August 15, 2016
By: Jack Nelson, Research Analyst, JLL
City planners’ vision of creating San Francisco’s next major sustainable urban neighborhood took a major step forward last week with the official unveiling of the draft Central SOMA Plan.
Central SOMA (SOuth of MArket) is a 230-acre neighborhood adjacent to San Francisco’s downtown core. Currently, it is a mix of light industrial, commercial and residential and, under current zoning, has the potential to build space for 10,000 new jobs and 2,500 housing units. The city’s proposed plan would increase development capacity in the neighborhood by 450 percent for jobs (to 45,000) and 300 percent for housing (7,500 units).
The multi-faceted plan includes provisions for enhanced transit infrastructure, green space, increased affordable housing, as well as recreational amenities and community services. And, in a nod to the area’s traditional ‘maker’ status, the plan also preserves the existing space dedicated to a light industrial use, also known as Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR).
Central SOMA also aims to be a great example of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). The area sits directly north of the CalTrain station at 4th and King Streets and two blocks south of BART’s Powell Street Station. When it is opens in 2019, two Central Subway stations – at Moscone Center and Brannan St. — will serve the Central SOMA neighborhood allowing residents, workers and visitors an easy commute north to BART and Chinatown and south to CalTrain and the city’s southernmost neighborhoods.
The next step for the Plan is a vote of the city’s Planning Commission. That could happen as early as November. The plan then has to be approved by a vote of the S.F. Board of Supervisors before it can enter the implementation phase. That is not expected to happen until next year but several developers are already making plans for neighborhood projects.