Though housing development across San Francisco has slowed to a crawl during the recession, a plan to build a 196-unit mixed-use complex on the central waterfront is off the ground because of $1.7 million in federal stimulus funds.

San Francisco
San Francisco, California
Repurposed warehouses will abut newly constructed apartments.
Photo: Martin Building Co.
Repurposed warehouses will abut newly constructed apartments.

Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will cover the first phase of the Potrero Launch project, which involves soil testing prior to brownfield cleanup on a 1.25-acre site in a heavy industrial zone near Pier 70. The city’s planning department is to rezone the site to create a temporary Draft Central Waterfront Plan Demonstration District, which would allow construction of market-rate and below-market-rate rental apartments.

Martin Building Co., San Francisco, received the stimulus money via a low-interest loan through the state Dept. of Toxic Substance Control. Chip Beverett, Martin Building director of construction, says soil testing of the site is near completion. Stewart Black, DTSC acting deputy director, says the site is contaminated with lead and cleanup involves removal of about 11,000 tons of soil.

The test results will provide “a better idea of how long this phase will take to complete,” says Beverett. “Then we also need to determine where to send the contaminated soil.”

Beverett says local subcontractor Granite Excavation and Demolition will use its existing workforce on this phase.

On-site are two old warehouses that were seismically upgraded in 1999-2000, Beverett says. One is vacant, and the other houses an electric motorcycle shop.

Potrero Launch will incorporate the warehouse buildings, complemented by a new six-story structure. Apartments will feature terraces and balconies. The complex will include a restaurant, retail stores and a day-care center. Martin Building is eyeing a LEED Gold certification for the project.

Dallas-based HKS is project architect.San Francisco-based Martin McNerney Properties LLC is the owner.

Construction cost is $40 million, says Beverett. Martin Building is construction manager, and a general contractor will be selected in November.