Can BVHP finally win the housing and jobs promised over 15 years ago?

demolition-of-candlestick-park-with-big-rigs-2015, Can BVHP finally win the housing and jobs promised over 15 years ago?, Featured Local News & Views
Housing developer Lennar has failed to deliver on its promises of housing and jobs. The demolition of Candlestick Park to clear the way, which is shown here, occurred in 2015.

Please call in to today’s OCII Commission meeting to advocate for equitable development for the Bayview, Candlestick and Hunters Point Communities Tuesday, July 2, at 1 p.m. Call 415-749-2408.

Editorial by Kevin Epps

The housing developer Lennar and its spin-off company Five Points (the Developer) have made multiple promises to the residents of San Francisco’s long-ignored southeastern neighborhoods – promises to build the much-needed housing and parks and provide living wage jobs with access to union representation for the community.

Despite posting billion-dollar profits through an ongoing housing crisis, the Developer has missed three real estate cycles to build the much-needed housing at Candlestick after the stadium was demolished nearly 10 years ago, missing deadlines to build the promised roads, parks and over 7,000 housing units at Candlestick Point.  The Developer is now asking for over $3 billion in public funding – triple the amount it requested at the outset – and an extension to complete the project in another 30 years maybe. It also seeks permission to delay things 15 more years without further review by the City.

The seemingly endless delays coming from the Developer are not what anyone needs – least of all the residents and displaced families of Bayview, Candlestick and Hunters Point. Back in 2008, a coalition of community, labor and faith groups signed a community benefits agreement (CBA) with Lennar based on the Developer promising the City that it would complete 10,000 units of housing by 2020 with commercial development to follow. Commitments in the CBA also included living wage jobs locally hired from the community, strategies to make sure those displaced from redevelopment and residents of Bayview, Candlestick, Hunters Point and the southeastern neighborhoods would be first in line for the thousands of family-sized housing units promised and over $36 million for a jobs and housing fund for the community.

A committee of local residents was set up to make sure the money was spent on the community and a 2013 series of listening sessions involved hundreds of residents from the 94124 zip code to give direction on the programs.

The Developer made similar promises of expedited jobs, housing and parks in 2008’s Proposition G, and in the 2010 development agreement with the city (which was amended in 2012 and then again in 2014). In 2016, the Developer promised voters to build and deliver the jobs, housing and parks right away if they passed Proposition O. The voters upheld their side of the bargain. It’s time for the Developer to do its part.

Black residents of Bayview Hunters Point cannot wait. Black families have been displaced at a rapid rate, dropping from 34% of the population in 2010 when Lennar received their development approvals to less than 27% today.[1]

Calls for progress to expedite building the housing at Candlestick

According to OCII (Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, the successor to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency), the Developer has only completed 337 units or 3% of the housing it promised when the City approved the project nearly 15 years ago.[2] Community advocates continue to point out that the City of San Francisco under Mayor Newsom in 2008 chose Lennar because the Developer had the resources to frontload the funding to expedite the project. And based on this agreement, their profits grew.

According to Lennar’s Annual Shareholder Report in 2016, they had $9.7 billion in revenues when Five Points took over.[3]  Five Points (FPH) is a publicly traded company and had an enterprise value of 1.8 billion.

San Francisco is at risk of losing housing and transportation funding in 2026 because the city has not kept big projects like Candlestick on an accountable timeline. It is possible – and necessary – to hold the developer accountable. Indeed, one of the best opportunities for thousands of eligible certificate of preference holders – people displaced from redevelopment and their descendants – to be able to pursue the dream of homeownership is presented in this development if the City requires the Developer to deliver more housing and on a clear timeline.

So far, Mayor Breed’s administration has not shown any clear timelines on housing construction at Candlestick Point to help meet these goals. Before the City or State commit an additional $2 billion in public funds to this project (which has already secured a promise of $1 billion in “tax increment financing” or “TIF” funding), a clear and enforceable timeline for the development of long-delayed housing needs to be in place.

