Giants make the cut for waterfront project

The San Francisco Giants are trailing by a few points in a contest to decide who will create a billion-dollar development project on the port land behind the baseball team’s stadium.

The Port wants to develop the lot south of AT&T Park, called Seawall Lot 337, to generate revenue for the cash-strapped agency. Four development teams submitted proposals for the 16-acre parcel in February. On Tuesday, the recommendations of an eight-member advisory panel will be presented to the Port Commission.

The panel, which noted that all four projects were estimated to cost approximately $1 billion, picked two of the four teams to go on to the final phase of competition. Leading slightly is a plan by Boston Properties and Kenwood Investment, which pitched a proposal that aims to establish an arts district and provide affordable studio space for artists. It also includes two tall office towers and a tall residential building.

“We’re pleased to be selected and look forward to competing in the process. It’s an opportunity for San Francisco to develop a wonderful site along the waterfront,” said Jay Wallace, a partner in Kenwood Investment.

The plan scored an 83.1 out of a possible 100 points in the panel’s grading system, which is based on everything from open space to economic stability. The Giants’ plan to create a waterfront park and mixed-use development on the site trailed just slightly with 81.5 points.

Giants Senior Vice President Larry Baer said the baseball franchise would spend the next several months getting public input on the plan.

“This is a concept plan and we expect to work with the community on the proposal to make it even stronger,” he said.

The panel also pointed out potential problems with each plan. While the Kenwood proposal creates a “vital, active pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhood,” it fell short in terms of open space and raised questions about how artist housing could be managed over the long-term.

The Giants’ plan, while commended for its use of open space, raised concern over the focus on retail and entertainment, which could result in more of a draw for tourists than for neighbors, according to the report.

A team led by Cherokee Investment Partners came in third due its lack of experience with large-scale development projects, while a team led by Federal Development finished last because none of its similar projects had been completed, according to the report.

tbarak@examiner.com  

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