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Voters approve variances for Giants development

Mission Rock development

Voters in San Francisco approved a referendum that would allow the San Francisco Giants to exceed height limits on the proposed Mission Rock development next to AT&T Park.

Proposition D allowed the Giants to exceed port-property height limits just approved by voters a year ago. In the latest round of Mission Rock plans, the Giants proposed a height limit of 240 feet (down from the original goal of 380 feet), with most of the 28-acre site to be left open, and nothing built directly on the waterfront, though there will be setbacks: the buildings closest to the bay will be only 120 feet in height. Oh, and the Giants promised to dedicate 40 percent of the units to affordable housing — a big concern in The City.

And voters responded by basically approving the project. There is still a lot of work to be done — an environmental impact statement still needs to be done, and the general area will also change with the addition of a Golden State Warriors (NBA) arena — so don’t expect any real construction until 2017 at the earliest.

The project will include retail, affordable housing, a new Anchor Steam brewery, 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and eight acres of parkland.

It is an interesting model, as nirvana for sports-facilities planning is to combine a ballpark with some sort of additional development. The Minnesota Twins have done a limited amount of development next to Target Field, as United Properties (controlled by the Pohlad family, owners of the Twins) have embarked on some projects in the ballpark area. Bill Shaikin argues the Los Angeles Dodgers should be looking at the same sort of development at Dodger Stadium and the vast amount of unused land at Chavez Ravine. Other development has been proposed over the years for the Citi Field area, while the Atlanta Braves have embarked on an aggressive development plan for the SunTrust Park area — perhaps the best example of a team combining new construction with a new ballpark.

RELATED STORIES: Giants pitch Mission Rock ballpark development

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