Buried treasure - Page 2

New Treasure Island plan's green and affordable components greeted with cautious optimism, but many hurdles remain

After that, it will undergo an extensive environmental impact review by the city's planning department before returning to the board for final local approval.
The developer and the TIDA board — which is composed entirely of mayoral appointees, three of whom work directly for Mayor Gavin Newsom — must still overcome other major hurdles as well, including the fact that the Navy hasn't turned over any of the land yet and likely won't without major concessions.
The Bush administration has stalled the transfer, pushing for some payment before giving up valuable federal land. One tentative option is to relieve the Navy of about $45 million in environmental cleanup costs for which it is currently responsible. Those costs would then be borne by the redevelopment plan and the developer, which has already pledged $26 million for remediation. The land became contaminated in part after decades of military activity that included emergency drills with radioactive materials.
David Rist, a project manager for the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, which is overseeing the cleanup, said that while there is some contamination where residents are living today, it doesn't pose an immediate threat to human health. Identified contaminants include dioxin, lead, and PCBs. Rist told us the cleanup, regardless of who ends up paying for it, will be "significantly done in the next two and a half years."
After mulling over ideas, TIDA finally brokered an exclusive deal in 2003 with a company incorporated as Treasure Island Community Development, a group of Democratic Party heavyweights with deep links to the current and former mayoral administrations and other top elected Democrats.
Jay Wallace, a project planner for Treasure Island Community Development, said the plan's mammoth size and uniqueness have required considerable and time-consuming attention to specifics. Investors anticipate spending $500 million of their own money, but they're looking to earn upward of $125 million in profits, according to the plan.
The remaining cost of about $760 million for infrastructure, open space, and transportation system improvements could be covered largely by tax increment financing from the redevelopment area and Mello Roos bonds, both of which would essentially be funded by future property taxes, according to the latest term sheet.
Wallace told the Guardian that his group "has worked in good faith and transparency throughout this project, with over 150 public meetings before reaching this milestone and presenting this plan to the city."
Daly said that while "there are going to be a hundred issues that need to be worked out," the green-meets-affordable-housing theme "is the right proposal for San Francisco."
"Political connections to the Newsom juggernaut notwithstanding, these guys are politically savvy enough to know what's wise and what isn't," he said. "On the actual merits of the proposal, it's palatable if you're OK with the concept of high-rises in the middle of the bay." SFBG

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