San Francisco kicking out longtime Bayview greenhouse businesses

By  : sfweekly – excerpt

Three Bayview plant nursery businesses dating back to the 1980s have until May to vacate a publicly owned greenhouse after city officials say the facility has fallen into disrepair.

The forced move has made uncertain the future of Decorative Plant Service, San Francisco Foliage, Sunborne Nursery and the fate of more than 100 workers. All of the businesses, which hired half of their workforces from the Bayview, must leave the 1150 Phelps St. greenhouse facility by May 31.

Also unknown is what The City plans to do with the greenhouse site.

Business founders and employees told the San Francisco Examiner they were shocked when the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s decided to give them the boot.

“Our reaction was one of surprise,” said Sunborne Nursery founder Dan Goldman, who opened the wholesale plant and container supply business there in 1989.

San Francisco Foliage owner Siri Datta Khalsa said the three businesses were told during a meeting in April, convened by SFPUC general manager Harlan Kelly, that they would have to leave.

“It threw me for a loop,” Khalsa said. “It was unexpected.”

The businesses have operated on a month-to-month lease for the past three years. The SFPUC had intended to solicit bids to select companies to enter into a longer term lease for use of the greenhouse. The existing businesses planned to compete.

But in preparation, the SFPUC had engineering consultant AECOM conduct analysis of the greenhouse conditions. The analysis had findings that ultimately condemned the site.

The facility is in “poor to fair condition” and out of compliance with numerous safety and building codes, the report said. Repair costs were estimated at $12.9 million. A rebuild of the facility was estimated at $41 million.

SFPUC motivations questioned..


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