The San Francisco planning department recently received a revised preliminary project assessment (PPA) for a multipurpose development at 88 Bluxome Street in the South of Market (SoMa) area, submitted by local developers Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (ARE) and TMG Partners.

The PPA outlines the developers’ intention to use the 2.6-acre space, which is currently occupied by 24 Bay Club tennis courts, for:

  • office and retail space;
  • production, distribution and repair (PDR);
  • a community recreation center;
  • child care facilities;
  • community gardens; and
  • below-market rate housing construction, via a portion of the parcel dedicated to the city.

The new project will neighbor the soon-to-be constructed Central Subway station at the intersection of 4th Street and Brannan Street.

ARE and TMG claim the development will create a plethora of jobs, and the proximity to the subway station makes it easy for employees living off-site to get to work. As San Francisco residents start to flee the city in search of cheaper housing, transit availability becomes critical.

The development’s inclusion of below-market units will ease the burden of lower-income residents, both by reduced rental rates and workplace proximity on the same block — saving thrifty residents the high cost of an urban commute.

It is generally understood that mixed-use zoning benefits communities with easy transit-workplace proximity, while reducing local crime rates. Add in the development’s intended amenities — namely, child care — and 88 Bluxome Street is quite appealing to San Francisco residents and employees alike.

However, Bay Club tennis buffs are livid their playground will be displaced. In fact, the original proposal for the site was withdrawn after Bay Club protestors demanded revisions preserving a portion of the Club’s tennis courts. These cleverly disguised not-in-my-backyard protestors (NIMBYs) seek to keep the site covered in ground-level courts despite the exodus of longtime San Francisco residents and employees confronted with unmanageable costs of living.

ARE and TMG’s second PPA does not specify whether the recreational facilities at the site will retain any of the existing courts. Stay tuned to first tuesday’s local news for updates on the development’s progress, the pressures developers of necessary housing cope with, and the time lost for San Francisco to get housing for employees needed for local businesses to survive.