The San Francisco Giants have pushed back the anticipated ground breaking for the first phase of their proposed Mission Rock Development to rise on AT&T Park’s Parking Lot A to “as early as 2019” or “as late as 2027.”

And the Giants’ proposed redevelopment of Pier 48, upon which Anchor Brewing was anticipated but not guaranteed to expand, has been formally dropped from the plans which are slated to be presented to the San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission’s Design Review Board next week.

At full build-out, which is envisioned to occur over four phases with the final phase now anticipated to commence “as early as 2025” or “as late as 2047,” the Giants’ Mission Rock development would result in 1.4 million square feet of office and retail/restaurant space and 1,500 units of rental housing in buildings rising up to 240 feet in height, with 3,100 parking spaces and nearly 8 acres of open space and parks.

While no longer part of the official project, the redevelopment of Pier 48 and 48 ½ may still occur “at some future date.” And of course, the projected timing for the development as proposed is still subject to change “based on market conditions and other factors.”

42 thoughts on “Giants’ Development Pushed Back, Anchor Dropped from Plans”
  1. This is a huge change/delay in plans. The Giant’s have the advantage of a long window of time for their entitlement during which they can build. Unlike other projects whose entitlements usually run 3 years.

    Per one of the links this project was set to start construction in 2017 with the other phases set to be started between then and 2023. A potential 10 year delay in the start of Phase 1? And a worst case scenario start of the final phase in 2047? Is the 2047 figure a typo – if one is going to delay that long one likely will have to reimage the whole project given all the changes in local conditions sure to occur in the next 30 years at which point the last phase may start construction.

    Obviously, the project in the near term no longer pencils. The issue is likely what the developer sees as the price points of new units in the next 5 or 6 years. Too low given the investment? The Giant’s have the advantage of being able to “hold and hope”.

    This is a loose version of entitlement in play. Given this dramatic slowdown in a “sure” project , I’m thinking the 524 Howard developers will delay start of that project and instead go back to planning for an extension of the entitlement which runs out at the end of 2018 or so.

  2. If we are talking about this not being complete until as late as 2040(!) I think that the City should take this property back and give it to an organization that will actually develop it on a reasonable timeline. And wasnt rehabilitation of the pier one of the selling points of this project? Will there ever be consequences for broken promises by developers?

      1. The Giant’s own the property but the development agreement is a separate thing. You’d think the City would have had some guarantees as to timelines in the agreement. Knowing the City, however, I’d bet the Giant’s lawyers set the deal up in an open ended way for their benefit.

        If this really gets pushed out to 2029 or even the mid-20s, perhaps the whole concept should be revisited? The architecture is sub-par and not worthy of the location. As the voters approved this I wonder if another initiative could rescind that approval given any significant delay in the project. I’d call anything beyond 2025 a significant delay and especially as voters were conned into going for this on the promise of a large affordable housing component which now may be years and years away.

        [Editor’s Note: That’s incorrect, the property is “owned” by the Port.]

        1. I believe the “voter approval” was merely increasing of the zoning heights for the seawall lot. I don’t know if that is specific to the Giant’s proposal (I suspect so) or now runs with land. In either event, I don’t think another vote would be necessary for a change of developers.

        2. The Giants are tenants as are all users of Port property which is subject to the public trust doctrine (including the stadium). Basic land use knowledge. As for the length of the extension request this too is a basic land use technique, push out expiration dates as far as possible which doesn’t at all necessarily reflect the true development time frame.

          1. The original lease between the SF Giants and the Port to build the ballpark included a 66 year lease for both pier 47 (the port walk along McCovy cove) and seawall lot 337. The length of the lease is set by statute which can be no longer than 66 years. I believe the Giants and the Port have the option to renew their lease at the end that term. (look up the DDA and the land lease in the public records at the Port)

            It’s the same kind of deal that the Port made for the developer of the Ferry building. (Private developer funds improvements and Port gets a nominal amount in rent for 66 years.) Without these agreements between the private development community and the Port the Port has no way of funding major improvements to the trust property.

        3. The property is owned by the people of California and managed by the Port. Seawall lot 337 is in a trust. Bay front/water front land within 100 feet of the shore line is owned by the people of California. Reference BCDC and the State lands commission.

    1. There’s no evidence to support that. And Anchor just opened up their public taps in the building at De Haro and Mariposa. Part (but not all) of Anchor’s interest in Pier 48 was to have a large serving space that was open to the general public without a tour reservation. The public taps in Potrero mostly achieved that goal.

    2. Anchor’s interest has been waning since long before the Sapporo deal. They found the terms, cost, and potential payout onerous.

    3. I live on De Haro and picked up a guy who worked at Anchor… he said Anchor would probably have to abandon the project completely as the ground wasn’t stable enough to build a beer factory on. I had this conversation with him 2+ years ago.

  3. Maybe Spark Social could move to part of the property as an interim use once it gets kicked out to finish Mission Bay Park. Hate to just have parking lots line 3rd Street for another ten years.

  4. Why wall off the waterfront? Those last buildings blocking the water should be deleted. Haven’t these folks heard of climate change / sea rise?!?

    1. “Wall on the waterfront” is just a phrase made up by old money to fight for their real estate investments. Also, if the water comes up to the parking lot level being on the other side of a flat parking lot isn’t going to stop anything. Climate change will have to be addressed by renovating the piers and waterfront, not by doing nothing.

