“First Look: Dramatic Plans for 980 Units in S.F.’s ‘Wilderness’”


March 30, 2015
San Francisco Business Times

Sue Ellen Smith remembers two decades ago, when she called San Francisco officials to pick up trashed dumped in her India Basin neighborhood, she would get a curious answer: “Oh, you’re not in the city.”

Although lndia Basin’s rugged fields and coastline lie within San Francisco, even many city workers were unfamiliar with it. Today, the southeastern portion of Hunters Point neighborhood, is getting heaps of attention. The scope of one of the city’s most ambitious development projects has begun to sharpen and the developer shared new details and images with the Business Times.

Developer Build Inc. is making headway on plans that will give India Basin’s wildlife lots of new neighbors. The project could bring up to 980 housing units, hundreds of thousands of square feet for retailers, artist studios and a charter school.

“It’s been with mixed emotions that a developer has come in. At least with Build, they’re listening to us and are respectful of land. They know what a unique site this is,” said Smith, president of the India Basin Neighborhood Association.

Plans are still developing as the environmental review process has just started, but Build Inc. has now linked up with several major partners since announcingplans to develop 27 mostly vacant acres last summer. Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco will build a large chunk of the units as for-sale homes for low- and moderate-income residents. The charter school Mission Prep will move at least a temporary home to the site by July 2016. The nonprofit ArtSpan plans to give artists affordable studio space there.

Buildings will stand three-to-six stories tall, a stark contrast to the three, 650-foot condo towers that the former property owner, the Acosta family, wanted to build there. A central public square will sit in the middle of the development, with boardwalks and shared streets for cars and pedestrians woven in.

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