Construction has begun on a Lowe’s home improvement store in San Francisco’s economically barren Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, city officials announced today.
Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell have touted the project as a tremendous win for the area, forecast to deliver jobs to the impoverished neighborhood and significant revenues to the city.
The site at 445 Bayshore Blvd. was the home of Goodman Lumber for more than 50 years, but has been vacant for nearly a decade. Early last year, Home Depot backed out of plans to build a home improvement superstore at the Bayshore Boulevard location.
This will be Lowe’s first location in the city, not known for being an easy place to open a big-box store. Newsom spokesman Joe Arellano said the store is estimated to open in fall of 2010.
North Carolina-based Lowe’s said it will honor the same community benefits Home Depot had agreed to during its approval process. These include a $750,000 investment in entry-level job training for local residents and $100,000 for the city’s Day Laborer Program.
Lowe’s has also promised to hire half of its retail employees from the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood and another 25 percent from other nearby neighborhoods, including Potrero Hill, Visitacion Valley, Bernal Heights, Excelsior and the Mission. A portion of construction jobs must also go to nearby residents.
The city estimates that the 107,000-square-foot store will create between 150 and 200 permanent jobs, 70 percent of them full-time. The store is predicted to generate more than $1 million in property and sales tax revenues each year.
Officials hope Lowe’s can be the anchor, and the impetus, for a new home improvement corridor along Bayshore Boulevard.
The corridor used to be a vibrant one, Arellano said, with a variety of stores offering different home amenities.
“In the last 10 or 15 years it’s been kind of falling apart with tenants moving out,” he said. Now the area is home to several fast food restaurants and a scattering of building material suppliers.
Several city departments, including planning, redevelopment and economic and workforce development, are launching an effort to revitalize the area, Arellano said. The departments’ first step is discussions with community members, before moving on to possibilities like zoning, incentives and faster permits.