San Francisco Business Times, April 30, 2012
Stockbridge and Wilson Meany Sullivan Wilson Meany SullivanLatest from The Business JournalsTishman set to start SoMa constructionTRI Pointe Homes buys first Bay Meadows parcelTishman Speyer to start Foundry Square III in S.F.'s South of MarketFollow this company have sold a parcel at Bay Meadows to Shea Homes Shea HomesLatest from The Business JournalsHome builders see signs of recoveryDenver's Best Corporate Counsel nominees discuss industry challengesShea Homes introduces full-size luxury duplexes at VistanciaFollow this company , the second homebuilder to commit to the San Mateo horse racetrack-turned-transit-oriented development.
Shea Homes will build the 93-unit Landsdowne community, a development overlooking a 12-acre park that will feature eight floor plans and a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. Unit size will range from 1,150 to 2,200 square feet.
The price was not disclosed, but brokers in the market said the deal was likely north of $200,000 per buildable unit, or $18.6 million.
The land sale comes just two weeks after TRI Pointe Homes became the first developer to bite off a piece of Bay Meadows, which Stockbridge and WMS spent a decade entitling and preparing for development. Stockbridge and WMS are the master developers, but are selling off parcels to a variety of homebuilders. TRI Pointe Homes will build 63 units on the site.
Bay Meadows includes three public parks totaling 15 acres, a community garden and various open spaces throughout the property. The final development will include 1,171 residential units, up to 1.5 million rentable square feet of office space and approximately 90,000 square feet of retail space. With onsite amenities such as health care, child care, financial services, and dry cleaning, Bay Meadows is designed to be a place where residents can rely on public transportation and walking.
Shea Homes plans to start construction as soon as summer of 2012 with model homes and sales starting in early 2013.
Consistent with Bay Meadows‚ pedestrian-friendly approach, garages are at the rear of each home.
The architect for Landsdowne is KTGY Architecture + Planning, which is also designing as well as TPH's Amelia residences.
"Signing Shea Homes exemplifies the positive momentum Bay Meadows is generating, and we are very excited to get construction under way on two residential neighborhoods this summer, with sales starting in late 2012," said Christopher Meany, partner at WMS.
Layne Marceau, president of Shea Homes Northern California, said Bay Meadows was a natural fit for his company.
"We're looking forward to being a part of Bay Meadows," Marceau said. "The outstanding location, progressive design and well thought out vision make it a great fit for Shea Homes. We put a great deal of care into our homes and communities. Landsdowne in Bay Meadows will be no different."
Meany said, "mobility and aspiration have a long history" at Bay Meadows.
"In its earliest days, Bay Meadows was the site of an airfield," he said. "The land then became home to Bay Meadows Racetrack, a place passionate about the pursuit of glory and achievement. Now, the evolution of mobility culminates in this new urban village at the rail station and continues a legacy of forward thinking, progress, energy and aspiration for those looking for an inspired way of life."
San Francisco Business Times, April 11, 2012
The long-awaited redevelopment of the old Bay Meadows racetrack in San Mateo will get started this summer with the 63-unit complex to be built by TRI Pointe Homes.
Bay Meadows master developers Stockbridge and Wilson Meany Sullivan Wilson Meany SullivanLatest from The Business JournalsShea buys into San Mateo's Bay MeadowsTishman set to start SoMa constructionTishman Speyer to start Foundry Square III in S.F.'s South of MarketFollow this company have sold the parcel to TRI Pointe Homes for an undisclosed price. Stockbridge and WMS are reportedly close to selling at least one other parcel.
TRI Pointe homes plans to begin construction as early as summer 2012 with model home openings and sales launching in early 2013
TPH will build Amelia, a 63-home neighborhood of two- and three-bedroom townhomes featuring porches and balconies in an updated expression of traditional Bay Area architecture, designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning.
In total Bay Meadows, which sits at a Caltrain stop, will consist of 14 neighborhoods with 1,171 residential units, up to 1.5 million rentable square feet of office space and approximately 90,000 square feet of retail space. The Bay Meadows redevelopment will also include a 12-acre park, a community garden, traditional town square, main street retail.
