ULI San Francisco Blog

1500 Mission: Enhancing Public and Private Partnerships

On Tuesday, February 7th, ULI San Francisco held a lunchtime presentation, at the offices of Holland & Knight, to discuss public-private partnerships.  The talk centered on recent collaboration between the City of San Francisco and development firm Related California, on the old Goodwill site at 1500 Mission. John Updike, the City of San Francisco’s Director of Property, and Matt Witte, a partner at Related California, presented details of the partnership to a full house of about 40 people.

Mr. Witte and Mr. Updike discussed in detail the genesis of the joint partnership project, outlining how Related had previously unsuccessfully bid on two nearby properties – the Plumbers’ Union and the Honda dealership – but felt that in the end they got the best of the three sites for their respective needs.

The 16-story, 460,000sf City portion of the project, will allow the City to consolidate three departments, City Planning, Department of Public Works, and the Department of Building Inspections, into one building and create a one-stop permit center. The one stop permit center will feature additional permitting agencies like the Entertainment Commission and Fire Department. Mr. Updike envisions such a broad array of permitting desks that his office is planning for a concierge to help direct incoming permit seekers on arrival.

Related’s side of the project will include a 39-story residential development with 550 total units at an 80/20 affordable split, a rooftop park, and 38,000sf of retail on the ground floor. Mr. Witte outlined the changes the project had undergone since inception, including massing changes because of complex wind studies and streetscape alterations. Some unique steps the project took to meet specifications of the wind ordinance included a large scale porous wind canopy and wind screens along a widened sidewalk set back.

The focus of the presentation and subsequent conversation detailed the nature of the partnership between the City and Related California and participants asked questions regarding the structure of the deal and oversight process. One such question was as to whether the project had received favorable treatment during entitlement, the answer was that it was quite the opposite, as City Planning did not want to be viewed as giving their own project less scrutiny than others. Additional questions on the partnerships included whether the City and Related had considered a development agreement, which in this case was not allowed by the City. In all, it was a great dialogue covering the intricacies of the 1500 Mission deal and sparked ideas on how public entities and private developers can work together to accomplish mutually beneficial projects.

By: Lev Kushner

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