While the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (BCNA) characterized the passing of Senate Bill 815 (sponsored by Senator Carol Migden) as a “Grand Day in Sacramento” and a “great victory,” not everyone shares the same sentiments.

For two years the port has been hammering out legislation that would give the cash-strapped agency development control over nine so-called seawall lots, port-owned parcels along the Embarcadero.

But earlier this month, under increasing pressure from neighborhood groups, Migden altered the bill to prohibit building anything higher than 40 feet on four of the more valuable parcels near the foot of Telegraph Hill. The altered bill, passed July 2 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, drew the wrath of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and Port Director Monique Moyer, who suggested that Migden had caved in to property owners looking to “maintain waterfront views.”

Migden said the resolution, Senate Bill 815, provides ample opportunities for the port to generate cash and doesn’t impose height restrictions on the largest of the seawall lots, the 600,000-square-foot lot 337, next to AT&T Park. She said the bill “strikes a balance between the port’s need to bring in revenue and the concerns of neighbors who will live next door to these developments.”

And while the amended resolution doesn’t impose height restrictions on the lots adjacent to Watermark either (across from Piers 30-32), it does remove lot 351 (adjacent to the Golden Gateway Swim and Tennis Club) from the realm of developable parcels as well.
We can’t help but wonder if the Port is seconding guessing the Public Forum they co-sponsored with the BCNA this past May. A forum which Frederick Allardyce (President of the BCNA) described as an opportunity to learn about “how the public can impact the future of San Francisco.” Ah, the foreshadowing (if not irony).
UPDATE: Some great history and additional background from Frederick (including reaction to, and the impact of, the construction of the Fontana towers).
Height limit could sink port’s plan [Business Times]
Out With The Old: 45 Lansing And The Lot Around Watermark [SocketSite]
San Francisco Seawall Lot Rezoning Public Forum (5/14/07) [SocketSite]
The Port, The Piers, The Parking And The Terminal [SocketSite]

26 thoughts on “Did The Port Get Punked? (San Francisco Seawall Lot Redevelopment)”
  1. I think the Port got what they wanted more or less … Seawall 337, aka Parking Lot A behind AT&T Park and the remainder of the seawall lot where the Watermark already stands were the biggest parcels, hence the biggest potential money makers.
    I take the results as another sign that Rincon Hill and the other areas with lots of new residential development had better get a strong neighborhood association together sooner rather than later.

  2. 2 cents about that meeting in May with Barbary Coast … there was definitely the sense that folks wanted to support the Port’s efforts to achieve its goals via an influx of money, but there was also most definitely a sense of distrust about what the Port’s board/commission says it will do with more money and what it actually ends up doing … and they didn’t want their views blocked.

  3. Why do people think views are a right? I understand the desire for views, but I just don’t agree that that desire should trump the right of an individual or agency to build upon their own land.

  4. 40 foot height limits are bad for urban design in mixed use neigborhoods because you end up with compressed retail
    Better to allow 45 feet but this is what we get when we allow politicians and neighborhood NIMBY gadflys to plan for us
    “I take the results as another sign that Rincon Hill and the other areas with lots of new residential development had better get a strong neighborhood association together sooner rather than later.”
    So you can protect your views and fight off more housing?

  5. No dear – the reason I believe these new neighborhoods need to organize sooner rather than later is to make sure we don’t become the landfill for everything the rest of the neighborhoods with established associations do not want in their backyards (concentration of homeless shelters, rehab clinics, parking garages, etc.). Right now, SoMa seems to catch everything and kitchen sink that other areas of the City do not want to deal with and do not want in their backyards … there needs to be some equity. The homeless issue is a Citywide issue and not just a SoMa issue.
    I’m definitely on the highrise bandwagon – otherwise, I wouldn’t be cheerleading for Rincon Hills growth. 🙂

  6. .. and that Halloween Party thing … notice how the Castro neighborhood punted it to Mission Bay without any public hearings for Mission Bay residents? City Hall needs to learn folks live along the eastern waterfront these days… it isn’t just a place for them to drive down to Burlingame or up to St. Helena or wherever else they maintain their second (primary) homes.

  7. Jamie, word up! The city does try to treat SoMa as the catch all for the undesirable services.
    “Why do people think views are a right?”
    Because people paid for the homes they are living in based on the current state of the neihborhood. So they have a right to voice their opinion on how their neighborhood is to change. If you owned a home and someone came and tried to build something in next to you, wouldn’t you want to be able to voice ur opinion? Blocking someone’s view drops their property value. I think those people have a right to protect themselves.

