What you need to know about Manufactured Gas Plants & San Francisco

Before gas was natural gas, it was manufactured locally. Seriously! The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Potrero/Central Waterfront were all  neighborhoods with manufactured gas plants.

Until natural gas was an available energy source, it was manufactured at local gas plants now known by the lovely acronym of MGP (manufactured gas plant). At the time (roughly 1870 – 1930) manufactured gas was considered to be cutting edge technology. Coal and oil were the raw materials, and the gas that was created helped transform city life – for example, by powering gas street lamps. Unfortunately, gas wasn’t the only thing created at MGPs and some of the byproducts are now considered to be a health hazard (think VOCs and PAHs).

Historic location of Manufactured Gas Plants in the Marina area of San Francisco
Historic location of Manufactured Gas Plants in the Marina area of San Francisco

What does this have to do with you? Believe it or not, even though these plants stopped operating by the 1930’s, the currently responsible legal party – Pacific Gas & Electric – is still doing site investigations, monitoring, and remediation where appropriate.

The manufactured gas plants in the Marina neighborhood were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, and then buried over again during the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. So residential homes, businesses, and parks currently rest on land that was once used to manufacture gas. PG&E is emphatic that “There is no indication that PG&E’s former MGP sites pose any health concerns to the public, based on our testing, experience, and extensive review of medical literature.”

PG&E and the State of California came to a ‘voluntary agreement’ in 2010 that requires PG&E to continue monitoring and sampling for residual materials that may be present at these sites. Of the five location in San Francisco, the Marina sites are by far the most residential, so it is something you should be aware of if you are considering buying or selling a home in the Marina district. As for the other sites? The fisherman wharf site is now home to a hotel, the Potrero site is occupied by a warehouse, and the central waterfront site is under remediation (the former Potrero Power Plant).

Neighborhood News

What’s been up in the nabes? More than any one person could ever keep up with, but here are a few highlights:

Glen Park cleanup next weekend – June 9, 2012

We’re looking forward to partnering with DPW and their staff, equipment, and know-how to continue to clean and green our neighborhood on June 9th. We hope you’ll join your neighbors, Mayor Lee, and Supervisors Campos and Wiener in volunteering at this DPW Community Clean Team event for Districts 8 and 9.

Noe Valley Summerfest is coming up soon – Saturday, June 16, 2012
Hawaiian shave ice, Smitten ice cream tasting, a petting zoo, live music, honey bee demos, a magic show … it can only mean one thing: SummerFEST on 24th Street.

On Saturday June 16 from 11-5 (the day before Father’s Day), 24th Street merchants will be throwing a family event in downtown Noe Valley.

via Noe Valley SF (and yes, Zephyr is a sponsor. Who knew??!)
Burrito Justice has an awesome look at the Miracle Mile, circa 1954… more commonly known these days as Mission St.
D10 Watch highlights some upcoming home ownership workshops being sponsored by Lennar.
From Lennar:

DON’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY

Join one of our FREE Home Ownership Assistance Workshops and start building your future today!

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2012
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Lennar Trailers at Hunters Point Shipyard Corner of Donahue St & Galvez Ave

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2012
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Bayview Opera House 4705 Third Street, San Francisco

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2012
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Bayview Opera House 4705 Third Street, San Francisco

REGISTER EARLY — SPACE IS LIMITED

REGISTRATION:
Please contact Chonta Burgess at 415.344.8861 or Chonta.Burgess@lennar.com
Visit our website at www.hunterspointcommunity.com

Brought to you by:
Hunters Point Shipyard Homebuyers Assistance Workshop Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment c/o Lennar/BVHP One California Street, 27th Floor San Francisco, CA 94111

The Dogpatch Howler has a fascinating story about trying to track down who in the city is responsible for an old police station that recently suffered approximately $200,000 in fire damage. Long story short: everyone thinks the building belongs to someone else, the city is going to sell it someday, but a lot of paperwork remains to be hurdled between today and the sale!

A Home for Urban Pioneers

If you haven’t heard by now, it’s a hot real estate Market in San Francisco. How hot? One of the newest projects to come to market, Millwheel South, has had so much advance interest that they’ve already sold several of the homes before their official grand opening. (scroll down for more photos/slideshow)

I was at the building last week, and had a little time to take some exterior photos of the building (which fronts both Indiana and Minnesota). The addresses for the building are 1301 Indiana St. and 1280 Minnesota St., and in total there are 32 homes in the building, but less than 32 are available for sale as you read this!

On a real estate map, the area is known as the Dogpatch. I’d say it’s a neighborhood for urban pioneers. Condo developments are going up – Esprit Park condos and park are just up the block – the Mission Bay Hospital is under construction, and lots that are currently home to granite warehouses and plumbing supply shops will eventually be transformed into homes or other uses more in keeping with the city that San Francisco becomes as it transforms from a naval and industrial center to a high-tech hub.

The grocery stores haven’t arrived yet, but restaurants and little boutiques are popping up across the neighborhood. Esprit Park (the park) was redone a few years ago and immediately across the street from Millwheel is Progress Park, which I’ve written about before. Are you an urban pioneer? If so, and your price range is the high 500’s to low 800’s, I’d advise you hitch your wagon on over to Millwheel before all the homesteads are sold.

Below are some pictures from my visit to Millwheel South last week:
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Important Information: Millwheel South is represented by Polaris Group. Neither Matt Fuller nor Britton Jackson are the listing agents for Millwheel South. If you have an agent or do not want independent representation, get in touch with them via their website or head directly on over to the sales office (on-site). Even more disclaimer: Real estate in San Francisco is a small, small, world, and while Polaris operates as its own legal entity, the principals have their roots at Zephyr Real Estate.