After years of searching, San Francisco appears to have found a new home for the Fire Department’s training facility on Treasure Island, which will have to close down due to redevelopment.
The City is moving forward a plan to buy a 4.91-acre site at 1236 Carroll Ave. in the Bayview from Prologis, L.P., an industrial real estate investment group, for $38.5 million, and an adjacent 2.6 acre lot from the Port of San Francisco, which is estimated to cost $5.8 million.
Combined, the 7.5-acre lot is about the same size as the Treasure Island site and will meet the needs of a new firefighting training facility, city officials said.
“The acquisition of this property is of the highest urgency as we have been unable to locate any other suitable properties after two years of diligent search both in the county and out of county,” Andrico Penick, director of real estate, told the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee Wednesday, where the plan was outlined.
The deal is a bit more complicated than a simple purchase because sale of Port property, which is held as a public trust with restrictions on use, requires approval by the State Lands Commission and the state legislature.
Since The City is still working through gaining the approvals from the Port Commission, State Lands Commission and the state legislature for the sale of the 2.6-acre lot, the Board of Supervisors is being asked to approve spending $15,000 monthly for up to 12 months to retain an option to purchase the Prologis site, locking in the purchase price.
The Port supports locating the fire training facility on the site, which is currently vacant property, Port of San Francisco spokesperson Randy Quezada told the San Francisco Examiner.
He said Port staff is “currently working closely with the State Lands Commission staff” and others to make it a reality.
Penick said he expects to have a proposal to buy both sites back before the Board of Supervisors for a vote by January 2022.
The effort is up against the clock.
“The fire training facility needs to move from Treasure Island in order to make way for planned development,” Penick said. “The deadline for this move is five years, or 2026, which is just enough time for us to acquire, plan, permit and build out the new facility in the Bayview.”
Supervisor Matt Haney said that he was “happy and grateful that it does seem that we found a location for it.”
“It’s obviously a critically essential facility for our city,” Haney said.
According to the proposal, the Fire Department has about 1,700 firefighters who use the training facilities annually, with a minimum of about 200 hours of training per firefighter. The department’s main training facility is on Treasure Island, which must close by December 2026. There is also a second smaller facility with a training tower at 19th and Folsom streets.
There is not yet a specific plan for the new site.
The cost of buying the Prologis site would come from funds from the voter-approved 2020 Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response (ESER) bond, which provided about $275 million for neighborhood fire stations and other public safety facilities. Of that total, $67 million is allocated for the new Fire Department training facility, according to a budget analyst report. Moneyto buy the Port site would come out of The City’s general fund.
Shon Buford, president of Local 798, the firefighters labor union, said he had yet to review details of the proposal.
“Although I am excited that we do have a location, our concern is that the price of the land does not eat into the cost of building a state-of-the-art facility that will be able to train our members into the future,” Buford told the Examiner.