  8. “I take the results as another sign that Rincon Hill and the other areas with lots of new residential development had better get a strong neighborhood association together sooner rather than later.”
    Hey Jamie, we’re counting on you to head that up!

  9. Well, there’s the http://www.rinconhillneighbors.org setup that had a meeting I attended in mid-May and filled out a form indicating I’d be happy to fill a Board seat, but I haven’t heard anything new lately …. they (being some business owners and folks connected to One Rincon Hill) supposedly alrady have the non-profit corporation filed and ready as a vehicle for a neighborhood association to get rollin’….

  10. Regarding the proposed re-zoning of the 11 “Sea Wall Lots” controlled by the SF Port, a little history is in order.
    The 40 foot height limit, covering the lots north of Broadway, that is in the current SB 815 Bill, passed July 2 by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee has a long heritage in San Francisco Planning & Zoning.
    With the construction of the Fontana West and East towers, at the foot of Van Ness Avenue on the north waterfront in the mid 1960’s, many San Franciscans became alarmed at the possibility of the City’s waterfront becoming surrounded by high rise buildings. Residents of the Marina, Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill and most other neighborhoods protested these new waterfront high-rise buildings and got the City to adopt 40 foot height limits, which today control almost all residential boiling, in existing neighborhoods. Most neighborhood associations in San Francisco vigorously support the 40 foot height limit and have done so for over 40 years.
    In 1991, San Francisco voted to require the Port to create a land use plan for properties they control. After 6 years of public input the Port adopted a land use plan for their parcels, which included a 40 foot height limit in the North Waterfront area.
    Even though the Port adopted this height limit and the Board of Supervisors approved the plan in 1997, the City Planning Department never changed the previous zoning, of which many parcels along the waterfront had 84 foot height zoning, put in place by Cal-Trans in the 1950’s when the State built the Embarcadero Freeway to connect the Bay Bridge to Washington Street and Broadway.
    In 1997, the Port accepted a proposal to build a new hotel on one of their parcels, at the corner of Broadway and The Embarcadero. In the RFP that the Port voted to accept to allow the hotel to go forward, the Waterfront Land Use Plan, with the 40 foot height limit for the hotel parcel was accepted by the hotel developer. Their first plans presented to the public in 1998, called for a 4 story building on the waterfront.
    A short time later, the developer, came back to the Port and the public with a new plan that called for a 65 foot to 84 foot tall building. Making the claim that the city zoning, still allowed for an 84 foot height building.
    This new proposal, that would have doubled the height of any building on The Embarcadero, from Battery Street to Washington Street, surprised the neighborhood. The neighborhood residents and tenants (both residential and commercial) including the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association and Port tenants came together and attended over a year of Port Meetings, asking why the Port could support an 84 foot tall building, when they had previously adopted an 40 foot height limit for that site. In 5 public meetings, the Port voted 5-0 at each meeting to support the 84 foot design.
    Finally, Supervisor Aaron Peskin came to the neighborhoods rescue. He submitted legislation that called for the parcel on the waterfront to have a 40 foot height limit. The Supervisors voted to approve the re-zoning and today that zoning exists.
    Yet, the Port, in their attempt to remove the State Lands Use zoning restrictions from the “Sea Wall Lots” initially called for the zoning to be allowed to change. This language in the Bill, encouraged the neighborhood to work with Senator Midgen to have the 40 foot height limit included within the revised bill, that was approved two weeks ago. The neighborhood also was successful in having sea wall lot 351, adjacent to the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club, to be removed from the legislation.
    This height limit does not affect the parcel that surrounds the Watermark condominiums nor parking lot A, just south of the Giants AT&T stadium.
    The height limits for those parcels are yet to be determined.
    I suggest, if you have an opinion, as to either of those parcels and the future heights, bulk, design, views to be blocked or !!! of either of those parcels or any property anywhere in San Francisco, that you begin to make your opinion heard.
    The Port has planned several future meetings considering the use of all of the Sea Wall lots and the Port invites you to get on their e-mail notification lists. Contact Ms. Jennifer Sobol [Jennifer.Sobol@sfport.com] to be notified.
    The future is in front of you and it is your city.

  11. Thanks Frederick – and I agree with Zig on the height thing – I’m fine with shorter buildings for those lots, but a 45 foot height allows for good ground floor retail/restaurant use as well as three stories of housing/office.

