The New San Francisco Shipyard Wharf

David Adjaye, the internationally acclaimed architect behind the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, has been engaged as the new masterplan architect and creative director for the second phase of development at The San Francisco Shipyard, which is slated to take shape over the next five years.

Along with the joint redevelopment of Candlestick Point, the combined projects could eventually yield over 12,000 units of housing, over 350 acres of new park and recreation areas (including the Shipyard wharf as newly rendered above), and 5 million square feet of research, development and office space, an exception for which will be voted on this November.

Full Disclosure: The SF Shipyard advertises on SocketSite but provided no compensation for this post.

40 thoughts on “There’s a New Master Architect for The SF Shipyard”
    1. A little transit is planned, per the editor’s link, but it needs much more. I’m advocating for a subway line from the heart of Candlestick Point which then stops at:

      3rd/Oakdale – transfer to T, future infill Caltrain station
      23rd/Potrero serving SF General
      16th/Bryant – serves a little-known corner of the Mission filled by parking lots and strip malls, ideal location to become a dense mixed-use center
      Van Ness/Market Hub – transfer to Muni Metro, area will be very densely populated with residential towers in 10 years
      Cathedral Hill – with transfer to future Geary subway

      And potentially 1 or 2 more stops along Van Ness. We need direct, rapid transit from Candlestick to the older urban core of the city.

      For Hunters Point, I think the city should explore a surface tram line shaped like a backwards letter C, connecting to the T line at both ends, with stops at Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick, Executive Park and Bayshore. This is sort of like the BRT that’s planned. The Shipyard won’t be as dense as Candlestick or have offices, so I think it’s okay to do at-grade transit without as many direct connections.

      If you like my idea, please nag SFMTA and the Supervisors to consider it.

      1. Interesting to note that some of the biggest parcels within the bay area to build housing on whether it be Hunter Point, Candlestick next door, Treasure Island, Alameda Naval Station and even the small Old Oakland Navy Hospital Site have nil access to transit. At least Hunter and Candlestick offer the opportunity to build out fixed transit – subway or lightrail/one in the same without a body of water to cross or mountain to go under…

        Treasure Island seems like it will only make the Bay Bridge traffic nightmare scarier no matter how many ferries you add. Alameda might be better but still limited compared to Hunters Point/Candlestick.

        The best area to develop that will have the best access to current transit will be the old Concord Weapons station with BART on the edge.

        1. Many of the workers would have a body of water to cross as SF and the Peninsula already have a housing jobs imbalance

        2. Well, most Bay Area fixed transit was laid out 100+ years ago, so it stands to reason that there wouldn’t be any remaining large empty parcels nearby. The exception, Bart, was built to connect existing transit-based downtowns with park-and-rides, so significant housing was never in the cards.

          Concord’s one exception, and Oakland Coliseum is another (smaller) one. And of course upzoning the suburban station areas is a possibility, though it seems politically unlikely.

      2. Candlestick is super close to Bayshore Caltrain already. I’m sure planners can figure out a way to make a better connection there.

        There are already over 60k people in Portola, South Bernal Heights, and Silver Terrace without any rapid transit that I believe should have priority if any subway is going to be built. (ie San Bruno/Bayshore/Portrero corridor)

        1. @Tim E: Agreed, the Treasure Island plans are a bit ridiculous and show what great lengths we’ll go to just to avoid building housing where landowning/rent-control-having NIMBYs are forced to look at it. Density along transit is routinely resisted under the (false) theory it accelerates displacement, or the opinion that it “destroys neighborhood character.” So we put it in out-of-the-way places no one will notice. I’d rather defeat the resistance to infill, but for now, this is what we gotta do.

          @S: According to SFMTA, the main drag of Portola is below best practice minimum density for light rail. South Bernal and Silver Terrace do have certain spots that meet the threshold, but not over as large a land area as the high density Candlestick Point will have by 2040. See page 23 of the Rail Capacity Strategy.

          The same map shows the center of the Candlestick development is more than 3/4 mile from Bayshore Caltrain with one of the densest parts almost a mile and a half away. I guess “super close” is subjective, but that’s well beyond what all but the most hardcore transit users will walk, and you pass through two other entire neighborhoods (Little Hollywood and Executive Park) on the way. So it’s not within the rail catchment area – SFMTA’s formal definition of super close.

        2. Workers are coming from the East Bay and not as many of riding Caltrain as it is easier to drive on 101 if you live on on the same side of the Bay

          But Genentech can move quite a few workers on shuttles from Glen Park and SSF BART stations so it seems last mile can just be part of the TDM program of the employers that the city requires.

      3. It would be easy enough to plan for light rail track on dedicated right-of-way, considering that there is not an established street grid yet. Or would that make too much sense?

  1. One can only hope this does not turn into another drab, sterile Mission Bay. Especially as it’s the last big area of SF not yet developed.

    What Lennar has done with their first Shipyard homes is unimpressive so it’s good to see someone is being brought in as the master plan architect. Hopefully this move will help avoid the Shipyard from becoming a hodgepodge as MB did.

    The grid street pattern is unfortunate and so far it does not seem the water element is being taken advantage of as much as it could be. Let’s hope this move portends better things for the development.

