Pagoda Palace: Restaurant Owner Discovers Brick Fragments on Roof, Gets Angry

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

Yesterday we noted that the Piazza Pelligrini restaurant received a pair of unwelcome guests: Bricks, which fell from the Pagoda Palace demolition site next door.

Restaurateur Dario Hadjian was less than thrilled with the notion of construction debris coming to a rest next to his outdoor cafe tables (the bricks purportedly tumbled within the construction zone, then rolled beneath a fence). So, this morning, when he found more bricks, he was even less than less-than-thrilled.

And he called the cops… (more)

ASBESTOS AND LEAD:  SAFETY PRECAUTIONS IGNORED Despite many requests, SFMTA has not identified hazardous materials to neighbors nor divulged abatement procedures.  If any haz-mat removal has occurred, such work was done without any containment or protective barriers—throwing particulates into the air.  Nearby residences and restaurants with outdoor dining have been ignored.

The “Phase I Environmental Site Assessment” (by “Ceres Associates”, May 30, 2001) and “Asbestos and Lead Survey” (by “EnviroNova”, June 19, 2009) identify lead (paint, tiles, soldered plumbing connections….), asbestos (roofing, mastic, flashing, plaster, putty, tiles….) and mercury (thermostats).

The Pagoda site has saturated sandy soils, a high water table and underground streams.  Structural loads onto cavity-prone soils have high potential for soil subsidence and damage to adjacent buildings.  Independent Geotechnical Evaluations: “Karp Report 1, 2 and 3”.  

The demolition is being rushed for political reasons.  Internal SFMTA documents show that demolition is not necessary:  In SFMTA’s Risk Management Report No. 46, Risk Item 208 notes:  “March 2013:  2. If resolution of costs associated with the Pagoda option is not achieved, the TBMs will be buried to maintain budget requirements.”

TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines) can be buried under Stockton Street or extracted in Chinatown, eliminating the empty 2,000 foot tunnels from Chinatown to Washington Square and the Pagoda Project.  Cost savings of up to $80 million can be used to quickly improve Muni throughout northern and western San Francisco.

RUSHED DEMOLTION  =  BAD CONSEQUENCES The Pagoda Theater’s rushed demolition is unwise and illegal.  At minimum, surrounding business/ property owners should be allowed to review engineering and demolition procedures.  Thus far, neighboring businesses and property owners have been left in the dark.

Some Say Signs of Trouble Apparent Days Before Building Collapse

SFMTA reaches private property lease terms for Central Subway construction – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) finalized the lease terms with the owner of the Pagoda Palace property in North Beach, Calif.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) finalized the lease terms with the owner of the Pagoda Palace property in North Beach, Calif.
This step brings SFMTA closer to finalizing plans to extract its two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be used to construct the Central Subway. The lease is subject to approval by the SFMTA Board.
“The Central Subway invests in a modern 21st Century public transportation system for San Francisco that will connect our city’s diverse neighborhoods and create thousands of jobs,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. “This next step will allow the project to move forward in building a transit system for the growing population and workforce of the future and minimizes the construction impact to the North Beach neighborhood.”
The two-year lease, capped at $3.15 million, allows SFMTA to demolish the existing structure and utilize the property to retrieve the TBMs…
The project will also require National Environmental Policy Act clearance by the Federal Transit Administration. If all of the necessary legislative processes and approvals occur by April 1, 2013, then the demolition of the Pagoda Palace site can then commence. Before any construction begins, SFMTA will conduct building surveys on the properties adjacent to the Pagoda Palace site to assess existing conditions…  (more)

Deal reached to lease out North Beach theater for Central Subway work

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer – excerpt

A deal has been reached to bring up Muni’s Central Subway machinery at an abandoned theater in North Beach.
The transit agency, along with Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and the Mayor’s Office, had been locked in talks to lease out the Pagoda Palace as a way to store equipment and extract tunnel-boring machines needed for the 1.7-mile transit extension project.
Per the agreement, Muni will pay $9.15 million to use the site, which includes up to $3.15 million to building owner Joel Campos for 24 months of rent and other reimbursements. The rest will be spent tearing down the existing building and extracting the machinery.
Originally, Muni had planned on bringing up the machinery in the middle of Columbus Avenue, but backed off after a strong outcry from local residents and merchants.
As part of the deal, city officials have agreed to waive some zoning restrictions for future development at the site. That requires naming the site a special-use district. The Planning Commission is scheduled to vote today on whether to declare the site a special-use district… (more)

Deal Reached for Central Subway Project

Negotiations, approvals still await Muni’s plans to extract Central Subway tools

By: Will Reisman : SFExaminer – excerpt

While Muni negotiates with a North Beach property owner on how it will remove boring tools for the Central Subway project, major planning and approval decisions regarding the controversial extraction process await.
Outrage among residents and merchants over plans to remove the machines at Columbus Avenue led the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, to propose taking out the equipment at the Pagoda Palace, a derelict former movie theater.:…  (more)