Future of Yerba Buena

The Future of Yerba Buena Gardens

YBGC Board Size and Composition – October 20, 2016The Yerba Buena Gardens in Transition

The Yerba Buena Gardens is the “Art Heart” of downtown San Francisco. This vibrant and diverse area is home to such organizations such as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, (SF MoMA), the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), The Contemporary Jewish Museum, The Children’s Creativity Museum, and the Moscone Convention Center, among others. 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 is currently undergoing 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.

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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