  12. Frederick
    You were quoted in the Biz Times today “build tasteful condos down there and I could sell them in a day”. My understanding is that the seawall lots will be leasehold only. Given that assumption, I doubt your assertion.

  13. Dear Bill at July 13, 2007 9:19 PM,
    Even though the legislation calls for the “Sea Wall Lots” to be re-zoned for 75+ year leases that does not prevent the Port from allowing and encouraging a land swap of those lots for other properties, acceptable to the State Lands Use Committee.
    The Watermark condominium project at 500 Beale Street, constructed 144 condominiums that were sold as fee simple title condominiums. But that parcel was under the State Lands Use zoning (which did not allow market rate housing), before the Port and Bovis Lend Lease made a deal to (1) develop Piers 30-32 for a new cruise ship terminal and (2) as an incentive to the developer, participated in the land swap, approved by the State Lands Use Commitee, that allowed the Watermark condominiums to be built and sold with fee simple title.
    The Port’s gross profit from the sale of the Watermark condominiums was $18M+, of which $12M is supposed to be used to build the new cruise ship terminal (now proposed to be at Pier 27,with the balance ($6M?) to re-build the Pier just south of Piers 30-32 as a public park.
    My understanding is that the Sea Wall lot legislation, as presently written, could allow a land swap, approved by the State, which could end up with the Sea Wall lots having fee simple title, thus allowing market rate housing to be built. This possibility also exists for the balance of the parking lot that surrounds the Watermark and parking Lot A near AT&T Park.
    As far as the market selling out in a day, it might take 2 or 3 days, like One Rincon Hill did last June. Today, the 733 Front Street condominium project has in contract over 35 of their 69 condominiums, with the first closings and occupancy scheduled for this coming week.
    The average selling price, so far is $1.3M. at 733 Front St.
    Every condominium that has been offered for sale in the Barbary Coast Neighborhood (Golden Gateway Commons, 101 Lombard St, Telegraph Landing, 350 Jackson Street and Parc Telegraph) has sold within 30 to 45 days of being offered for sale (except 3) in the past 5 years, with most selling within 10 to 15 days from being offered for sale.

  14. Frederick
    Duplicate posting of inaccurate information about the Port’s plans for the remaining seawall lots does not make it accurate. I suggest you check your assertion that fee interest will be available on these lots with the Port, if anyone there will talk to you.
    [Editor’s Note: The duplicate posting was removed.]

  15. Frederick noted that:
    The Port’s gross profit from the sale of the Watermark condominiums was $18M+, of which $12M is supposed to be used to build the new cruise ship terminal (now proposed to be at Pier 27,with the balance ($6M?) to re-build the Pier just south of Piers 30-32 as a public park.
    How was the decision to move the cruise terminal made? Many of us in the neighborhood were looking forward to the development (if not the added pollution).
    [Editor’s Note: A little background on the decision making process (and public meeting to discuss): The Port, The Piers, The Parking And The Terminal.]

  16. Dear Bill at July 14, 2007 8:49 AM
    You are correct that the present “sea wall lot” legislation as proposed by the Port and modified by Senator Midgen does not call for re-zoning the sea wall lots for uses allowed with fee simple title.
    But, as I noted in my post of “Frederick at July 13, 2007 10:35 PM”, the Port, along with the developer of a sea wall lot, that had State Lands Commission zoning on it, negotiated to have that zoning change by completing a “land swap” for another property, which had fee simple title. This is legal and has been done, recently by the Port, in order to build the Watermark condominiums.
    I have been talking with the Port for over 20 years.
    The concept of a “land swap” is neither new nor illegal nor something that anyone at the Port would deny has happened or might happen in the future.
    Ms. Diane Oshima 415-274-0553 and Mr. Brad Benson 415-274-0498 of the Port would be happy to discuss the sea wall lots, the State Lands Use zoning and previous Port actions regarding their properties on the waterfront. Please call them and tell them I asked you to contact them.
    There have been four public meetings regarding the “sea wall lots” http://www.sfgov.org/site/port_page.asp?id=56103.
    The most recent Port meeting covered the legislation as of June 7th http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/Item7bSeawallLotsLegislation.pdf
    I have attended and participated in all of them.
    On behalf of the Port I invite you to attend the next meeting on July 30th http://www.sfport.com/site/port_page.asp?id=56102
    The entity that has to approve a “land swap” of State Lands Use properties is not the Port, but the State Lands Commission. Their attorneys have attended several of the recent “Sea Wall Lot” public hearings held by the Port and discussed previous “land swaps”.
    On Friday, July 6th, the California State Lands Commission held a public hearing titled “THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE AND THE MODERN WATERFRONT – Protecting the Environment and Promoting Water-Related Economic Development” A Public Trust Workshop San Francisco – July 6th, 2007, 4:00pm – 7:00pm Port of San Francisco Offices – Pier 1, Bayside Conference Room.
    Over 100 interested parties, including myself attended the 3 hour meeting. The land swap history was discussed. The California State Lands Commission is planning two additional hearings, one in Los Angeles and another in San Diego to raise public awareness of the Commission and their management of the parcels they have an interest in.
    I am glad you have an interest in the Port and San Francisco waterfront properties. As you can guess there are many future hearings/meetings with the Port, the Planning Department and the Board of Supervisors, before anything happens to any of the “Sea Wall Lots”. Please join in the process.

