Delay On Central SoMa Vote Leaves Developers, SF Flower Mart In Limbo

The Planning Commission has postponed a vote today on the Central SoMa plan, leaving several developers waiting to move forward and some tenants wondering about their future.

The Central SoMa plan was conceived to allow for new construction of office buildings and residential units, creating space for 45,000 new jobs and 7,500 housing units.

Map: SF Planning

The Planning Commission's board was set to vote on it today, but due to a public noticing error, the vote has been pushed to May 10th.

One of several developments contingent upon the adoption of the Central SoMa plan is Kilroy Realty’s planned mixed-use retail and office space that would replace SF Flower Mart’s warehouse with a 125,000-square-foot facility surrounded by ground-floor retail and topped with 2 million square feet of offices.

Rendering via Kilroy Realty

The proposed project includes 40,612 square feet of privately-owned public space and ample parking for tenants, including loading zones for the flower market.

Kilroy has said it is taking every step to ensure the SF Flower Mart survives its relocation during the three-to-five year construction period, because it wants to bring the tenants back to the new building.

"The preferred [relocation] site is 2000 Marin St. in San Francisco, subject to its availability," Kilroy senior vice president Mike Grisso said.

2000 Marin St., was most recently used as staging for the construction of SF General Hospital. Prior to 2009, it was a newspaper printing plant, according to SF Planning documents.

2000 Marin St. | Photo: Google

As we previously reported, Tishman Speyer is planning a 1.2 million-square-foot development in the block bounded by 4th, 5th, Bryant, and Brannan streets.

Documents filed with the city last year suggest that Hearst Corporation, the property owner at both 2000 Marin and Speyer's proposed development site, would transfer more than 383,000 square feet at 2000 Marin St. to the city's Public Utilities Commission.

The agreement the city is negotiating with Hearst "could result in the property being available for the temporary flower market by the time it is needed," Grisso said.

Kilroy has identified space at Piers 19, 19 1/2, and 23, as an alternative relocation site if the timing does not line up, Grisso said.

Image: Kilroy Realty (larger)

Members of the community that supports the flower market have expressed concerns about the developer’s plans. 

The Coalition to Save SF Flower Mart, created by a group of florists who patronize the market, is calling on SF Planning and the Board of Supervisors to deny Kilroy’s request to re-zone the property for offices.

The group has created a petition asking city leaders to protect San Francisco Flower Mart—one of the largest markets of its kind on the West Coast—from displacement. As of this writing, they've gathered nearly 75,000 signatures.

Photo: Christina L./Yelp

The alternative relocation plan Kilroy developed for the piers would give flower market tenants comparable space to their current location and provide parking for about 190 customers, according to the company. 

According to Sharla Flock, who helped launch the coalition's petition and is a longtime flower market customer, moving to the piers would require most tenants to downsize by about 30 percent, and there have been no accommodations made for tenant parking. 

Another of Flock's main concerns is the ability of large delivery trucks to get to the temporary space on the busy Embarcadero. The 2000 Marin St. site is freeway-adjacent, which allows for better access, Flock said.

Additionally, a traffic study conducted last week showed that moving the market to Pier 19 would create unsafe pedestrian conditions, Flock said. 

Photo: Jennifer O./Yelp

The florists’ concerns about relocating to the piers are shared by the California Association of Flower Growers and Shippers (CalFlowers). Members of the coalition will be at the Planning Commission today to express their continued concern about the Flower Mart's future, Flock added. 

Grisso told us Kilroy has never considered any other tenant for the warehouse space it intends to develop on the ground floor of its proposed building at 640 Brannan.

If the Planning Commission votes to adopt the Central SoMa plan next month, it will then go before the Board of Supervisors.

Mayor Mark Farrell and District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim on April 10th introduced revised ordinances to approve the plan’s new zoning and administrative amendments to the planning code for the Board to consider if the plan moves ahead. 

Project-specific entitlements for the Flower Mart Project would also have to be secured before Kilroy's development moves forward, Grisso said. 

Never miss a story.

Subscribe today to get Hoodline delivered straight to your inbox.

Delay on central soma vote leaves developers sf flower mart in limbo