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Mission Bay Fire: The Aftermath

This week's five-alarm fire in Mission Bay has wreaked havoc on the up-and-coming neighborhood, and we finally got the contractor of the blazed site to break their days-long silence.


BRE Properties' six-story, 172-unit apartment structure on the west side of Fourth Street went up in flames Tuesday, and Suffolk Construction sent us their official statement late yesterday afternoon: “First and foremost, we want to thank the firefighters for their bravery and leadership. Their skillful and immediate response ensured that the surrounding community remained safe. We are now focused on identifying the cause of the fire and remediating the site. We will let you know as soon as we have more information.” Above, West Region prez Andy Ball. Sources say BRE is figuring out how to move forward and get up and running again.

Nibbi Brothers, a veteran builder in Mission Bay, has three projects under construction within a stone's throw from the fire. (Nibbi's Axel Boren snapped this jarring shot from an adjacent project soon after the blaze began.) The fire has devastated the neighborhood at one of the worst times possible, as Mission Bay quickly tries to create critical mass and fill the Fourth Street retail corridor.

Mercy Housing’s 150-unit, $75M project up the street at 1180 4th, for example, has 11k SF of ground-floor retail space to lease out. As of last month, the project was slated to deliver in June. The opening will now be delayed weeks or maybe even months due to clear damage from the fire (assessment is underway). The project is unique because 50 units are set aside for homeless families (the other 100 units are available for families earning 50% of the area's median income). Above, some of the players involved at 1180: Kennerly Architecture's Owen Kennerly, Mercy Housing's Jennifer Dolin, and Mithun|Solomon's Dan Solomon.

There's not yet a dollar figure for costs to repair surrounding buildings. Nibbi is assessing its nearby apartment projects Sol, Channel and Venue (the latter two already have some tenants moved in) to see if exterior skins were affected, Nibbi VP Joe Olla tells us.

We got the update on Equity’s Sol at Block 13, a 273-unit, 16-story multifamily project Nibbi is building on the northwestern side of the blazed property. The site, rendering above, has a completion date of summer 2015. The nearby flames caused Porta Potties to melt to the ground, and inspections of the site are underway. There are ripple effects of the water being used to put out the flames. A lot of water is finding its way into the project site, so Nibbi is having to pump the water out of the below-grade utility vault (on the bright side, there’s no transformer yet). 

On Wednesday the construction site was shut down due to smoke in the air, and Nibbi also didn’t want distracted workers to compromise job site safety. (Firefighters continued their jobs late afternoon, snapped above.) Thankfully, Sol's in concrete tower mode and hasn't started the wood frame low-rise portion of the project yet. From a safety perspective, the fire could have been "a lot worse" if it broke out just an hour earlier while construction activities were going on, says sources.

Another impacted project is the five-year-old, 192-unit Strata complex, which sits across from the BRE site. Owner Summerhill couldn't be reached for comment. We do know the heat hurt the exterior of the building and many of its windows appear to have been blown out. Tenants have been displaced in the eight-story complex, and its C shape meant the south and north portions of the C—the points closest to the fire—were the worst hit. Above, Strata's roof deck during better times. It's still being assessed how or if the elevator core was affected.