San Francisco Pier 29

The development team behind Chelsea Market in New York City, and Ponce City Market in Atlanta, submitted the highest rated proposal for the redevelopment of San Francisco’s Pier 29 and is slated to be awarded the exclusive negotiating rights for the Pier’s 20,000-square-foot Bulkhead Building which fronts the Embarcadero.

Jamestown’s winning concept proposal calls for a retail destination, “that showcases and sells products manufactured in San Francisco supported through a partnership with local nonprofit SF Made,” and an urban brewery, winery or coffee roastery, and possibly all three.

Pier 29 Rendering

The proposed retail space will feature flexible rail-car like displays made of industrial brand and recycled materials that will allow for different configurations to accommodate fluctuating merchandise presentation or open the space for large events…

Jamestown also proposes a local craft beverage operation that will feature an urban brewery and/or winery and/or coffee roastery. The back wall of the bulkhead will be anchored by a craft alcohol manufacturer and the zone closest to the Embarcadero is envisioned as an indoor/outdoor café showcasing a local San Francisco coffee roastery.

Pier 29 Rendering Front

Negotiations with Jamestown, which proposed an escalating $25,000 per month lease, are expected to run through this summer. A 15-year lease is slated to be approved in October. And if all goes as planned, Jamestown’s lease and renovations will commence in November.

Built in 1915 to serve as a maritime warehouse, the Pier’s 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 had been hoping for a high profile and well-heeled retail tenant, such as Tesla (which is opening a showroom on Van Ness Avenue) 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.

63 thoughts on “Team Behind NYC’s Chelsea Market Slated to Redevelop SF’s Pier 29”
  1. I’m sure it will be an awesome development, as Chelsea Market is great. But really, does the Embarcadero need ANOTHER colossal tourist magnet? I remember way, way back in the late 2000s when the Ferry building market didn’t feel like Penn Station, i.e. cheek to jowl people rushing around.

    In my fantasy world, this would only be built if it could primarily serve a new population of local residents , in new mid and high rises within walking distance But hey, this is SF. Keep that drawbridge pulled up, heh heh, I got mine.

    1. When you have tourists, you have jobs, which benefits local residences, local artists, local craftsman, etc. It always shocks me why some people here are so unwelcoming to outside people, almost as much hatred as the trump supporters towards “outsiders”.

      1. Complaining about the success of the Ferry Building is bizarre. Personally, I just hope this ends up more like the Ferry Building and not like Pier 39.

        1. Agreed. Plus, perhaps having an ur-Ferry Building at Pier 29 will dilute some of the overcrowding (and crowding out of locals) at the Ferry Building.

        2. You can’t make things too nice. It has to be just nice enough so that locals go there, but not nice enough to attract those pesky non-locals (who are all tourists, let’s be honest).

        3. Good point. The Ferry Building success is phenomenal and if that can be replicated it would be a great addition to the waterfront. Definitely do not want another Pier 39.

          1. Same here. love the energy and the crowds. We often hop on the J and arrive down there about 25 minutes later to pick up great stuff from the farmers market then have a nice lunch.

            Another market along the lines of the Chelsea Market would be awesome and welcoming.

          2. @Futurist: Yep, and if time permits you can hop on a ferry out to Tiburon, Oakland, etc. It’s an incredibly vibrant and active place.

          3. I’d prefer a market that’s more centrally located in the city. However, space is limited (and expensive) so I’m not surprised that they are looking at the piers. Bring on Eataly!

      2. By and large, the “jobs” the Ferry Building provides are low wage retail/service sector jobs. Most of those workers are not working in SF as they can’t afford it, thanks to the NIMBYs of San Francisco. So another Ferry Building will be providing jobs for East Bay residents. Nothing wrong about it, but let’s not pretend this about jobs for “locals”.

