SAN FRANCISCO-A three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeal has concluded that the massive Bloomingdale’s project in downtown San Francisco can proceed, despite various legal and development challenges that have delayed the project for years.

The panel gave its approval for the project, ruling against charges brought by a group known as San Franciscans Upholding the Downtown Plan, which filed a Superior Court lawsuit against the Bloomingdale’s developers, saying that the proposal violated state law and the city planning code. The group says that the proposal calls for demolishing part of the historic Emporium building, located on Fifth and Market Streets.

The court ruled that the Emporium building has no market value, so it could be demolished. The proposal by Forest City Development California Inc. will save the Emporium’s historic dome and its Market Street façade. However, it will demolish the rest of the building to build approximately 500,000-sf of retail space.

The $500 million Bloomingdale’s project includes 1.58 million sf, consisting of a 275,000-sf Bloomingdale’s, 220,000-sf of office space, a nine-screen theater, 125,000-sf of additional retail space, and a 230-room hotel.

According to city officials, the project will generate approximately $14 million in net annual revenue. In addition, $1.25 million is allocated for improvements to the Muni/BART Powell Street Station and $250,000 for improvements to Hallidie Plaza. The project is expected to be a major breakthrough in the revitalization of the downtown area.

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