San Francisco Redevelopment Agency


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0108-020.09-002

Agenda Item No. 4 ( e, f, g )

 

Meeting of March 3, 2009

 

MEMORANDUM

 

TO:                 Agency Commissioners

 

FROM:           Fred Blackwell, Executive Director

 

SUBJECT:    Granting an exception from the height limit restriction for building signs in the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan related to tenant signage at the Metreon site located at the northeast corner of Fourth Street between Mission and Howard Streets; Yerba Buena Center Approved Redevelopment Project Area D-1

 

Granting an exception from the height limit restriction for building signs in the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan and conditionally approving the schematic design for proposed improvements to the Metreon site located at the northeast corner of Fourth Street between Mission and Howard Streets; Yerba Buena Center Approved Redevelopment Project Area D-1

 

Authorizing a Memorandum of Understanding with Westfield Metreon, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, FC Metreon LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and Mission Hiring Hall, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation acting through its affiliate the South of Market Employment Center, for permanent workforce program requirements at the Metreon site located at the northeast corner of Fourth Street between Mission and Howard Streets; Yerba Buena Center Approved Redevelopment Project Area D-1

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Metreon complex, located at the corner of Fourth and Mission Streets in the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Project Area, was developed pursuant to a 1994 Land Disposition Agreement, and is operated by subsidiaries of the Westfield Group and Forest City Enterprises under a long term ground lease from the Agency.  The Metreon opened to great enthusiasm in 1999, but it has underperformed over time.  While the AMC theaters and the food court are quite successful, many of Metreon’s other attractions and retailing subtenants have struggled, and the complex now has significant vacancies.  Westfield and Forest City, which developed and operate the neighboring highly successful San Francisco Centre, acquired the Metreon and assumed the Agency ground lease in 2006 and have now presented plans for re-tenanting and improving the asset.  These plans include relocating the main entry to the mid-block of Fourth Street; relocating the food court to the center of the first floor to take advantage of views of Yerba Buena Gardens; re-configuring ground floor retail spaces along Fourth and Mission Streets with restaurants and retailers facing outward to the street; and bringing in new tenants, with a mix of cultural, restaurant, and retail uses, to the second floor (the movie theaters will remain on the third floor).  Tavern on the Green, a major destination restaurant in New York’s Central Park, will occupy the entire fourth floor.  

 

The proposed design of the physical improvements require Agency approval and are presented to the Commission at a schematic level for consideration.  Westfield and Forest City have also requested consideration of exceptions from the signage height limitations in the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan for a building sign to mark the new entry on Fourth Street and a tenant sign for Tavern on the Green on the fourth floor west side terrace.

 

The ground lease includes a program for hiring San Francisco residents for permanent positions at Metreon; this program has a ten-year term and will expire in June 2009.  Therefore, Agency staff has proposed a new Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) between the Agency, Westfield/Forest City, and the South of Market Employment Center (“SOMEC”) for a new, ongoing permanent workforce program for the Metreon.  Under this MOU, Westfield/Forest City and Metreon subtenants will hire at least 50% of their workers from San Francisco.  Westfield/Forest City will provide $150,000 over three years to SOMEC to assist with training and coordination for this effort.  The proposed MOU has an initial term of fifteen years, with a ten-year extension option.

 

Staff believes that Westfield/Forest City’s proposed improvements, with its better tenant mix and urbanistic orientation outward toward the street fronts, will transform Metreon from its position as an underperforming asset to a successful attraction benefiting the community and the greater Yerba Buena Center neighborhood.  The permanent workforce program under the MOU will ensure that employment opportunities from these improvements inure to the residents of San Francisco.  Staff therefore recommends approval of the three actions before the Commission.

