SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — San Francisco flower vendors announced a plan on Wednesday to ask voters to save the City’s historic Flower Mart from a real estate developer who wants to turn the South of Market site into a technology campus.

Kilroy Realty Corp. has a $26 million deal to build a 15-story tech campus on the site of the Flower Mart, at Sixth and Brannan streets, where over 100 vendors are in operation. It promises space for the flower wholesalers to keep their businesses, but many of the florists are irate and want to block the plan.

Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos announced a drive to put a measure on the 2015 ballot that would protect the site and prevent development.

“Everyone in this city cannot be an MIT-educated programmer who can work in high-tech. It would become a very boring place if that’s all we had,” said former Mayor Art Agnos.

It’s the latest shot in the ongoing war over development. Voters killed a high-rise condo plan for 8 Washington, and the Warriors relocated their arena to Mission Bay to avoid having to face a referendum on their original waterfront plan.

Kilroy has refused to negotiate with the Agnos coalition.

Meanwhile, the flower sellers think voter sympathy will be on their side. Florist Kathleen Dooley, who sits on the city’s small business commission, said 46,000 florists and an equal number of farmers, truckers and others depend on the wholesale market. She said sellers and the high-tech high-rise cannot co-exist.

“I just can’t see it being done in any way that won’t pretty much destroy our industry,” she said.

The San Francisco Flower Mart is the second largest wholesale flower mart in the country.

 

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