The six-year-old battle over the San Francisco Flower Mart appears close to a resolution today, however it looks like it's happening at the expense of a lot of housing, which is a damn shame.
Waaaay back in 2014, property owner Kilroy Realty Corp. announced plans to redevelop the SF Flower Mart's site at Sixth and Brannan, promising to give the beloved wholesale market a new replacement space in the basement of a planned residential tower. That plan was met with opposition, as Curbed recounts, though in 2018 Kilroy announced that it had secured a temporary Bayview location for the market for use while the tower project was under construction.
But now yet another plan has emerged: Move the Flower Mart to two undeveloped parcels along 16th Street in Potrero Hill. But, as the Chronicle reports, that means that plans to develop that property with 395 housing units, approved in 2016, are getting scrapped.
Kilroy Senior Vice President Mike Grisso issued a statement saying, "We are just starting the community process [for the market]... Preserving the wholesale flower market and keeping it in San Francisco has always been the most important goal of the project."
The properties at 901 16th Street and 1200 17th Street were going to become a housing development from the Prado Group which was met with heavy neighborhood opposition and inevitable lawsuit in recent years. As Curbed notes, all that delay led Prado to wash its hands of the project and sell the property to Kilroy for $99 million.
Now, one of the anti-development groups that sued Prado, Grow Potrero Responsibly, has declared victory over the Flower Mart announcement. "The proposal to put the Flower Mart at 901 16th Street (Corovan) instead of the approved massive 395 unit development is a win-win for both the neighborhood and the Flower Mart," the group says on its website. "We anticipate considerably fewer traffic impacts with the Flower Mart than what we would have gotten with the entitled project."
Yes, but, the city needs housing! The Mayor's Office is lamenting this latest development, calling it emblematic of the city's broken approvals process. The mayor's spokesperson, Jeff Cretan, a spokesman for Mayor London Breed, called this "a good example of why the mayor wants to streamline housing approvals and permitting," and adding, "It’s a unique situation, but it’s not a good thing when we obstruct and delay housing and make housing infeasible."
In any event, the beloved Flower Mart, a fixture in the city since 1924 and once featured on Martha Stewart's TV show, looks like it's been saved, and the unique grower-owned market will stay nearby.