  17. Dear Tharpo at July 14, 2007 11:14 AM,
    “How was the decision to move the cruise terminal made? Many of us in the neighborhood were looking forward to the development (if not the added pollution).”
    Several years ago the Port decided it needed a new curse ship terminal and picked Piers 30-32, then accepted the Proposal by Bovis Lend Lease to develop the Piers and build the Watermark Condo’s.
    The Watermark got built and Bovis Lend Lease had the right to not build out Piers 30-32, under certain conditions. Last year Bovis deciced not to go ahead with the Cruise Ship Terminal.
    During the process of working with Bovis, they discovered that the cost of retrofitting the piers would be close to $150M.
    After Bovis ended their agreement with the Port, the Port decided to review what Pier(s) to locate the new Cruise Ship Terminal. The Port has had two public hearings on the future location, at which the Port staff estimated the the costs to re-hab/seismic upgrade the piers varied to as low as $35M for Pier 27, to $50M for Pier 35 and $150M for Piers 30 to 32.
    The Port has not officially picked a new location and has scheduled the another Cruise Ship Committee hearing in August.
    This info is from their last hearing.
    The basic requirements for a modern terminal are:
    1. Berths: Two berths at least 1,000 feet long and 35 feet deep, preferably that require little or no dredging, allow safe and easy maneuvering of cruise ships, tug boats, and at least one of which is oriented parallel to the shore to provide for more efficient docking and operation.
    2. Dockside Facilities: Ability to safely and efficiently off-load, service and re-provision the ship by allowing a minimum of 50 foot wide aprons, direct street access for service vehicles, a continuous passenger gangway system that is able to service two ships simultaneously, secure covered storage area, and utility/shoreside power hookups for ships.
    3. Terminal Building: A two story terminal of at least 100,000 square feet for each berth to house passenger check-in and waiting lounge areas, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing areas, baggage claim areas, visitor information services, and other amenities.
    4. Security: An isolated and securable security zone meeting the requirements of Department of Homeland Security (DHS)security statutes.
    5. Vehicular Circulation: Adequate passenger drop-off and pick-up areas for buses, taxis, and limousines, supply trucks, and parking spaces for passengers either on-site or adjacent to the facility.
    6. Revenue Generating Uses: Space for revenue generating uses that help support the cost of the terminal and enliven the terminal when ships are not in port.
    1. Berths
    Pier 35: Two berths on one finger pier. The eastern berth is 1.053 feet in length and serves as the primary cruise berth. The western berth is 903 feet in length and serves as a back-up cruise berth for smaller vessels.
    Piers 30-32: Currently, its eastern face is used as a tertiary berth. The eastern berth is 622 feet in length, but was envisioned by San Francisco Cruise Terminal, LLC (SFCT) in their now defunct development agreement that have included a pier extension to extend the length of this primary cruise berth to accommodate 1,000 foot length cruise ships. The secondary berth would have been on the northern face which is currently 845 feet in length. The development agreement stipulated that this would have accommodated a 1,000 foot length vessel. The southern berth, not proposed by SFCT to be used by cruise ships, is 932 feet in length.
    An alternative, revised scheme could, theoretically, accommodate two berths along the eastern face by building two 590′ pier extensions, thereby creating a total berth of 2,233 feet in length.
    Pier 27: Currently, this is the secondary berth; it is 1,358 feet in length.
    Potentially, an additional berth could be built by constructing a 900′ pier extension (total of approximately 1,000′) east of Pier 27 which would be parallel to the shore.
    2. Dredging
    Pier 35: Annualized maintenance dredging cost of $1 million.
    Pier 30-32: Eastern face does not require dredging. (Under the SFCT scheme, the northern berth would have required an initial dredging cost of $2-$6 million and annualized maintenance dredging of $750,000).
    Pier 27: Requires annualized maintenance dredging of approximately $750,000. The additional berth would not require dredging.
    3. Navigational
    Pier 35: No restrictions on eastern berth. Tidal restrictions for docking on western berth.
    Pier 30-32: No restrictions.
    Pier 27: Tidal current restrictions (limited times for docking). Requires further investigation. Additional berth would have no restrictions.
    4. Aprons
    Pier 35: 18 ft aprons. Lack of space limits the operational efficiency.
    Pier 30-32: Flexible.
    Pier 27: 48 ft apron is optimal for dockside activities. Additional berth could have a 50-60 ft apron.
    5. Substructure Condition
    Pier 35: Requires significant repair and seismic retrofit.
    Pier 30-32: Pier 30 and Pier 32 portions require significant repair and seismic retrofit; the 1950 in-fill portion in good condition.
    Pier 27: Generally good condition. Built in 1967. Constructed of pre-stressed concrete piles, w/concrete slab and aprons. $2.5 million of seismic upgrades have been completed. Repairs needed, but no seismic retrofit unless dictated by SF Building Code (no additional vertical enhancements, no change of use, etc.)
