San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected an appeal of the approved, but hotly contested, plans for a temporary Navigation Center to be constructed on the Port’s current parking lot parcel known as Seawall Lot 330, across from Piers 30-32, last night.

As such, three portable structures are now slated rise on the parcel by the end of the year and provide temporary shelter, storage and infrastructure for up to 200 currently homeless individuals, along with administrative, community, dining and supportive services space intended to help transition its population to more permanent housing over the next few years.

With that in mind, we turn our attention back to the longer-term planning for Seawall Lot 330, the Piers and other Port-owned properties along San Francisco’s Waterfront. From the Port of San Francisco’s Draft Waterfront Plan, which is now being circulated for review and comment:

There are only four undeveloped Port properties in the South Beach waterfront. The two largest, Piers 30-32 (13 acres) and Seawall Lot (SWL) 330 (2.5 acres), are located in the center of the South Beach waterfront along the Embarcadero, south of the Bay Bridge. The stunning location makes these signature properties well suited for development that includes entertainment and public oriented uses. While Piers 30-32 and SWL 330 are outside of the Embarcadero Historic, development of these sites will be reviewed for consistency with Secretary of the Interior Standards to ensure that the design of the adjacent new development is compatible with the historic district. The Port has a continuing interest in maintaining the deep-water berth at Piers 30-32. Because of its large size, Piers 30-32 offers a rare development opportunity along the waterfront while respecting the character and integrity of the Embarcadero Historic District. A development design for Seawall Lot 330 must complement the neighborhood setting and contribute to the public realm on the west side of the Embarcadero.

As documented in prior Port reports, however, substructure and seismic improvement costs at Piers 30-32 are extraordinarily high. Past project proposals would have required the Port to subsidize these costs with rent from the pier, the value of SWL 330, and tax increment from both sites. The deteriorated condition of Piers 30-32 will diminish its productive use and revenue generation, and the cost of improving or demolishing the pier far exceeds Port resources. These considerations compel the Port to define a long-term strategy. The Port Commission intends to consider a competitive solicitation for Piers 30-32 and SWL 330 to determine market-based interest in these properties. If the competitive solicitation process does not produce a successful development response or project, the Port Commission will need to reevaluate options for the management of Piers 30-32 and SWL 330, including the continuation of short-term interim lease and special event uses.

Keep in mind that Piers 30-32 were granted to the City of San Francisco by the state, “for purposes of commerce, navigation, and fisheries, and subject to specified terms and conditions relating to the operation of the Port of San Francisco.” And as such, in addition to being costly, any private redevelopment or re-purposing the piers will be a regulatory challenge (as the Warriors learned the hard way).  We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

65 thoughts on “Port Will Solicit Proposals for Contested Waterfront Lot and Piers”
  1. Unfortunately difficult to see anything happening with the pier in the foreseeable future. And if, in fact, nothing get done with it before that section of seawall gets replaced/seismically upgraded, then what happens?

      1. If they do get demolished, in conjunction with or independent of seawall reconstruction/retrofitting, I wonder if they could widen and extend the Brannan Street Wharf Park down to where Bryant St meets The Embarcadero.

    1. how about bringing football back to SF. can get a new NFL team and MLS. this was a perfect spot for warriors, but football and soccer would be nice too

  2. This is not going to help. Just look at what is happening to South Van Ness! In the Mission, its already a dump and this Navigation center is useless. Can I add Pictures here?

    1. Ah yes, places to shelter and provide services to the homeless are useless and do nothing to address homelessness. Oh wait…

    2. Please do elaborate on what’s happening on South Van Ness. Personally I haven’t seen much change, superficially at least. But are you suggesting that a Navigation Center will make your neighborhood worse off like it has done to the Mission?

      1. The Mission Nav Centers have vastly improved the area around Division/13th where there were huge encampments previously.

        1. No idea how the South Van Ness navigation center is doing. I can attest the homeless encampment issue around Division and Showplace square has remarkably improved this year.

