San Francisco’s downtrodden Mid-Market area is poised to get a new five-story shopping center after the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected an appeal of the environmental approval for the project.
Mayor Gavin Newsom said the CityPlace shopping center between Fifth and Sixth streets "is critical" to revitalizing a blighted area on the city’s main boulevard that for years has resisted efforts to spruce it up.
The unanimous vote came after testimony that focused primarily on the traffic and pedestrian safety impacts from the planned 188-space underground parking garage below the shopping center.
Some opponents also wanted a historic theater façade renovated rather than torn down with two other buildings to make way for affordable electronics, sporting goods and other stores.
Transit and bicycle advocates said they didn’t want to stop the project but to ensure adequate safeguards for cyclists and pedestrians and limit parking to the 70 spaces allowed under the downtown plan.
Developer David Rhoades, who has been working for five years to get the project approved, maintains that the planned parking is needed to attract retailers who sell bulky items.
Rhoades on Tuesday agreed to levy a 20-cent fee per car using the garage to raise up to $1.8 million for pedestrian safety improvements in the area. Supervisors Chris Daly and David Chiu helped broker that compromise.
Barring a lawsuit, Tuesday’s vote clears the way for Rhoades to sign up retailers.