San Francisco Pier 29

The proposed redevelopment of 22,000 square feet of the Bulkhead Building which fronts the Embarcadero at Pier 29 is closer to reality with San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors having endorsed the Conceptual Term Sheet for a 15-year lease and rehabilitation of the site, the final negotiation of which can now proceed with the Port Commission.

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.

And as envisioned by Jamestown, the developer of New York’s Chelsea Market, the Bulkhead building will be transformed into a retail destination, “that showcases and sells products manufactured in San Francisco supported through a partnership with local nonprofit SF Made,” along with an urban brewery, winery and coffee roastery.

The Port had originally been hoping for a high profile and well-heeled retail tenant, such as Tesla (which has opened 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.

And pressure is mounting on the Port to find a recreational use for the rear portion of Pier 29.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Stop Driving

    Sounds like the Ferry Building might be getting some competition. Not that you can match the FB’s location. This should be an interesting place. Let’s hope the food is delicious and truly local.

    • Posted by zig

      Too bad we can’t get a place with the sort of food stalls like you see in the food courts in other countries. Stalls are very small and inexpensive and get very good at making a few things. My favorites have been in South East Asia and also Guadalajara Mexico at the flee market.

      This is going to be very expensive manufactured products

      • Posted by David

        I like your idea. Also helps small and family businesses to have a place to sell their foods and items, rather than million dollar build outs.

  2. Posted by Mark

    I’m all for repurposing these piers, but has any consideration been given as to how you expect people to get to and from this venue? Bus service is pretty much non existent. The F line is already crammed with Pier 39 goers and hardly runs on any schedule. Traffic on the Embarcadero is already a mess most of the time.

    Good luck, folks.

    • Posted by zig

      I can’t understand why SF does not run modern LRT all along the waterfront and Market for that matter. The platforms may be an issue but this seems a cost effective investment to increase capacity. Low floor LRT in mostly dedicated lanes work in other countries fine

      • Posted by Mark

        My understanding is that the wires for the F line don’t supply enough energy for the LRVs. Another bit I heard was that the city itself doesn’t want LRVs from the Ferry Bldg to Fish Wharf. Low floor LRVs work in other U.S. cities too…Twin Cities, San Diego, Boston, San Jose…to name a few. Sadly, converting the Market St. subway platforms would be too cost prohibitive and disruptive to service to even consider. Like BART’s wide gauge rail, you just have to work with it or around it, not replace it.

        • Posted by Mark Ballew

          LRVs can run on any rail segment in San Francisco. Where trolley lines cross, adapters need to be installed (though not for poles on classics, only pantographs on LRVs). Merchant objection and lack of rolling stock are the primary reasons. Most merchants have come around about rail service, and more rolling stock is on the way. The big deal here is that tourists love the classic trains.

        • Posted by zig

          For Market I was referring to running on the surface for redundancy

          • Posted by zig

            The proposed E line seems to mix the PCCs with the modern LRT south of market street to Mission Bay so I see no reason to not mix these on the surface of Market and north of Market along the water? Tourists would not care about more service

          • Posted by Mark

            I don’t see any personal issue running a waterfront line (like the E) from the central waterfront area in MB to the wharf using LRVs. Market St. subway riders can transfer at Folsom for points north.

    • Posted by Dandywhatsoever

      Tourists will ride those weird motorcycle things. Lots of tourists. I’m surprised they just don’t set it up as a big t-shirt/sweatshirt shop.

    • Posted by Pioneer


    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      I guess people will get to this location in a similar way they get to population locations like Exploratorium or Alcatraz landing.

  3. Posted by Amewsed

    I am not 100% sure it will be thriving and successful. Are there offices nearby this place would serve during the day? I haven’t been to the Chelsea Market in NYC but there are a lot more people and businesses around that area.

    It is like the China Live concept of various food stations in a large space on Broadway St. in Chinatown –not sure if that concept will work either despite its much busier location.

    • Posted by Mark

      The Chelsea Market is a couple blocks from the subway. There is a ton of existing residential/commercial all around it and the new Hudson Yards complex just to the north will bring in more foot traffic at all hours. It’s a draw for both locals and tourists. I see Pier 29 to be an extension of the tourist magnet of Pier 39.

      • Posted by Gorkem

        Hudson Yards is a good 15 blocks and 2 avenues away from Chelsea Market. You can take the subway from Bushwick to Chelsea Market faster than you can walk from Hudson Yards.

        • Posted by Mark

          I’ve walked the distance. It’s not that far and is connected by the high line.

          • Posted by Amewsed

            Another item on my to do list when visiting NYC – high line, Chelsea Market, West Side. I’ve walked down on Broadway to the Flatiron building, past Korea Town, then decided to cab it to Chinatown and the Financial District.

            If you want to see the area nearby Pier 29, do a google street view and virtually “walk” the neighborhood.

    • Posted by Orland

      This doesn’t even begin to approach the size of Chelsea Market which requires a much greater volume of traffic. It should do well enough on the basis of already existent passers-by and resident population.

      • Posted by Mark

        By resident population do you mean those who are within easy walking distance?

        • Posted by Orland

          Yes, both those who live and/or work in the vicinity.

          • Posted by Mark

            I’d like someone to take a survey of nearby residents and office workers to get a sense of how popular it would be. I seriously doubt the developers are focusing their investment on a small segment of the SF population. That’s why I brought up the concern about access. For Pier 29 to really thrive it’s going to need a lot of foot traffic. How much of that foot traffic arrives actually on foot versus car or transit is important to determine.

  4. Posted by Harvey

    I’m just surprised the Telegraph Hill dwellers have not ordered Aaron Peskin to kill this deal yet!

    • Posted by Orland

      The article does seem to somewhat soft-pedal the issue of opposition which still threatens to kill this proposal entirely. Another effort at a ballot initiative is not out of the question according to Grolinger. Peskin seems to be marginally on board so long as he gets something in return for not actively joining the opposition.

  5. Posted by RobBob

    I hope the facade isn’t protected, there are too many warehouse looking buildings on the waterfront and it would be great if they could update the front.

    • Posted by Joy

      I agree restore but add a modern element that works with old


    • Posted by Mark

      That’s because it is a warehouse district. The facade should be protected.

  6. Posted by Joy

    This is the most excellent idea for the pier 29! Artists and San Francisco made items is a dreamy idea. Wonderful! More soul for the city. Love Chelsea Market mostest!

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