  3. It is so obvious that the navigation center (located literally outside people’s windows) was classic SFGov payback for the failed Arena and a ‘shot over the bow’ of neighbors to think again about pushing back in the future. This is just how deep the collusion between developers and city politicos runs. It’s like something out of Putin’s playbook.

    1. Nothing like a baseless conspiracy theory and comically ignorant political analogy to prove you don’t have a thought out or defensible position.

    2. If this were true and my supervisor (Haney) were involved and admitted as much, then I would consider strongly voting for him next time around.

    3. do you hate the idea of housing homeless people? or do you prefer the streets being covered with their encampments? this was a GREAT outcome

  4. I’m just jealous of what a lovely view of the squalor below the folks in that condo tower are going to have.

    But as to Pier 30-32, it’s never going to be economic to redevelop it. If not torn down, it’s going to eventually crumble. And if something over the water in that location is desired, it might well be better and more economic to start from scratch.

    1. Really the only attractive and economically feasible use for them would be rec/park oriented as has been done so well on waterfront sites in NYC and Brooklyn.

        1. This is why my official prediction is that we dawdle and faff around until eventually all the piers collapse.

          It’s not getting cheaper.

          1. i think London Breed is doing a fairly good job trying to push through the beauracracy. unfortunately, the Board of supervisors want to stop any progress at all and fight her on everything. i truly hope she doesnt get blamed for the current ills of the city during her re-election as she had no time to enact the change she is trying to. Peskin and Hillary Ronen are disastrous and obviously dont care about the city or its people

          2. Part of the problem is that they are the Port’s problem too. Another separate entity will just slow things down even more.

            No one is showing bold leadership, that’s for sure.

  5. I think a collection of temporary or modular structures surrounded by wind and rain screens in a mostly-concealed-from-the-street-yet-also-inviting arrangement makes sense here. The good thing is the homeless aren’t picky and a lot can be done with less if they see value in coming here for community, warmth, safety, and help.

  6. They could build a Huge navigation center on the pier, after it is retrofitted. Navigation Centers are tax payer funded anyway, so it doesn’t have to make financial sense, and you preserve other sites in the city for commercially viable purposes. It would even be able to accommodate homeless from Oakland, Sacramento and Fresno – it will be awesome!

  7. Glad the navigation center is getting built. We need at least 20 more all over the city. Same people who scream at city hall for letting homeless folks camp on our sidewalks and parks want zero new beds if they are anywhere near their residence. Not sure what it will take to get these people to learn that we have such a visible homeless problem *because* we have so many fewer beds per capita than places like New York, which has a legal right to shelter. (New York has about 5% unsheltered, versus 68% in CA.)

    Bummer it’s going to take such a huge effort to redevelop all those aging piers—our waterfront could be bustling with hotels, restaurants, and parks if locals weren’t so opposed to any change in this town…

    1. In San Francisco, CA we also now spend over $105,000 year of SF’s budget on each and every homeless person with no real goal to do anything other than create ever more high paying public and private sector jobs off of these unfortunate people’s back..

      For less money than San Francisco spends per capita on each and every homeless person we could send every one of them on an all inclusive round the world cruise as you can get those from Viking and others for only $92,000 a year. Or we could buy them a house in plenty of rust belt parts of American and pay for a few years of college or intensive substance abuse programs.

      But why would we ever try to solve things when so many high paying local jobs depend on having as many homeless people in SF as possible. #SadButTrue #HomelessIndustrialComplex

      1. Thanks for the laughs, but you just made up a bunch of numbers. Not sure why you’d do that unless you don’t care about solving homelessness and just don’t want to see the people it affects—like the other folks complaining about Navigation Centers. Two thirds of our annual budget for homelessness goes to supportive rent for *formerly* homeless.

        In reality, it’s under $4K a year per homeless person in SF, or around $10.50/day. What could you buy with all of $10 a day? One meal?

        1. The math in that article reveals a complete bias to make the number look as small as possible. It says that 2/3 of what they spent was spent on homes for people who would otherwise be homeless, so they just took 2/3 of it right off the top, because those homeless people were no longer homeless.

