by Ken Gimblin
SAN FRANCISCO–Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and former candidate for San Francisco mayor Quentin Kopp (now a San Mateo County judge) asked for the San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors, Former mayors of San Francisco Dianne Fienstein, Frank Jordan, Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom and current Mayor Ed Lee to join them in supporting Proposition B the height limitation measure for any development along the 7 1/2 mile waterfront.
Three big hopeful developers were on board the Warriors who want a new arena at Piers 30-32 plus a condo tower and hotel, the Giants who want to develop retail, condos, a hotel, a themed entertainment area and restaurants at the waterfront near lot A in the Giants current parking lot, and Forest City who currently owns property and a condo development that was formerly the Presido Public Health Hospital a veterans hospital on federal land at 15th and Lake Street in the City which is known today as the Presidio Landmark want to develop their other property at Pier 70 for retail and condo space.
Under Prop B development would be restricted to 40-105 feet in height unless voters vote in favor of a speciific project that would wave the height limitation. The city held an election last year on height restrictions Props B and C that were called the 8 Washington Condos and that was killed by the voters. The 8 Washington group wanted to develop at nearby Piers 30-32 new condos and hotels and after that election it’s going to be much harder to go to the voters and ask to lift the height restriction.
Lee is in a tough spot as the Yes on B campaign is working on him to endorse B and it would benefit San Francisco and that according to the Port Commission and the Giants in the long term and that the city would profit by $8.5 billion and $124 million for affordable housing fees. The Prop B measure made the ballot after more than double the required eligible ballots came in to put the measure on the ballot.
Acknowledging the momentum for Prop B and advised that Prop B will win Lee who at one time said the Warriors new arena would be a “legacy” to his administration has now turned around and said that he will not endorse Prop B nor would he campaign against it either because he doesn’t want to offend either side and that if he supported Prop B he would have well over 18,000 voters who got the measure on the ballot pleased that he’s with them on height limits.
If Lee was to stay in the pro delvelopment camp he would have such groups as the Sierra Club, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and a lot of voters who want to protect the waterfront who will more than likely come out against Lee in his re-election bid for Mayor. It has been said even from Mayor Lee’s stand point that Prop B will pass in June and that any development at the waterfront will more than likely have to be approved by the voters.
Ken Gimblin is covering the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings arena developments for Sportstalk radio