A Defining Moment for Jobs

The rubber is finally meeting the road for the city’s single largest job-creating project of the decade. Next week, the Board of Supervisors will vote whether or not to approve the Hunters Point Shipyard Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The result will either usher in a new era of jobs and economic growth or kill one of the nation’s largest ongoing development projects. As the city continues to face high unemployment and plummeting tax revenues, the Board should jump at this extraordinary opportunity to stimulate our economy and improve one of the city’s most underserved communities.

The enormity of the Board’s upcoming decision can not be understated. At stake are more than 10,000 permanent and 1,500 constructions jobs, millions of dollars of contracts for local businesses, and more than $27 million in net revenue for the city each year. These economic impacts are significant by any measure, and would be the envy of most municipalities. But in today’s difficult economy, they are a lifeline for our city’s businesses, workforce and residents.

The Hunter’s Point Shipyard project is also a significant step forward in San Francisco’s long-term economic development. It delivers 2 million square feet of office and R&D space for emerging cleantech companies. It provides 9,000 square feet of retail and commercial space for local businesses. And, it includes a potential site for a new 49ers stadium. As San Francisco competes with other Bay Area cities for emerging cleantech companies – as well as our professional football team – this project will help us keep and grow these important economic assets.

For the residents of Hunters Point, this project brings hope and new opportunity. In addition to delivering more than 11,000 new homes for working and low-income families, the development provides hundreds of jobs for local residents, enhanced transportation, and 336 acres of open space – all meeting the highest standards of environmental sustainability. Developer Lennar Urban is also pledging a package of community benefits including a $2 million health and wellness center, a $3.5 million scholarship fund and $17.8 million for workforce development programs.

A decade of planning, review and debate has come to a close. Now, it’s time for the Board of Supervisors to act. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), the city’s public health, planning and redevelopment commissions have all approved the project. The Labor Council, the Building and Construction Trades Council and the San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association (SPUR) have endorsed the development. Hunters Point Residents overwhelmingly support the project and San Francisco voters passed the Bayview Jobs, Parks and Housing Initiative (Proposition G) outlining the principals for the area’s redevelopment. We hope the Board of Supervisors will join the Chamber – and these many other supporters – in voting for this unprecedented project.

This year, the Chamber has made a point of recognizing the Supervisors who are doing the most – and the least – to create jobs and grow the economy through our Paychecks & Pink Slips scorecards. Supervisors now have a telltale moment to demonstrate their commitment to jobs and economic growth. As the most significant vote for jobs and the economy this year, the Hunters Point Shipyard project will clearly separate those elected officials who are serious about economic solutions from those who are only paying lip service to job creation and economic growth.