    6. Terminal Size
    Pier 35: Existing shed is inadequate as a two berth facility, especially with larger ships. Requires additional repairs.
    Pier 30-32: New terminal structure would have to be constructed if primary berth. Temporary tent structures are erected when used as a tertiary berth. Facility size would be dictated on whether it is a one or two berth facility.
    Pier 27: Existing shed is 178,123 sf. All or portion of it could be renovated for terminal use for either single or two berth facility. It may be possible to use part of Pier 29 shed if a two berth facility.
    7. Security
    Pier 35: OK.
    Pier 30-32: OK, but if built as a mixed use complex, creating secure zone may be challenging.
    Pier 27: OK, but if built as a mixed use complex, creating secure zone may be challenging.
    8. Vehicular Circulation/Commercial Traffic
    Pier 35: Limited. West entrance used exclusively for trucks, buses, limos and supply trucks.
    Pier 30-32: OK, but if built as a mixed use complex, vehicle circulation may be challenging.
    Pier 27: OK if stand-alone project. If built as a mixed use complex, vehicle circulation may be challenging. If stand-alone facility, some improvements would have to be constructed to improve circulation.
    9. Passenger Parking
    Pier 35: Currently, passenger parking is served off-site at Francisco Street garages.
    Pier 30-32: OK, but if built as a mixed use complex, on-site parking may conflict with other short-term uses.
    Pier 27: Requires off-site parking. If built as a mixed use complex, on-site parking may conflict with other short-term uses.
    10. Revenue Generating Uses
    Pier 35: None, but historically there have been opportunities for event space use.
    Pier 30-32: Terminal could be designed to accommodate event space use on non-cruise days. Private development scheme could theoretically subsidize part or all of cost of public cruise terminal.
    Pier 27: Renovated terminal could be designed to accommodate event space use on non-cruise days. Private development scheme could theoretically subsidize part or all of cost of public cruise terminal. Convention/trade and consumer show shared use may not be deemed feasible. Use as event space possible.
    11. Environmental/Shoreside Power (Primary Terminal)
    Pier 35: Site constrained, but possible to accommodate shoreside power equipment. Very difficult to berth Port-side equipped (i.e., Princess) vessels.
    Pier 30-32: Should be OK.
    Pier 27: Site adequate to accommodate shoreside power equipment. Princess ships could be accommodated, but with some difficulty due to portside docking requirement.
    Hard Soft Total
    Pier 35 $50.3 m $17.6 m $67.9 m
    Pier 30-32
    One Berth $174.5 m $61.1 m $235.6 m
    Two Berth $242.3 m $84.8 m $327.1 m
    Pier 27
    One Berth $39.9 m $13.6 m $52.5 m
    Two Berth $57.0 m $20.0 m $77.0 m
    Pier 35
    ” Currently serves as primary cruise terminal.
    ” If substructure not repaired, pier may be condemned in 5-7 years.
    ” Even if repairs and improvements are completed, terminal does not meet industry standards in present condition.
    ” Keep as primary terminal until a replacement terminal is completed (i.e., within 5-7 years).
    ” Thereafter, potential as secondary or tertiary berth, if further improvements are financially feasible.
    ” Or, if not, evaluate potential of Pier 35 as a future development opportunity for alternative use.
    Pier 30-32
    ” Currently serves as tertiary berth. Temporary tent structures, though costly, have been used in the past.
    ” Use of Pier 30-32 disperses overall traffic congestion when two or three cruise ships are in berth (e.g., Pier 35 and Pier 30-32).
    ” Ideal as a primary, two-berth terminal site, but substructure costs are prohibitive. If stand-alone terminal or in conjunction with, for example, convention use, project would require significant public funding commitment.
    ” Could be a mixed-use development site to finance substructure/terminal costs. If part of mixed use development, terminal may be undersized and likely serve as a single berth. Certain entitlements are in place. Timing of completion is unknown.
    ” Alternatively, could remain as tertiary berth and explore alternative revenue-generating uses on pier.
    Pier 27
    ” Currently serves as a secondary cruise terminal.
    ” Existing shed and substructure condition allows this to be the least cost alternative for a single berth. With public funding commitment, could be a stand-alone public works project, if navigational issues are successfully resolved.
    ” Potential to add second berth. This requires further study to determine its feasibility. Additional berth will impact immediate feasibility of mixed use development opportunity on Pier 29-31.
    ” Could be part of a mixed-use development site to finance substructure/terminal costs. If part of mixed-use development, terminal would serve as a single berth. No entitlements for such development are currently in place. Timing of completion is unknown.
    Other Southern Waterfront Piers
    ” Piers 50, 70, 80 and 94-96 are not available for the short-term because of on-going leases, lack of infrastructure and/or commitment to maintain cargo services.
    ” If cruise demand increases thereby creating a need for a future cruise terminal site, these sites might be re-considered and a planning effort should be initiated to test its feasibility for longer term implementation.

