SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – A piece of San Francisco’s industrial past is being resurrected. Developers plan to turn the old Potrero Power Station into a mixed-use metropolis.

At 29 acres, just the size makes it a remarkable site. Then, there is everything that comes with it.

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“The structure here is a boiler that is suspended at the top,” says Enrique Landa, a project sponsor with Associate Capitol. “The structure is incredibly strong, so we get a chance to reuse it and make it part of the new development.”

At 108 feet above the ground, a tree is now growing in the old boiler’s mid-century steel. But this tower isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the 19th century power station at the other end of this site.

“The bones stay,” says Associate Capital’s Tina Chang. “The bones are going to be featured heavily.”

The old bones will be featured at the Potrero Power Station and most of the power plant components will go. With the shell remaining, the views will stay as well.

“The 360-degree view does stay,” Chang says. We want to turn this into a very public place with a rooftop bar or restaurant.”

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“So that in the future there will be a public experience up here so people can enjoy this view that we’re seeing here,” Landa says atop the structure. “You can see everything on the Golden Gate Bridge, over to Oakland, and everything in-between.”

The retro control room may also become a bar and the site’s centerpiece will also become public.

“The stack,” Chang likes to call the landmark. “The 300-foot tower that is, we think, and icon that is under-loved or under-recognized.”
The development is massive. Over a handful of blocks, it will bring 1.5 million square feet of office, and laboratory space to the central waterfront. There will be another 100,000 square feet of retail, a homeless prenatal program, a YMCA facility, community service space, and 2,600 new homes.

“Thirty percent affordable in every phase,” Landa says. “Affordability comes in the first phase and throughout the project. It’s slated for rental at 72% of the average median income.”

The entire project is privately financed and was given unanimous approval by San Francisco’s planning commission this week. The proposal now moves before the Board of Supervisors.

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“I know these projects get built out over time,” Landa says of the daunting construction challenge. “Mission Bay kicked off 25 years ago and is just finishing up now. My goal is that this project will be completed somewhere between 12 to 15 years.”