sffd_firefighters.jpgA two-alarm fire that heavily damaged a San Francisco Housing Authority building under construction in the city’s Hunters Point neighborhood early Saturday has been deemed suspicious, a fire department spokeswoman said today.

The blaze was reported at 4:05 a.m. at the site of a planned four-story residential building at the Hunters View public housing complex at West Point and Middle Point roads, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

Firefighters responded and extinguished the blaze at 5:18 a.m., but not until after it had caused about $700,000 in damage to the structure of the building and $25,000 to its contents, Talmadge said.

She said the fire is considered suspicious but said she could not give more details, citing the ongoing investigation.

No one was injured in the fire, she said.

San Francisco Housing Authority spokeswoman Rose Marie Dennis said the fire might cause some delays in moving the first group of residents into the complex.

She said, however, that the target move-in date remains the same: mid- to late-2013.

“We’re still hopeful the first group of residents can move in without significant delays,” she said.

That group was selected via a lottery process that took place a couple of weeks ago, Dennis said.

She said the housing authority’s greatest focus will be on communicating to residents any updates in the investigation and how it might affect the move-in process.

“They know this is an important redevelopment project for the southeast” part of the city, Dennis said. “We want to make sure the residents are very clear on what happened.”

The Hunters View housing complex was constructed in the 1950s. The city began the process to redevelop the complex in 2003 because of deteriorating conditions there, according to project officials.

The project, which was approved by the city’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in 2008, calls for the eventual demolition of all existing 267 units in the complex and the construction of more than 700 new units at the site.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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