SF Business Times: One of San Francisco’s biggest housing proposals scores approval
Check out the President and CEO of Prado Group, Dan Safier, in the article below!
By Blanca Torres
SF Business Times – November 13th, 2019
After years of planning — and battling neighborhood opposition — a proposal to build 744 homes at 3333 California St. in San Francisco is moving forward.
The city’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday evening to approve the project, which represents the largest new home development in the city’s northwest quadrant in decades.
The project includes 186 homes for low-income seniors, a childcare center, five acres of public open space and 35,000 square feet of retail.
“The Board of Supervisors took an important step forward in meeting the city’s housing goals and helping to provide a place that families, seniors and neighbors can call home,” Dan Safier, president and CEO of the Prado Group, said in a statement. “The project will transform an underutilized corporate office site into a new residential and mixed-use environment in the Laurel Heights neighborhood.”
The developers aim to break ground in early 2021 and complete the first phases of homes two years later. Overall, the project will cost more than $600 million.
New housing anywhere west of Van Ness Avenue is notoriously difficult to secure approval for. A group of neighbors filed appeals to overturn the planning commission’s approval in September.
During a three-and-a-half hour hearing on Tuesday, opponents said the project’s environmental impact report was flawed.
Many speakers opposed a plan to cut down existing trees on the site and destroy what they called a swath of natural open space.
The trees became a point of contention. One speaker told the board that “trees have rights” and several speakers said removing trees for new development would increase harmful greenhouse gas emissions. One supporter countered by saying that workers who long distances to reach jobs in San Francisco also contribute, if not more, to greenhouse gas emissions.
The developers and supporters rebuked the open space argument saying that the site, originally conceived as a suburban-style office campus, is closed off from much of the neighborhood.
Other opponents said the development’s retail component would hurt the neighborhood and encourage people to stay out late at night.
“The project adds neighborhood-serving retail that will increase foot traffic to existing businesses while providing new retail that will serve the needs of the neighborhood,” Safier said.
The 10-acre property currently houses 455,000 square feet of office occupied by the University of California, San Francisco and is surrounded by mostly homes in Laurel Heights.
Developers Prado Group and SKS Partners first submitted their proposal close to five years ago.
The developers originally aimed for 558 homes and an office component that was since axed to make room for the senior housing, which involves a collaboration with nonprofit developer Mercy Housing.
“We don’t have enough senior housing in San Francisco,” said Doug Shoemaker, president of Mercy Housing, previously told the Business Times. “We hope people see the senior housing component as a way to enhance the value of the development for the broader neighborhood.”