Major changes coming to Treasure Island

August 17, 2010 7:29:12 PM PDT
Major changes are coming to Treasure Island. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was there to talk about a redevelopment plan that will create a community and thousands of jobs at the former naval base.

"Treasure Island officially enters its next chapter," Pelosi said Tuesday.

Pelosi, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signed documents Tuesday spelling out terms for the transfer of Treasure Island from the Navy to the city. The deed has not been handed over, but everyone seems on board.

"We're just months away, sometime next year, from developing thousands of jobs, 8,000 housing unit San Francisco, acres of open space," Newsom said.

The manmade island was built on landfill for the 1939 World's Fair then turned over to the military, which ceased operations in 1997.

The Navy is expected to receive $105 million from the deal with the money coming from developers.

Former Supervisor Tony Hall, the man who used to be in charge of running Treasure Island for the city, calls the plan 'Fantasy Island.'

"The question is where is the money coming from and who's going to pay for the predevelopment costs, whose going to loan this project in today's real estate market knowing they have to spend hundreds of millions to stabilize the island, to detoxify it," Hall said.

Overall the project is expected to cost $1.4 billion over 15-20 years. The Lennar Corporation is one of the developers and insists the project is doable.

"This is a tough real estate market but it's a fabulous time to plan and position for the next cycle," Lennar spokesperson Kofi Bonner said.

If the finances aren't shaky, the ground beneath the island is. Construction will have to take into account earthquake stability and rising sea levels. But city officials are not fazed by the challenges.

"Five hundred acres floating in San Francisco is truly irreplaceable; this is not a question of it, but when," Economic and Workforce Development spokesperson Michael Cohen said.


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