After a long-running fight about what type of store should be built on Bayshore Boulevard, the construction of a Lowe’s at the site has begun.
The shovel hit the dirt Tuesday to build the home improvement chain store at 491 Bayshore Blvd., near the border of the Bayview and Bernal Heights neighborhoods, Mayor Gavin Newsom said.
The space has been vacant for nine years, partly due to wrangling in the community and in City Hall over whether San Francisco should allow a “big-box” chain store at the site that could siphon business from local mom-and-pop shops and invite new polluting automobile traffic to the area.
Another home improvement store, Home Depot, fought for years to set up shop on the site, won that right following approval by the Board of Supervisors in 2005, and then abandoned its plans last year.
The site was once occupied by Goodman’s Lumber.
Newsom said Tuesday that arguments against Lowe’s do not take into account the need for jobs and a more vibrant southeastern neighborhood.
“I’m not a big-box fan,” Newsom said. “But I do think there should be self-determination, and the people of the southeast sector want that big box store.”
To critics, Newsom said, “What do you say to the folks in the Bayview-Hunters Point that has an unemployment rate that’s three or four times the rest of The City’s average?”
The new Lowe’s store will create up to 200 permanent retail jobs. The chain has committed to filling half of those positions with residents of the Bayview-Hunters Point area, and another 25 percent from surrounding neighborhoods, Newsom said.
The project is expected to generate more than $1 million annually in local property and sales tax revenues, the Mayor’s Office said.
Lowe’s is also pitching in $750,000 to benefit The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce as part of the deal. Another $100,000 will go to build a neighboring center that will train and find opportunities for day laborers, Newsom said.