 

Staff recommends approval.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The Metreon entertainment and retail complex is located at the corner of Fourth and Mission Streets on Central Block 2 in the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Area D-1 (the “Project Area”).  The project consists of approximately 360,000 square feet of cinemas, restaurants and retail space (the “Metreon”).  The 120,000 square foot land parcel is owned by the Agency and was developed pursuant to a 1994 Land Disposition Agreement and a 1997 Central Block 2 Entertainment and Retail Lease (the “Ground Lease”).  In April 2006, the Agency Commission approved the transfer of the Ground Lease to Westfield Metreon, LLC and FC Metreon LLC (collectively “Westfield/Forest City”), as part of Westfield/Forest City’s purchase of the Metreon complex.  The initial term of the Ground Lease runs through 2046 with two 18-year renewal options, with the last option period ending in 2082.

 

The parent companies of Westfield/Forest City, the Westfield Group and Forest City Enterprises, are both large, well-capitalized retail developers and operators, with very large “stakes” in the success of the Yerba Buena area through their investment in the neighboring Westfield San Francisco Centre.  The Westfield Group is a publicly traded retailing company with worldwide holdings of nearly $40 billion in real estate and related assets.  It is the largest retail and shopping center operator in the world, with projects in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.  Forest City Enterprises is a $7.8 billion publicly traded real estate company with retail, commercial, and residential projects throughout the country.  Westfield and Forest City jointly developed and own the San Francisco Center at the former Emporium site.  Completed in 2006, this half-million square foot, $440 million project includes a Bloomingdale’s department store, offices, cinemas, and extensive retail space half a block from the Metreon.   

 

Proposed Metreon Repositioning

 

While the Metreon opened in June 1999 to enthusiastic reviews, the attendance and financial performance of the complex have not met original expectations.  The movie theaters and food court have done well, but retailers and attractions within the project have had only mixed results, with high levels of turnover and vacancies.    

 

Since acquiring the Metreon in 2006, Westfield/Forest City has undertaken extensive planning to reposition and re-tenant the project.  The proposed repositioning places a greater emphasis on restaurants and cultural uses as a complement to the successful 16-screen AMC cinemaplex.  On the ground floor, a new food terrace will face outward toward Yerba Buena Gardens.  Additional first floor restaurant and retail tenants will be oriented toward Mission and Fourth Streets.  The second floor will feature arts, entertainment, cultural, and restaurant uses.  AMC Theatres will remain the exclusive third floor tenant.  The entire fourth floor will be leased by a major new restaurant tenant, Tavern on the Green.

 

Staff has determined that the new uses proposed for the Metreon are consistent with the Ground Lease requirements, and that together with the planned physical improvements described below, will reposition this important asset to produce a more successful outcome for the community, the Agency, and Westfield/Forest City.

 

Proposed Improvements

 

The Ground Lease provides for Agency review of any physical alterations to the Metreon, including significant changes to exterior signage.  Westfield/Forest City has proposed improvements to the existing building to accommodate the planned new tenant mix and to orient ground floor uses toward the street to create a more active retail environment.  No additional space will be added to the building.  Westfield/Forest City estimates the cost of the improvements at $25 to $30 million, with construction expected to start in late spring 2009 and be completed by summer 2010.  The proposed improvements and planned uses for each floor are described below and are illustrated in Attachment 1 to this memorandum:

 

Relocated Main Entrance The existing diagonal entrance from Fourth and Mission Streets will be closed.  The existing mid-block entry on Fourth Street between Mission and Howard Streets will be enlarged to serve as the new main entry to the complex.  The spacious two-story high atrium-style main entry will also feature a new escalator to the second floor, providing improved access to reconfigured retail, restaurant, and cultural spaces on that level.  A new vertical pylon sign will mark this new mid-block building entrance from Fourth Street. 

 

Street-oriented Retail Façade – The ground floor retail uses are currently oriented to the interior of the building.  The building’s new facade will be re-oriented outward with individual street level retail entries and transparent retail storefronts along Fourth and Mission Streets.  The proposed new façade will activate the retail presentation by integrating it with the surrounding blocks in a more urbanistic manner, making it more pedestrian friendly and visually inviting. 

