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San Francisco

8 Washington Is Over; Developer Gives Up On Agreement For Seawall Lot [Updated]

We reported back in September that an appeals court decision concerning the contentious 8 Washington condo development could be the nail in the coffin for the project, and today we learned that the developer has made it official.

The attorney for San Francisco Waterfront Partners, Neil Sekhri, sent a letter to the Port on Wednesday formally terminating the exclusive negotiating agreement, as of February 17th. (We reached out to San Francisco Waterfront Partners, but no one was available to comment.)

The developer had previously planned to build 134 condos and 20,000 square feet of retail space, along with 30,000 feet of public open space and parks. The development would have occurred on Seawall Lot 351 and land the developer would purchase that currently houses the Bay Club at the Gateway, a swim, tennis and fitness center.

"The bottom line is, the project is over every which way," said Jon Golinger, one of the project's major foes. "I think it’s a huge victory for everyone in San Francisco who loves its waterfront, and it’s a testament to a community not giving up on something it cares about."  

Incidentally, the website for Pacific Waterfront Partners (which is the name under which the developer has also operated) still includes plans for the project. Many opponents suspected the developer eventually would come back with a proposal that adhered to existing height limits and possibly included affordable housing, but no plans were ever submitted. More than five years and tens of millions of dollars were spent on the project, including $44 million from the The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), according to SF Weekly.

Golinger and Lee Radner, another staunch 8 Washington opponent, told us the community plans to propose that the Port explore other uses for the seawall lot than condos. Specifically, both want to see some kind of recreation center on the site. Watch for a follow-up article on Hoodline tomorrow looking into that in more detail.

Update, 3/3: Susan Brandt-Hawley, the attorney representing Defend Our Waterfront, a coalition of groups opposed to the project, sent us an email confirming that the legal cases involving the 8 Washington project are over and giving a brief explanation about the case. She writes:

The lawsuit brought by Defend Our Waterfront resulted in a published appellate ruling setting statewide precedent against the State Lands Commission to stop the Commission’s practice of exchanging public trust lands without environmental review. The case also specifically resulted in the Commission setting aside the transfer of Seawall Lot 351 at the corner of The Embarcadero and Washington Street for the 8 Washington project. The lawsuit brought by Neighbors to Preserve the Waterfront, Friends of Golden Gateway, and San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth challenging the 8 Washington environmental impacts report (EIR) was also successful, and the court set aside the inadequate project EIR.
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