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S.F. Bay Area Megaprojects Not Coming to Fruition

Plans for numerous large-scale developments in the region mean thousands of housing units should be on the way, but constant delays and setbacks have left projects nowhere near completion.
February 5, 2020, 8am PST | Camille Fink
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City and County of San Francisco

"At a time when housing is needed as soon as possible to stem the tide of displacement and homelessness, at least 75,000 units in the [San Francisco] Bay Area are part of mega-developments — mostly on former industrial or military sites — that are frequently sidetracked for years or even decades due to long approval processes, high infrastructure costs, complicated environmental cleanup issues and financing difficulties," writes J.K. Dineen.

Three San Francisco redevelopment projects planned almost a decade ago — Hunters Point Shipyard, Treasure Island, and Parkmerced — will add 27,500 units to the city’s housing stock. But the projects are not close to delivering the affordable housing that the city desperately needs.

"While the projects look promising on paper, the reality has been different. After nine years, only 350 homes — 1.3% of the total — have been completed. Even as housing prices have skyrocketed and developers have scrambled to build condos and apartments, progress at the three mega-developments has languished," says Dineen.

The Bay Area has seen some megaproject successes, but critics say these larger, costlier developments are not the best strategy for tackling the state’s dire housing crisis, notes Dineen. "While the state is pressuring communities to build their fair share of housing, megaprojects allow politicians and planners to take credit for permitting lots of units, giving them political cover when downsizing, delaying or rejecting smaller infill housing projects that would actually get built, said state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco."

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Published on Monday, January 20, 2020 in San Francisco Chronicle
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