Special Report: Treasure Island

For the print pilot edition of the Public Press, published June 22, our reporters have interviewed the developers, city officials and architects, and pored over documents about the nuts and bolts of financing, development and environmental remediation. They also examined the city’s green planning schemes and proclamations about cutting-edge community building. Help pay for this ongoing reporting! Contribute to the project on Spot.us.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island building plans draw fire

Victoria Schlesinger, Way Out West — Nov 29 2010 - 4:09pm

Foes say development would choke bridge traffic and worsen air

Proposed redevelopment on Treasure Island would increase traffic jams on the Bay Bridge, lengthening commute times and exacerbating Bay Area air pollution, critics say. Residents, environmental organizations and local agencies voiced those concerns this fall in almost 700 written comments on proposed new residential and commercial development that planners have said would make the island a world-class green neighborhood. Comments about the project’s draft environmental impact report submitted by the September deadline expressed deep misgivings with the plan by the city and the developer to limit driving on and off the island.

Homebuilder Lennar uses federal taxpayer funds to balance its books

Christopher D. Cook, SF Public Press — Jul 6 2010 - 3:20pm

In 2006, things were looking good for Lennar, America's second-biggest homebuilder. That year, before the U.S. housing market's epic collapse, the Miami-based giant pulled down $15.6 billion in revenues and closed sales on 29,568 homes. The ink was just drying on a massive and potentially lucrative deal to transform Treasure Island with new housing complexes, and the well-connected Lennar already had secured a deal to develop the Hunters Point Shipyard that the Navy was turning over to San Francisco.

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Treasure Island timeline

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jul 6 2010 - 3:08pm

This is a version of the timeline that appeared in the print edition special report on San Francisco's Treasure Island.

Treasure Island residents face choices for relocation

Katy Gathright, SF Public Press — Jul 6 2010 - 3:00pm

Residents of Yerba Buena and Treasure islands are divided on the relocation plan city officials have presented to the public. While many Yerba Buena residents expressed concern over maintaining their quality of life through more than a decade of construction, Treasure Island residents tended to express more support.

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Financial upside for developers is long-term and risky, city says

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press — Jul 1 2010 - 1:34pm

The developers of Treasure Island stand to earn a potential 20.6 percent return on their investments if the 18-year, phased construction plan and land sales proceed as they predict. That does not include possible future real estate sales.

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Through two mayors, connected island developers cultivated profitable deal

Alison Hawkes and Bernice Yeung, SF Public Press — Jul 1 2010 - 1:22pm

In the next six months, local officials and a consortium of private developers will begin to finalize legal papers for Treasure Island’s future as a high-density eco-city. Renderings of the gleaming towers, parks and gardens suggest harmony and community. Yet the promise of an urban Treasure Island, one of the most complex and risky redevelopments in San Francisco’s recent history, has for more than a decade been wrapped up in a process driven by power and influence. The mayor got neartotal control. Political friends got plum jobs and contracts. Critics were exiled. City and state conflict-of-interest laws were waived. Independent inquiries and the will of voters were nakedly rebuffed.

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Pollution: experts concerned about Treasure Island cleanup as seas rise

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press — Jun 29 2010 - 4:49pm

Many Treasure Island sites have been decontaminated through soil removal or capping, which entails covering the remaining toxic soil with a clay cap. But there is growing concern that coastal sites once considered sufficiently remediated may become problematic as sea levels rise. Contaminated soil could come in contact with ground water as the sea pushes it higher. Bay Area scientists and regulators are beginning to explore the problem given the large number of former military sites in the region.

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Sand and silt require $137 million fix for Treasure Island

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press — Jun 29 2010 - 4:32pm

There is a high probability that a Loma Prieta magnitude or greater earthquake will shake the Bay Area during the projected 18-year redevelopment of Treasure Island. However, city development officials say the island will ultimately be safer than the liquefaction-prone areas of downtown San Francisco and the Marina.

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Uncertain about rising seas, developers using mid-range estimate to build up island

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press — Jun 29 2010 - 12:48pm

Most of Treasure Island will be inundated by the end of this century, if the documented progression of the ocean’s rise caused by climate change continues as predicted. Studies foresee sea-level rise ranging from as little as five inches to as much as six feet. The lowest parts of Treasure Island lie just four feet above the Bay’s low tide.

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Can Treasure Island realize its ecotopian dream?

Jeremy Adam Smith, Shareable.net/SF Public Press — Jun 25 2010 - 4:29pm

The Treasure Island redevelopment, which aims to be the most ecologically sustainable community in the world, delivers a positive self-image of San Francisco as a forward-looking, avant-garde, socially and environmentally responsible metropolis. Nothing excites the utopian impulse more than a blank slate — and Treasure Island’s 486 acres have been semi-abandoned since the Navy shut down its base in 1997.

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