Embarcadero Navigation center to open as early as Nov. after judge rules in favor

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The controversial Embarcadero Navigation Center currently under construction will be allowed to open sometime in November or early December. A judge denied a petition by neighbors to stop it from going forward.

The number of homeless people along the Embarcadero, just south of the Bay Bridge, fluctuates on any given day, at any given time. We spoke to a homeless man who frequents the neighborhood.

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He told us he had been homeless for just a second, even though he looked disheveled, was carrying a dirty pillow and few belongings.

"Yeah, yeah I carry it, that's pretty much it," he added.

Crime in this dense area also rises and falls, just like in many San Francisco neighborhoods. But when a woman was caught on camera being attacked by a homeless man, neighbors increased their efforts to try to stop this proposed navigation center next door from going forward.

"We don't have any confidence that the city will be able to run this one without any negative consequences for this neighborhood," said Wallace Lee of Safe Embarcadero for All.

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Through their attorney, the group argued that the land has to be used for the good of the public. Until now it's been a parking lot.

But the city said the navigation center is not a permanent structure and would stay in place for a maximum of four years. The city is charging itself $400,000 a year to lease the property-- meaning taxpayer dollars are being used.

On Monday, the judge in the case did not grant a stay, instead agreed with the city's position allowing the project to be completed.

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"If San Francisco is unable to open the Navigation Center or if the opening is delayed, the city wrote, hundreds of unsheltered people who the navigation center would serve will instead remain on the streets," ruled Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman.

The group Safe Embarcadero for All will decide whether or not to appeal the judge's decision.
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