Treasure Island redevelopment projected to rake big money for San Francisco 

What’s that weird sound coming from the center of San Francisco Bay? Don’t worry, it’s probably just the ringing of public cash registers.

An analyst’s report set to go before city supervisors at Wednesday’s Budget and Finance Subcommittee says the complete redevelopment of Treasure Island will bring in a little more than $80 million to San Francisco’s general fund during its 20-year buildup, which includes 8,000 new homes that are projected to increase the island’s population nearly tenfold to 19,000.

The timing, and perhaps the entire project, depends on whether the full Board of Supervisors approves the plan at its regular May 17 meeting. The City’s Planning Commission gave it a 4-3 vote during an hours-long evening hearing on April 21, when a long line of public speakers either touted the project’s potential to build a self-sustained ecotopia, or decried the plan for a recent reduction in affordable housing targets, its potential to further snarl Bay Bridge traffic and its susceptibility to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Questions remain over how the progressive supervisor and simultaneous mayoral candidate John Avalos will vote on the matter in light of the affordable housing reductions, which came as a result of fears that Gov. Jerry Brown will be successful in his bid to eliminate redevelopment agencies statewide. Once under a redevelopment financing structure, planners last month said they will instead use an “infrastructure financing district,” which similarly allows governments to borrow development capital against future tax revenue.

The report says that if the new island community is finished by 2030, it will provide an annual $3.3 million to city coffers and after financing is complete, $30 million per year. The City is set to spend $156.8 million and take in $236.8 million during 20 years of construction at the former U.S. Navy base.

The $5 billion project also includes high-rises with panoramic views of San Francisco (and Oakland, if you dig the Oakland skyline) along with 400 acres of open space and a $155 million investment in transportation, including more Muni buses and a ferry terminal that would send boats downtown every 15 minutes.

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Dan Schreiber

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