Mayor Lee Breaks Ground on New Public Safety Building and Outlines Decade of Infrastructure Improvements

Mayor Lee Breaks Ground on New Public Safety Building and Outlines Decade of Infrastructure Improvements
New Bond Funded Facility Ensures the City is Prepared to Respond to Emergencies

9/8/11— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today broke ground on the new San Francisco Public Safety Building located on 3rd Street at Mission Rock in the Mission Bay Redevelopment Area. The state of the art building will house the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Police Command Center, the Southern District Police Station and a neighborhood San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) Fire Station.

“The timing of the start of this construction has special significance for us as we approach the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11,” said Mayor Lee. “We are reminded of our commitment to preparedness and have demonstrated that we will be ready in the event of a large scale emergency.”

This new seismically safe facility will play a critical role in providing public safety services to residents of San Francisco by deploying the men and women working the front line – during and, especially after, a major catastrophic event. First responders play a critical role immediately following an emergency by providing rescue and recovery.

“This is a momentous occasion for San Francisco and the Police Department as we break ground for our new Public Safety Building,” said SFPD Chief Greg Suhr. “This new facility is built with funds from the San Francisco Earthquake Safety and Emergency Respond Bond and will ensure that police will be able to respond to calls for service and provide a coordinated response during and after a major earthquake.”

The Public Safety Building is funded by the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond (ESER), which voters passed in June 2010. The building will be approximately 290,000 square feet and will provide functional resiliency for up to 96 hours after a major disaster or earthquake. In addition to the construction of the Public Safety Building, the bond upgrades the high pressure firefighting system also known as at the Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS) and repair neighborhood fire stations. The bond was the first phase to ensure public safety facilities are structurally safe so that police and fire can provide the necessary structural and operational resiliency to enable leadership to promptly coordinate vital emergency services for residents. For more information on the ESER Bond, please visit:

“It’s clear that the residents of San Francisco have a great interest in Public Safety”, said SFFD Chief Joanne Hayes-White. “They have overwhelmingly supported this project with the passage of the ESER Bond last year.” All of the planning design and thought that was put into the development of the new complex was carefully contemplated. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, it is indicative of the commitment that San Francisco has made to being environmentally responsible. Most importantly, this is a highly functional facility that will allow us to carry out our responsibilities more efficiently and effectively.”

The facility will create a seismically safe and LEED gold certified sustainable green building that will be fully operational after a major earthquake. The Public Safety Building will be built to resist security threats and operate continuously in the event of loss of power and water. The total project budget, inclusive of development and construction costs of the building, is estimated at $243 million. The project will be complete in summer 2014 and will create about 700 construction jobs.

“The Department of Public Works has been able to provide bandage fixes to the aging Hall of Justice over the past years. While, we will continue to repair this deteriorating facility, it is reassuring that we are taking this important step to invest in a Public Safety Building that will be fully operational so that our first responders can continue to provide uninterrupted emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Department of Public Works (DPW) Acting Director Mohammed Nuru. “In keeping with DPW’s goals to ensure long term sustainability for our City facilities, this building is also designed to meet LEED Gold green building standards and reuses the old fire station as a community meeting space in which everyone benefits.”

“The Public Safety Building will be an important addition to the growing Mission Bay community,” said San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Fred Blackwell. “The project demonstrates how the tools of redevelopment can be used to create truly livable and sustainable neighborhoods—where essential police and fire services are provided alongside transit, affordable housing, high-quality jobs and new parks and open space.”

Major Progress Seismically Upgrading Key Facilities & Infrastructure Since 2001

The ESER Bond Program and the Public Safety Building were developed as part of the City’s 10-year Capital Plan that prioritizes the City’s infrastructure needs. Since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, voters have approved several General Obligation Bonds to retrofit facilities, and the City has completed nearly 200 projects with seismic components. Almost 200 buildings and facilities have been seismically retrofitted to improve the performance of public buildings and safety of the public. These improvements include facilities that house our first responders (Fire, Police, and Public Health) and will allow the City to continue to provide uninterrupted emergency services and vital resources such as water and electricity to those in need after a disaster or earthquake. The City has many assets that still need to be rebuilt or retrofitted in which the Capital Plan is committed to addressing in the coming years.

Two large projects that are currently being upgraded are San Francisco General Hospital and facilities identified under the ESER Bond, including the retrofit of the City’s high pressure water fire fighting system, neighborhood fire stations, and the construction of a new Public Safety Building. 

The City recently approved a major seismic upgrades of the War Memorial Veterans Building that hosts over 500 events and nearly 300,000 visitors a year. In addition, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is approaching completion of the $4.6 billion seismic upgrade and retrofit of the City’s Hetch Hetchy regional water delivery system and is preparing to embark on a $4.4 billion seismic upgrade of the City’s wastewater and sewer system. 

San Francisco also launched the San Francisco Building Occupancy Resumption Program (SF-BORP), a program for public buildings in California. SF-BORP will designate a team of certified structural inspectors, identify a building’s structural system, and develop an inspection plan for City-owned buildings. In the event of a major earthquake, this program allows the structural inspection team to quickly determine whether a building can be safely reoccupied so that the City can continue to operate and provide key emergency services. The BORP inspection plans are estimated to be complete by December 2011.