    2. Who are you kidding with this comment? There is a road, a huge park and a boardwalk that has access to the waterfront. There is no wall. Loons like you have been halting development in this city for far too long with your nonsensical, imaginary problems.

    3. The waterfront is accessible in the plan and the design take steps to prepare the site for sea level rise. Do you seriously think nobody accounted for that with untold millions at stake?

    4. This area used to be completely under water – part of SF Bay. It is now dry land. Courtesy of 20′ of fill. Adding a couple of more feet on top of what is already there in order to keep ahead of sea level rise should be relatively easy since it is now just a parking lot and no buildings will be affected.

      1. Right. I remember reading that in the current plans, the buildings and garage entrances will be built such that they won’t flood if sea level rises up to 6 feet, however, the park and the waterfront will be left alone for nature take its course.

        That’s not quite how I envisioned for them to deal with sea-level rise. I’m pretty sure SF isn’t going to let Embarcadero flood, so we’ll be stuck with a wall since raising the muni tracks and embarcadero pavement would be too expensive and disruptive.

        1. The only solution that is realistic (loaded word, when it comes to discussing climate change in the Trump era!) is a barrier across the Gate itself… it would be lunacy for every jurisdiction around the entire Bay to try to address sea level rise by itself, and to build wall after wall, levee after levee, all around the Bay.

          1. And what would we do with the Sacramento River? (you know, the very thing that created the Gate in the first place)

    1. Gee, maybe they’re going to focus upon on-field operations and we can expect another Market Street parade shortly.

        1. Lol. The real estate is intended to return profit to those who finance it. Real estate investors are generally not interested in having the profits of their endeavors support better baseball teams.

    2. As SFBARF pointed out on Twitter, Jane Kim’s headline-grabbing “40% affordable” housing probably doesn’t pencil now that rents are stagnant instead of going up 20% a year. Lesson: if we want today’s exorbitant rents to come down, we need to make housing deals that still work when that happens.

  5. The only real change here is dropping Anchor, which as has been noted, was waning for a while and the Sapporo deal was the nail in the coffin.

    Development Agreements like these always have extended entitlement timelines that are typically 15-30 years, depending on the scale and complexity of the project, and allowing for fluctuating market conditions. It’s of no interest to the City/Port to hold to a tight timeline if the market won’t support the development. If the Giants can’t build what’s envisioned, there’s no reason to think another rational party could. (Unless of course it was an irrational party, such as foreign development entity with endlessly deep pockets and a thirst for prime SF real estate, damned the pro formas.)

    And if you ever believe what a developer says is their expected “ground breaking” timeframe, you should add a year or two to that to get an actual real sense of what is likely possible in this neck of the woods.

    1. With the great need and demand, I refuse to believe that good money cannot be made building and selling housing in SF. There must be some back story explaining why this particular developer is not proceeding in a more expeditious manner.

      Don’t be surprised to see them come back soon seeking relief from the (what was it, 40%?) agreement as to the BMR component to the deal struck to secure approval.

      1. Exactly. There’s good money to be made, but it’s being swallowed up by high costs… both from the lack of skilled contractors and labor, but also something that’s at least under the City’s control… whether the inclusionary zoning demands are realistic in the face of stagnant/falling rents or not.

      2. It is 40% and I would not put it past the Giant’ to get out of it but for the fact that would break the initiative as it was promoted almost solely as 40% affordable for SF workers. IIRC, the milers did not mention the office component at all or show pictures of the hi-rise element. It’s a non-starter, or rather start all over, for the Giant’s to even try to wiggle out of that commitment.

        1. Actually, I think the commitment to 40% came after the ballot initiative and agreement struck before the BOS as part of the final approval process.

          Go Astros!

    2. Dropping the redevelopment of Pier 48 from the official plans is actually a bit more significant than simply the loss of Anchor. In addition to a home for the brewery, or similar tenants, the pier’s apron was to be turned into a public promenade with a non-motorized boat launch. And Pier 48½, the marginal wharf between Piers 48 and 50, was to be turned into a pocket park.

      Without the renovation, Pier 48 will be off-limits to the public. And while we didn’t explicitly mention it above, but is reflected in the phasing map, the pocket park on Pier 48½ is now officially outside the scope of the project as well.

      In terms of timing and setting expectations, keep in mind that the Giants, along with their development partners at the time, were originally selling a 2013 start, which was changed to 2015 in 2012, slipped to 2016, and was back to 2015 at the end of 2013. And when the project’s impact report was published earlier this year, construction was projected to commence by the end of this year.

  6. @Orland – no phobia about 524 Howard. It’s actually of interest to see what the developer does next year. The Giant’s pullback here is, follow the money, almost certainly due to expected market conditions over the next few years in SF for new condo units in the SOMA area. Will Crescent break ground in 2018 with a build out in 2021 or so? It will be one to watch insofar as if they attempt to get a new entitlement window (which the city usually grants at least once) instead of building so they can delay start of construction to 2021/2022. Parcel F will eventually get built out but it’s refined designs are still in the works IIRC and a final approval of that project may be a year or two away meaning construction won’t have to start until 2021/2022.

  7. Super disappointed about losing the Anchor Brewery on the piers. I saw what a brewery restaurant nearby a major league ballpark was like in St. Louis during the Giants/Cardinals NLCS in 2012 and it was exciting and a fun place to hang out at before/after the game.

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