CFAH

Having secured an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) for the redevelopment of Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 across the Embarcadero, the Strada Investment Group and Trammell Crow team (a.k.a. Strada TCC Partners) have been meeting with key stakeholders, including the State Land and Bay Conservation and Development Commissions.

As we outlined when the ENA was awarded:

Keep in mind that the Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 sites, which are held in a public trust, won’t be sold but rather leased. And having been granted to the City of San Francisco by the state to support “maritime commerce, navigation, and fisheries,” to protect natural and cultural resources, or to provide “facilities that attract the public to use the waterfront,” the commercial redevelopment of Piers 30-32 is likely to face some regulatory challenges, as the Warriors learned the hard way.

And with Strada TCC Partners proposing to completely demolish and then rebuild the Piers, with 30,000 square feet of retail and 376,000 square feet of office space upon a pair of new finger piers, with a series of floating pools and “wetlands” between, the aforementioned commissions have raised a number of concerns.

Piers 30-32 Proposal - Strada TCC

In addition to questioning whether or not reconstruction of the piers would be allowed, based on existing policies, and whether the pools and water recreation uses are an equitable public use, the proposed balance between the nearly 400,000 square feet of general office use and proposed public benefits have been called into question.

In addition, while other “area stakeholders” (i.e., neighbors) have informally “indicate[d] excitement” about the quality of design for the proposed plans for Seawall 330, which could yield two residential buildings rising up to 218 feet in height on the site, they have also indicated “concerns over placement of building massing.”

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    In addition to questioning whether or not reconstruction of the piers would be allowed,

    Don’t these invites provide any kind of guidance at all…or do they just keep attracting developers with ****’s that would leap ahead of Pluto for the ninth planet* spot?

    *make that ninth and tenth.

    • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

      Exactly. The developer spends all this effort on a proposal that requires replacing the piers when that apparently may not be allowed? Were they aware of this and, if so, why not submit a second proposal that keeps the existing piers This looks to be another star-crossed SF project.

    • Posted by logan

      the piers are over 100 years old. there is no development possibility if they are kept in place.

  2. Posted by Sierrajeff

    The problem here is applying a 19th century policy (the public maritime use requirement) with 21st century infrastructure and economic realities. We no longer need umpteen finger piers off San Francisco to unload cargo, nor to provide berths for fishing boats. The proposed uses here – recreational marinas and “wetlands” – about about the only uses that could be shoehorned into the public maritime use requirement. And so if those proposed uses are insufficient, there there is *no* proposal that will both be sufficient and make any economic sense.

    Bottom line, either the piers should be allowed to be reconstructed for a use such as this, or they should be removed and full open water restored. There isn’t really a middle ground; letting the piers continue to decay (and pollute the bay) is not a viable alternative.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      I think this is right. There are more piers than kayak launching places that San Francisco needs. It makes sense to tear down the piers, especially on the northern waterfront, and open up the views.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      Removing them entirely would have the added benefit of making it easier to rebuild the section of seawall in that area. It would also create space to potentially build a linear park that bumps out into the water only slightly, similar to he Brannan Street Wharf Park. A park extension to roughly the same 125ft width as the wide south end of the Brannan Street Wharf Park would create good waterfront public space and the opportunity to raise the waterfront several feet in anticipation of sea level rise.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Great idea. If you tore down the old piers, it would open up one of the great urban views in the whole world out over the Bay. That’s just asking for a long linear park, maybe a boardwalk or dedicated bike lanes, or both. So many possibilities.

        The piers are going to collapse anyway eventually. It’s too expensive to fix them and they only get more unusable.

      • Posted by DJ

        Check out Little Island in NYC. NYC’s waterfront amenities are light years ahead of SF and Oakland.

        • Posted by Ohlone Californio

          The haters on here wanna take it so silly far all the time anymore! No way. New York has nothing that compares to Crissy Field, nothing that compares to Ocean Beach, China Beach, or Baker Beach. And Little Island is not as cool as Crane Cove. Gettouttaheah.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            Additionally, Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin is way better than Little Island. Heh. You just have to laugh sometimes at the ridiculous levels of unfounded hot take drivel on here. Nonstop. This Seattle Dave dude who conveniently ignores Seattle’s myriad problems on down to this guy. Kook city.

            Yes, SF has a ton of problems right now. Anyone, quick, name a singular achievement by Breed. You can’t. There isn’t one. So yeah, tons of problems, but if you can’t keep it real in your hatred at least try to keep it somewhere that isn’t laughably incorrect.

  3. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    Heliport. It would be a port at least… Either this or just tear it down and be done with it.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Proposition H, which was passed by voters back in 1990 and required the creation of a comprehensive waterfront plan, specifically disallows for heliports on the piers.

      • Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

        OK, that’s fair until somebody decides to challenge the prop. But that said, how does using the pier for parking meet the maritime requirements for pier usage?

  4. Posted by unlivablecity

    Well you can def see why Breed, Brown, Weiner Development Corp. Inc placed the basically unused homeless shelters EXACTLY where the view blocking collapsed accordions are to be splayed out like SOMA detritus…

  5. Posted by ExSFLandlord

    Ugh…what a design mash up. This monstrosity fits into South Beach like OJ Simpson’s gloves fit his hand. None the less the tracks for this development will be greased by the Newsom connected Strada team and it will be done.

