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What’s Coming to Mission Bay? What Isn’t?

With the Giants’ Mission Rock complex, the Uber towers, the Central Subway, and more already on the way, the rapidly developing area is hitting warp speed. 


The proposed Golden State Warriors arena.

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The Giants' proposed development at Mission Rock, on the south side of McCovey Cove.

Rendering: Courtesy of Steelblue/Perkins + Will and the SF Giants

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The new San Francisco Public Safety Building.

Photo: Brian Flaherty

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The controversial proposed site of the Warriors arena.

Photo: Brian Flaherty

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A one-man band awaits a bus on the UCSF campus.

Photo: Brian Flaherty

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Even to those who’ve never set foot in Mission Bay, its metamorphosis is obvious—heck, they can see it out their car windows when they’re stuck on Highway 280. The 303-acre wasteland turned biotech park has been molting its old skin feverishly. Gone are the driving range, the warehouses, and the vacant lots; in their place, flashy offices, high-rise apartments, laboratories, hospitals, and parks are popping up. Mission Bay’s skyline is transforming so fast that if you blink, you’ll barely recognize it. Here, San Francisco tallies some of the largest projects in the works.

Golden State Warriors arena
The proposed crown jewel of the Mission Bay development boom is an 18,000-seat arena for the reigning NBA champions, plus two 11-story office buildings and plenty of restaurants and retail at street level. Team ownership has pledged that it, not the public, will foot the $1.4 billion bill. The proposed complex will sit on a 12-acre parcel at Third and South Streets, next to the Mission Rock stop of Muni’s T-Third line and—a source of contention—adjacent to the new UCSF Medical Center.

Mission Rock initiative 
The San Francisco Giants’ push to develop the empty lot on the south side of McCovey Cove is faring notably better than its efforts to repeat as World Series champions. In June, the team came to an agreement with a consortium of unionists and supervisors Jane Kim and John Avalos with regard to how much affordable housing the 38-acre project will include: a remarkable 40 percent, far higher than the city requirement of 12 percent. In addition to some 1,500 housing units—the aforementioned 40 percent slated for low- and middle-income residents—the $1.6 billion project will feature two 24-story office towers with 1.7 million square feet of commercial space and 11 acres of open space, including two parks and a pedestrian-only lane cutting through the middle of the housing complexes. Adjacent Pier 48 will house an Anchor brewery, a satellite of the Potrero Hill–based suds company. Retail at the project, the Giants say, will be of the non-chain-store, mom-and-pop variety, and the buildings will be designed by a number of architects, setting them apart from Mission Bay’s monolithic norm.

Central Subway project
For approximately $100 million per 10th of a mile (yes, that’s $190,000 a foot), the 1.7-mile-long Central Subway will connect Mission Bay directly to SoMa and Chinatown by 2019. From the existing Muni station at Fourth and King Streets, the T-Third line will roll along Fourth Street and then dip underground at Bryant, stopping at Yerba Buena and Union Square and terminating at Washington and Stockton Streets in Chinatown. For better or worse, this costly subterranean line will someday supplant the extant surface lines.

Uber headquarters
As Uber grows exponentially, the app-driven ride service’s demand for elbow room is expanding as well. It doubled the office space at its current headquarters on Market Street, just bought the 330,000-square-foot Sears Building in Oakland, and is expanding big time in Mission Bay. The company acquired two lots for $125 million last year from Salesforce (which also sold the Warriors the land for their arena). Uber’s planned 423,000-square-foot complex will house more than 3,000 workers, none of whom will be required to brave the streets of Mission Bay during the workday: The 11-story tower at 1455 Third Street will be connected by sky bridges to the six-story building at 1515 Third Street. Uber plans to break ground this year and move in by 2018—perhaps just in time to welcome the Warriors as its next-door neighbor.

Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices
The Bay Area–spawned health giant plans to open its new medical facility next spring, a nine-story monolith in the shadow of 280. The more than 200,000-square-foot building, to be set on a parcel that Kaiser bought for $55.2 million in 2013, will house adult and pediatric care, women’s health services, and a pharmacy.

Block 1 housing and hotel
The 2.73-acre triangular block bordering Third, Fourth, and Channel Streets has passed through several hands and blueprints over the past three years. Currently the block is set to host two different projects—a 350-room residential project from CIM Group and a 250-room hotel by Soma Hotel that should start construction later this year and open by 2016.

Exchange on 16th Street
A new office and retail complex costing $450 million is coming to the intersection of 16th and Owens Streets. Comprising two 6-story buildings and two 12-story buildings, the 700,000-square-foot project is owned by Kilroy Development and will be targeted at tech firms. One of the 12-story buildings will have a parking garage on its lower floors.

Block 33 and 34
Joining Uber and the Warriors on land formerly held by Salesforce, UCSF bought this parcel—an empty rectangular lot directly across from the newly opened UCSF Medical Center on Third Street—for $72.5 million in August 2014. It is the only UCSF property east of Third Street. According to UCSF assistant director of public affairs Kristen Bole, the university plans to construct two buildings for office and research use, one of which should be completed by 2018, and a parking garage.


Originally published in the November issue of San Francisco

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