Efforts to expand the new Central Subway in San Francisco have been renewed by Supervisor Julie Christensen. She recently announced her efforts to purchase a key site required for the expansion of the subway project.
The Central Subway Project seeks to improve public transportation in San Francisco by extending the Muni Metro T Third Line.
The project will mostly be underground, and four new stations will be built in an effort to improve congestion and city traffic. There are efforts to expand the Central Subway Project beyond its current location.
According to The Examiner, “Christensen asked the city government’s Real Estate Division to newly asses the Pagoda Theater property on Columbus Avenue.” This property is often named a key site that would allow the project to extend beyond Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf.
The property has been identified as a site that would allow the project to expand and would also be a place for a future subway station.
The property was slated for potential acquisition in 2013 after the theater had been closed down for over 20 years.
The current owners of the property are planning to build 19 luxury condominiums and a restaurant there. The project is expected to break ground in November.
If Christensen’s efforts to purchase the property fail, she may try to use eminent domain, which, according to The Examiner, “the neighborhood advocates back.”
Many argue that the city should proceed with eminent domain sooner rather than later. Other potential sites for the expansion of the subway would force the city to use eminent domain on residents and businesses.
The Pagoda Theater property sits empty and has been assessed at $4.9 million, according to the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s office. It is unclear at this time how much the city is willing to pay for the property. However, before eminent domain can be used, a fair market value offer must be made for the property based on an appraisal which the City would need to obtain.
Right now, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority said it has no intention to purchase the land, and the fate of the subway is up to the current owner.
“San Francisco needs more subways, and extending the Central Subway north is a key part of expanding our inadequate subway network,” said Scott Wiener, who is co-sponsoring Christensen’s efforts. “The Pagoda Theater is a critical site, and the city needs to get it together and purchase it.”
Critics of Christensen’s ideas worry that the property will sit empty for 15 to 20 years while they wait for funding and go through the long planning process. Christensen argues they will find an interim use for the property that would use the space and generate some income.
The expansion of the Central Subway to Fisherman’s Wharf is unclear, but to learn more about the proposed expansion or the potential use of eminent domain for the Central Subway Project, call California Eminent Domain Law Group at (866) EM-DOMAIN.