Massive luxury mall unveiled for Candlestick

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and building developers announced plans Monday to demolish Candlestick Park and build one of the largest urban mixed-use projects in the United States in its place, spanning 500,000 square feet and featuring a large shopping center with homes, restaurants and parks.

The project at Candlestick Point is a joint venture partnership between homebuilders Lennar Corp. and shopping mall developer Macerich.

Kofi Bonner, president of Lennar’s San Francisco division said the development, which is adjacent to the waterfront views of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, will create not only housing and shopping opportunities for a wide range of budgets, but will also create parks and open space that will encourage recreational activities such as windsurfing and bicycling in the area.

Bonner said that where there is now just a parking lot and an unused stadium, will emerge “a community that feels like the rest of San Francisco.”

He compared the project, which will be situated a couple blocks away from the Alice Griffith housing development, to other urban mixed-use projects Lennar has built, such as Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, Santa Monica Place and The Village at Corte Madera.

Bonner said the developers will strive to mix high-end international fashion retailers, national brands and small businesses. The project is expected to include about 130 shops, a restaurant village, movie theaters, a performance venue and a hotel, according to the developers.

An African diaspora-themed marketplace is also planned, developers said. Lee addressed a crowd of community members outside the former San Francisco 49ers stadium today and said the private investment “reflects investor confidence” in the often-overlooked area.

He promised the community that the new development would provide construction jobs, as well as roughly 3,000 permanent jobs, preventing residents of the neighborhood from becoming “a victim of transformation,” instead allowing them to be an integral part of it.

Lee said residents could expect to see 50 percent local hiring in Candlestick Point and the adjacent communities. The mayor also said the project would increase the city’s housing stock, including low-income options, and will add to the prices of homes in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods.

According to the Mayor‘s Bayview Hunters Point Citizen Advisory Committee chair Dr. Veronica Hunnicutt, the project will help increase public transportation to and around the area, and make the area a destination for living, working and playing.

Demolition of the stadium is expected to be complete in about four months and then construction will begin, according to the developers. The project will attract more than $1 billion of investment and infrastructure over the next four years, according to the developers.

Also in attendance at the announcement ceremony outside the football stadium today were members of Aboriginal Blackmen United, a group that seeks to provide jobs and opportunities to people of color in San Francisco.

Numerous members of the group said they came out today to make sure the city sees them and that the developers proceed to hire young black people in the neighborhood who are willing and ready to work.

Timothy Rayford, a member of the Aboriginal Blackmen United who works as a journeyman and janitor, said he appreciated the efforts to make 50 percent of jobs available to residents of the neighborhood, but said now he’s watching to make sure it happens.

Hunnicutt said she also hears concerns from the community about the importance of hiring locally and said the Hunters Point Shipyard project is already giving lots of Bayview-Hunters Point residents an opportunity to work and believes the Candlestick Point project will further that goal:

“When we look out and see folks we know working, it delights us.”