Today, the 684-acre Baylands lies fallow — closed, contaminated and inaccessible to the public.
Regenerating the Baylands means cleaning up years of industrial pollution, restoring native habitats, attracting new clean industries and jobs and retaining existing ones, and generating enough revenue through sustainable development to pay for the amenities Brisbane wants and needs.
The publication of the revised 2011 Draft Specific Plan is the culmination of an intensive, multi-year effort that involved scores of community meetings and helped UPC gather a better understanding of the issues Brisbane cares about. In 2009, UPC held a series of more than 20 small group and large open house meetings in Brisbane to learn more about community needs.
We learned that Brisbane has a strong sense of place. Residents have ambitious plans for enhancing local cultural, educational and recreational opportunities, while ensuring that the town remains a great place to live and work.
Here are some of the priorities we've heard:
- Clean up decades of industrial pollution
- Restore wetlands and native habitats
- Preserve hundreds of acres of open space
- Design the most energy-efficient buildings in the world
- Lowest possible generation of car trips via a transit-oriented development with a complete mix of uses
- Create vast number of jobs
- Generate power on-site by use of renewable sources
- Create a vibrant commercial district that blends both neighborhood-serving and destination retail with entertainment choices
- Connect Brisbane to regional transit opportunities by extending and improving Geneva Avenue, relocating the CalTrain station 100’ to the south for it a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to link CalTrain to BART and the Muni T-Third light rail
- Invest in community infrastructure, such as a charter high school and playfields
- Teach residents and visitors about the cleanup of the Baylands and restoration ecology through a Baylands interpretive center
We believe the Baylands project can help realize these goals. While cleaning up the Baylands will be expensive — by some estimates, as much as $200 million — these clean-up costs and the funding for an impressive array of cultural, educational and recreational amenities will be built into our development plans.
Community benefits will be civic assets and revenue generated, if at all, will not be allocated to pay for infrastructure and development costs. Moreover, these benefits will require continued maintenance and management. Feasibility of clean-up and realization of City goals for the Baylands therefore relies upon outside sources of revenue to bear the burden of their cost. Utilizing development rights afforded by the City of Brisbane will allow for private development to generate financing and support public objectives.
|+||Cost of Benefits (e.g., wetlands restoration, charter school, sports fields, community recreation facilities, habitat restoration, and open space)|
|+||Cost of Remediation (dependent on final use)|
|+||Size and Cost of Development Necessary to Pay for Remediation and Benefits (e.g., sewers, storm drains, curbs, new roads, etc.)|
|+||Cost of Infrastructure Triggered by Needed Proposed Development|
|=||Final Total Development Size and Costs|
We’ll be refining this equation as we prepare our own proposals for the Brisbane City Council as part of a final Baylands alternatives analysis. But it’s clear that an economically feasible and thoughtfully-designed Baylands project could help Brisbane accomplish many of the City’s long-range goals.
Open Space Planning
Maximizing the open space opportunities for the Baylands has arguably been the most important objective expressed by the Brisbane community, the Open Space/Ecology Committee and elected officials. Therefore, open space is the fundamental principle guiding where and how all other land uses fit together within the Baylands development framework and, more importantly, how they will integrate seamlessly with the surrounding communities.
Formulation of the final size, location and programming of the Baylands open space will continue to be an iterative process, informed by ongoing technical analysis, economic feasibility and community goals and objectives. UPC believes that it will be helpful at this point to explore more specific qualitative open space issues that will further define potential open space uses for the Baylands.