          1. No, its largely due to NIMBYs. The SF Bay Area, while it perceives itself to be the only tech center in the country, is not. Tech centers around the country are all seeing rapid job growth and even more rapid population growth than SF. And those cities locked into a NIMBY death spiral (I’m looking at you Boston) are seeing similar insane housing prices. While those pursuing a housing growth strategy (or just those located in states with stronger private property rights or land use planning laws that limit local control) are having an easier go of it. Seattle median 1BR rent – $1,750. SF median 1 BR rent – $3,590. Oakland median 1BR rent – $2,280. Despite Seattle having a median household income $20,000 a year MORE than Oakland – and WA state has NO state income tax (thus take-home pay in Seattle is higher for every $1 earned compared to Oakland or SF)

            But please NIMBYs, keep telling yourself that YOU aren’t the problem. That’s evil rich developers with their evil buckets of money that are the problem.

        1. Well, you certainly have labeled your “enemies” clearly. You throw that Nimby word around a lot when it’s convenient to not talk about responsibility. And what I mean is this:

          Maybe those low wage/retail sector employees, say, at the Ferry Building simply CANNOT afford SF because that’s the job they’re in. They can’t afford it BECAUSE they can’t afford it! how hard is that for you to understand??

          You really like to blame many of SF’s “problems” on just one demographic, rather than allow people to be responsible for many of their life choices and income allocations.

          It’s your easy way out.

          1. If such persons really cannot afford to live within SF in today’s housing, then it must be City policy to assure that such housing is made avaliable. This ain’t F’en Walnut Creek!

          2. They can afford to live just as close as people who work these jobs in Chicago live to Navy Pier. It’s just that Chicago doesn’t have a county line that carves out a 7×7-mile piece and declares everything else not-Chicago.

          3. Assure? yea, right.

            Ok, I want to live on outer Broadway, next to the Gettys. I want The City to assure me that I can do that.

    2. Franks response is a total joke. This is exactly the problem with city: Annoyed of change and outsiders. This is most progressive conservative city on the planet and it drives me nuts.

      1. Being progressive means keeping everything exactly as it is by using progressively more insane tactics to do so.

        1. No, it doesn’t. It means allowing The City to growth in a planned, responsible order. It doesn’t mean just build more and higher because “they” will come, without planning for more and better transit, services, open space and cleaner streets.

          1. That is what it *should* mean. But the people who call themselves ‘progressive’ are anything but.

  2. Your logic escapes me. How in the world will this great new development NOT be available to the residents of SF? The Ferry Market is successful! Why is there a problem with crowds in it?

    And factually there are TONS of residents living nearby who can get to this new market, not to mention anyone who just hops on Muni and heads toward the Embarcadero.

    A drawbridge? WTH? really man, you would do well to think about your complaints more often.

    1. Likely he is referring to the tourists and suburbanites like me who these development appeal to more than locals. I don’t know what the usage rates are though of various demographics

    2. Drawbridge refers to NIMBYs like you, Futurist. You don’t want large amounts of new housing built in SF. If you do, please state how many housing units you think SF can esthetically (your constant guideline) stand.

      Try using your feeble imagination. Perhaps the existing residents nearby already have decent shopping? Yeah, they do. This is an add-on.

      This development will be available to everyone. Please show me where I said it wouldn’t. What is certain: crowding and difficulty of access will mean that relatively few SFers will use it regularly. It will the kind of place people go to a couple of times a year. In other words, a tourist attraction. Let’s revisit this prediction in a few years. I am sure the development will be successful financially.

      I am so “unwelcoming” that I literally want to see SF build, literally, 100,000 new housing units. I want Vancouver on the Eastern waterfront. I want pull up the drawbridge Noe valley millionaires to be forced to view those towers. I want it to be mostly market rate, but damn sure I want housing for teachers, service workers, etc, too. And schools. And I want those schools to obstruct the views of Noe valley millionaires, too.

      1. So… what exactly are you proposing for this location? Essentially expanding the Ferry Building seems to offend you.

      2. LOL. Well, at least we know your little rant is not really AT ALL about the new proposed urban market.

        Thanks for clarifying that. Now back to our normal programming.

