Future of Yerba Buena

The Future of Yerba Buena Gardens

Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy

The Yerba Buena Gardens in Transition

Since the Gardens’ first inception by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) in 1963, the Yerba Buena Neighborhood has been a hotbed of contentious development activity and has warranted tremendous amounts of community activism and engagement. Together, we have built a neighborhood of world-class landmarks that benefit all of the local stakeholders, whose assets range from day care centers to luxury condominiums and affordable senior housing.

The Yerba Buena Gardens property has undergone a significant transfer of ownership from the State Successor Agency called the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII)  to the City of San Francisco’s Department of Real Estate under the City Administrator’s Office. Yerba Buena Alliance is committed to continuing the legacy of community engagement that solidified Yerba Buena Garden’s place as a model of community-led development around the country and around the world.

In 2019, the Alliance has been very keen on the formation of the newly formed non profit organization, Yerba Buena Conservancy. 

Since the dissolution of the California Redevelopment Agency in late 2011, the Yerba Buena Gardens community has been working together, and with the City and the Successor Agency to Redevelopment (OCII) to ensure the continued success of this treasured, thriving, and connected collection of civic assets. This work has included funding a survey of exemplary local and national projects which informed the submission of a property management plan to the State. Out of this, it was determined that the Yerba Buena Gardens properties would be transferred to the City’s Department of Real Estate and that we would incorporate a new nonprofit – The Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy – to provide the coordinated and cohesive governance and management that OCII has provided over the years, and to negotiate on behalf of the Yerba Buena neighborhood. Our goal is to ensure the continued vitality of one of San Francisco’s most beloved assets while addressing structural sustainability issues. The transfer of the assets from OCII to the City’s Department of Real Estate is expected to occur by July 1, 2018. That is also the target date for The Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy to assume day-to-day management and operations of the Yerba Buena Gardens.

Mission of the Yerba Buena Conservancy 

The mission of the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy is to program, operate, maintain, and improve the publicly-owned open spaces, cultural facilities, and related components of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens, working in conjunction with the Garden’s nonprofit cultural organizations, commercial tenants, and the City and County of San Francisco, for civic and public benefit and enjoyment by the City’s visitors and residents.

In 2019, the Yerba Buena Conservancy was formally formed and the Yerba Buena Alliance along with community stakeholders celebrated a 7 year process to create this new non profit organization to govern and manage the Gardens.

Find out about the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy here. 

History of Yerba Buena Gardens


Yerba Buena Gardens is defined as Market Street to Howard Street, between Third and Fourth. In the mid 20th century, this neighborhood was mostly home to single men who worked in the nearby shipping industry. From 1963 to 1987,  the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) acquired neighborhood property with federal urban renewal funds, and the area underwent significant transformation through a series of development projects and construction that occured between 1993 and 2008. For decades, community advocates fought hard for ample access to public open spaces and affordable housing for many of the neighborhood’s long-term, elderly, and disabled residents. Their efforts brought forth the beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens, Children’s Creativity Museum and Bowling Center, the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Fountain, as well as secured the allocation of property for affordable housing development.

End of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency

In 2011, due to state-wide budgetary shortfalls, State redevelopment agencies such as the SFRA were closed and the ownership and management of the properties was given to successor agencies. The City of San Francisco established its Successor Agency, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, to manage former Redevelopment Agency assets and develop a long-term transfer of the Yerba Buena Gardens assets to the City of San Francisco’s Department of Real Estate.


Garnering Community Involvement

Now, the Yerba Buena Alliance is organizing community meetings with all Yerba Buena neighborhood stakeholders to understand the road map and timeline for the transfer of these essential assets and what it means for the future of Yerba Buena. We are working closely with local and community leaders to help provide a roadmap for the future that supports the vision of Yerba Buena’s broader community. Because there is no asset like Yerba Buena anywhere else in the country, our goal is to preserve and maintain the interests and involvement of the Yerba Buena Neighborhood and continue a sense of transparency and normalcy during this transition.

Check back regularly to find out about upcoming events and learn more about the transfer of the Yerba Buena Gardens to the Yerba Buena Conservancy. 

In the meantime, the Alliance also welcomes you to get involved. You can also become a member of the Yerba Buena Alliance’s growing network of businesses, individuals and organizations by clicking here.  For questions, please contact info@yerbabuena.org

Resources and additional information: 


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