          Then they took ALL of the overhead out. As if that should be allocated.

          Then, they noted that, although the number of homeless on any given night was 7,500, because people come and go, the number per year was actually 15,000. So they divided the 22% remainder by 15,000 to come up with $4K per year, in spite of the fact that most were not here or not homeless during the entire year.

          If you go back to the 7500 number, that brings us up to $8K for 22% of the budget. They subtracted out 11% overhead, putting that back in, we get about $9K for the people for whom we don’t provide homes.

          Next, assume that the number of people in the actual housing component is probably 1/2 of that given to those who we don’t provide housing, it means we spend 4X the amount on 1/2 of the people, or 97K per person. (9×2+97×1)/3 is an average of $38K if my assumptions on how many people are actually housed are correct.

          1. “You are forgetting that at least 25% or more of our SFPD, EMT, and Fire Department staff do nothing but spend their time servicing our out of control homeless population.”

            This (Plus uninsured medical care) is huge. Gigantic when you factor in pension costs. Real pension costs not some accounting fiction to make things look rosy.

      2. Just as there is a military industrial complex thee is a homeless charitable organization complex.

        1. Dave is spot on right here. The only way I see it changing is an actual outsider becomes mayor. Everyone involved in city government is already enmeshed in the complex.

    2. I live in the Mission, and I have campers under my bedroom window several nights a week. I do not feel their pain.

      1. “I don’t have to live on the street, so I don’t know what it’s like to have to live on the street”. Textbook truism.

      2. Sounds a lot better than sleeping on the sidewalk with a callous, self-important jerk right above you looking down.

  8. Come on there is no way we only spend $4k per year on each and every homeless person in SF that would be less than $32 million a year.

    You are forgetting that at least 25% or more of our SFPD, EMT, and Fire Department staff do nothing but spend their time servicing our out of control homeless population.

    And why do SF taxpayer have to spend so much of our wealth on providing lifelong drastically discounted housing to these homeless people … why can’t this housing be for people who want to actually be productive and do things with their life’s. I mean look at how much homeless housing is in the Tenderloin and look at what a wasteland that area is with liquor stores everywhere, needles littering the streets and human feces everywhere.

    San Francisco as a city actively encourages homelessness and our open drug bazaar as it creates so many municipal and private sector jobs and this SF Chronicle article so confirms that point.

    1. I like how you make a bunch assertions while failing and refusing to provide evidence. All this while simultaneously drawing spurious conclusions. You’re the poster child for misplaced, anti-factual rage.

    2. You also can’t just claim that article says something it doesn’t. You are providing the source material to the very thing you are objectively misrepresenting and think that you’re going to somehow get away with it. How’s that cunning plan working out?

    3. It’s also clear from the article you posted that the reason this man is homeless is that he was overprescribed and subsequently became addicted to opioids. These are highly addictive drugs. Stats from your article:

      “The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that up to 29% of patients prescribed opioids misuse them, and as many as 12% will become addicted. About 6% of those who misuse opioids transition to heroin, while 80% of heroin users had misused prescription opioids. Americans consume 80% of the world’s opioid supply.”

      Drug addiction is a sickness that most are ill equipped to overcome. This guy actually has family with money and they are unable to help him. What makes you think that all the other homeless that don’t have that level of privilege are undeserving of help? What makes you think that people try to become addicted to drugs so their lives fall apart? You are assigning a lot of personal responsibility for the unintended consequences of a series of bad decisions, not exclusively on the part of the victim. These people need help.

      Clearly there are more effective ways to spend money and we will be spending a lot since housing is unaffordable even to working people but these issues are not going to disappear on their own. CA needs to make a major investment in housing and it needs to become cheaper.

    4. You didn’t read a sentence of the previous article I linked to and quoted. Again, it says that 2/3 of the $250 mil budget for homelessness is spent on “rental subsidies, eviction prevention and permanent supportive housing.”