  3. I believe the E Embarcadero line just started running 7 days a week starting yesterday. Of course, both the E and the F are historic, single cars that are more than crowded during tourist season, and crowded enough already during other times.

    Given the location of this pier right on the E/F line and expectation for getting lots of of people to/from the pier, I really think the city needs to rethink either the E or F (my preference the E) from a single historic car to a multi-car LVR.

    1. I assume the city does not want to maintain two types of LRVs but I think the city could employ the lightweight low floor types you see in Europe for surface lines around SF. In addition to the Embarcedero a redundant line on Market makes sense. The PCCs are cool and cute but not so effective

    2. Yes. E should run 2-car modern trains, all the way ’round the tunnel ramp to terminate at Embarcadero (to facilitate easy transfers to other Muni underground lines). That might also help goad the public and the powers that be to continue work on the idea of extending the E to at least Fort Mason, if not beyond.

      Then F can remain the historic streetcars.

      1. (Note that this would particularly make sense after the T-Third is up and running, as that will eliminate one of the trains that currently run though the Plaza tunnel entrance – i.e., it would not create a traffic bottleneck.)

        1. PCC? I assume that means train. So? It’s not like they’ll ever be scheduled to run so frequently that that would pose a problem.

          1. Also not as though the tunnel couldn’t be upgraded. So crazy that we could build things 100 years ago that today seem like impossibilities.

          2. It’s only wide enough for one track but so short that one car entering and proceeding through at a time would be no operational problem.

  4. I like the idea, don’t get me wrong… but I’m LOL’ing a bit at the thought of all those cruise ship passengers who will essentially disembark, walk across the pier to Pier 29, *maybe* journey up to Pier 39 too, and say that “we’ve seen San Francisco”.

    1. I sort of get where you’re going with that, and I agree. But, remember, those tourists still spend money here. Maybe they won’t “see” much of SF, but they still bring in revenue. Can’t be all bad.

    2. Isn’t that why we have Pier 39 in the first place? It’s a giant fly paper that keeps the tourists out of our neighborhoods.

  5. Why can’t the city officials make the shoreline more like what Bordeaux has done? Just saying. Although we don’t have historic buildings along the waterfront, it should be opened up to the public, imo.

    1. Absolutely, develop and USE the wonderful waterfront. Virtually nothing there worth “preserving” not already made provision for though the many obstructionists would argue otherwise.

  6. Interesting debate going on here.

    First, having volunteered at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market for many years, I can attest that the Ferry Building is designed mainly for tourists and their dollars. I’m not saying this is a bad thing (tourist dollars are great), but I don’t see the need to basically replicate it a half mile up the waterfront. I lived in NYC and went to the Chelsea Market both as a resident and, after I moved back to SF, a tourist. It’s fine and serves a purpose. I’d rather see something like the Chelsea Piers open up on this spot with a swarm of food trucks outside. That’s just my opinion.

    Second, although the Wharf gets dissed a lot for being a tourist magnet, this is one of the most beautiful areas of the city that should cater to more residents. Extending the Central Subway to the Wharf is a great way to jump start sensible growth in the area that will draw both tourists and residents alike. I know I’d visit it more often to escape the Sunset fog.

    Third, LRVs will never run from the Ferry Building to the Wharf. Keep the historic cars along the Embarcadero and move real transit underground in the Central Subway.

  7. Why such a SMART choice for developer? As ~25 yr SFer, I expect (based on past news stories) UNKNOWN contractor with NO experience is awarded job due to UNREALISTIC low bid.

  8. Is there local demand beyond the Ferry Building for another upscale food emporium? Isn’t Market on Market not doing as well as expected? Maybe focusing on the tourist market would actually work, if local demand fails to materialize. I don’t think it is particularly densely populated (for SF) in that area.

    1. I’m sitting in a nearly deserted Market Hall @Fourth/Channel. Guess it just finally opened and will take some time to catch on

      However, parking throughout MB is already virtually impossible! Where the Hell are all the people…

      [Editor’s Note: In related news, “The Market Bails on Lumina Lease…” (as we first reported last month).]