 

New Dining Terrace and Ground Floor Retail Configuration – The existing food court, which occupies a dark corner of the ground floor, will be expanded into a new visually inviting dining terrace that overlooks and spills out into the Gardens.  Of the current food court tenants Sanraku, Firewood, and Buckhorn will remain after the remodel.  Luna Azul has chosen to leave, and Starbucks and Longlife Noodles vacated in 2008.  

 

The ground floor areas around the dining terrace will be reconfigured to provide additional retail and restaurant opportunities oriented toward Mission and Fourth Streets.  Jillian’s will remain on the ground floor and will also expand into the second floor space above their current location.  

 

Second Floor – The existing mezzanine walkway spanning the windows overlooking Yerba Buena Gardens will be removed to allow greater visual access to the Gardens from the new second floor tenant spaces.  The planned second floor tenant mix will include arts, entertainment, a cultural center, and café/food uses.  The San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design will occupy space on this level, with both museum-style exhibitions and a retail store component.  The San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center will also occupy space on this level.  Additional information about the Filipino Cultural Center agreement is provided later in this memorandum. 

 

Third Floor – The AMC Theatre complex, including the large screen IMAX format theater, will remain on the third floor in its current configuration.  However, Westfield/Forest City is working with AMC to plan upgrades to the lobby area to create a more comfortable movie-going experience. 

 

New Fourth Floor – The entire fourth floor of the Metreon, which originally housed the “Where the Wild Things Are” attraction, will be occupied by Tavern on the Green, an institution in New York City’s Central Park since 1943.  Tavern on the Green has consistently been one of the best performing restaurants in the country and is currently the highest-grossing independently-owned restaurant in the United States, with annual revenues in excess of $34 million and over half a million visitors a year.  Westfield/Forest City and Tavern’s owners believe this success can be duplicated at the Metreon.  San Francisco-based Cass Calder Smith Architecture has designed the restaurant and terrace bar with a focus on Yerba Buena Gardens.  The proposed floor plan will feature a 130-seat restaurant, a piano bar and lounge area, outdoor terrace bar areas with seating around several fire pits, and terrace dining for about 300 people.  The restaurant also will include several private event rooms designed to draw convention clientele along with local and regional users.  Tavern on the Green’s planned investment in this project is estimated at $12 million.

 

New Sculpture for the Plaza – In response to community feedback, Westfield/Forest City has agreed to install a 10-14 foot tall sculpture in the plaza/park at the corner of Fourth and Howard Streets.  Agency staff, Westfield/Forest City, community representatives, and a local arts group will collaborate on the sculpture design.  In response to community concerns about improving the activation of the plaza, Westfield/Forest City has also agreed to have a coffee cart vendor in the plaza during the morning and afternoon hours.

 

New Passenger Zones – To facilitate Metreon customer drop-off and pick-up, two new curbside passenger zones will be built on Fourth Street.  These drop-off zones will require approval by the City prior to construction. 

 

Staff has completed its design evaluation and determined the proposal to be acceptable and beneficial to the revitalization of the Metreon.  Staff recommends that the Commission approve the proposed improvements and the schematic design subject to the following conditions (1) submission of materials and color samples along with final construction drawings for staff review and approval, (2) approval of the proposed passenger zones by the City and County of San Francisco, and (3) submission of the proposed sculpture design for staff review and approval, and installation of the sculpture within six months of completion of the improvements.