  18. More good info. for those of us not around to gather the history …
    It would be very nice for the Brannan Street Wharf (area south of Piers 30/32 that is just fenced off with mostly deteriorated piers and labeled as Dangerous) to get demolished if nothing else. Something tells me the millions of dollars intended for improving Piers 30-32 or the Brannan Street Wharf will head somewhere else with no one on the Board of Supervisors (Chris Daly) paying attention.

  19. So, does anybody know what will happen to the “Watermark money” that was destined to go towards building the new cruise terminal and/or the Brannan Street pier/park? I ask since the money sits in an account somewhere and could possibly not be used for some time to come. It’s collecting interest for someone.
    It’s also my understanding that the federal government was going to kick in some money into the project as well, but that money was redirected to New Orleans after Katrina hit, with that money now effectively gone for this project. If that money was key to funding the project, and now gone, will the project ever get built, and if not, what will happen to the $12M from the Watermark?

  20. Dear “Can’t think of cool name at July 16, 2007 8:54 AM”
    As to the Ports plans and obligations regarding the Watermark sales proceeds I would contact, at the Port:
    (1) Ms. Diane Oshima at 415-274-0553 or e-mail: diane.oshima@sfport.com
    (2) Mr. Brad Benson 415-274-0498 or e-mail: brad.benson@sfport.com
    Have fun,

  21. In the interest of full disclosure it should be noted that Fredrick Allardyce is an agent at Sotheby’s International Realty and represents clients at the Golden Gateway Commons who have views that could be lost if the pier 351 is allowed to be developed.

