San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced plans today for a United Nations global warming center at Hunters Point Shipyard, which officials hope will transform the area into an anchor of green collar jobs and sustainable technologies.
The center would be part of the United Nations Global Compact, an international initiative that encourages businesses to adopt environmentally responsible practices, and would include a green tech business incubator, U.N. Global Compact offices and a conference center.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this,” Newsom said at a news conference this morning. “It would convert a former environmental disaster site into a Mecca for green technology.”
Officials say that in addition to drawing hundreds of green businesses to San Francisco, the project would revitalize Hunters Point, which still houses toxic waste despite nearly a decade of clean-up efforts.
Newsom and others said it’s not enough to clean up Hunters Point; it needs to be transformed into an economic engine as well.
“This is a real anchor that represents the values of this (revitalization) project and this city,” he said.
The U.N. Center would include more than 2 million square feet of commercial space on “Parcel C” of the shipyard in a campus-like setting, and initial building phases are expected to cost $20 to $30 million, according to the mayor’s office.
It will be funded by corporate sponsorship, state and federal grants and foundation support, Newsom said, and several major corporations have already expressed interest.
Over the next nine months, the city will engage in an intensive review process, which includes appointing an advisory board, raising funds, and ironing out project details.
Technical specifications should be established by 2010 and construction is expected to be finished by 2012.
Officials say the center and other nearby development projects will create more than 10,000 permanent jobs over the next 15 years, plus about 2,000 temporary construction jobs.
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who represents Hunters Point, described the project as “sweet justice,” saying it would create jobs in a part of the city that needs them the most.
“We are grateful and know this is the right place,” she said of the project. “I think you will find a very willing community here.”
Michael Cohen, director of economic development for the mayor’s office, addressed the proximity between the U.N. Center and Candlestick Park.
“We want to make it clear this is not an either/or for the 49ers stadium site,” Cohen said. “We have always wanted both.”