San Francisco Pier 29

The Port of San Francisco’s vision for turning Pier 29 into a design and maker themed marketplace of local retailers and restaurateurs is ready to be put to the test, as the formal request for proposals for the first 20,000 square feet of space within the pier’s Bulkhead Building, which fronts The Embarcadero, has just been issued.

The RFP specifically seeks, “uses which focus on the creation and sales of arts, crafts and/or dry goods; including artists and designers working out of studio/exhibit spaces; innovators’ open studios; galleries; public and other markets; and ongoing exhibitions, cultural and exhibit space including ancillary space for live demonstrations and displays.”  But the Port will remain open to proposals for other creative uses “that meet the overall goals of activation and uniqueness.”

And perhaps taking a cue from the City’s Transbay Parcel F debacle, the Port’s RFP doesn’t set a minimum monthly rent for the space.  Instead, respondents are required to propose a rent “comparable to like situations in the market” with the economic return to the Port comprising 20 percent of the RFP selection criteria.

Built in 1915 to serve as a maritime warehouse, the Bulkhead Building was rebuilt in 2012 following a blaze and the 123,000 square foot Pier 29 was used by the America’s Cup Event Authority for the 34th America’s Cup.

The Port has been hoping for a high profile and well-heeled retail tenant, such as Tesla or Google (which could have used the pier as a home base for the exiled and since decommissioned Google barge), to land the Bulkhead Building lease and anchor the pier’s overall redevelopment.

Proposals for Pier 29’s Bulkhead Building are due in March, interviews with finalists are slated for May, and the Port Commission is expected to select the winner in June with lease approval by the end of 2016.

11 thoughts on “Pier 29 in Play”
  1. If they may be taking a page from the Parcel F experience, why not also dial back on the RFP for the specific types of businesses expected, and let the RFP process expose the different ways developers would utilize the space? There would be nothing that says that what they want couldn’t happen, but they may come across some other creative ways to use the pier as well.

      1. Because it’s an interesting use of a location. One can watch artisans at work and learn how they make their craft. Combine that with cafe’s where you could watch chefs work. It’s a good tourist attraction that is also a draw for locals.

  2. And, at a time when many artisans are being forced out of the City by higher rents, this would be a new location for them. (A private foundation could probably be found to sponsor a reduced rent.)

  3. “A private foundation could probably be found to sponsor at a reduced rent.” A comment from someone who obviously does not have a clue about fundraising. You go find the foundation that wants to devote its resources to ongoing support of your ideas. You will soon be a millionaire fundraising consultant based on the miracles you work.

  4. @Jim. Funny, I actually help fundraising for non-profits. So, I probably have a better idea of what might get funded than you do. There are several private foundations in the Bay Area interested in supporting artists and artisans. Helping to subsidize rent, thereby giving artisans more visibility – is an investment in the arts community. It’s not a matter of being MY idea, but an idea that has proven its viability in Paris and might work here

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