"TRI Pointe Homes was selected as the first builder because of their reputation for building quality homes, and we are confident that they will set the bar extremely high for the next builders to come," said Christopher Meany, partner at WMS. "TRI Pointe Homes holds the distinction of being the first builder to embrace the vision of Bay Meadows, and they are committing their company resources to bringing this community to life. They will create the standard for the level of excellence that Bay Meadows demands"
Wall Street Journal, March 06, 2012
A historic skyscraper in downtown San Francisco, the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph building, empty for almost six years, is about to become a hub of construction activity as a $50 million-plus modernization project begins.
The building's owner, developer Wilson Meany Sullivan, is doing a major seismic retrofit and renovation of the 26-floor Art Deco icon at 140 New Montgomery St. in the South of Market neighborhood.
The rehabilitation will make the skyscraper more resistant to earthquakes and involve upgrades to its 280,000 square feet of available office space to house potential tech start-ups, venture capital firms and others. This is a new strategy from the developer, which in 2008 filed plans to turn the tower, also known as the Telephone Building, into 118 luxury condominiums, at an estimated cost of $132 million to $152 million.
"With the location, the history, and the quality of the renovations, 140 will be one of the premier office addresses in the city," said Joshua Callahan, a WMS project manager. The renovations started last week, he said. The developer has all the city approvals needed to begin construction, and other approvals are pending.
The Telephone Building has been a part of the San Francisco skyline since it was completed in 1925 for Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., which nicknamed it "140," a name the developers are using again. Designed by renowned local architect Timothy Pflueger, it has soaring terra-cotta piers flecked with white and gray, unusual Bell System details and 13-foot-tall eagle statues at the top.
After AT&T merged with SBC Communications in 2005, it put the Telephone Building up for sale.
When WMS-best known locally for its renovation of the Ferry Building-and partner Stockbridge Real Estate Funds bought the building and a nearby garage for $273 million in 2007, the residential real-estate market was hot.
But after the 2008 financial crisis, WMS put the condo plans on hold. The building has remained empty, except for a 24-hour security guard, while the developer weighed its options. Recently, the office market has started to boom again. Just last week Macy's.com leased nearly 243,000 square feet on seven floors at nearby 680 Folsom St.
"In the past 18 months, you have seen a surge in demand that has resulted in rising rental rates," Mr. Callahan said, adding that the south Financial District-as real-estate agents call the area-where the Telephone Building is located, "is probably the strongest market in San Francisco."
The earlier iteration of the project has received local plaudits. In 2009, San Francisco Architectural Heritage, a historic preservation nonprofit group, gave WMS and its architects an award for "Best Proposed Adaptive Reuse" for the condo-conversion plan.
"They are doing some pretty significant upgrades and making a major investment in the building to ensure its long-term preservation," said Mike Buhler, executive director of Heritage, of the new plans.
WMS seeks to maintain the architectural integrity of the building while modernizing and adding safety features. The Art Deco lobby will be restored, and tenant amenities will include a private outdoor tenant garden, bike parking and showers.
Vintage light fixtures in the lobby will be restored, original bronze medallions on the elevator doors replicated, and the old mail chute retained, according to the plans.
WMS will replace 1,300 of the building's 1,700 steel-frame windows, install seismic bracing and modernize the elevators. WMS will also take two elevators out of service and create new concrete shear walls along the building's core service area, which will double as a seismic upgrade and house electrical, data rooms and bathrooms.
The developer also plans to create two new retail or restaurant spaces off the restored main lobby, which has a colorful plaster ceiling and dark marble walls. New entrances will be created for each retail location and canopies and signs on the building will be allowed, with some limitations, according to the plans.
Chefs and restaurateurs have indicated an interest in the larger retail space, WMS said.
