The Navy’s Christmas Gift for the City by the Bay

If you thought the Dutch got a deal, check this out:

San Francisco is poised to purchase Treasure Island from the Navy for $55 million.

Treasure Island was built in the late 1930s for the 1939 World’s Fair. It was “taken” by the Navy during World War II, under whose ownership it has remained. Situated in the middle of San Francisco Bay, TI is flat, unlike neighboring Yerba Buena Island, and offers storybook views of San Francisco as well as Oakland, Berkeley, even Alcatraz. It is serviced by the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and is accessible by ferry when needed.

In the deal, the city will receive about 450 acres, all of TI and a portion of YBI. Developers are planning 6,000 new homes, a 60-story high rise, and a commercial center on what had been a Navy and Marine Corps haven complete with an eclectic mix of structures (and a best-kept-secret BOQ).

The Navy had pegged the land’s value at $250 million, but KPMG independently assessed it at just $22 million. On top of the agreed $55 million deal, the Navy may share in an additional $50 million—not that $105 million buys much of anything in today’s Navy, but a buck’s a buck.

But not all is well in this city of activists. A former executive director of Treasure Island sees this “latest fantasy scheme” as a multi-million dollar deal-to-nowhere benefitting only the Navy. Environmental clean-up will be to federal and not San Francisco standards. (This is news?) It seems supporting all the residences envisioned may be a challenge on what some consider a “seismically unsafe toxic landfill.” With the structures on the island circa 1997, Treasure Island withstood strong earthquakes better than surrounding cities.

The military’s retreat from Fort Apache: San Francisco is nearly complete. Maybe this is a final “good luck and good riddance” from the Navy, though it may be a tad too gracious for an inhospitable neighbor that has treated the Boys in Blue shabbily during much of the past few decades. Who can forget San Francisco, Berkeley, and friends as official havens for conscientious objectors and nuclear-free zones?
We may have heard the Navy humming: “I left nothing in San Francisco (except 100 primo acres on YBI), grabbed $55M-plus, and ran …”

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