Biggest land grab since Manhattan

Editorial by Willie Ratcliff

At least the robber barons who stole Manhattan paid a few beads.

Lennar, the nation’s largest and sleaziest home builder, the company the Redevelopment Agency wants to name Master Developer over the 520-acre Hunters Point Shipyard, the last undeveloped jewel in San Francisco’s crown, intends to grab it all for nothing and take every perk the City and the feds can offer to boot.

That is the revelation contained on pages E-1 and E-2 of the Supplement to the Preliminary Development Concept that Lennar released last week in response to questions from the Bayview Hunters Point community that surrounds the Shipyard and whose residents, according to the terms of the agreement that governs the transfer of the Shipyard from the Navy to the City, are entitled to preferential development rights. Those pages are reproduced on page 2 of this paper.

At least a third of the half-inch thick spiral-bound Supplement is composed of letters written by some of the Bayview Hunters Point and African American community’s most prestigious organizations in support of Lennar’s Preliminary Development Concept, an elegant full-color booklet released earlier this year. The letters come from the Southeast Community Facility Commission, African Marketplace, Uprising Community Federal Credit Union (Proposed), Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC), SPUR, African-American Business Group, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, National Association of Women in Construction, Millennium Management Group, San Francisco Black Leadership Forum, Marinship, Center for African & African American Art & Culture, Bayview Merchants Association, San Francisco Housing Development Corp., Bayview Opera House, SLUG, San Francisco Christian Center, A. Philip Randolph Institute, HCDC, Ingleside Presbyterian Church, San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce, True Hope Church of God In Christ, Small Business Advisory Commission, Southeast Neighborhood Jobs Initiative Roundtable, Urban Land Institute, San Francisco NAACP, Inner-City Pan Project, and Bayview-Hunter’s Point Multipurpose Senior Services.

In March, the Bay View, with research assistance from Communities for a Better Environment, described a long list of articles from major newspapers exposing Lennar’s sleazy practices, such as building a subdivision of new homes in Florida on top of its own dump – a dump full of tires no less – and the many lawsuits filed against Lennar. We also studied the materials we received in response to our Sunshine Ordinance request to the Redevelopment Agency director March 28 requesting all documents regarding the negotiations between the Redevelopment Agency and Lennar over the Hunters Point Shipyard.

But nowhere, until we read this Supplement, did we find any mention of the true intent of Lennar and the City: to give Lennar exclusive ownership of the entire Hunters Point Shipyard!

We trust that, like us, the organizations that wrote support letters to Lennar did not know its true intent. And now that they know it, we trust they will withdraw their support of this massive land grab.