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.