old AT&T Park.

Ship repair, manufacturing and loading operations along the city flank drove San Francisco’s economy for much of its history.

Those operations largely disappeared during the second half of last century or drifted to Oakland.

The shipyard was a hive of employment until the 1970s, when workers and families in the once-vibrant Bayview neighborhood were devastated by the Navy’s evacuation of the 500-acre site.

Now, master developer Lennar Urban is working on a plan that includes 10,500 homes, a marina, a sports arena and shopping and business districts. A football stadium proposal rejected by the 49ers is included as an option.

The environmental impact report and specific designs for the planned 702-acre redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and surrounding land are scheduled to be approved, rejected or modified today during a joint hearing of the Planning Department and the Redevelopment Agency.

The Board of Supervisors and other agencies will rule on most of the plans in the near future.

Any votes cast today to certify or reject the project’s environmental review could be appealed to the Board of Supervisors and to a court.

The redevelopment has faced criticism from environmental and neighborhood advocates, including past redevelopment agency consultants Arc Ecology. They have characterized the environmental report as inadequate and myopic, and called for it to be rejected and rewritten.

Kofi Bonner, vice president of master developer Lennar Urban, lauded plans that will be voted on today.

“This community and this city deserve the opportunity to transform this area into what I consider to be a vital neighborhood, just like the rest of San Francisco,” Bonner said.

The Navy is spending hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning contamination from the Superfund site, but plans to build over some pollution will be a contentious issue raised today.

Construction impacts on wildlife that grew prolific after the Navy left will also be discussed.

Asbestos-laced dust and a bridge planned over a sleepy waterway will also figure prominently in today’s hearing, which is expected to draw a massive crowd.

No power coming from new plant

The redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard will include power plant equipment that will burn fossil fuels in new waterfront communities — but power produced by the turbines is planned to be wasted.

Shipyard master developer Lennar Urban and sustainability partner Arup identified sites where the equipment will be installed, at the current Candlestick Park stadium site and just north of a narrow waterway that juts into the shipyard.

The equipment will burn natural gas to create steam, which will be fed through an underground labyrinth to heat and cool buildings. The approach is more energy-efficient than installing heating systems in individual buildings.

Excess heat generated by the plants could create electricity, but such a proposal is not presently being pursued.

The surrounding neighborhood, where high asthma and disease rates are a historical consequence of heavy-industrial operations, has long worked to shut down power plants.

— John Upton

New face of the shipyard

702 acres Project size

7,155 Market-rate homes

3,089 Affordable and below-market-rate homes

256 Alice Griffith public-housing units to be replaced

885,000 Square feet of retail space

255,000 Square feet of art studios and art center

Source: San Francisco Planning Department

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