San Francisco Public Press: Major S.F. Bayfront Developments Advance Despite Sea Rise Warnings, July 29, 2015


Like every body of water that opens onto a global ocean, San Francisco Bay is virtually guaranteed to rise several feet in coming decades, climate scientists say. But that has not deterred real estate developers from proposing and building billions of dollars worth of new homes and offices in bayfront areas that current climate change predictions show could flood by century’s end.

Land-use records and environmental applications reveal that the building boom, fueled by a white-hot tech economy, is moving too fast for regulators to keep pace. Most cities and regional agencies have not yet adopted tools to address flooding in areas where thousands of acres are threatened by sea level rise.

Developers say they have engineering and financial solutions to deal with any reasonable future flooding risk. But critics, including climate scientists, urban planners and environmental activists, say the current wave of construction might leave taxpayers on the hook for enormously expensive emergency protections and repairs.


In Alameda, development is continuing on the site of a Naval Air Station that shut down in the 1990s. Currently in the works are 800 apartments and 600,000 square feet of retail space in a $500 million project by Alameda Point Partners, which proposes to raise the land and build levees in the future to keep land below sea level from flooding.