WMS also plans to get rid of the stage and a projection room in the building's unusual 26th-floor auditorium. The stage's proscenium features bas reliefs with a snake charmer, elephants and other animals. The decorative plaster ceiling will be retained and as many of the bas reliefs as possible will be saved or stored. Molds are being made of all the plaster detailing before any construction begins as a precaution, according to the developers.
The permit applications also include a salvage plan to store unused historic details and fixtures, which will also be made available to any prospective tenants for their office build-outs.
Christopher VerPlanck, founder of VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting, which does architectural preservation consulting in San Francisco-and isn't doing any work for this project-says he is concerned about some changes upstairs, including converting the auditorium into an open office space and the elimination of any remaining original floor plans. He suggested the auditorium could be used as an amenity for tenants.
"So many commercial developers and property managers all follow the latest trends en masse," Mr. VerPlanck said. "Ever since the first dot-com boom, they have been gutting entire floor plates of historic office buildings because they think that everyone wants to work in a giant raw space."
He said his office building, the Mechanics' Institute, "is nearly original inside and it is fully leased."
Mr. Callahan of WMS said an open office space is the best use for the auditorium and all the floors. "Conference centers are a nice marketing idea that get limited use in practice."
He said the building would be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2013.
The Registry, March 01, 2012
Long after the America's Cup has come and gone, the new home of San Francisco's Exploratorium will be drawing crowds to the city's northeast waterfront. The museum's $218 million construction and move from the Palace of Fine Arts to piers 15 and 17 comes with a mission not just to educate and enlighten the public, but to reinvigorate the long-dormant stretch between the wildly successful Ferry Plaza to the south and the waterfront tourist standby, Pier 39, to the northwest.
"We end up becoming the anchor in the middle that I think will really traffic and populate the space from the Ferry Building all the way up," said Dennis Bartels, executive director of the museum. "The city is finally rediscovering its waterfront."
The museum has been looking for room to grow for years. It considered a site at The Embarcadero and Bay Street in 2004. But the fit wasn't right, Bartels said. When officials at the Port of San Francisco suggested the Exploratorium search team check out the piers, it was love at first sight. "The reaction was all the same," Bartels said. "This is it!"
Working with a tangle of public agencies, all responsible for the various aspects of waterfront development, the museum and San Francisco's EHDD Architecture came up with a plan. They hope that the 230,000 square-foot indoor and outdoor complex becomes a truly inviting and buzzworthy social hub.
Even before the project opens, it is expected to have a positive impact on the northeast waterfront. Consultancy BAE Urban Economics anticipates that construction on the piers will engage 900 workers both directly and indirectly during the estimated two years of construction. The group anticipates a $300 million short-term regional gain during building, a $28 million increase in long-term annual economic impact and $1.4 million annually in net new total tax revenue for the city and state.
Ultimately, Bartels hopes that the project helps create sufficient demand to drive an even more robust public transportation system on the waterfront, with as much as five times the current number of MUNI trains running along the Embarcadero. While the new location is already at a transit hub, more transit service should improve accessibility and enhance the museum's educational impact on teachers, kids and the community, Bartels said.
The museum focuses on science, art and human perception and uses its $35.5 million annual budget to offer professional development to 400 teachers each year and to host an ever-growing list of original, interactive exhibits, displays and artworks intended to nurture human curiosity.
At its current location, 544,000 people a year visit the Exploratorium, with about 61 percent of those visitors hailing from the Bay Area. Nearly 19 million people pass the Exploratorium's future home each year, Bartels estimates, based on visitor counts to Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry Building. The museum plans to draw in as many of those passerby as possible - an estimated 800,000 paying visitors a year.
Development along the Embarcadero has been a boon for San Francisco over the past decade. Businesses along the Embarcadero have increased their sales over 6.9 times since 1995 and more than doubled their share of city sales tax payments during that time, according to data from Ted Egan, chief economist in San Francisco's Office of Economic Analysis.
With more than 8,000 square feet of income-generating space, including a bayside restaurant and café, as well as a publicly accessible Exploratorium store, the new museum will certainly add to that.
