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News + PoliticsFlower Mart supporters prepare for ballot campaign

Flower Mart supporters prepare for ballot campaign

While negotiations with developer continue, advocates will start collecting signatures for a measure that would block the entire office project 

This pretty picture has much of the Flower Mart underground, which doesn’t work for the vendors

By Zelda Bronstein

MARCH 10, 2015 – On Thursday, members of the “Save the Flower Mart” coalition will begin collecting signatures on a petition to place a measure on the November 2015 ballot that would preserve the current zoning at Fifth and Brannan — and thereby prohibit the high-rise, tech office development that Kilroy Realty wants to build on the site.

Last summer, a poll of likely voters found that saving the Flower Mart was supported by 78% of the respondents.

That’s a powerful political statement – and while the negotiations continue, Flower Mart supporters haven’t reached a final deal with Kilroy and are preparing to take the issue to the ballot if their demands aren’t met.

Since late January, the newly formed San Francisco Flower Mart Tenants Association has been negotiating with Kilroy and the San Francisco Flower Mart LLC, the master tenant that now runs the flower market, over Kilroy’s plans to incorporate a new mart in its proposed office towers.

At the time, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, who’s helping to lead the “Save the Flower Mart” coalition, told 48 hills that if the negotiations didn’t produce agreement on major issues by the beginning of March, signature gathering would then begin.

On February 27, former Mayor Art Agnos, who’s also working with the coalition, told me: “Kilroy asked us, and we agreed, not to pursue collection of signatures while we are negotiating”—up to the March 1 deadline.

“In return,” Agnos said, “they’ve paid up to $50,000 for an attorney, Scott Miller, to represent the tenants; and any tenant who has signed a lease may renege on that lease if we come up with a better one during negotiations.”

Agnos reported that the talks have produced “some useful and modestly productive agreements,” but that the tenants continue to seek certainty on the following issues:

1. The exact amount of space on the site to be allocated to the flower market.

2. Locating the flower market on the ground floor, not next to the garage, where the ethylene gas emitted from cars would damage the flowers.

3. Guaranteed affordable rents.

“Our position,” Agnos said, “is that Kilroy will make gadzillions on this project. They should consider the Flower Mart an asset for the city as well as for themselves in creating an identity for what is an otherwise anonymous devleopment.” There’s also

4. Relocation during construction.

“All the vendors have to be kept together,” said Agnos, “so that the flower mart can maintain its identity—and Kilroy has to pay for the move.”

He added: “It’s in the realm of possibility, though not a goal, that if there’s another site owned by Kilroy that might be better than the current one, the tenants might be willing to move there.”

Last Friday, Peskin told me that in the past week, progress had been made on two fronts: Kilroy had shown the tenants a potential site to which they could relocate during construction. The developer had also presented a new version of the project that placed the flower mart on the ground floor.

That’s not the version pictured in the San Francisco Business Times’ February 27 story, “Kilroy bulks up plan for Flower Mart,” which refers to a “below ground” wholesale flower market. I’m hoping Kilroy executive Mike Grisso returns my call, so I can ask him about the latest iteration and the proposed relocation site.

Despite these advances, major issues have yet to be resolved.

Peskin said that the tenants will be meeting on Wednesday, and on Thursday “we will start collecting signatures, even if we don’t turn them in.”

The deadline for submitting petitions so that the signatures can be validated is July 6.

In the meantime, negotiations will continue. But as Agnos explained, “we can’t afford to lose the most valuable tool that we have—the initiative.”

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  1. Yeah, Bayshore Blvd is perfect for this. That area has picked up a lot too, so more commercial/retail commerce there makes sense.

    But of course, entitled babies will get ex lefty politicians to stall a viable project that they don’t like.

  2. If Agnos, Peskin, et al. are such has-beens, Spam, why do you comment about them all the time? Obviously, you’re still scared of them.

    Ha, you wingnuts are so transparent!

  3. It seems that a moratorium on market rate housing in the Mission is polling at the same levels as a referendum on 8 Washington and the initiative requiring a vote of the people to raise heights on the waterfront, if the poll Redmond cites holds up.

  4. 4th, i think you should be more compassionate and empathetic towards Gary. His socialist nirvana has gone pear-shaped and his dreams of a glorious workers’ revolution lies in shreds.

    At least go easy on the poor guy.

  5. Yeah, a permit needs to be issued for something as trivial as a new flue for a replacement heating system.

  6. * hope is actually despair
    ** truth, after multiple footnotes
    *** messages void where prohibited

  7. Re: “Don’t mind all those green dots that represent current development projects since we wouldn’t want your head to explode from discognative dissonance.”