    2. I don’t think this will be a food market. They’re partnering with SF Made which is locally made decor, jewelry, housewares, etc. more like a giant craft fair.

  9. The Embarcadero has been turned into a nightmare with bizarre traffic management courtesy of you-know-who. This pier is a hike from Bart. So yes I think it will mostly be tourists on foot who will go there. And that’s ok.

  10. What really should be done from Pier 39 to Hunters Point is an East Version of Chrissy Field!

    We own all to these waterfront buildings (The Burton Act of 1962). Except for Pier 27’s new Cruise Ship terminal there is no reason to continue to build tourist attractions on OUR Waterfront.

    Imagine a new Waterfront with no buildings, but instead walking trails, piers to encourage sailing, fishing, exercise, local and public use. Just like Chrissy Field!!

    Sounds a little unique, but because we own the piers, we could make a 20 to 30 year plan to end up with a Waterfront that everyone would admire and last centuries into the future.

    The funds to remove the piers and revitalize shoreline can be part public and part private.

    There are several San Franciscan natives that are interested in this plan. Their concept is to create a Waterfront that we would be proud of for centuries to come! Yes, Chrissy Field #2.

    Frederick – Recreation & Open Space for The Waterfront.

    1. Unbelievably stupid waste of a unique resource which has lain fallow for decades. Another example of the extremes to which San Francisco “progressives” are wont. Certainly retain a portion of the existing “natural” shoreline but also develop numerous and varied enjoyable human uses to be enhanced by the setting.

    2. I know this is probably heresy but I would go so far as to selectively develop into the Bay with structures to enjoy/exploit its full potential including for residential uses. Housing would be a spectacular repurposing of some of the finger piers from Fishermans Wharf to China Basin.

  11. Ridiculous notion. Not well thought out at all. Ok, here’s the deal “Frederick”:

    1. The piers are historic in nature and are a deep part of San Francisco history. They should remain, and be used for multiple purposes: retail, office, entertainment, markets. They are deeply admired now.
    2. We have MILES AND MILES now of open coastline around the city. Ever go to Ocean beach, Baker beach, the enormous OPEN coast from the marina up to the GG bridge?

    Check em out. you might learn something.

  12. “that showcases and sells products manufactured in San Francisco supported through a partnership with local nonprofit SF Made,”

    This is really limiting. Not much is manufactured in SF anymore. And what little is made in the city is twee small batch stuff that will be expensive. Factory floorspace is just too expensive. Manufacturing in SF can’t even compete with manufacturing in Oakland just a few miles away. And Oakland is expensive too.

    Now expand the constraint to stuff designed in SF and you’ve got a viable business model.

    1. I’m sure eventually this venue will have significant food and confectionery components much as at Chelsea Market.

    2. That is what SF Made focuses on…. Etsy type small batch items, gifts, etc. It’s not manufacturing, and most of the makers probably live out of the city.

      1. Yes, I figured so. It looks like a lot of SFMade stuff are living room/garage operations (hey, the Penny Blossom!) directly retailed at farmer’s markets and maker’s fairs. The low-cost paradigm might work but would it scale up to a permanent premium rent facility like this? Even a small stall’s rent plus payroll for retail staff costs far more than a website and sporadic booth space. You’d need a healthy profit margin to step up your game like that. Without outsized profits, subsidies could be required to keep retail afloat continuously.

        Orland’s prediction is likely: this could evolve into a food and drink emporium. The exact same situation played out at San Jose’s San Pedro Market. It started out as about half food+drink and half SFMade style wares for sale. Then it was a ghost town. Now it is 100% a lunch spot in the day and a nightlife spot in the evening and sees a lot more traffic.

    1. Chicago’s Northerly Island (connected to the lakefront by an isthmus) is being transformed into an offshore park.

  13. Chelsea Market? So we can expect the locals will be appalled for the first 10 years it exists, and once they finally get people over there, it will be a death trap of people crunched into one hallways trying to take selfies.

    With the way things are going, it could be worse.

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