Marc L'Italien, EHDD's principal architect for the project, says he anticipates a hum of activity from the project driven by revitalization, in much the same sense as that which has occurred at the Ferry Building. "It was always there, but it took someone to come in and have a vision for how it could be transformed," said L'Italien. "It just had to be looked at in a different way, and look what it has become.
His plans for the new museum include an interior area inviting the public to view part of the museum without buying a ticket as well as a glass-enclosed observatory at the end of Pier 15, an outdoor terrace, and public-access areas that should create a permeable, accessible space to invite the public in and create a node of activity.
An additional attraction to the site could be its green credentials. The Exploratorium's goal is to be a LEED Gold, net-zero-energy facility, possibly the largest net-zero-energy museum of its size in the world. The museum will run a 1.4-megawatt photovoltaic system on the roof to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs. It also plans to leverage its location by pumping bay water through a maze of pipes under its poured concrete floor to cool or heat its interior.
The project will be built in two phases, with Pier 17, the third-oldest pier on the San Francisco waterfront, slated for development in the second phase. At about 110,000 square feet, it will provide 2.5 additional acres for future expansion.
"There's a lot of potential," says L'Italien. "This site has been one of the biggest inspirations in this whole process."
"What a gift!" he said.
San Mateo Daily Journal, February 22, 2012
The owner of Bay Meadows has started courting suitors to lease more than 1 million square feet of Class A office space to be constructed in five buildings on the site of the former horse race track in San Mateo.
Property owner Wilson Meany Sullivan expects construction to be completed by early 2014 for the office space which is the second phase of the Bay Meadows mixed-use development. When completed, Bay Meadows will be the largest transit-oriented development in the state.
Combined, the five buildings on Delaware Street called Bay Meadows Station will have up to 1.5 million rentable square feet of office and retail space. Each building will be certified LEED Gold.
Office space for rent will range from 95,000 square feet to 185,000 square feet, according to Wilson Meany Sullivan. The development sits between the Hillsdale and Hayward Park Caltrain stations.
Phase 1 of the Bay Meadows project was officially completed with the construction of the new Kaiser Medical Center and includes housing, office and retail space.
Phase 2 will also feature townhomes, condos and about 15 acres of park space. The final development will include 1,171 residential units, up to 1.5 million rentable square feet of office space and approximately 90,000 square feet of retail space, according to Wilson Meany Sullivan.
"Companies who find a home here will embrace the vision of Bay Meadows Station and will be an integral part of bringing this community to life," Christopher Meany, partner at WMS, wrote in a prepared statement. "Built to rigorous environmental standards, this urban office campus is at the forefront of contemporary and creative office space. Bay Meadows is perfect for people who want to work and live in the most sustainable, innovative and comfortable atmosphere possible."
San Francisco Chronicle, June 08, 2011
To cheers and applause from the audience, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a massive new neighborhood proposed for Treasure Island.
In the 11-0 vote the board rejected claims by groups such as the Sierra Club that the project would harm the environment and exacerbate traffic problems.
Instead, members of the board said the $1.5 billion project would breathe new life into the old Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay.
The plan, almost 15 years in the making, calls for 19,000 new residents to live in a new neighborhood wrapped in open space and dotted with high-rises, one as tall as 450 feet. Residential units would be within walking distance of shops, a grocery store, a school and new ferry terminal.
"This is a fantastic project," said Chris Meany, with Wilson Meany Sullivan, one of the project's developers. "This is the only right outcome. Obviously we're very gratified."
Public support of the plan was so overwhelming at the meeting that Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the island, announced she would forgo making a statement in support of the project.
The public's comments were enough, she said. The rest of the supervisors followed suit.
Developers Wilson Meany Sullivan, Lennar Urban and Kenwood Investments said they hope to break ground as early as 2012. The board will cast a second, procedural vote on the project next week.
Over the next 20 to 30 years, they intend to morph the island from an aging former Navy base into a state-of-the-art neighborhood with a mix of affordable and market-rate homes, all designed to save water and energy.