    Um…no. Click on the dots and you’ll find that the vast majority represent things like adding/changing a sign or a new window or a balcony or a parking spot.

    Also, “All applications received since 2009 are shown on the map” according to the planning commission.

    Good effort but try something else. Or better yet, adopt a cause where most of your energy have to go towards being deceptive.

    Also. “discognative” is very impressive. It isn’t actually a “word”, according to Merriam Webster, but it looks great nonetheless.

  8. No, there are positions between the two extremes.

    But Ed Lee would not be heading for certain re-election if your view was popular

  9. Then you need to move to Spain now because the techno-libertarian movement is becoming the #1 movement in the City.

  10. Where is that empirical data?

    The only empirical data I see is that pro-development mayors always win over NIMBY candidates

  11. You’re confusing me with someone else. I support change and creating more housing in the city. But not the way we are doing it.

    And I do have knee-jerk reactions to libertarians, as do most thinking people.

  12. Lee wouldn’t be in office at all if voters really felt the way you claim.

    And Lee is overwhelming favorite to be re-elected, indicating widespread popularity

  13. Nothing. I was merely pointing out that there is negligible support city-wide for a moratorium on building new homes.

  14. Nonsense. Voters city-wide chose to go against Lee and the developers with 8 Washington and height limits on the waterfront. They also went against Lee with voting for transportation funding increases that are indexed to the population. And Chiu – a liberal by ANY measure – won only by 2600 votes, even though there were huge expenditures on his behalf by “investors.”

    You cherry-pick your election facts so much that you should start a farm-workers union.

  15. What mental defect compels you to repeatedly restate the posts of others in the most absurd terms so that you can then joust for your own edification against the resulting straw person of your own fabrication?

  16. It’s a binary thing only in respect of that question, how it was phrased, and how the audience was selected.

    Ask voters if they want to see zero new homes built and you will have 90% opposed

  17. We voted for growth, development, jobs, new homes and prosperity. And now we are getting it! That graphic makes my heart sing.

  18. Ha, Gary, that is exactly why I post as “Guest” – so that the maximum number of people read my message of hope and truth.

  19. Those were very local affairs. City-wide, when the people had the chance to elect the regressive anti-jobs NIMBY candidate – Avalos – they rejected him by a huge margin in favor of the pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-homes Ed Lee.

  20. Either the polling that 2/3 of voters citywide support a moratorium on exclusive luxury market rate condos in the Mission is valid or it is not.

  21. Thanks for your insightful input to this forum.

    Your observations greatly contribute to the topic and/or the content/conduct of the commenters.

  22. How difficult would it be for Sam to post fewer posts?

    And there are at least 4 people posting as guest, so it is difficult to recognize something from Sam until one encounters the libertarian nonsense and the glorification of greed within the each comment.

  23. Really, Gary? i pegged you for at least sixty, simply from the way you wax nostalgically for the way SF used to be.

  24. Office? You’ve not been paying attention, have you?

    Commercial tenants stay at the pleasure of their landlord when their lease is up. You know that right?

  25. Guest, you can always cherry-pick a question that will give you the answer that you want. But Lee would not have won a landslide win over Avalos if people really wanted no new homes or jobs.

  26. Most people who buy flowers there are buying a lot, and will drive. So Bayshore area is easier than something located in the middle of all the congestion around the end of 280.

  27. Didn’t Redmond report on this site recently that a poll had revealed that San Francisco voters would support a moratorium on exclusive luxury market rate housing in the Mission pending a planning process to up the levels of affordability?

  28. Apart from social life and errands, I log about 5-14 miles a week in my quest to walk every neighborhood’s major streets in San Francisco.

    And during these walks, I’ve seen plenty of areas that seem ripe for development.

    Thanks for asking.

  29. ..and Pier 70 won handily. Folks like development if it seems thoughtful and suits the city.

    How is the SF housing shortage ‘manufactured’? We’re probably up 80,000 people since 2007.

  30. Guest6:47, that seems shortsighted. The Flower Mart will benefit from an accessible and retail-friendly location, which it features. Offices and homes can go in above it, in a building which will uniquely draw people and business who like the idea.

    That’s the utility of moving?

  31. Guest6:45, that’s more convenient for me and for folks in Bernal and Silver Terrace, but less convenient for almost everyone else in the city. The current location is quite a bit more convenient, unless you have some unwholesome affection for Jerrold Ave.

