Just six miles from San Francisco’s increasingly expensive downtown is Hunters Point, a historically blue-collar neighborhood southeast of the city, which has been neglected since the shipyards closed in 1974 amid radiation contamination so bad it was declared a Superfund site. Today, 30 percent of the area’s residents earn less than $10,000 a year.
“This is the San Francisco America pretends does not exist,” author James Baldwin wrote in 1963. And this has remained the case for years, until very recently. As a housing crisis grips San Francisco and there is nowhere left to expand but south, it has begun to change. Because radiation and crime can apparently only scare developers away for so long.
In one of the largest real estate development projects in the U.S., Lennar Urban, part of the Miami based Lennar Corporation, is investing $8 billion to build “The Shipyard”: 12,000 homes for up to 20,000 people, 3.2 million square feet of office space, 800,000 square feet of retail and 300 acres of parks. Home prices range from $450,000 to $900,000. And Lennar’s leaders are positing Hunters Point as an “innovation district,” a high-density, tech-centric space for startups and tech workers.
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