Massive weight will compact the soil, keeping the island stable during earthquakes. A seawall will guard against sea level rise and possible tsunamis. Plans call for the ramps to and from the Bay Bridge to be redesigned and dedicated bus lines to run from the island to downtown San Francisco.
The plan was narrowly approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission in April, when some commissioners were worried by a last-minute cut to the number of affordable housing units and the impact cars would have on the already busy Bay Bridge.
Aaron Peskin, former Board of Supervisors president and a staunch opponent of the project, said he was disappointed by the "politically juiced" vote.
"This is a triumph of politics over public policy," he said. "This will be fantasy island."
He said the project would have significant impacts on traffic in the region and the costs would end up not penciling out.
"This is the beginning of a new and sustainable San Francisco neighborhood," Supervisor David Chiu said after the vote.
San Francisco Chronicle, February 20, 2011
The ambitious plans for San Francisco's Treasure Island have been inching their way through City Hall for so long, it's hard to believe the final round of hearings has arrived.
And here's a signal the endgame has begun: the tallest tower's potential height is being lowered by 200 feet.
The vision still includes pollution-absorbing wetlands, a working farm, a new ferry terminal and as many as 8,000 housing units - all on 404 acres summoned into existence barely 70 years ago.
But by toning down the skyline of the new neighborhood, proponents are acknowledging something that should have been obvious all along: even a project billed as "an international exemplar of sustainable development" should know its place.
The development proposal for the former Navy base concentrates housing in an L-shaped band along the island's west and south sides, placing most residents within a 10-minute walk of the planned ferry terminal. Another 230 acres would be converted into a variety of parks and semi-natural spaces.
Many of the residential units will be in buildings below 85 feet in height. But the plan adds the vertical flourish of a quartet of towers that would rise near the handful of buildings that remain from the Golden Gate International Exposition, the 1939 event for which Treasure Island was shaped from bay sand and mud alongside Yerba Buena Island.
Until last month, the plan conceived in 2005 placed a 650-foot peak in the midst of a trio of 450-foot towers. Now the central high-rise would be 450 feet, with 315-foot towers on its flanks.
This is a move in the right direction.
Symbol of region
Because of their location, Treasure Island's towers will be viewed in the context of how they complement or clash with the Bay Bridge - a structure that in a very real sense is one of our region's icons and binding symbols.
But for all their forceful drama, the towers holding the western span top off at around 525 feet. That's also the height of the new eastern tower.
The initial heights meant that this virtual city, being touted as an environmental showcase, would one-up its closest neighbor. Nor would the bridge-topping floors contain public viewing platforms. They'd be penthouse aeries for the privileged few.
The developers readily concede that heights were lowered in part to forestall the possibility of a distracting fight: "There was nothing about the skyline we proposed that wasn't beautiful in my eyes," said Chris Meany of Wilson Meany Sullivan, part of the development team that also includes Lennar Urban and Kenwood Investments.
But the plan still allows a skyline - and that's fine.
For Treasure Island to fulfill its potential as a self-contained neighborhood, there needs to be housing for enough people to attract everyday amenities like a grocery store.
Development of this scale also is necessary to help generate such regional benefits as a parkland ranging from promenades to artificial wetlands. Density also helps justify the ferries and on-island bus shuttles that can make it easier for residents to live a car-free life.
The continued presence of towers - albeit more modest ones - might still be a flash point. But there's no reason the district should look like an undifferentiated glob of stucco and glass, a procession of squat blocks.
The schedule calls for three more informational hearings at the Planning Commission. City officials and developers are aiming for a final green light from the Board of Supervisors by the end of May.
Keeping goals in sight
As the expansive project moves to center stage, there are sure to be trade-offs and last-minute posturing.
What's important is that we not lose sight of the enduring challenge - to craft a safe, sustainable and diverse neighborhood that's compelling and unique. Where even residential blocks are enlivened by architectural variety and softened by landscaping that feels like an extension of the parkland beyond.
