A 140-year-old shipyard in San Francisco Bay, left for dead in the early 1970’s as a radioactive wasteland contaminated by heavy metals, is to be reborn as an urban green business and residential district featuring parks and shops as well as a green technology complex to house a United Nations think tank for climate change and sustainable technologies.
Once the US military’s largest facility for applied nuclear research, the Hunters Point Shipyard has been undergoing a $500-million clean-up of its 417 acres since the early 1990s, spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The UN Global Compact, launched in 2000 to find green solutions to the world’s environmental challenges, will open the new Sustainability Center in 2012 with the backing of the UN Environment Programme.
“California, in general, and San Francisco, in particular, have been at the forefront of environmental sustainability for many years and all the right ingredients are here,” said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact, “with added significance that San Francisco is the birthplace of the United Nations (in 1946).”
Established as a commercial shipyard in 1870, Hunters Point was appropriated by the US Navy and played a critical role in World War II. After the war, it was home to the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory.
Design and construction of the new housing and business district is headed by Lennar Urban with the approval of a citizens’ advisory group. A total of 1,400 homes are planned for the first phase at the new Shipyard community . The pouring of foundations for the first series of residences is expected to begin by the end of 2009.