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Pier 70 To Be Developed Into Art Market With 3,000 Housing Units

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Transforming one of the Bay Area's oldest shipyards into housing and commercial space just got a green light.

San Francisco supervisors approved the long-discussed plan to turn 35 acres at Pier 70 into waterfront housing, commercial space and parks.

Critics say the Dogpatch neighborhood is already being gentrified, but supporters point to the need for ever more housing.

On Tuesday, the supervisors voted unanimously to approve a huge new development at Pier 70, an old and dilapidated industrial site on the edge of the Bay.

A company called Forest City will redevelop the old WWII ship-building site into a 24-acre mixed-use project with housing, retail and office space. But it's unique because Pier 70 is the first waterfront development to be first approved in a city-wide election as required by Proposition B, passed in 2014. The project won with 73 percent of the vote.

"Pier 70 really is an opportunity to transform a portion of the city's waterfront…" said Forest City Sr. VP of Development Jack Sylvan said. "Ultimately, when we went to the ballot, having the neighborhood supporting the effort made all the difference."

Pier 70 got the support of its neighbors by agreeing to save and refurbish old historic buildings and maintain the industrial feel of the area.

There will be park space and public walkways and 30 percent of the 3,000 new housing units will be Below Market Rate.

The historic Building 12 will be converted into a gigantic market and work space for artists and craftspeople. People like professional artist and designer Kim Austin, who believes that including a creative space will add vitality to the project.

"It'll make it cool and fun and interesting and something to see and experience," Austin said.

Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos loves the way the Pier 70 plan is taking the community's wishes into account.

He helped promote Proposition B, and says it has changed the way developers design projects on the waterfront.

Agnos said, "They make a campaign contribution and they can usually get what they want. But when you have to come to the people of San Francisco to get a vote for your project, it's an entirely different chemistry."

Construction should start as early as January or February with housing and the artists' marketplace in the first phase.

Forest City says the entire project will take about 11 years to complete.

Pier 70 has been in the planning stages for more than a decade, that's why it was ready for the ballot just six months after Proposition B was enacted.

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