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Phil Matier: Mission Bay Fire Scars San Francisco’s Burgeoning Mini-City

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Phil-Matier_BIO-HEAD Phil Matier
Whether it's politics, personalities or analysis Phil Matier is one ...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Tuesday’s massive fire in Mission Bay could be a big blow for one of San Francisco’s emerging neighborhoods. There are questions about what will become of the retail development along Fourth Street.

But it’s more than that—it’s the entire area. This is not just a new neighborhood; this is virtually a new mini-city that has sprung up over the last decade.

It used to be railroad yard, but thanks to the UCSF’s new research facilities and campuses and teacher retirement funds that have added hundreds of millions of dollars to the development, it has become a huge medical center along with apartment complexes. And now, they are hoping to bring in retail development.

The process has been moving in fits and starts, however, because of the fickle housing and retail markets in the city.

The recent surge of apartment developments is due to the housing shortage. The question now is: How quickly can they clean this up so it doesn’t become an ugly scar on this neighborhood that’s emerging on this latest bubble?

Mayor Ed Lee made a point on Wednesday morning to credit the auxiliary high pressure water-supply system that was recently put in place for saving the other buildings in the area.

“I know infrastructure and I want to make sure those infrastructures work. That’s why I’m thankful that we had spent my years at DPW [Department of Public Works] to make sure the high-pressure water system was installed here at Mission Bay before we allowed any other residential, business or research facilities to go up. Mission Bay was important to us to invite investments. As you can see with all the cranes, we got that. But this is another example of why that infrastructure is so important, because it supports our ability to have our fire department and other emergency response teams to have an effective response.”

Read More:
Destroyed Apartment Units Would Have Been Sold For $630,000
Embers From Fire Spreads To Roof At UCSF
Mission Bay Fire Brings Back Memories Of Santana Row Blaze
How Firefighters Battled A Fully Engulfed Six-Story Building Fire

Lee is pushing for a $400 million June bond measure to expand that system and not he’s not going to miss this kind of opportunity to make his case for expanding the city’s infrastructure—but let’s face it, it’s a good thing the water worked. That proposal calls for $70 million for an emergency firefighting water system that would cover the entire city.

This is an ambitious development and there is a lot of money involved here; we will just have to see how hot San Francisco’s real estate marker remains and how fast they can get the project back up.

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