    • Posted by Anonymous

      Oh yeah, the same way the skids were successfully greased for the Warriors’ arena plans /s. And there’s more than just city approval needed here. Building on or over water has a vastly more complex approval process.

      • Posted by citizenkarma

        Recall please that the Warriors abandoned 30-32 due to city election officials certifying a June ballot measure that, if approved, would require voter consent to increase existing height limits on waterfront projects. Remember what happened to that Washington St. waterfront project? So did the Warriors evidently. Prudent business decision.

    • Posted by Mars attacks

      I kind of dig the design. Those buildings make me feel like I’m on Mars circa Total Recall.

  6. Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

    Leaving aside whether it’s permissible (or not) to replace the piers, a project like this at such a key spot should be one-of-a-kind, iconic, spectacular. An instant landmark. As proposed the design in none of these. Doesn’t even come close.

    Beyond that, more office space? Planning should let it be known that it will not approve proposals for new office space for the indefinite future. Until a dent is made in the 23 million feet of available space. Make the non-residential component lab/biotech space. As the Mission Rock developers are doing with their project.

    Better yet, encourage an all-residential development. Condos/apartments right on the Bay. Something completely unique for San Francisco. Seattle, Portland and Vancouver all have spectacular waterfront residences. Homes where one can dock their boat just steps from the front door. To rebuild the piers and put offices (or lab space) there is a shame.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Proposition H, which was passed by voters back in 1990 and required the creation of a comprehensive waterfront plan, specifically disallows for residential development of the piers.

      And despite some misreports to the contrary, there isn’t “23 million feet of available” office space in San Francisco at the moment, but there is a surplus despite an uptick in leasing activity.

      • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

        That’s crazy. No waterfront residential development. Oh well, it’s SF. The Supes should work to reverse that by placing an initiative on the ballot. Oh wait, this is the SF Supes who recently killed almost 800 units of housing that we’re talking about so that ain’t gonna happen.

        Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin may well become one of the most desirable residential locales in the Bay Area. Boats docking close to the residential units. Taking a cue from the cities to the North. SF is, as usual, stuck in the mud.

        • Posted by Anonymous

          There is a massive difference between building housing on the waterfront (like Brooklyn Basin), and literally building it over the water (which would have to happen at Pier 30/32). The engineering is far more complex for over the water and there isn’t a developer that would even bother with the heavy regulatory and cost burdens associated with an over-the -water large residential project.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          That’s not quite correct. And here’s the key sentence from our report of the ENA being awarded, which some might have overlooked or undervalued at the time: “[T]he Strada TCC team has indicated that it would be willing to proceed with only the Seawall Lot component of the project, the proposed height and view-blocking mass of which are sure to rankle its neighbors, if the challenges related to redeveloping Piers 30-32 as proposed are too onerous to overcome.”

    • Posted by Notcom

      Leaving aside whether it’s permissible…

      Comments that began like this seldom end well.

  7. Posted by Sim-City

    Remove the piers and expand South Beach Harbor. There’s a waiting list for berths (according to their website). Would be a legitimate maritime use, visually more appealing than the rotting piers, would generate income for the City, and would not be a major hassle to temporarily remove/replace when the seawall needs to be upgraded.

  8. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “…[a marina would be] visually more appealing than the rotting piers…”

    Just my opinion but I do not find marinas visually appealing at all. They’re just a wet parking lot.

    • Posted by van nessident

      It’s more visually appealing than the current use of the space, which is a literal parking lot, and probably better in line with a “legitimate maritime use.”

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        I totally agree that a Marina fits the prescribed use for this site. They’re just not exactly scenic.

  9. Posted by Pablito

    The piers should be removed and full open water restored. The whole point of having the California State Lands Commission enforcing the public trust doctrine is to not have these uses in these places. There is no way it would even be discussed now except for the fact the Port – a public agency – see a chance to take advantage of a loophole of their status to grab revenue. Something that would not be permitted by any other private developer.

    A lack of ethics will engulf us long before rising sea levels.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      My guess about why this won’t happen is that it would result in the Port making itself smaller. It’s a rare entity, public or private, that will do this to itself.

  10. Posted by CC

    The other proposals, which offered a real waterfront attraction and a real draw to the neighborhood, were rejected in favor of these bland view blocking office blocks with monstrous monolithic residential buildings blowing past all height restrictions ???

  11. Posted by CC

    According to the Port of SF this proposal included parks and habitat enhancements. where? looks more like a land grab by private equity of public property…

    “The Strada- TCC proposal calls for a mix of maritime, parks and public access, water recreation, resilience, retail, and office use. The proposed project includes removal of approximately 45% of the existing Pier (6-acres), habitat enhancements, green infrastructure, and seismic and shoreline improvements to protect the harbor, Port, City, and neighborhood from sea level rise. Lastly, the concept includes retention of the self-scouring deep-water berth on the east face of the Piers, which is important for the Port’s maritime operations and the City’s disaster response and recovery”

  12. Posted by CC

    Wow, what a “coincidence” that the homeless shelter was built just where the tallest building is being proposed .. One would have thought maybe there was conspiracy to minimise neighborhood opposition to the land grab, but that can’t possibly be the case in SF !

  13. Posted by Kristina Hansen

    The condo building is too massive for the site and turns its back on San Francisco. No Wall on the Waterfront. It is out of scale with the neighborhood.

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