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SFMTA lands lease agreement to advance subway project

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has finalized lease terms with the owner of the Pagoda Palace property in North Beach, Calif. — a key step in the Central Subway project.

The two-year lease, capped at $3.15 million, allows SFMTA to demolish the existing structure and use the property to retrieve two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be used to construct the subway, San Francisco officials said in a prepared statement.

"This deal brings us one crucial step closer to moving the Central Subway construction in North Beach from Columbus Avenue to a much less disruptive site on private property," said David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Total costs to the SFMTA, including the lease, site demolition and extraction of the TBMs, will not exceed $9.15 million, city officials said.

Community objections to the original plan approved in 2008 prompted the SFMTA to initiate a review of alternative, less-disruptive locations for extracting the TBMs.

Removing the machines at the Pagoda Palace, which has been vacant for the past 20 years, "minimizes local construction impacts and leaves no physical impediments to a potential extension of the T Third Line to North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf," city officials said.

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