The waterfront luxury condo development known as 8 Washington St. won City Hall approval, but the project is threatened by a possible ballot measure and now a lawsuit from the Ferry Building.
Equity Office Properties, the Ferry Building’s management company, filed a suit Friday against the development’s environmental impact report, arguing that it fails to adequately address parking and traffic.
Project spokesman PJ Johnston said EOP is only looking to “protect its cash-cow parking operation” and that anyone truly concerned about area merchants would trade the 90-space surface lot for the proposed 200-space underground lot.
But EOP spokesman Chuck Finnie said the development would eliminate parking promised by the Port of San Francisco at the time of the Ferry Building’s 2003 overhaul. He said the building needs an alternative parking solution since the garage will take years to be completed, at best.
“EOP is not in the parking business,” Finnie said. “We are in the Ferry Building business.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Elections is counting the signatures submitted for the referendum, a process both sides have been observing. If certified, it would end up on November’s ballot or the 2013 ballot, and the project would be on hold in the meantime.
“This just shows how misleading and cynical the entire anti-8 Washington machine has been,” Johnston said of the opposition efforts. “The folks on the street play class warfare, but the whole thing has been carried all along by deep-pocketed corporations, EOP and Boston Properties.”
Boston Properties owns the nearby Embarcadero Center and has donated to the referendum effort.
Jon Golinger, president of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers and leader of the referendum effort, said accusations of being misleading make no sense since signature gatherers showed signers a photo of the development.
As for business support, Golinger said the developer’s push for a height exemption created a diverse opposition coalition, which includes not only businesses but also tenant activists and neighborhood leaders.
“That’s how you run successful campaigns,” he said, “and that’s how you win an election.”