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SF Flower Mart’s redevelopment plans expand

Photo: Michael Short

The proposed redevelopment of the historic San Francisco Flower Mart property South of Market is set to go in a new direction after the project developer acquired an adjoining property at Fifth and Brannan streets.

Kilroy Realty Corp. closed on a 1.75-acre property at 620 Brannan St. on Friday, which will allow the project to grow from 1.5 million square feet to 2.1 million square feet. The larger footprint will allow Kilroy to add a “market hall” retail component to the project and create a larger and more flexible wholesale flower mart, the company said.

The land acquisition was to be announced Monday morning, before the market opened. Kilroy purchased the site from private owners, the Zappettini family, for approximately $31 million in cash and $56 million in stock in the form of operating partnership units.

With the additional space, the Flower Mart project will become San Francisco’s second-largest commercial development, surpassed only by the Embarcadero Center, which is 3.3 million square feet.

Kilroy now owns a total of about 7 acres on Brannan Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. The company has been working for several years to assemble the land.

“Now that the project has a strategic presence on both Fifth and Brannan streets, that area will become a hub of a new mixed-use district, seamlessly blending the past, present and future of the city,” said Mike Grisso, senior vice present of Kilroy Realty.

The company plans to develop an office, retail and wholesale flower market project with a central public plaza.

While Kilroy always planned to retain a wholesale flower mart on the site, some vendors opposed initial plans that would have put much of the flower businesses underground. Former Mayor Art Agnos and Supervisor Aaron Peskin, before he was elected in November, pushed for a plan to give the flower market a larger ground floor presence.

The project represents one of the largest remaining commercial development opportunities downtown, which is being rezoned as part of the Central SoMa Plan. It is just one block from the Fourth and Brannan stop of the future Central Subway.

Henry Kakinami of Mount Eden Floral said the additional space “means a better layout for the new Flower Mart.”

“Everyone has been thinking that the addition of the Zappettini site makes sense, and we were hoping that it would happen. Now it has, and the new Flower Mart will be so much better because of it,” said Patricia Valencia of Sunshine International, another vendor at the market.

The seller, John Zappettini of Zappettini properties, said his family spent eight years working on redeveloping the property. Earlier this month, the family relocated its longtime tenant, AT&T, from 610 Brannan St. into a property in South San Francisco. The rest of the property, 620 Brannan St., is leased to Flower Mart operators.

“We are very pleased to be able to play a role in the Flower Mart’s future with the addition of our property,” Zappettini said in a statement.

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