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Sale to developer approved for portion of SF Flower Mart site

A portion of the San Francisco Flower Mart, the second-largest wholesaling flower site in the country, will be sold to a developer.

Sixty-eight percent of the association that owns half of the land occupied by the flower business at Brannan and Sixth streets voted to sell the land Thursday night, according to a business owner at the site, which could set off more alarm bells for people worried about the future of the property.

But an injunction filed Thursday by a member of the association, according to Patrick McCann of Greenworks, one of the site’s businesses, could put any project planned on hold. There is also a proposed city ordinance on the table.

The purchaser, Los Angeles-based real estate firm Kilroy Realty Corp., has proposed to build a tech campus on the site, leaving the more than 100 businesses in the South of Market location in limbo.

While Kilroy has promised to accommodate flower sellers at the corner of Brannan and Sixth streets, no concrete guarantees have been made, McCann noted. And with many longtime leases up in 130 days, some establishments are wondering if that promise will be kept.

Still, a handful of local politicos have voiced their concern for the possible loss of another local institution to tech development.

“The struggle for the heart and soul of San Francisco continues,” former Mayor Art Agnos said at a recent event about the issue. “Kilroy is simply trying to make more profits. The whole city can’t be for programmers.”

Kilroy has made public pledges to incorporate the flower vendors into any project on the site and Mayor Ed Lee’s office has made assurances that any development on the land will incorporate flower sellers.

Well before the vote to sell, the San Francisco Flower Growers Association, filed a proposal in 2013 for a 160-foot office building on the site and have until January to file a development proposal. For any project like those that have been proposed to move forward, The City would have to give it an exemption from current zoning rules barring offices in the area, as well as any buildings over 50 feet tall.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the district, has introduced legislation that would postpone construction of offices on land zoned for light industry and distribution until a full-fledged rezoning of the area is complete, a process still several years away.


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