"We want the result to be neighborhoods woven into this network of green," said Craig Hartman of SOM, one of four design firms working on the project, at an informational hearing last Thursday. The quality of the weave, more than skyline allure, is how Treasure Island ultimately will be judged.
Decades of changes
1937 - Island constructed with an eye toward future use as a regional airport.
1939 - Golden Gate International Exposition premieres.
1942 - Island becomes a naval base.
1997 - Navy base closes. San Francisco creates the Treasure Island Development Authority to oversee the island.
2003 - Treasure Island Community Development is selected as the master developer for Treasure and Yerba Buena islands.
2005 - Plans for a suburban-like project with 2,800 housing units meets a tepid response. A revised proposal makes room for at least 5,500 housing units, some in towers set near a new ferry terminal.
2006 - Board of Supervisors approves the outline of the plan.
2009 - Plan receives a national honor award from the American Institute of Architects.
2010 - Navy agrees to transfer Treasure Island and its share of Yerba Buena Island to the city for $55 million, with additional payments if developers turn a profit. Revised plan with up to 8,000 units released, as is the draft environmental study.
2011 - Developers and city officials seek final approvals. If this occurs, full development is expected to take at least 15 years.
San Francisco Chronicle, October 19, 2010
The tugboats are moving, the dredges are working, and today Exploratorium officials will host a groundbreaking ceremony on a $300 million project that will transform two huge piers on the Embarcadero into a new home for the hands-on science museum.
Construction of the new Exploratorium on Piers 15 and 17 along San Francisco's northern waterfront has already begun. In three years, the first stage, on Pier 15, will provide vastly expanded space for the museum's exhibits, classrooms and teacher-training facilities, which have outgrown their current site at the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina.
Plans for expansion on Pier 17 will follow.
Large public promenades with dramatic views of the bay and the city's skyline will replace the aprons of the dilapidated piers and add a unique marine environment to the museum for observing, experimenting and contemplating life forms in the bay waters.
When the museum opens on Pier 15 in 2013, oceanographic research vessels will be able to dock there. Researchers aboard the ships will be able to relay science data freshly acquired from the open sea to the Exploratorium's staff on shore for translation to visitors and to share with museums around the world.
"We can't be sitting right on the water here without doing water science as well as the exciting science we do indoors," said physicist Dennis Bartels, the Exploratorium's executive director, during a recent interview. "It will be a ball explaining the wonderful microbial life that exists around us and helping all kinds of people to slow down and understand the fog and the wind and the tides. There's a whole ecosystem made visible for us."
So far, a capital campaign, headed by George W. Cogan, chairman of the museum's board, has raised $209 million from private donors and is seeking $91 million more to complete the Pier 15 job.
Ultimately, Piers 15 and 17 will form a 9-acre science campus under a 66-year lease with the Port of San Francisco, Bartels said.
The current Exploratorium, where kids and adults have played together for more than 40 years, will remain where it is until its new home at the foot of Green Street is complete, he said.
Cogan, a Palo Alto-based physicist and vice president of the global consulting firm Bain & Co., has been fascinated by the Exploratorium since he moved here more than 20 years ago. He has been on the museum's volunteer board for more than a decade.
"This is an institution marked by excellence, and our new home will give us a tremendous opportunity to rethink and reinvent the way it interacts with the world around us and encourages more people to engage their curiosity and think about the world for themselves," Cogan said.
Already the BayDelta Maritime tugboat fleet has moved from Pier 15 to the adjoining Pier 17, and dredging has begun to cleanse the bay bottom between the two piers. Engineers will soon be driving piles as deep as 160 feet to strengthen the decrepit structures and seismically upgrade them.
The Exploratorium opened in 1969 as a museum of "art, science and human perception," as its founder, the late Frank Oppenheimer termed it, and it has long focused on explaining new "green" environmental technology.
The new building on Pier 15 will continue that tradition, Bartels said, with a 1.4-megawatt solar collector on the roof fulfilling the museum's electricity needs. Bay water, pumped through a heat exchanger, will heat and cool the building, and some of the rainwater collected on the rooftops will be reused for toilet flushing, and the rest filtered and returned to the bay.