  32. I’m too young to have been a hippie. But it is quaint how you and the other libertarians still obsess about them.

  33. You are delusional – the last two elections the voters killed 8 Washington and reinforced height limits on the waterfront.

  34. Spam,

    Getting involved with ensuring development projects make sense for the city and for the current tenants affected by the development seem a far more productive hobby than making endless posts on a website that you hate for its existence and its politics. Another slow day at the office?

  35. Gary is a former hippie so of course he likes flowers. He used t wear them in his hair, back when he still had some.

    Agnos and Peskin are bored under-employed seniors. They need a hobby.

  36. That is the area whose zoning most suits a wholesale mart. Take a trip there and you will see what i mean. But keep your windows locked.

  37. There is no way there is any material support for building no new homes. You made that up. Wiener’s proposal on monster homes (approved yesterday unanimously) makes far more sense

    Ask people if they’d like a flower market and of course they will say yes. That doesnt mean the current location is the best.

    I’d move the FM and build offices and homes there.

  38. Yeah, Bayshore, that’s the best place for it.

    and the current location isn’t that great anyway, unless you’re coming in on 280

  39. reading that article, it seems to me that 2 of the 4 “demands” have been met, and one can’t really be met until the whole construction project is planned out. But Peskin and Agnos, eff it, lets out act like the entitled brats that we are. Sheesh. And Gary! Such poetry! San Francisco is becoming a city where flowers almost seem out of place, because flowers a beautiful. I can’t puke hard enough

  40. I missed the part of how this is anything more than a one-off measure that has any impact any distance from 6th and Brannan.

    I did not miss the part of how 2/3 of San Francisco voters support a moratorium on market rate housing in the Mission.

    What priorities are at work here that the minor matter of a few jobs for mostly out of towners trumps putting the brakes on gentrification of San Francisco’s most progressive voting precincts?

  41. If you don’t like reading the same “old tired, closed clique endlessly gushed over by Tim Redmond and company,” take your own advice:

    “Don’t read ‘em if you don’t like ‘em! “

  42. While I’m sorry to see the flower market dismantled, it has been a done deal for more than 15 years.

    We allowed all of the new offices/workspaces to developed in Dogpatch, south of Market and other places without realizing that it was only part of the plan. Now that the need to house workers in those new developments has created this ‘manufactured’ housing crisis, we are being duped into allowing the building of inappropriate developments because ‘we need housing now.’

    Developers and their bribed politicians are laughing while counting their riches, or laughing their way to Sacramento.

    Anyway, San Francisco is becoming a city where flowers almost seem out of place, because flowers are beautiful.

  43. Bayview is a neighborhood, not a street. You’re thinking of the produce markets off Bayshore, which strikes me as somewhat miscast for flower sales. Not a bad idea, though a lot less convenient for most of the city.

  44. Kilroy should have simply not re-offered leases to tenants when they expired. Over time the FM would become completely vacant. Then it would not be an ideological hostage for has-been worn-out, dried-up extremists like Agnos and Peskin to fawn over.

    The FM should be moved to somewhere in the industrial SE of the city, where it belongs.

  45. It’s really hard. I love the FM but perhaps it would be better served in a location like …IDK, Santa Rosa?

  46. IDK who you are, but when you pretend to be other people here, Tim really hates it, and he WILL come down on the forum & possibly, personlly you. Just stop it. Honestly that is rude. Disagree, fine, but writing something like that is ridiculous and out-of-character for the people of this forum who vehemently disagree with each other. If you are an adult, act like one. You don’t have to agree with people, just don’t act like someone who trashes people. You don’t have to like Petrelis, and honestly in the past, he has done egregiously stupid acts, like the kitty litter incident, which was appalling. But he’s grown up. And you should too. Don’t like him? Fine, use your scroll button.

  47. Sorry about that last comment. What can I say, I’m a dimwitted, shit-for-brains asshole. Whoever said “ignorance and arrogance is a very unattractive combination” was talking about me. And she was 100% correct.

  48. Did more proof SF progressives haven’t learned a damn solid lesson from 2014’s electoral losses and the echo chamber grows fainter by the day? This latest puffery for Peskin and Agnos, yawn, is what we got all the time when the Blah Guardian was still publishing. Same old tired, closed clique endlessly gushed over by Tim Redmond and company.

  49. When can I sign a ballot initiative to preserve the entire city in Amber ? Enough with this piecemeal approach. Let’s be done with all of this.

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