The Wonderful Waterfront

Waterfront, Mission Rock, Orton Development, Forest City, Port of San Francisco, India Basin, Build Inc, Pier 70, The San Francisco Shipyard, Five Point

Waterfront, Mission Rock, Orton Development, Forest City, Port of San Francisco, India Basin, Build Inc, Pier 70, The San Francisco Shipyard, Five Point

San Francisco’s industrial southeastern Bayfront geared for monumental change.


By Jacob Bourne

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]djacent to the shoreline of San Francisco’s District 10, several master planned developments promise to fundamentally transform the city’s industrial quadrant into a framework of mixed-use hubs that will invite an estimated 20,000 households and 35,000 jobs to an area spanning Candlestick Point to the north to Mission Creek on the southern end of the district.

Much of the area was earmarked for residential development since San Francisco originally adopted the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan in 2007, however development was stagnated during the Great Recession. Amidst the region’s now bustling economy and the city’s extreme housing deficits, the mega-development plans are back in full throttle with some units already built.

Though many existing residents of the area were ready to welcome new neighbors and economic opportunities, concern echoed throughout community-based groups that the sudden and sizable influx of residences was out of pace with public infrastructure such as transit, sidewalks and parks, due to the area’s primarily industrial past.

On May 5 of 2016, the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development released the Southern Bayfront Strategy, 18 months in the making, which is a collaboration between OEWD’s Joint Development Division, the Port of San Francisco, Planning, Recreation and Parks, MTA, and the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure. Given several development entities and project visions, the collaboration aims to provide a guiding framework for a cohesive public benefits plan for the district, with each project playing a key role in the strategy’s fabric.

“Several proposed development projects are seeking to transform formerly industrial land in our Southern Bayfront with new housing, open spaces and commercial activity. At the direction of Mayor Lee, we are developing a negotiation framework that will help us maximize investment in this growing part of the city to achieve significant affordable housing, public waterfront access, transportation improvements and new infrastructure,” stated Ken Rich, Director of Development, OEWD.

Developer Five Point Holdings, LLC has phased construction well underway along the waterfront of Bayview-Hunters Point. The 750-acre site encompassing The San Francisco Shipyard and Candlestick Point projects will total 12,000 housing units, 500,000 square feet of retail and 3 million square feet of research and development space, once completed. The combined cost of Shipyard-Candlestick is $8 billion and represents the biggest redevelopment endeavor in San Francisco since the 1906 earthquake.

An environmental review process is underway for the 22-acre India Basin project. Build Inc. awaits approval for up to 1,200 residences and 25,000 square feet of commercial space. The estimated completion is in 2018.
Just north of India Basin, the former Hunter’s Point Power Plant shut down by PG&E, rests on a 30-acre site with no current uses except for ongoing soil remediation efforts to prepare the land for future residential development.

Along the shoreline a tract that is not slated for redevelopment includes Piers 80 and 96, which will continue in its current industrial and maritime uses. Northward to the Central Waterfront, a 22-acre site at the former Potrero Power Plant is owned by NRG Energy that’s working on selling the property to Associate Capital group for another large-scale mixed-use residential project.

Pier 70 is being developed under an agreement between the Port of San Francisco and developers Orton Development and Forest City, the former focusing on redeveloping a number of existing buildings for office, manufacturing and artisan use, while the latter will focus on housing and office building development. The rehabilitation of the 28-acre site will involve the preservation of historic resources, the creation of 2,000 housing units and 2 million square feet of commercial space. The project is expected to be through the approval process within a year.

The Mission Rock project, under an agreement between the San Francisco Giants baseball club and the Port of San Francisco, is currently undergoing the CEQA process. Plans call for a surface parking lot to be transformed into 1,500 housing units, 40-percent of which, will be designated below market rate. About 1.5 million square feet of commercial space is geared mostly for offices but space will also be available for local artisans and makers.

A total of 520-acres of publicly accessible open space and recreation areas will be incorporated into the large stretch of land encompassing all development, in addition to private open space created for each project such as courtyards and roof decks. The network of recreational land will run along and be integrated into the backbone of the San Francisco Bay Trail. All development activity also includes a sea-level rise adaption plan to physically raise grades and put a flexible adaptation framework into place that bolsters the waterfront’s protection against various rising Bay water predictions.

The Southern Bayfront Strategy Working Group is now focusing efforts on ensuring that existing District 10 residents will have priority for the estimated total 6,700 affordable residences, to help curb displacement. An overarching goal of the strategy is to guide development to contribute to the needs of the district as well as the city as a whole.

To support the growth, $1.5 billion has been allocated to MTA’s capital plan to fund current and future transit infrastructure and increased MUNI service in the area through 2021.

“I appreciate that they’re trying to coordinate these projects so that they’re part of a connected neighborhood,” said Kristy Wang, community planning policy director, SPUR. “It’s an opportunity to get growth that’s greater as a whole.”

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