  22. Dear “anonymous at July 17, 2007 10:19 AM”
    I wish I could take personal credit for Senator Midgen’s modification of the initial legislation of modifying the State Lands Use designation on the 11 “Sea Wall Lots” and excluding sea wall lot 351 from the legislation.
    But several other interested parties shared their concerns with Ms. Midgen. One of the most interested parties is the Friends Of Golden Gateway (FOGG), http://fogg.us/, a 1,300 member group, who has retained attorney Susan Hestor and has fought to preserve the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club since the 1980’s. The have raised over $80,000 to “save the club”. Also supporting their efforts have been US Senator and former Mayor of San Francisco Diane Feinstein. The proposal to remove or alter the swim & tennis club and been turned down three times already by Mayor’s and Supervisors. In addition to the supporters above The Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, the Golden Gateway Tenants Association, San Francisco Tomorrow, the San Francisco Tennis Club, the San Francisco Tennis Coalition and the Youth Tennis Alliance, among others have also supported FOGG’s efforts to maintain the club.
    In the interest of full disclosure, my name is Frederick A. Allardyce. I began my real estate carrier in 1968 and over those 39 years have participated in various real estate environments. For 18 years I enjoyed working with the most successful residential office in San Francisco – TRI Realtors. For the past 5 years, Sotheby’s International Realty has been my home and we are giving TRI a run for their money!!
    I am not anonymous. Any one can find all about myself and my business and personal life. I have had my own web site for 12 years (www.allardyce.com), my e-mail address is fred@allardyce.com.
    Real Estate is what the world is made of. A career in real estate allows one to meet and participate with some of the most interesting people you can imagine. Everyone wants a home and everyone’s home is their castle.
    My career has included developing subdivisions, building new homes, remodeling older properties, starting homeowners associations and their architectural committees, working to bring the 1976 Winter Olympics to Lake Tahoe, building a cable television company, representing seller’s and buyers of commercial, office and public use projects & buildings.
    I have represented clients from virtually every neighborhood in San Francisco, numerous cities in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Placer and El Dorado counties. I have clients that reside New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, Boulder, Aspen, Reno and in London, Paris, Chiswick, Hong Kong, Shanghi and Beijing.
    And some of them own property at Golden Gateway Commons, of which not only would their views be blocked, but the dynamic’s of their neighborhood would be altered dramatically.
    As a comparison, consider your home. What would happen to the automobile traffic patterns, light, shadows, pedestrian traffic and other components of a project that added 180 condominiums in two 84 foot towers, if it was built within 150 feet of your front door? Instead of having a house across the street you would have 200+ cars entering and exciting across the street from your house every day.
    This might be acceptable if you new that the 180 unit project had been planned and approved long before you purchased and invested in you home.
    This is not what has happened to the seawall lot 351 located adjacent to the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club.
    In the 1960’s the San Francisco Redevelopment Association, through eminent domain took control of all the private and public property bounded by Sacramento Street, Battery Street, The Embarcadero Freeway and Broadway. They condemned the properties, cleared the lots and invited developers to propose their dreams. San Francisco was lucky. One of the World’s great office complexes was designed by John Portman and built by the Rockefeller Group – The Embarcadero Center and Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Embarcadero Center has been the heart of the downtown business district for over 30 years today enjoys some of the highest office rents and is home to many of our most successful business.
    The balance of the Re-Development project, north of Clay Street was developed by the Perini Land and Development Company from Boston. In a beauty contest, 8 development companies made presentations to the City’s Redevelopment Agency. The winner was Perini, because, among other attributes, they proposed a mixed use complex of Office, Residential, neighborhood retail, recreational and open space. The other proposals included a majority of high rise office and residential components. Perini’s proposal was the only one that called for a private park (one city block, now known as Sydney Walton park) and for a community recreational facility (Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club). Their plan called for the Alcoa or Maritime Plaza building, including their plaza and park to the east, the Golden Gateway Center, with 1,284 rental apartments and the Golden Gateway Commons, a mixed use office and residential complex on 3 city blocks.
    Originally this new city within a city (numerous restaurants, retail shops and movie theaters) was surrounded by a double decker elevated freeway. Then, in a 30 second moment, at the beginning of a World Series game between our SF Giants and the Oakland A’s, we had an earthquake and the freeway was declared unsafe.
    In 1991, after years of debate to rebuild or take down the freeway, it was removed. What has taken place since then has made all San Franciscans proud. Not only did we revitalize the Embarcadero with a popular tourist trolley system, but we added some picturesque palm trees and honored Herb Caen (don’t we miss him every morning) with a wonderful promenade from Pier 39 to our fantastic waterfront baseball stadium. Thus The Embarcadero has become our most prominent Boulevard.
    Thus the Ferry Building brought forth a remarkable effort to historically revitalize the waterfront. Thanks to numerous creative and patient architects, contractors, investors and our Port Directors and staff, we now celebrate a regional treasure. So popular that numerous cities are copying the design and business model through out the US and abroad.
    And it has been the catalyst for an even larger re-vitalization. Numerous office complexes and new condominium and apartment complexes from SOMA to Rincon Hill to the new Tran bay Terminal area call the Ferry Building and the Farmers market a short walk away. Next year, we will have Pat Kueleto’s newest restaurants to enjoy, across from Hills Plaza.
    So popular has the waterfront become that the 30+ year old tennis and swim club is being considered to be replaced by an underground parking garage and twin condominium towers. True, the developer has proposed to replace the 9 existing tennis courts with 6 tennis courts and to create a larger indoor component to the club, but the neighborhood has grown up with the club, raised their kids at the summer camps on the courts and in the swimming pools played tennis and swam, met and nurtured relationships and treasures this oasis of open recreational space in the midst of heart of the City.
    I admire Mr. Simon Snellgrove and his efforts to re-juvinate Piers 1 1/2, 3 and 5, although he could have located the roof top air conditioners in a location that did not interrupt the views of the Bay Bridge. But his plans to create 8 Washington Street, so far, have met with stiff opposition. See above.
    In summary, I feel responsible to all of my clients and want to see their real estate remain has as useful, enjoyable and valuable as the day they purchased it. Believe it or not, we are finding lots of developable real estate in our city. Just ask the Port and our Planning Department. There are lots of potential sites to build future residential and office properties.
    But some, if not all of those sites should have respect for their existing neighborhoods. Many of us cherish our past and want to maintain and encourage re-development of historic buildings.
    Because I care about our city and its future, I help found the Waterfront Action Group and am the President of the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (www.barbaryneighbors.org) & (www.thebarbarycoastnews.com). I am the President of the Eureka Theater Company, and past President of the Telegraph Terrace Homeowners Association. I am a member of the San Francisco Bay Club, the Olympic Club of San Francisco and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers (www.thd.org).
    I have had the good fortune to represent residents that have purchased studio apartments and rented one room apartments throughout the City and have also represented buyers and sellers in virtually every neighborhood from the Sunset to Telegraph Hill, from Sea Cliff to Potero Hill and all the neighborhoods in between. From $25,000 to $45 million plus, from 400 sq feet to 15,000 sq feet. It’s been a great time…. And the best has just begun. Ask Renzo Piano.
    Frederick A. Allardyce

