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Mission Bay’s Citizens Advisory Committee met recently to discuss several items, including plans for a new police and fire building.

POLICE AND FIRE

San Francisco’s police headquarters at the Hall of Justice will eventually find a new home on Third Street in Mission Bay, alongside local police and fire stations and the historical Fire Station #30.

Laura Blake, project manager for the architects chosen to design the building, presented very preliminary plans, which show a multi-use building that wraps around the preexisting brick fire house, which itself will be preserved and redone for some yet-to-be-determined community use. The building will house law enforcement offices but not jail or courts.

The designers want to green certify the building, aiming for a LEED Gold accreditation and “minimum silver,” according to Blake. She said the main hurdle to the higher level of green certification is the data center, which requires significant ventilation for computer tech.

Current plans include the fire station exit along what will become Mission Rock Street, to minimize siren noise for residents in Radiance and Strata housing.

The committee asked if designers would consider factoring childcare into the building, particularly as it already includes two courtyards. “We’re desperate for childcare space in Mission Bay,” said Corinne Woods, committee chair.

Others asked if the police districts would be redrawn in the planning, pointing to the fact that Mission Bay is now split between Hall of Justice and Bay View districts.

The design also includes a parking garage for building workers, which designers hope will prevent police from double parking along the Third Street transit corridor. Participants made a few jokes about how there should be a designated lane between Block 8 and Philz Coffee – others parried that it would be easier to put a Philz inside the building.

There is no estimate on when groundbreaking might begin, given the current budget restrictions and the economic climate, according to Samson Chan, a spokesman for the San Francisco police department.

MONEY FOR ROADS

Mission Bay’s roads, utilities, and parks are paid for through incremental tax. Because money is tight right now and development in the area has slowed, the tax base with which to pay for these public needs is slim.

Mission Bay Development Group, a company working for master developer Focil-MB, is tasked with installing all this in Mission Bay, in addition to helping the city identify sources of funding.

Seth Hamalian from the group spoke about lack of growth in property tax base and how, to “finance the infrastructure immediately,” the city is appealing to the federal government to help revamp or build roads and traffic infrastructure.

“The tax dollars aren’t coming in as quickly as the infrastructure that Focil’s putting in,” said Catherine Reilly, acting project manager for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.

The mayor’s office has already requested the money, and the advisory committee voted to approve letters of support to Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, asking for two separate installments of nearly $25 million each to complete two groups of road improvements in the southern part of Mission Bay.

“Mission Bay is enormously critical to San Francisco’s economic future…When the full build out of Mission Bay is complete, it will contain 24,000 permanent jobs in biotech, cleantech, healthcare, education and other critical fields, adding the highest number of permanent jobs created from pending redevelopment projects in the City,” write the committee in the letters.

One allotment of money would improve Third, Illinois, and South Streets, along with portions of Terry Francois Boulevard and 16th Street. The other portion would go to roads surrounding the new hospital, including extending Owens Street, upgrading the Interstate 280 off-ramp, and lengthening Fourth Street through the hospital.

GRUMPINESS OVER HIGH SPEED RAIL

California is installing high speed rail – in case you hadn’t noticed – and preliminary plans for construction have come out. According to Woods, these include putting part of 16th Street underground where it hits the train tracks along Seventh Street.

“I think this is a disaster for Mission Bay,” Woods said, remarking that it would make Mission Bay even more of “an island” and guessing it might be easier to put the train underground rather than redo the entire Seventh Street – 16th Street intersection, which was entirely redone in the last few years with new traffic lights and railroad crossing. The intersection also features Interstate 280 overhead.

Meeting participants were quick to say that they were positive about high-speed rail but that it should be planned with consideration of the city’s needs.

Committee members noted that one alternative route suggested in the high-speed rail plans have even greater effect to the north near Beale Street, where the California Highspeed Rail Authority may require the removal of buildings, at least according to the Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association. Chris Daly will be holding a meeting on the Beale Street alternative December 16 at 5:30 in the South Beach Community Room at Pier 40A.

“High-speed rail is essentially rolling over everybody,” Woods said.

ODDS AND ENDS

No one can quite say when Fourth Street will be opening up, but the Department of Public Works will be installing medians at Gene Friend Way and Nelson Rising Lane starting December 15, and Reilly suggested it might be open some time in January or February.

Time’s limited for the decrepit restaurant Carmen’s, rotting away on stilts in Mission Creek. The Port Authority is looking for money to disappear the whole mess of her, though there are some issues over how to do it, since the wood’s so rotten it’s not safe to walk on.

Carmen's restaurant sits, rotting away, above Mission Creek.

Carmen's restaurant sits, rotting away, above Mission Creek.

The Bluepeter building, a warehouse next to the Shorenstein’s twin buildings on Illinois Street, is awaiting subcommittee comment. The warehouse is slated for demolition to make way for public open space, but because some have expressed interest in saving it, the committee and redevelopment agency will reconsider the issue in next month’s meeting.