The largest potential construction site on San Francisco’s Embarcadero is being offered to developers.
The property in question is Piers 30-32, a 13 acre rectangle that has been empty since the buildings were destroyed by fire in 1984. The Port of San Francisco is now looking for a developer to bring it back to life.The price is so high port officials admit they can’t predict the reaction.
“I think we’ll get pragmatic people with open eyes,” said Peter Albert, who oversees efforts for the port.
The call for proposals published on Monday combines Piers 30-32 with 2.3 acres inland of the Embarcadero known as Seawall Lot 330. This property is now home to a 200 bed homeless navigation center that will open the city in December has opened.
The two port-owned parcels were also pooled in 2012 when the Golden State Warriors tried to build an arena on Piers 30-32. And when an international developer was granted the right to build a cruise terminal for the port in 2000, accompanied by a hotel and accommodation on the seawall property. In 1988 the port also selected a developer whose proposal included a Scandinavian cultural center.
The warriors instead headed south to Mission Bay. The cruise terminal’s plan collapsed. The Scandinavian center sank without a trace.
This time around, the port estimates that the cost of adapting Piers 30-32 to current earthquake and security codes would be between $ 185 million and $ 290 million, not counting anything on the 13 acre plateau or on the on the other side of the road.
Logically, this means that everything built on the pillars must generate sufficient income. But no hotel or residential use is allowed, and there is a 40-foot height limit unless voters agree to relax it.
“There aren’t many places like this – besides the bridge with great transportation – but it’s a mine of money,” said Jasper Rubin, professor of urban studies at San Francisco State University and author of A Negotiated Landscape: The Transformation of San Francisco’s waterfront since 1950. “” I don’t know how the port thinks anything can happen. “
The port map of the port allows the use of a museum or a culture at both locations as well as academic facilities and meeting and entertainment rooms. The mix of uses for Piers 30-32 could include offices and berths for deep-water vessels such as the US Navy ships that dock there during Fleet Week.
By pairing the locations, the port is hoping that a developer could find a way to subsidize the restoration or rebuilding of Piers 30-32 by building on the seawall lot where the height restriction is 105 feet and allows both homes and hotels are. Developers can also bid that include the seawall lot but not the pillars, or vice versa.
Another fold: the call for proposals contains a scenario where a developer could tear down the pillars and replace them with a smaller one, “built at a higher elevation to accommodate rising sea levels”.
In short, the hope is that a creative team with access to long-term funding might be able to package a proposal with activities that not only make good business sense – albeit with a low profit margin – but also local residents upset their opposition to the warriors arena is part of why Team Mission Bay is calling home now.
“Access to 13 acres in this area is a very rare opportunity,” said Albert. “I could think of a number of different activities in a room if the design was nimble enough.”
Developers have until April 3rd to submit a proposal to the port. The earliest time a decision could be made is July.
Last month the port launched a call for proposals to restore Pier 38 and Pier 40, two historic structures further south along the Embarcadero. Proposals for the two pillars are due next month.
John King is the urban design critic for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @johnkingsfchron