The Developer seeks its handout, billions in public support and a redirection of tax dollars from other projects to this one. Whether it is worth it depends on three things: first the Developer needs to make a meaningful, enforceable commitment to prioritize building the housing that should have already been completed by now; second the Developer needs to make the outstanding contributions of $28 million to the jobs and housing fund as promised; and third, an increase in public financing should be accompanied by a proportionate increase in the Developer’s investment in affordable housing.

The community should weigh in on the Innovation District

In 2019, the Developer told the City that it would complete two parks and several roadways and other infrastructure projects by 2025. Families are still waiting for construction on the parks to start and the roadways are incomplete.

In an effort to distract from these public failings, the Developer proposes an “Innovation District,” a splashy new façade with fast-track approval that would make them even less accountable to the City, the people of Bayview, Candlestick and Hunters Point as well as the many displaced residents still looking for a spot to land.

Rather than prioritizing housing, the Developer wants to change its focus to building out an “Innovation District” that could encompass nearly 3 million square feet of office space, reduced parking, increased height limits to 180 feet and more. All of this is without any community process or input. The Developer should not be given a green light to do whatever it wants, however it wants, and as slowly as it wants. The community deserves a chance to give input that the Developer needs to hear.

Before approving any more public funding, the City should push forward on the housing already approved years ago, with clear enforceable timelines, and work with the community to develop a clear vision for both commercial and residential development that helps local businesses and those displaced. That’s how we will get the development we need and deserve. That’s how the Bayview, Hunters Point and Candlestick will truly benefit.

Commitment for environmental cleanup at Hunters Point

Nearly 24 years ago, in 2000, 86% of SF voters approved Proposition P, a declaration of city policy that the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Superfund Site be cleaned of toxic contamination. A 2022 Grand Jury Report, “Buried Problems and a Buried Process,” showed where the city failed and what should be done to meet full cleanup goals.[4] Supervisor Shamann Walton led the Board of Supervisors’ unanimous support, urging Mayor Breed to support full clean up:

“The No.1 goal for the shipyard has to be and should be 100% complete cleanup,” Walton said at a 2022 hearing. While the Navy is in charge of the cleanup, “We do have a say in determining whether or not any land is transferred to the City and County of San Francisco. Without a 100% cleanup, that land transfer does not take place.”[5]

Hopefully the Navy commits a billion dollars to cleaning up the Shipyard and new litigation this week helps to finally bring accountability to achieve 100% cleanup. Mayor Breed’s administration should lead on 100% cleanup at the Shipyard and demand Candlestick Point be put on a clear and accountable timeline as part of this approval of the amended developer agreement.

The Mayor and Board of Supervisors finally have a chance to create a clear and accountable timeline for the housing, jobs, parks and many long overdue promises for a healthy and livable community.  Will they?

Please call in to today’s OCII Commission meeting to advocate for equitable development for the Bayview, Candlestick and Hunters Point Communities Tuesday, July 2, at 1 p.m.

Please email or call the commission stating that you support holding the Developer accountable. If possible, please reference this letter and/or have your organization endorse it for entry into the record. You can direct emails, letters and phone calls to:

Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, 1 South Van Ness Ave., 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103,, 415-749-2408.

[1]African_American_Segregation_in_San_Francisco. and SF-neighborhood-new-census-data-maps.2022



[4] Grand Jury Report – Buried Problems and a Buried Process.June 14, 2022

[5] hunters-point-shipyard-toxic-bowl-of-soup-cleanup-may-finally-be-in-sight.2022.SF Examiner

The Bay View’s executive editor and Hunters Point’s favorite son, filmmaker Kevin Epps, is best known for the game-changing “Straight Outta Hunters Point” and for “Black Rock,” “Rap Dreams,” “Fam Bam” and more. He has collaborated on projects with Google, Yahoo, Discovery Channel, Current TV and a host of other media partners. He was awarded an artist fellowship by the world renowned de Young Museum. His passion for advocacy for his community is legendary. He can be reached at