 

Proposed Exceptions from the YBC Plan for Building and Tenant Signage

 

The YBC Redevelopment Plan stipulates that building signs be designed as complementary design elements in the total environment, in scale and harmonious with development.  The YBC Plan limits building signs to a height of 50 feet above the street or plaza grade, but provides for exceptions if literal interpretations of the standards for the development conflict with the intent of the general purposes of the Plan.  Westfield/Forest City has requested consideration of two signs which require exceptions from the 50 foot height limit:

 

Building Sign – Westfield/Forest City proposes a vertical pylon sign at the reconfigured mid-block entrance at Fourth Street to help identify this new main entry to visitors.  The topmost “M” letter is 72 feet above the street grade and requires an exception to the Plan of 22 feet.  This proposed Metreon pylon sign is designed as an integral part of the two-story major entrance to the complex.    

 

Tenant Sign - Westfield/Forest City proposes a sign to be mounted atop a window canopy over the fourth floor outdoor terrace for its tenant, Tavern on the Green. The top of the cut out letters will be 63 feet above the Gardens plaza grade at the east side of the complex and requires an exception to the Plan of 13 feet.  This sign will be visible from a portion of the Gardens and from Howard Street near the entries to Moscone Center. 

 

Westfield/Forest City and Tavern on the Green believe this sign is important to create an identity and awareness of the restaurant’s location, since its fourth floor location offers very limited street front presence. 

 

Staff believes that these signs will help with the repositioning and activation of the Metreon, and that the signs are designed, scaled, and located in such a way as to be a visually integral part of the overall building architecture.  Staff therefore recommends approval of the proposed exceptions from the height restrictions to permit construction of the proposed signs for the complex.

 

Community Benefits

 

Community benefits from the Metreon project fall into three areas encompassing (1) existing Ground Lease requirements related to equal opportunity programs, (2) a proposed expanded permanent workforce program, and (3) space for the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center. 


 

 

 

  • Existing Ground Lease Requirements

 

Equal Opportunity Program for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises – When undertaking construction work at the Metreon, including work such as the current renovations, the Ground Lease requiresWestfield/Forest City and its subtenants to participate in the Agency’s Local, Woman and Minority-Owned Business Participation Program for professional services and contracting. 

 

The Agency’s goals for minority and women participation for design and other professional services consultants is 14% and 17% respectively.  Approximately 70% of Westfield/Forest City’s proposed design team is certified as MBE, WBE, LBE and/or SBE with the Agency, City and County of San Francisco, and/or the State of California. 

 

Construction Workforce/Prevailing Wage – Westfield/Forest City is required to ensure equal opportunity for members of minority groups and women in its construction workforce for subsequent construction of improvements.  Westfield/Forest City will work closely with Agency staff to meet the participation goals of 25.6% minority, 6.9% female, and 50% San Francisco residents.  The Ground Lease also requires the application of prevailing wage requirements to all construction, including the planned renovation work.   

 

Permanent Workforce Program – Pursuant to the Ground Lease, Westfield/Forest City and its subtenants at the Metreon have been participating in a permanent workforce program to ensure that minority group members and women are provided equal opportunity for employment at the Metreon and that San Francisco residents obtain 50% of the permanent jobs.  Westfield/Forest City has exceeded this goal by reporting that all of its direct Metreon-based employees live in San Francisco.  Westfield/Forest City’s subtenants at the Metreon also exceeded this goal since 60% of their employees working at the Metreon live in San Francisco.  This permanent workforce requirement is due to expire in June 2009. 

 

  • Proposed Memorandum of Understanding  

 

Agency staff has been negotiating for the continuation of permanent workforce requirements at Metreon under a separate MOU between the Agency, Westfield/Forest City, and SOMEC.  This proposed new MOU will ensure that a revitalized Metreon provides continued training and employment opportunities for San Francisco residents. 

 

Key terms of the proposed MOU are outlined as follows:

 

  • An initial term of 15 years, with a mutual option to renew for an additional 10 years.

 

  • Westfield/Forest City and its subtenants agree to use good faith efforts to reach 50% San Francisco-resident hiring goals with first consideration to residents in the YBC Project Area and second consideration to residents in the South of Market Project Area.  This requirement will apply for both full-time employees and part-time employees expected to work at least ten hours per week in the complex.

