The Wall Street Journal shines a spotlight on S.F.'s largest new part of town, Mission Bay, and tries to show both sides of the debate on whether the area is successfully meeting its redevelopment goals or whether it's just a huge, cold, out-of-scale failure. They note that Salesforce.com is hoping to move in with a sprawling office campus, including a plaza with huge pink Jumbotron in the middle of it (see rendering at right). Salesforce still has to go up against the City's Design Review Board, and they're leaving open the possibility of simply moving somewhere else.
But more importantly, does the whole area feel like anything yet? Is there a there there? Will there ever be? One Berkeley planning professor says sure, and the important thing here was that San Francisco needed to get in on a modern job sector like biotech, and they did, with 35 biotech companies and the huge UCSF campus now in Mission Bay. But there are also 6,000 housing units planned down there, 3,000 of which are built, and it's not exactly what anyone would call a home-y neighborhood. Says Eric Corey Freed of organicARCHITECT, "that part of the city is still a bit of a wasteland, and the [Salesforce] project doesn't do much to change that... [it's] a place that feels cold, out of scale and out of touch with humanity."
This is where redevelopment money gets pretty vital, though. They're only halfway through a 25-year buildout, and there are a total of $700 million worth of infrastructure improvements (roads, parks, plazas, maybe a retail node, whathaveyou) still to be done, funded by redevelopment tax-increment bonds. If Governor Brown succeeds in killing off redevelopment before all these bonds are in place, you're going to have an office park with some condos in the middle of it and not a lot else.