Thousands of new homes planned for San Francisco shipyard development

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco is well known as one of the most densely packed cities in the nation.

But now, there are thousands of new homes going into one part of the city.

It's a section of the city that is both historic and has a history of serious pollution as a superfund cleanup site after the U.S. Navy moved out. But now, most officials say it is safe for the thousands of people who will eventually live there.

Angela and Ryan Lyles have bought their first home. "Brand new. Smells new," said Ryan Lyles.

The couple in their twenties couldn't afford to buy in most parts of San Francisco, so they got in on the ground floor of the new Shipyard development. "I think it's great. I mean, it's a place in San Francisco that we can afford. We have a view of the entire skyline," said Angela Lyles.

It's a multi-level townhome with two bedrooms, 1,200 square feet, and a garage. They paid about $650,000. "For newlyweds or people just out of college, it's a really attractive price point," said Ryan Lyles, perhaps unaware that $650,000 would be far outside many people's budgets. Thirty-two percent of the housing will be significantly cheaper, for low and middle income buyers.

The Lyles were the first people to buy into the master planned community at the old Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard. It was a bustling area for decades, with some dark purposes.

There was research on radiation and chemical weapons, and ships used in atomic bomb tests were decontaminated there. "I didn't support the EIR, the Environmental Impact Report, because I didn't feel confident about what was there, in terms of remaining, in terms of contaminants," said San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos.

But developer, Lennar Urban, which is creating 6,000 homes and schools and parks in the area says the contaminants have been removed from this former superfund site. "When we're given the land, it's gone through the cleaning. It's been dug down, soil's been removed, it's gone through all the checks and balances," says Lennar Urban spokeswoman, Sheryl McKibben.

"This has been vetted and studied and studied and studied and analyzed for many, many years. This is going to be a wonderful new neighborhood in San Francisco," said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener.

All the development is also providing a great deal of work for area residents.

"I'm new to the trade, so it's interesting. You get to see what the community can be from the ground up," said Bayview resident and construction worker Bryan Morgan.

Lennar will also develop Candlestick Point, once the ball park is fully gone. There will be another 6,000 housing units there and retail and business space.