 

  • The MOU requirements will be incorporated into all new Metreon subleases for 500 or more square feet of space, and into all sublease modifications which extend their operating terms or move or expand their square footage of space above the 500 square foot threshold.

 

  • SOMEC will recruit, prepare and refer job placement candidates for Westfield/Forest City and its Metreon subtenants.  Westfield/Forest City will provide $150,000 in funding to SOMEC over three years for the purpose of providing a Program Coordinator to serve as liaison between SOMEC and Westfield/Forest City and other Metreon employers.

 

  • The Agency will conduct a comprehensive review every three years of the performance of Westfield/Forest City, Metreon employers and SOMEC under the MOU to determine the effectiveness of the job training program.

 

The proposed MOU will provide much needed immediate and long-term permanent employment opportunities and benefits to local workers and staff recommends its approval.

 

  • San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center

 

As mentioned earlier, Westfield/Forest City is also the owner/developer of the Westfield San Francisco Centre, pursuant to a 2003 Owner Participation Agreement and Disposition and Development Agreement with the Agency.  In a side agreement, Westfield/Forest City agreed to provide approximately 7,000 square feet of space to the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center (“SFFCC”) at the San Francisco Centre for ten years.  After further review, SFFCC feels that the Metreon complex offers a better, more central location for its activities.  Therefore, Westfield/Forest City and the SFFCC have decided not to move forward in the San Francisco Centre and instead have substantially reached agreement, and are in the process of finalizing the documents, for SFFCC to occupy already-finished space in the Metreon complex. 

 

The proposed SFFCC space in the Metreon is about 4,800 square feet on the second floor next to an existing 10,000 square foot event space called the Action Theater (see Attachment 2, SFFCC Floor Plan).  SFFCC and Westfield/Forest City will share access to the Action Theater, with SFFCC having exclusive use on weekends (Fridays through Sundays) when it hosts speakers, conducts training classes, or produces live entertainment.  SFFCC and Westfield/Forest City have agreed to a ten year lease for the Metreon space, with two five year extension options, at a concessionary rent acceptable to both parties.  SFFCC plans to start operating at the Metreon later this year.   

 

Community Consultation

 

Westfield/Forest City has consulted with a range of neighborhood and area stakeholders regarding its plans for the improvements to the Metreon, including TODCO, which owns and operates many of the senior housing projects in the immediate area; the Yerba Buena Alliance; the leadership of SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research), which will soon occupy a building just outside the YBC boundary; the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce; and the Union Square Association.  Westfield/Forest City has also worked closely with MJM Management, which operates Yerba Buena Gardens, and other Gardens stakeholders, to ensure coordination on construction.  These groups have been very supportive of the proposed plans.

 

California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”)

 

Agency approval of the proposed exceptions from the height limit restriction for building signs for both the tenant sign and the building sign, and the schematic design for improvements to the Metreon site, are activities that are (1) alterations to an existing facility and (2) would have no resultant significant environmental impacts.  Therefore, these activities are categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15301(a).  Approval of the Memorandum of Understanding for a permanent workforce program would facilitate continued operation of the facility and would not directly cause any significant physical effect on the environment and is exempt from CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3).

 

Originated by Amy Neches, Denise Blades, Thomas Ma, and Roel Villacarlos

 

 

 

Fred Blackwell

Executive Director

 

 

Attachment 1 – Design Rendering Packet

Attachment 2 – SFFCC Floor Plan

 

 

 

RESOLUTION NO. 25-2009

 

 

 

GRANTING AN EXCEPTION FROM THE HEIGHT LIMIT RESTRICTION FOR BUILDING SIGNS IN THE YERBA BUENA CENTER REDEVELOPMENT PLAN AND CONDITIONALLY APPROVING THE SCHEMATIC DESIGN FOR PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS TO THE METREON SITE LOCATED AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF FOURTH STREET BETWEEN MISSION AND HOWARD STREETS; YERBA BUENA CENTER APPROVED REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT AREA D-1

 

 

BASIS FOR RESOLUTION

 

  1.   On May 9, 1997, the Agency entered into the Central Block 2 Entertainment and Retail Lease (the “Ground Lease”) for the portion of CB-2 which includes the Metreon Site (defined below) with Yerba Buena Entertainment Center LLC.  The Ground Lease was recorded in the Official Records of the San Francisco Recorder’s Office (“Official Records”) on May 13, 1997 as Document No. 97-G159383-00.