  23. Fredrick,
    Thanks for your candid introduction. I guess you were outed as an “smarmy realtor type” right…. NOT! Full disclosure! I love it.

  24. While Fred Allerdyce’s recounting of the planning history of the Port and height limits is well written and entertaining, it is not accurate. Proposition H in November, 1990 (not 1991) required the preparation of a land use plan. When it was adopted by the Port Commission, Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors it DID NOT address height limits or zoning on any Port property. Existing height limits were all left in place.
    The majority of the waterfront ON THE WATERSIDE OF THE EMBARCADERO has had a 40 foot height limit for decades – with the exception of the Ferry Building area where there are actually some areas that have an 84 foot height limit, nearest to the high rises in the Financial District. You can simply look up the height limits on the Planning Department’s website.
    The seawall lots are a different story. The majority of them have a 40 foot height limit, but SWL 351 has an 84 foot height limit. And SWL 330 (on which the Watermark condominiums were built) has a height limit of 105 feet – and the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors (in an 11-0 vote) approved a height limit exception of 220 feet for the Watermark!
    Fred’s comments on the development of the Watermark are also inaccurate. The developer paid the Port 9.3 million for the site (which the port put in an interest bearing account to fund the development of the Brannan Street Wharf). The developer paid the Port an ADDITIONAL 17.5 million, which was to have been used to partially fund the development of the Bryant Street Pier and cruise terminal project. Those funds are held by the Port which has discretion in using those now that Lend Lease option has exprired.
    The 8 Washington project is proposed on SWL 351 and will require that the State Lands Commission approve a “swap” of the public trust off of SWL 351 onto other property, just as the State Lands Commission (and the Port Commission and Board of Supervisors BTW) also approved the swap of the trust off the Watermark site. The same principles and process will apply.
    Regarding other comments made about 8 Washington, the proposed project will PERMANENTLY MAINTAIN THE GOLDEN GATE TENNIS AND SWIM CLUB on a portion of the site. This site has an 84 foot heigh limit on it and it is zoned RC – 4 (high density residential).
    The guiding principle of the Waterfront Plan is to “reconnect the City with its Waterfront” – and projects like the Ferry Building, Pier 1, Piers 1 1/2-5 and many others, demonstrate that public / private ventures can fund extraordinary public amenities that have a commercial component to them. The current location and configuation of the Golden Gate Tennis and Swim Club blocks the views and pedestrians from both Jackson Street and Pacific Avenue. 8 Washington will connect those streets to the Emarcadero both visually and physically for the general public – which is what the Waterfront Plan is all about.
    The other principle of the Waterront Plan is to remove carparking from the waterside of the Embarcadero wherever possible. All of the parking around the Ferry Building must eventually be relocated away from the water – across the Embarcadero. 8 Washington also allows the parking to be relocated upland.

  25. great post. i can’t wait for you guys to get rid of the cars all around the ferry building, especially the one’s near sinbad’s.

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