      After administrative costs and one-time capital spending, we are left with around $57 million for shelters, street outreach and health services. “…divide $57 million by 15,000 homeless people who need city help each year, and you see the city spends $3,800 per person per year. Or $10.41 a day.”

      You have zero evidence for your claims of extravagant amounts of money spent on homelessness, so I’m not engaging your ignorance anymore.

      1. I am sure what anonymous people are claiming (and they obviously have a political agenda and disagree with the spending level), but if you look at the historic budget from the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the city spent $103 million just on homeless shelters, outreach, health services, and child services (for homeless).

        Of course, the rest of the $140 million was spent on supportive housing (the bulk) and eviction prevention–these are services that help people prevent people from becoming homeless or help homeless people get housed, so I have to say it is not accurate to “subtract out” these costs.

        The same goes for administrative costs. Services cost what they cost to administer, whether you are referring to homeless services, general healthcare, education, or any other services. Again, you cannot just “subtract out” administrative costs. They are a cost incurred to provide services.

        That said, I think rather than silly debates between anonymous people about whether too little or too much money is spent on homelessness, the focus should be on results, and results are not necessarily a function of how much money is being spent. We need to be outcomes focused when it comes to providing public services. Yes, budgets cannot be ignored, but they also cannot be the sole criterion for evaluating the success of failure of any program/public services.

    5. $310M/yr without accounting for ancillary services (SFPD, EMT< fire, and trash/feces/needle cleanup) which adds up to at least $400M. $400M/7500 = $53K/person, and we just added new taxes to get an extra $300M per year, which will make it $700M/yr or $93K/per homeless person.

      we are clearly not spending this money efficiently, especially as the problem growing. i’m all for nav centers, that seems like a real tangible way to help. But i do also think there is no accountability and no synergy between all the groups helping the homeless and jennifer friedbach is an insane person, who is blaming business who plant plants and put decorative rocks outside their businesses as being “cruel and Soulless”

      1. Lets also not forget that with the passage of Prop C which is held up in courts currently SF is set to charge a gross receipts tax on large businesses to raise an extra $300m+ to only expand our pot of monies for our Homeless Industrial Complex.

        Then SF also spends over $2.1 billion a year of our tax dollars on City and County Healthcare for anyone who wants it and our homeless population use a large chunk of this for their needs.

        SF City Health care budget spending for comparison is more than 6 US states spend yearly on state funds for their state’s residents.

        All in all having a very large homeless population is a real money maker for public sector workers and the private sector jobs which also feast on our homeless population.

      2. Jimbo it’s not the same 7500 – people leave and enter homelessness throughout the year. A lot of this money is spent to prevent people from becoming homeless which invalidates any basic math you can do to calculate how much money is spent per person.

        1. …and roughly a third of that money spent to prevent people from becoming homeless goes straight into the coffers of local landlords, so it’s essentially a subsidization of the local members of the petite bourgeoisie.

    6. we also desperately need forced institionalization for drug addicts who wont go to rehab willingly as well as mentally ill. At least 1,000 of the 7500 should be put in a long term institutional facilty (for at least 1 year) to get clean, tuned up, meds stable, etc. they are too sick to change their circumstances otherwise

  9. The proposed nav center is highly unlikely to ever be built on that location. A lawsuit at the state level will either delay the center so long (years) that the city just gives up, or it will prevent the center from being built outright.

    As for Pier 30-32, it needs to be torn down no matter what. The only question is if there is funding to rebuild it, and the possibility of that happening is near zero.

    1. Many much more invasive and/or larger projects have proceeded despite mostly baseless lawsuits from NIMBYs in the city. There are recent examples of housing and shelter space for the homeless have gone through. Unless and until something much more economically lucrative comes of the site (which neighbors also oppose), the city will be successful pursuing use of public land for public services.

    2. It’s my understanding that because of how this approval is defined under CEQA, the lawsuit cannot force the city to wait while it’s being resolved. In other words, while the city is defending against the baseless lawsuit, they can be building and even operating the navigation center at the same time.