Those approaches mark a striking difference from the history of the piers, which were built nearly a century ago to serve shipping lines and later served as trucking terminals. Both served troops coming home from World War II, but for many years they have gradually been deteriorating.
"I have no doubt that the Exploratorium will fast become a new icon on our city's waterfront, connecting new generations of residents and visitors with the wonders of science and our environment," said Mayor Gavin Newsom in a statement. "This is a model public-private partnership that will both revitalize crumbling piers and reinvent the Exploratorium experience."
San Francisco Business Times, August 27, 2010
Construction crews at the Bay Meadows site in San Mateo have been busy preparing the site to future development by working on infrastructure.
The 83-acre former race track is slated for up to 1,066 housing units, 750,000 square feet of office space, 75,000 square feet of retail/active use space, 17,800 square feet of restaurant space and 15 acres of public space.
Construction on the first homes could start early next year, said Chris Meany, principal of Wilson Meany Sullivan, the developer behind the project.
"We are working on about 25 to 30 percent of the site right now," he said. "We expect to have the roads in that section by the end of the year and then have land parcels ready to build on next year."
The first phase of housing will include about 300 homes built over two years. The units will be what Meany called "medium density" townhomes, which he said are more likely to sell faster than other unit types.
The entire development will consist of a variety of housing, including attached townhomes, single-family detached homes and multifamily units.
Meany said the developer is trying to create a new village within San Mateo that not only offers all the elements of a neighborhood - housing, retail, jobs, public space - but also makes walking and interacting with other residents appealing.
"We wanted to create a sense of, ‘Even though I'm part of a bigger whole, I really connect with the people in my own specific small village,' - that's how the Peninsula operates," Meany said.
City officials have a similar vision for the site. Darcy Forsell, a San Mateo planner who worked on the project, said the city wanted to make sure Bay Meadows became a comprehensive development that would take advantage of the nearby Hillsdale Caltrain Station.
"This is San Mateo's flagship transit-oriented development. We don't have any other sites of this size," Forsell said.
Infrastructure, which is under construction right now, is a critical component, Forsell said. For a transit-oriented development to work, it needs to connect easily to other parts of the city with roads, transit and bike paths.
"It is our hope that new mixed-use, in-fill developments around a well-served Caltrain Station will help reduce vehicle trips and greenhouse gas emissions," she said. "It will also provide opportunities to create a different lifestyle for people."
San Francisco Chronicle, August 18, 2010
Treasure Island, a former U.S. Navy base, was signed, sealed and delivered to San Francisco on Tuesday.
The official transfer of the man-made island in the middle of San Francisco Bay from the Navy to the city will have to wait until environmental reviews are completed. Final project approvals and the actual transfer are expected this spring.
But after negotiations that spanned three presidencies, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus signed a transfer agreement on Tuesday that includes payments to the Navy that could top $105 million, funded by private companies and revenue from developing the island into a model 21st century neighborhood.
Mabus called the deal a template for future base handovers.
"The transfer of Treasure Island is a win for San Francisco, it is a win for the state of California, a win for the United States Navy and a win for the American taxpayers," Mabus said.
The city and Navy have disagreed since 1993 over the worth of the 400-acre island.
"For 17 years the Navy and city have not been able to agree on the actual contract for the transfer of the property," said Jack Sylvan, the point man on the project for the mayor's office. "Now we have fully negotiated that agreement."
The development plan calls for a veritable ecotopia with about 8,000 homes, a 60-story skyscraper, three hotels and 300 acres of open space. A new ferry terminal and shuttle buses would connect the community with the city. The neighborhood would tap wind, solar and perhaps tidal power.
The plan includes measures to make the island seismically safe and guard against projected sea-level rise. The mayor hopes to see construction start by this time next year.
So what could go wrong?
"If there was an earthquake tomorrow and half the island was underwater," Sylvan joked, "then we'd have to figure something out."