What’s so special about the San Francisco Flower Market project?
Well, flowers of course! But there’s plenty else to like about this proposed project as well. For one, the San Francisco Flower Market (SFFM) is a local blue-collar institution with a long and rich history. Relocating to Potrero Hill will help ensure SFFM’s survival for many years to come by giving the flower wholesaler a new and permanent home — as well as saving the 350 blue-collar jobs SFFM provides. The project preserves critical affordable space for Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR) in the face of continued displacement and loss of PDR businesses across San Francisco.
In addition, SFFM will contribute to the growing vibrancy of our neighborhood. On the southern side of the future SFFM site, 17th Street continues to evolve nicely as a small but lively commercial corridor with a diverse and wonderful mix of music clubs (the beloved and famed Bottom of the Hill music venue), furniture and design retailers, bars, art studios, an auto repair shop (neighborhood institution Waterfront Automobile), the Deluxe Skateboard factory, and other small retail and PDR businesses.
Finally, the move to Potrero Hill will involve adaptively reusing, rather than destroying, the historically significant Pacific Rolling Mill structures on the project site at 901 16th /1200 - 1210 17th Streets. We believe the rehabilitation and upgrade of these structures for use by the Flower Market has the potential to turn the entire former industrial complex into an iconic signature for Potrero Hill by creating a meaningful “gateway” into the neighborhood and linking our architectural past to our present. Adaptive reuse of the buildings will also activate an underutilized site and help keep “eyes on the street.”
For a look at preliminary illustrations and plans for the proposed Flower Market project, please check out the following website: https://www.901-16thstreet.com
Why is the Flower Market moving, and who is the developer behind the Flower Market Plan?
The SFFM is a wholesale flower market made of 45+ vendors. It’s the second largest grower-owned wholesale flower market out of a total of five still operating in the United States. In 2014, Kilroy Realty, a Los Angeles-based realty company, purchased the land at 6th and Brannan Street where the Flower Market has operated for more than 60 years. Kilroy plans to build a 2.1 million square foot tech office complex on the SoMA site and had planned to build a new wholesale flower market on the ground level of the property. SFFM vendors ultimately decided the evolving Central SoMA neighborhood, and Kilroy’s new development, were not a good fit for the unique needs of the flower wholesaler. The flower vendors, who are mostly small, locally-owned and family-owned businesses, preferred to be located in a diverse neighborhood, better suited for their blue-collar business. The underutilized and historically industrial former Pacific Rolling Mill site in Potrero Hill fit the bill. After a long search for alternative properties to house the Flower Market, and working closely with the City, Kilroy purchased the Potrero Hill property (901 16th / 1200 -1210 17th Streets) in late 2019. As part of the Potrero Hill relocation, Kilroy agreed to a long-term lease at the project site for SFFM (25 years, with an option for an additional 10 years) along with subsidizing SFFM’s rent at an affordable price.
What is the developer’s plan for SFFM’s Potrero Hill site?
Kilroy has hired Dogpatch architectural firm Jackson-Liles to draw up plans for a major rehabilitation of the historic Pacific Rolling Mill warehouses and red brick building on the Potrero Hill property. No additional building height will be added. A new mezzanine level will be added internally to one of the warehouses, helping to expand useable workspace. A new two-story parking garage will be constructed on the north side of the property where an open surface parking lot currently exists. The parking structure will provide up to 175 parking spaces for cars and small trucks. Existing loading bays in the warehouse complex on Mississippi Street will be enlarged to accommodate four long-haul tractor trailer trucks.
Will the project maintain the historic brick building on the site?
Yes, the project plans to make the historic building a key element on the 17th Street facade. Very little of the façade of the existing buildings will change. Most improvements will occur on the interior of the building to accommodate the specific needs of the tenants.
What about truck traffic and traffic congestion?
SFFM traffic will be far less impactful than the congestion that would have resulted from the massive housing and commercial complex the previous property owner (Walden / Prado Development) planned to build at this lower Potrero Hill site. Based on preliminary vehicle trip generation estimates, the Flower Market will involve fewer car trips (including pickup trucks, vans, and passenger cars) compared to the traffic that would have been created by the abandoned housing proposal at the 901 16th / 1200 - 1210 17th Street site for all three time periods (daily, AM peak hour, and PM peak hour).
According to environmental analysis, the Walden / Prado Development (395 units of condos and 25,000 square feet of commercial retail space) would have resulted in an estimated 4,233 new car trips daily to and from the building complex, and more than 12,000 new daily trips by people entering and exiting the project. The planned development was estimated to create spillover parking demand of up to 458 parking spots daily — cars that would have clogged surrounding neighborhood blocks.
In contrast, the SFFM project will have dramatically less impact on traffic. According to Kilroy / SFFM, there will be approximately 13 long-haul truck deliveries to and from the warehouses weekly. Generally, the deliveries will occur between 11pm and 7am at the beginning of the week. Number and timing of deliveries is seasonal with variation in both timing of delivery and number of trucks. Existing loading bays within the building complex will be enlarged to accommodate these bigger trucks and modified to prevent obstruction of the adjacent street. Up to 175 parking spots will be provided on-site. Wholesale customers driving smaller delivery vans and cars will make trips primarily in the early morning around 6am.
