The San Francisco Flower Mart in San Francisco's SoMa District seen Thursday, September 8, 2016. (Wesaam Al-Badry/Special to S.F. Examiner)

SF Flower Mart development proposal ‘too monotonous,’ city planners say

City planners are concerned about the size and bulk of parking included in a proposal to redevelop a South of Market block that houses the historic San Francisco Flower Mart, according to a project review released Wednesday.

In March, developers submitted the latest version of a contentious plan to rebuild the long-standing Flower Mart beneath new office space that is expected to be used as a tech campus.

In March, developers submitted the latest version of a contentious plan to rebuild the long-standing Flower Mart beneath new office space that is expected to be used as a tech campus.

Two years ago, community members were in an uproar with concerns that the Flower Mart would be evicted from its longtime home.

The development plans from Kilroy Realty Corp., however, have included the market since first introduced in 2015. The latest version expands the planned development to 2.3 million square feet, stretching to the corner of Fifth and Brannan streets. The project is slated to include mostly office space — about 2 million square feet of it — as well as some retail and the Flower Market.

The proposal also includes another 291,660 square feet of underground parking, including 571 spaces for cars and 425 spaces for bikes.

In a Preliminary Project Assessment released Wednesday, city planners wrote that the amount of proposed car parking “seems higher than necessary,” though the plan includes 300 parking spaces reserved for the Flower Mart.

City planners also had two concerns with the size of the development in the assessment: one with regard to its length, and another with the amount of space reserved for light industrial usage.

Slated to be more than 400 feet in length, the building “will be too monotonous unless highly activated and exquisitely designed,” according to the assessment.

Further, the proposal does not meet requirements for existing light industrial space to balance out the mixed-use development.

The proposal sets aside 125,000 square feet for the new Flower Mart, which at present takes up 182,641 square feet, and just 115,000 square feet is expected to have light industrial use, according to the assessment.

The proposal requires existing light industrial space, known as Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR), to at least be replaced at 100 percent, according to the assessment.

“The Flower Mart has been a San Francisco institution for over a century, and still serves an important PDR function,”the assessment reads. “ As such, the City is highly supportive of its continued operation on site. Any other development on the project site will be assessed for its potential impact to the ongoing operation and viability of the Flower Mart.”

City planners are also concerned about curb cuts for the seven planned parking spaces set to be used for freight loading, and are asking developers to consider relocating them and reducing their widths.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from its original version.

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