 

  1.   The Assignment and Assumption was recorded in the Official Records as Document No. 2006-I166666-00.

 

  1.   The land under the Metreon is legally known as Assessor’s Block 3723, Lots 114 and 115 (the “Metreon Site”).

 

  1. The Project Sponsor is proposing substantial interior and exterior improvements to the Metreon including an interior reconfiguration that would enable new commercial uses, including new retail, entertainment, and restaurant uses.

 

  1.   The Project Sponsor has submitted and staff has reviewed the schematic design for the proposed improvements to the Metreon.

 

  1.   Staff recommends that the Agency Commission approve the proposed improvements and the schematic design subject to the following conditions:

 

  1. Submission of materials and color samples along with final construction drawings for staff review and approval;

 

  1. Approval by the Department of Public Works of the design and location of the proposed passenger zones; and

 

  1. Submission of the concept/schematic design of the proposed sculpture for staff review and approval and installation within six months of completion of the improvements.

 

  1. In connection with such improvements, the Project Sponsor also seeks approval of an exception, as permitted under Section II.C.19 of the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan (the “Plan”), to the Plan standards that restrict exterior signage height fifty (50) feet above street grade.

 

  1.   The new sign is designed on a vertical format mounted to a pylon.  The topmost letter is seventy-two (72) feet above the street grade.  The Plan limits building signs to a height of fifty (50) feet above the street grade.  Therefore, this sign requires an exception to the Plan standards of twenty-two (22) feet.

 

  1.   The Plan further states that exceptions may be granted if the literal interpretation of the standards for the development conflict with the intent of the general purposes of the Plan.

 

  1. Since the pylon sign is designed, scaled, and located in such a way as to be a visually integral part of the overall building architecture, staff recommends approval of the proposed exceptions from the height restrictions to permit construction of the proposed sign for the Metreon complex.

 

  1. On February 20, 2009, staff mailed, pursuant to Agency Resolution No. 1-78 (March 21, 1978), a notice of the public hearing regarding the proposed exception to the Plan’s Development Standards to the owners of all real property within a 300-ft radius of the boundaries of the Metreon Site.

 

  1. mprovements to the Metreon Site, are activities that are alterations to an existing facility, would have no resultant significant environmental impacts and are categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15301(a).

RESOLUTION

 

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS RESOLVED by the Redevelopment Agency of the City and County of San Francisco as follows:

 

  1. An exception is granted from the height limit restriction for building signs in the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan at the Fourth Street entrance.

 

  1. The schematic design for proposed improvements to the Metreon Site, located at the northeast corner of Fourth Street between Mission and Howard Streets, is conditionally approved in the form submitted by Westfield/Forest City and presented to the Agency Commission, subject to staff’s approval of the proposal to be submitted by Westfield/Forest City for resolutions of the design conditions stated in the Resolutions, together with such refinements as the Executive Director may approve which do not substantially alter the schematic design concept.

 

  1. The Executive Director is authorized to execute any and all ancillary documents necessary and take any actions contemplated by the approval of the design and related documents to effectuate the approval of the design.