      1. this is great news as will be hard to kick them out once the center is operational. I wish they would plan it as permanent and push the numbers up to 500, and include addiction treatment on-site

        1. I wouldn’t put any money on that marker. The Port is about to put out a RFP for SWL330. If the Port gets a legitimate development proposal which gives the Port $35 – 40 million dollars in return for development rights the NC will be removed.

          One might consider putting money on that marker rather than the latter one.

  10. Most of the world’s great cities have good and bad neighborhoods. But only San Francisco seeks to assure that EVERY neighborhood is a bad neighborhood.

  11. The best way to help the homeless would be to relocate them to a less expensive metro so they might actually not have to be homeless. With one bedroom apartments here going for $4,000+ and a minimum wage @ $15 per hr (when a just recently published article stated you need no less than $60 per hr to survive) there is no path out of poverty for these people.

    On another note, why not just redevelop treasure island only for homeless folks and offer them relocation services to a more affordable region. Tens of thousands of beds could be built on treasure island and you could use the current abandoned warehouses as mess halls. It would also be difficult for drug dealers to access the island, thus giving the addicted a chance to break free and start helping themselves.

    1. Keep in mind that the reported “$60 per hour” figure isn’t what one would need to “survive” in San Francisco, but rather the effective hourly wage a household would need to earn in order to afford a median priced two-bedroom without allocating more than 30 percent of their household income to rent.

      And the median, not minimum, list price for a market-rate one-bedroom in San Francisco is actually around $3,700 a month ($4,800 for a two).

  12. Seriously. I love the attitude that because you don’t want a homeless shelter right next to the home you scraped together every dime for years to afford, you are a heartless, Mr. Burns-type jerk. Build this out in India Basin or something.

    1. I scraped together to buy my home out by India Basin too. I think building a homeless shelter next to your home is exactly the right place to put it.

    2. Trying change your handle to feign wider agreement with you isn’t exactly an effective way to defend the position you’re taking. Instead of making a factual argument, you’re saying that the problem simply not being near you is a solution.

    3. I mean, if you don’t want a homeless shelter next to the house you own, you could take the same advice that people who get priced out of the area get—move. It’s a free market, and it cuts both ways: if you don’t like it, go somewhere else. If you’re living in that neighborhood, you definitely have the means and freedom to do so. No sympathy from me.

  13. So once upon a time…..Lendlease and Shorenstein looked at 30-32 and both decided to walk away. The initial cost to restore 30-32 and make it seismically safe started at $30 million by Port estimates. By the time Lendlease had finished it’s due diligent investigation the cost to repair the substructure under 30-32 had risen to $75 million.

    Lendlease walked away from a fully entitled project which had three residential towers on SWL 330 and over 300,000 sq feet of office + retail on 30-32.

    Two things came out of the Lendlease proposal. The Watermark condos and $18 million dollar contribution towards building the Brannan street wharf park. Ultimately the Watermark condos sold out and Lendlease pocketed $22 million and the Port raised additional $6-8 million in funds to add to the $18 million and built the Brannan street park.

    In steps Shorenstein to look at a proposal to build their headquarter offices on 30-32. Their due diligent investigation reveals the cost to repair the substructure now exceeds $90 million and approaches $120 million. That was approximately 10 years ago. I think you can see where this is going.

    The Port once estimated it would cost approximately $35-40 million to remove 30-32, money which the Port did not have. Again, that was approximately 10 years ago.

    The Port needs to keep 30-32 to use as overflow birthing for cruise ships when there are more than 3 cruise ships in port. That’s why you see a cruise ship docked at 30-32 from time to time.

    Nothing will ever be built on 30-32…

    On the other hand 330 which I believe has been severed from all development proposals for 30-32/330 is now a gold mine for the cash strapped Port. Estimates are that the Port could reap $35-40 million in development rights for SWL 330 once a developer and proposal is identified.

    The Port needs cash badly ….it does not need a homeless shelter.

  14. I remember hearing/reading some time back that apparently there was budgeting done at the federal level to have the Army Corp of Engineers come and remove 30-32. No?

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