Update from San Franciscans for Sports and Recreation

Thanks to San Franciscans for Sports and Recreation for allowing us to share their March update on the status of the development plans for Bay Club SF Tennis.

By San Franciscans for Sports & Recreation

Hello Fellow SFTC Fans,

Lest you think we have been in deep hibernation over the winter, we wanted to update you on the status of the new club, and other recreation efforts.

As you may have heard, in January, Alexandria Real Estate Equities (AREE) officially closed on their purchase of the property and building where our club resides and is leasing that space back to the Bay Club.

Our New Club

AREE is still pursuing the new office building with the new club in it, as agreed to last summer.  We met with AREE's architects in November. In answering our many questions, they told us that the building will rest on bedrock as opposed to the fill commonly found nearby. Also, the weight-bearing superstructure of the building is reconfigured to allow for enough height clearance and court surface areas.

We saw preliminary design plans at that meeting as well. The plans showed the club with more square footage than the current club, and the addition of a second floor rail for additional viewing and lounging. There were rooms for a café, the club staff, therapy, lockers, work out, a store; basically what we requested and have now. The parking entrance would be off of Bluxome rather than 5th Street.   The bad news is that we will not have the same amount of dedicated parking we have today.  While many more parking spaces are being constructed than we have now, we will be competing with all of the building's tenants  during weekdays. However, on nights and weekends when the offices are lightly occupied, more of the parking may be available, which could translate into even more parking than we have now.

Many things are in process that must be completed prior to construction, and our best guess is that the club will remain open until early 2019. In the meantime, here is a partial list of what has to happen at the City level before construction begins:

1.Completion of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the new Central SOMA Plan.  A draft was issued in December and a final proposed EIR completed just recently. It now goes through a series of reviews and approvals by the City which are expected to be done near the end of 2017.

2. Completion of the Central SOMA Plan. This follows the EIR with a series of public meetings, planning commission approvals and then the Board of Supervisors. AREE's office building has its own page in the Plan. Approval will probably take until late summer of 2018. Only then will AREE know what City rules officially guide their project. Some work can be done simultaneously, but no building plans can be approved until after the Central SOMA Plan is approved. Among other things, the builder submits archaeological, environmental hazard, and shadow studies.

3. AREE needs to obtain a demolition permit for the current club, and a building permit and approval of final construction drawings for the new office building. The construction drawing approval is an iterative exchange of plans and comments between AREE and the City. This will probably roll into early 2019.

4. Finally AREE must have 12 interim covered courts available for our use before the current Club may be closed and demolition and construction may begin.

Please keep in mind that this timeline is only an estimate and could easily be longer or shorter.

12 Interim Covered Courts 

Just to emphasize the point, AREE may not close the Club until 12 interim covered courts are available for our use. These courts can be in separate locations, but no fewer than three courts may be at any site. The courts must be located north of Cesar Chavez Street.  AREE has considered some sites, but is waiting for their timelines to firm up based on the sequence described above before committing to any sites.

Public Court Resurfacing

AREE has agreed to deposit funds for public court resurfacing into an escrow account. We have been working cooperatively with the City's Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that essentially spells out who does what. That agreement is now with the City Attorney for legal review, after which it goes to the Rec and Parks Commission for approval, then the City Controller for fiscal review and finally the Board of Supervisors for final approval.  We believe that that process will conclude sometime this summer.

We received bids on the court work from two well-regarded tennis court resurfacing contractors.  We hope to get contractors working on the first set of courts before weather changes in November make resurfacing difficult.  With that schedule, most resurfacing work will likely occur next year.

Other Recreation Funds

AREE has placed all funds in escrow to be used to construct, refurbish, or revitalize public recreation facilities and programs.  We had meetings with RPD and Supervisor Jane Kim to begin to identify potential projects, with a focus on active recreation for youth.  Once these projects are finalized, we will need to pursue a second MOU with RPD to actually construct or refurbish the facilities.

As always, please do not hesitate to send in your questions, or grab us at the club.

San Franciscans for Sports and Recreation Steering Committee

  • David Brentlinger
  • Betty Louie
  • Tricia Weaver Moss
  • Seth Socolow