 

 

APPROVED AS TO FORM:

 

 

 

_________________________

James B. Morales

Agency General Counsel

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

RESOLUTION NO. 26-2009

 

 

 

GRANTING AN EXCEPTION FROM THE HEIGHT LIMIT RESTRICTION

FOR BUILDING SIGNS IN THE YERBA BUENA CENTER REDEVELOPMENT PLAN RELATED TO TENANT SIGNAGE AT THE METREON SITE LOCATED AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF FOURTH STREET BETWEEN MISSION

AND HOWARD STREETS; YERBA BUENA CENTER

APPROVED REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT AREA D-1

 

 

BASIS FOR RESOLUTION

 

  1.   On May 9, 1997, the Agency entered into the Central Block 2 Entertainment and Retail Lease (the “Ground Lease”) for the portion of CB-2 which includes the Metreon Site (defined below) with Yerba Buena Entertainment Center LLC.  The Ground Lease was recorded in the Official Records of the San Francisco Recorder’s Office (“Official Records”) on May 13, 1997 as Document No. 97-G159383-00.

 

  1.   The Assignment and Assumption was recorded in the Official Records as Document No. 2006-I166666-00.

 

  1.   The land under the Metreon is legally known as Assessor’s Block 3723, Lots 114 and 115 (the “Metreon Site”).

 

  1. The Project Sponsor is proposing substantial interior and exterior improvements to the Metreon including an interior reconfiguration that would enable new commercial uses, including new retail, entertainment, and restaurant uses.

 

  1. In connection with such improvements, the Project Sponsor seeks approval of an exception, as permitted under Section II.C.19 of the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan (the “Plan”) to the Plan standards that restrict exterior signage height fifty (50) feet above plaza grade.

 

 

  1.   The Plan further states that exceptions may be granted if the literal interpretation of the standards for the development conflict with the intent of the general purposes of the Plan.

 

  1.   The height of the top of the sign’s letters will be sixty-three (63) feet above the Gardens plaza grade at the east side of the complex.  The Plan limits such signage to fifty (50) feet above plaza grade.  Therefore, this sign would require an exception to the Plan standards of thirteen (13) feet.

 

  1.   At a lower height of fifty (50) feet above the plaza, and as seen from the Gardens, the sign would be partially obscured by and visually conflict with the tall building wall at the foreground.  At the sixty-three (63) feet height, the sign is clearly a distinct building element that integrates into the overall design of the complex.

 

  1. On February 20, 2009, staff mailed, pursuant to Agency Resolution No. 1-78 (March 21, 1978), a notice of the public hearing regarding the proposed exception to the Plan’s Development Standards to the owners of all real property within a 300-ft radius of the boundaries of the Metreon Site.

 

  1. activity that is an alteration to an existing facility that would have no resultant significant environmental impacts and are categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15301(a).

 

 

RESOLUTION

 

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS RESOLVED by the Redevelopment Agency of the City and County of San Francisco that an exception is granted from the height limit restriction for building signs in the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan related to tenant signage at the Metreon Site located at the northeast corner of Fourth Street between Mission and Howard Streets, Yerba Buena Center Approved Redevelopment Project Area D-1.

 

 

APPROVED AS TO FORM:

 

 

 

_________________________

James B. Morales

Agency General Counsel

RESOLUTION NO. 27-2009

 

 

 

AUTHORIZING A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH WESTFIELD METREON, LLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, FC METREON LLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, AND MISSION HIRING HALL, A CALIFORNIA NONPROFIT PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION ACTING THROUGH ITS AFFILIATE THE SOUTH OF MARKET EMPLOYMENT CENTER, FOR PERMANENT WORKFORCE PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS AT THE METREON SITE LOCATED AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF FOURTH STREET BETWEEN MISSION AND HOWARD STREETS; YERBA BUENA CENTER APPROVED REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT AREA D-1

 

 

BASIS FOR RESOLUTION

 

  1.   On May 9, 1997, the Agency entered into the Central Block 2 Entertainment and Retail Lease (the “Ground Lease”) for the portion of CB-2 which includes the Metreon Site (defined below) with Yerba Buena Entertainment Center LLC.  The Ground Lease was recorded in the Official Records of the San Francisco Recorder’s Office (“Official Records”) on May 13, 1997 as Document No. 97-G159383-00.

