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Best laid-aside plans

Eight honking development projects that once were - and will be again?

Hunters Point Shipyard & Candlestick Point
Bright idea: Save the city’s poorest neighborhood with the largest development since Golden Gate Park. That’s 10,500 housing units and a new 49ers stadium.
Price tag: $2+ billion
On second thought: The recession delayed this project, and there’s still an $800 million Superfund cleanup to finish before some of the building can even begin.
Status: The first housing units will be ready in 2013, the Superfund cleanup will be done by 2018, and final touches are due in 2031.

Treasure Island
Bright idea: Create 8,000 civilian residences on the former navy base, plus hotels and retail. There’s also talk of a wind farm.
Price tag: $6 billion
On second thought: The island’s made of landfill—some of it toxic—and has only one entrance and no infrastructure, so it has taken 15 years and a few lawsuits to get this plan nearly ready.
Status: Groundbreaking is scheduled for next year, with completion by 2032.

Rincon Hill
Bright idea: Turn a 12-block area that’s unsafe and unpleasant into a neighborhood with town houses, shops, and seven residential towers, including the two at One Rincon Hill.
Price tag: Estimates are hard to come by, but it could have been at least $1 billion.
On second thought: Planning was approved in 2005, but ground to a halt when the recession hit. Now, only a handful of developments are moving forward.
Status: At least three towers are complete, and the second at One Rincon Hill will begin construction as early as this winter. One empty lot has been turned into a pollinator garden.

Transbay Transit Center
Bright idea: Build a new transport center and revamp the surrounding neighborhood with town houses and high-rises.
Price tag: $4 billion
On second thought: The plan slowed down because there’s just not enough of a market yet to fill the office towers that will finance the terminal.
Status: The opening of a new terminal is slated for 2017, though Willie Brown originally planned it for 2007.

Saltworks
Bright idea: Build up to 12,000 residences, six schools, and commercial and office space in northeastern Redwood City.
Price tag: $6.8 billion
On second thought: Not yet approved, so the recession wasn’t a problem—let’s just hope we aren’t in the middle of another one by the time they figure out how to deal with the rising sea level and the lack of a municipal water source.
Status: Construction date TBA.

Oak to Ninth
Bright idea:
Reconnect Oakland to its waterfront with 3,100 residences, retail, parks, two renovated marinas with 170 boat slips, and a maritime museum.
Price tag: $1+ billion
On second thought: A seven-year battle over preserving historical buildings allowed this project to skip the recession altogether. It was just approved last spring.
Status: Construction set to start in 2013; final result is due in 2025.

Oak Knoll
Bright idea: Replace a WWII-era naval hospital site in southeast Oakland with 960 new homes, a retail haven, and 50 acres of parks.
Price tag: $250+ million
On second thought: SunCal bought the site in 2006 during the property boom. Demolition began in 2009, but stalled when the lender, Lehman Brothers, crashed.
Status: Demolition is finished, but the construction start date depends on what the courts decide on the Lehman bankruptcy.

Parkmerced
Bright idea: Update the city’s largest rental complexes and build one of the nation’s first ZNE (zero net energy) communities, which would include 5,600 new housing units, plus retail and office space.
Price tag: $7.2 billion
On second thought: The project was approved this year, but current residents have filed suit, afraid of losing their rent control and/or being displaced.
Status: Developers are hoping to break ground in 2013 and finish the project by 2043.
 

Other Extreme Real Estate stories:
The big squeeze
Foreclosure, a love story
Downtown, the new suburbia
The last housing boom standing
$150,000 for a $1.5 million home?
Shameless movers & shakers