A controversial and politically charged luxury condo development on San Francisco’s northeastern waterfront has cleared key hurdles after years of planning, but faces more challenges next month.
In a marathon meeting that ran past midnight Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors decisively supported the 134-condo development proposed by Simon Snellgrove of Pacific Waterfront Partners.
In an 8-3 vote, the board rejected appeals of the project’s environmental impact report and of a special permit, clearing the way for an up or down vote on the development before the board June 12.
Opponents of the 8 Washington St. project say the dwellings will end up selling for between $2.5 million and $7.5 million, and argue that luxury condos are not the affordable housing that San Francisco needs. They objected to the bulk of the development and the increase in height, and expressed concerns over traffic and parking. Members of the private Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club were upset that the development would replace their club with a new one without tennis courts.
But the criticism wasn’t just aimed at the development itself, but what it bodes for the future of the northeastern waterfront. “The waterfront eventually will look like Miami Beach,” said Louise Renne, a former city attorney and project opponent.
Supporters praised the project for bringing community benefits, including at least $11 million in affordable-housing fees, and for construction jobs. The San Francisco Labor Council threw its support behind the development and opposed any more delays.
Supervisor Mark Farrell said local government shouldn’t play the role of telling a “private club owner ‘No, you can’t do your project because you are taking away a certain amount of tennis courts.’”
“Let’s get those jobs going,” he said. “Let’s get this moving. Let’s get the project built.”
Despite a plea to his colleagues to reject the environmental impact report and later to postpone a vote on the special permit, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu failed to gain the support he needed from his colleagues. Chiu, who represents the neighborhood of the project site, said, “We are destroying a community and I’m not sure for what reason.”
Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos sided with Chiu.