S.F. board sides against Pasadena firm in battle over tennis club site

Appeals board’s decision sends Alexandria Real Estate’s proposal back to planning commission

Los Angeles /
Dec.December 13, 2021 10:41 AM
S.F. board sides with recreation advocates in battle over tennis club site
Rendering of the project at 88 Bluxome Street with Seth Socolow, executive director of San Franciscans for Sports and Recreation (IwamotoScott Architecture, LinkedIn)

It’s game, set and — maybe — match for Bay Area tennis fans who claim a Pasadena developer double-crossed them by reneging on plans to include new courts in a biotech and retail project on the site of the 47-year-old San Francisco Tennis Club.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities must return to the city’s planning commission after the Board of Appeals rejected a plan, approved by zoning officials in October, to build the 1.2 million-square-foot project at 88 Bluxome Street without tennis facilities, the San Francisco Business Times reported. Alexandria said it would drop the planned amenity after would-be anchor tenant Pinterest backed out of a deal to lease half the project’s space.

“This is a big victory for the community over corporate greed,” Seth Socolow of the nonprofit San Franciscans for Sports and Recreation, which filed a claim with the appeals board to reverse approval of the change in November, told the Business Times.

The board voted 4-0 to send Alexandria’s plans back to the planning commission for further deliberation. The commission hasn’t yet scheduled a hearing, according to the Business Times. Alexandria didn’t respond to the publication’s request for comment on Dec. 10.

Alexandria agreed in 2016 to replace the original tennis club with a new, onsite facility. In exchange, the nonprofit dropped a ballot measure that would have required any entity that removed recreational properties of a certain size to replace them within a reasonable distance. The city approved Alexandria’s development, which included that agreement, in 2019.

John Kevlin, a lawyer for Alexandria, said at last week’s board meeting that the developer’s efforts to nix the original agreement didn’t break the city’s conditions of approval, the Business Times said. The board disagreed: One member expressed concern that Alexandria’s request would set a “dangerous precedent.” The board is expected to issue a written decision on Dec. 21 to formalize the vote.

[San Francisco Business Times] — Matthew Niksa





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