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San Francisco's Stonestown Galleria redevelopment gets approval

One of San Francisco’s newest and largest proposed housing developments moved a big step closer to becoming a reality this week.

The city’s planning commission voted unanimously to approve the redevelopment of the popular Stonestown Galieria on the city’s west side.

Since the pandemic, San Francisco’s downtown retail sector has continued to struggle.

The Stonestown Galleria mall has not, in fact it’s actually grown over the last few years. As busy as it’s been, it’s still surrounded by acres of often empty parking lots. In a city like San Francisco, all that underutilized acreage is a precious commodity.

“So, everything that you see right now that is above surface parking will be housing and more retail,” said San Francisco Supervisor Myrna Melgar.

Melgar is part of a broad coalition that’s pushing to turn the parking lots into homes.

Renderings showed how the grounds around Stonestown Galleria would be transformed include images of towers, town squares and living spaces very close to retail spaces.

At least 3,400 new homes would be built through a mix of townhouses, midrise buildings and a 19-story apartment tower.

During a meeting of the San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday night, the project got unanimous approval to continue. To the surprise of many, among the 24 members of the public who gave their input, the vast majority also approved including neighbors, clubs and even unions.

“This is a significant vote, commissioners. This development project will create upwards of 800 jobs a year in the construction industry,” said Mauricio Chavez with the local 22 Carpenters Union.

If the Stonestown Galleria development is ultimately approved, it will be a massive redevelopment of this space, actually adding retail space, housing. It will be a project that will span several years to be completed.

But not everyone supports everything about the development. Two people at the commission meeting voiced their concerns about the height of the project and the increased traffic it will bring.

“We would ask that the 190-foot tower and 90-foot-tall buildings along 19th Avenue not be approved,” said Paul Conroy with the Ingleside Terrace Homeowners Association.

“My comment was specifically about how the increase in traffic on that portion of 20th is consistent with the better streets plan prepared by the city and county,” said San Francisco resident Dave Full.

Some residents had also hoped the now abandoned United Artists twin theater that was built in a new formalist architecture in 1970 would somehow be preserved. Instead, the developer has decided to tear it down and replace it with about 100 homes.

If there are no legal or environmental challenges to the already approved plan, Melgar said it could get final approval by the Board Of Supervisors as early as next month.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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