    1. I hope the same for Central SoMa. They could be better off using a master architect rather than individual developers who are trying to maximize square footage.

    2. There are over 300 acres of new waterfront parks planned between HP and CPS, connected all the way to the Embarcadero by the Blue Greenway. How is the “water element” being underutilized?

      1. I am referring to the project area itself and in the context of the Mission Bay plan Pei proposed decades ago.

        Specifically, a small lagoon in the midst of the CP hi-rise cluster. Connected to the Bay if possible. Additionally, several small water inlets from the Bay to complement some of the housing elements.

    3. One of the best things that could be done to ensure the development has a unique character would be to adaptively reuse more of the historic shipyard buildings that have been identified as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but are slated to be razed. One or two of these buildings are pretty cool and could create a distinct identity for this new neighborhood. Similar, former shipyard buildings in Philadelphia have been remade into the corporate headquarters of Urban Outfitters.

      If it was up to me, I’d be happy to let Lennar build more in exchange for keeping a few of these buildings.

    1. My thoughts exactly: people complained – well, mentioned – on the latest TDT rendering that there were proposed buildings “missing”, here there seem to be too many.

      1. It looks like about 10 hi-rise structures in the CP area. If you follow the link to an earlier CP story the rendering there shows about 10 hi -rises.

        The thing that looks added to me are the 2 Shipyard hi-rises to the right in the rendering. I did not know the Shipyard portion of the project would have any hi-rises.

    2. They are part of the Candlestick development. But if I remember correctly, there would by only 1-2 high rise buildings.

      1. As Dave asks, what are the two towers to the right of the rendering in the foreground? It looks like part of the Shipyard, not Candlestick.

        1. there are tons of (very important for health and safety) restrictions that only allow development where it is shown.

          1. One gets the impression that if these very important health and safety restrictions were to be applied to the rest of San Francisco, half the city would have to be demolished.

  2. What is that awful circular building in the foreground? Something already there and “repurposed?” I would hope it’s not representative of the new architect’s “vision.”

  3. @notcom – thanks for the area-wide rendering. It indeed shows 2 hi-rise buildings in the Shipyard area.

    Lots of green space which is good but all that grass and so few trees, shrubs or additional landscaping? They need to do more with the open space and especially as those grassy fields will turn brown most of the year.

      1. Thanks for the link. I actually was not referring to the near waterline, but to the grassy areas separated from the natural habitat at the Bay shore by roads. These areas are mostly devoid of trees/shrubs per the renderings.

        Another point – that hill above Executive part is pretty barren and brown on its west side. Golden I guess is what California boosters call it.

        I think that area should be enhanced in terms of vegetation and Lennar should do it. Not more eucalyptus, but maybe Douglas fir? SF is at the border of its natural habitat and a photo from 1904 or so posted a while back at SS showed mature (decades old) trees that appeared to be Douglas firs. In what is now the Noe Valley area.

      2. An absurd amount of wasted space some of which of would be better devoted to urbane amenities taking advantage of the waterside setting.

  4. The Lennar site linked above says 3 million square feet of office space while the story above says 5 million square feet for the CP/Shipyard project.

    Which is it, and does the 3 or 5 million number represent a firm upper cap on the allowed office space, or could there be more. The office component seems centered in the Shipyard portion of the development and, with 2 hi-rise towers planned, I could imagine there might be pressure to maybe build a couple more.

  5. A major transport issue IMO are the (roughly) east-west connecting streets between the shipyard/CP and the rest of the city via 3rd st. You basically have Evans to the north, something like palou/oakdale midway, and what, Gilman and Jamestown to the south for CP? With the exception of Evans those are residential streets! Good luck fortifying those for 30k new peeps that want to connect from the shipyard/CP to the rest of the city on surface streets. A few added bus lines won’t cut it. I’m sure a subway is a pipe dream too for this area.

    Speaking of something more tangible, when will Caltrain add a stop at oakdale? That will be sweet (and significantly up the value of my nearby rentals to peninsula bound techies 🙂

    Lastly, I think the open and green space plan for the shipyard/CP is quite good. Candlestick park is very cool as is, if mostly utilized by the other half. I like it rustic and basic as it is (although the walk bridge over south basin connecting shipyard to CP will be welcomed.) Not sure how I’ll feel about future marina type yuppies coming in once that open space gets fully gentrified. F’course that’ll be great for my property values, but by then I may not care.

  6. @Tim E – Agree the TI plan is a non-starter. Several thousand units of new housing. 5K, 6K, 7K residents on the island? Ferries won’t cut it by any stretch and the bridge is at capacity.

    In a sane world the serale thousand units proposed for TI would be shifted to CP/Shipyard and TI would be kept open space/ a public venue. A la a museum. Lennar could still develop it and get its proposed units for TI shifted to CP/Shipyard.

    The TI plan is a disaster waiting to happen. Not just the transportation issues but, to build towers there, all kinds of ground stabilization will have to be done. Who will pay for that? You can bet it won’t be Lennar.

    1. Ground stabilization? Memories in this town are shorter than Peskins patience. All those Treasure Island highrises will be leaning like the Millennium tower in no time.

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