 

  1.   The Assignment and Assumption was recorded in the Official Records as Document No. 2006-I166666-00.

 

  1.   The land under the Metreon is legally known as Assessor’s Block 3723, Lots 114 and 115 (the “Metreon Site”).

 

  1.   The Permanent Workforce Program expires 10 years after the date Westfield/Forest City or its retail Subtenants first assigned employees to the Metreon.  Based on Agency records, the Permanent Workforce Program is due to expire on or about June 2009, ten years after the date Westfield/Forest City (or its retail subtenants) first assigned employees to work at the Metreon.

 

  1.   South of Market Employment Center, an unincorporated entity (“SOMEC”) (jointly “MHH/SOMEC”).  A revitalized Metreon will foster job training, internships and career development, promote business development, and thus provide a vast array of opportunities for local residents, including women and minorities.

 

  1. Key terms of the MOU are:

 

  1. An initial term of 15 years, with an option to renew for an additional 10 years;

 

  1.   The first $50,000 payment is due on January 1, 2010;

 

  1. Westfield/Forest City has agreed to use good faith efforts to reach 50% local hiring goals with first consideration to residents in the YBC Project Area, second consideration to residents in the South of Market Project Area, and third consideration to San Francisco residents;

 

  1. Westfield/Forest City agrees to incorporate the MOU requirements into real property agreements with all new Metreon employers who lease space larger than 500 square feet at the Metreon;

 

  1. The MOU provides that the Agency’s Executive Director can review MHH/SOMEC’s performance under the MOU every five years and designate an alternative community based organization if needed;

 

  1. The Agency will conduct a comprehensive review every three years of the performance of Westfield/Forest City, Metreon employers, and MHH/SOMEC under the MOU to determine the effectiveness of the job training program; and

 

  1. To the extent that San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 83 (also known as the “First Source Policy”) applies to the Metreon Site upon expiration of the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Plan, the Agency and Westfield/Forest City agree to work cooperatively with the City's First Source Hiring Program toward a determination that the program implemented under the MOU will satisfy the City's First Source Policy.

 

  1. The parties to the MOU wish to (i) promote the successful operation of the Metreon by ensuring the continued availability of training and employment opportunities by employers at the Metreon to residents in the greater Yerba Buena Center and residents of the YBC and SoMa Project Areas (defined as individuals residing in either the 94103, 94104 or 94107 zip codes, collectively “YBC/SoMa”) and residents of San Francisco (defined as individuals residing within the geographical boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco) in the retail, entertainment, restaurant and cinema businesses at the Metreon; (ii) assist Westfield/Forest City in providing for equal opportunity and diversity in employment at the Metreon; and (iii) increase the capacity of MHH/SOMEC to better serve the employment needs of existing employers at the Metreon Site as well as employers who enter into a covered property contract for the Metreon Site on and after the effective date of the MOU.

 

  1. of the MOU for permanent workforce requirements would facilitate continued operation of the facility and would not directly cause any significant physical effect on the environment and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3).

 

 

RESOLUTION

 

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS RESOLVED by the Redevelopment Agency of the City and County of San Francisco that the Executive Director is authorized to (1) execute a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Westfield Metreon, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, FC Metreon LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and Mission Hiring Hall, Inc., a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, acting through its wholly owned program known as the South of Market Employment Center, an unincorporated entity, for permanent workforce requirements at the Metreon Site located at the northeast corner of Fourth Street between Mission and Howard Streets and (2)  execute any documents and take any actions contemplated by the MOU and related documents to effectuate this transaction, substantially in the form lodged with the Agency General Counsel.

 

 

APPROVED AS TO FORM:

 

 

 

_________________________

James B. Morales

Agency General Counsel