SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved lease terms for the Pagoda Palace Tuesday following the Land Use Committee’s decision to approve the terms on Monday, which allows the project to stay on schedule.
The city will be leasing the property as an extraction site for the tunnel boring machines (TBM) used for the Central Subway project. This option was looked at as an alternative to digging up the TBMs at the intersection of Columbus and Union streets, which would cause major disruption for North Beach’s businesses.
Business owners in North Beach previously gave the pagoda option much support, as that would greatly diminish the impact to foot traffic in the area. But after an environmental report revealed that the foundations of five commercial buildings, six residential structures, and a church would be compromised, neighboring residents and business owners turned a skeptical eye on the Pagoda extraction site option.
The report was conducted by a geotechnical engineer commissioned by Save Muni and revealed early February.
While the city has neither the funds nor environmental clearance to add a North Beach stop on the Central Subway line, officials supporting the option have continually touted the benefit of clearing the way for a stop if the TBMs were extracted instead of buried.
One resident at the Land Use Committee’s public hearing Monday called the option a “trojan horse.” Unnecessary disruption would be caused by the removal of the TBMs—which would not save the city money, considering the leasing and extraction costs—and the benefit of a North Beach Central Subway station may not ever manifest.
Marc Bruno of Save North Beach, a coalition of North Beach Businesses, expressed at the hearing that the neighborhood’s original wish was for the TBMs to remain buried, and this remains their preference.
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