How does the number of trucks at the Flower Market compare to the traffic at the existing Potrero Hill site?
Based on preliminary vehicle trip generation estimates, the Flower Market will involve fewer truck deliveries (both medium-sized box trucks and large semi-trucks) compared to the existing conditions at the 901 16th / 1200 - 1210 Street site for all three time periods (daily, AM peak hour, and PM peak hour).
How many vehicles will come to the Flower Market on a daily basis?
Based on the Transportation Impact Study that was completed for the 6th & Brannan Street Flower Mart Project, the Potrero Hill site will see about 600 cars and vans, 20 box trucks, and 1-2 semi-trucks per day. However, only about 100 of those vehicles will arrive during peak AM hours (7AM-9AM).
Will the Flower Market be open to the public for retail? When will activity start and end?
Yes, the SFFM will be open to the public for retail sales. The Flower Market will most likely operate like it does today, with the market open exclusively to wholesale "badge holders" in the early morning hours until 9 am, with retail sales conducted after 9 am to 3 pm. Current wholesale hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:00 am to 9:00 am and Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. But the vendors are very excited about joining the Potrero Hill neighborhood, and are interested in serving the needs of the neighbors, so the retail hours may be adjusted at the new Potrero Hill location. Ample onsite parking will be available to the general public.
What happened to the proposal to build new housing at the former Pacific Rolling Mill site?
After many years of effort, the previous owner and developer abandoned a proposal to rezone the property and build a six-story residential complex because of escalating construction costs and significant community concern.
Does the Flower Mart Project sacrifice housing?
We don’t believe it does. In addition to providing subsidized rent to the Flower Market vendors, Kilroy will contribute approximately $110 million to the City’s affordable housing fund, helping to build 550 units of below market rate residencies. Moreover, Kilroy has purchased a 14,000 square foot piece of property in the Central SoMA area which it has dedicated to the City of San Francisco for an additional 100 units of affordable housing. In all, 650 units of affordable units will be built as part of the Flower Market relocation and 6th & Brannan Street project. Nonetheless, the construction of these affordable housing units can't move forward until the Flower Market is relocated. Thus, it's important that no delays disrupt the Flower Market's Potrero Hill relocation.
As Potrero Hill residents, we want the best for our neighborhood, and for our entire city. We believe in reasonable growth that is sensitive to existing neighborhood character, quality of life, and a diverse neighborhood economy — one that includes small local businesses such as
Bottom of the Hill and Arch Art & Drafting Supplies, as well as PDR and housing. Protecting PDR from displacement and loss remains a high priority for our group, Potrero Blossoms, as well as other San Francisco community and government leaders. Potrero Hill and adjacent neighborhoods have already strongly contributed to the City's need for new housing over the last 10+ years. The Eastern Neighborhoods rezoning plan, passed in 2009, contemplated 3,180 units of new housing being built in Showplace Square / Potrero Hill by 2025. In reality, SF Planning Department statistics show the Showplace / Potrero Hill area has already far exceeded that anticipated number of new residences by hundreds of units — along with commensurate population growth. If you include Dogpatch / Central Waterfront, new housing has reached even significantly higher numbers than what was projected. Proportionally, more housing has been built in the Potrero Hill area in recent years than most other neighborhoods in San Francisco.
What is happening at 6th & Brannan Streets, the current location of the Flower Market?
Consistent with the Central SoMa Plan (adopted by the City in 2018), the current site of the wholesale flower market at 6th & Brannan Street has been approved by the City for the development of a mixed-use office and retail project by Kilroy Realty Corporation. The development at 6th & Brannan Streets is known as the “Flower Mart Project,” while the development proposed for 901 16th Street is known as the “Flower Market” and the “San Francisco Flower Market” is the master tenant of the Flower Market.
What community benefits will the Project provide?
The Flower Mart Project and the Flower Market at 901 16th Street will provide an unprecedented level of community benefits to San Francisco, including:
• Preserving the historic flower mart, as a unique place, for customers, vendors, San Franciscans
• Preserving 350+, blue-collar, jobs at the Flower Market
• Offering neighborhood youth job training in the diverse floral industry
• Reactivating an underutilized 3.5 acre site on 16th & 17th Streets with locally-owned and family-owned flower vendors
• $222M in City fees, including $110M for affordable housing
• Dedicating a 14,000-SF site in San Francisco to the City for construction of up to 100 units of affordable housing
• $5M donation to the Sunnydale Community Center Project
• $4M in public art
• Construction of a 22,000-SF child care center
(**Note that the Flower Mart Project cannot be developed until the flower vendors have been safely relocated from its current location at 6th & Brannan Streets.)
Will this project go through CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review?
Yes. There will be a CEQA/Environmental analysis and the project will need to be approved by the Planning Commission.
What is the construction timing?
Construction is expected to begin in 2020, with completion anticipated in late 2021.