SF props put affordable housing to a vote

May 27, 2008 7:33:29 PM PDT
San Francisco voters next week will decide the future of the old Hunters Point Naval Shipyard -- some 770 acres of waterfront property. Proposition G would require the Lennar Corporation to construct the largest single block of affordable housing units ever built in the city. Proposition F, though, says it's not enough.

The old Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is the largest undeveloped site in San Francisco.

"This time we're taking control of our neighborhood and we're going to get the job done this time," says resident Eleanor Williams.

Prop. G says the developer, Lennar Corporation, could have the land to build 10,000 new homes with certain conditions. Some of the homes must be sold or rented to low and moderate-income families, in other words, a family of four earning less than $65,000 a year.

Lennar also promises to build retail shops, an office park, make improvements to the surrounding area, and rebuild a nearby public housing development. No city money is involved.

"We're talking more than just about bricks and mortar, we are talking about the revitalization of the neighborhood, we are talking about jobs," says Kofi Bonner with Lennar Corporation.

And there are plenty of big names backing the development. On KGO Radio's Ronn Owens Show, the former president of the 49ers, Carmen Policy, said the project puts San Francisco back in the running to keep the team in town. Prop. G offers the possibility of a new stadium.

"I actually think it places us in a position where we're at least at a 50/50 percent position," says Policy.

Enter Prop. F. Supporters demand that half of the housing be affordable.

"Of course Lennar stands to make billions of dollars off of this development, so we think it's only fair that they give something back to the community," says Alicia Schwartz, a Prop. F supporter.

"A lot of families are having a hard time staying in San Francisco. They are getting pushed out and housing prices have the most to do with that," says Tom Jackson with Coleman Advocates for Youth and Families.

Opponents say Prop. F is designed to be a deal breaker. Lennar has said it will walk if Prop. F wins. Still, the Miami-based developer is not giving up.

Initially, Lennar said 25 percent of new homes would be built as affordable housing, but once they realized Prop. G was behind in the polls, they sweetened the deal to 32 percent.

On June 3rd, voters will decide the future of the area, hoping it will have a positive outcome on the community.


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