Pier 70 Heights More Than Reasonable

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Pier 70 developer’s rendering of views from Mississippi before and after their work is done. Images courtesy of Forest City.

An opinion piece in last month’s The Potrero View (“Pier 70 Building Heights Would Block Bay”) and flyer distributed in the neighborhood that claimed that new buildings developed by Forest City at Pier 70 would create a “wall slightly below the middle of the smokestack” and block waterfront views prompted phone calls and emails from people asking me if the project that I campaigned for, and that was endorsed by voters through Proposition F, had changed.

I continue to be a strong supporter of this excellent project.  At first I thought the flyer was the newest fad in politics – “fake news” – because its building simulations were so far off. But it was not.  Apparently, it was just an honest mistake.  The author of the op-ed and flyer evidently never realized that Pier 70 slopes dramatically towards the water.  The height of any buildings built at the bottom of the slope will be lower than if built on Third Street, next to the American Industrial Center.

I checked with Forest City, who have been tireless with their community outreach.  They confirmed that heights haven’t changed from those that were presented to us two years ago.  Take a look at the view simulations supplied to City officials and the neighborhood.  It’s easy to see that heights are exactly those approved by voters. They’re hardly discernible from existing views.

There’s no need for guesswork. The renderings show what the views will be like. The new buildings on the lower slope will be no higher than the scale of the tallest building on the site now. And since no more than 30 percent of Pier 70 can be constructed to the authorized 90-foot height – roughly nine stories – the rest of the structures will range down to 50 feet, or three to five stories. Further, nearly 60 percent of the site will be dedicated for use as parks, open space, roads, and pedestrian walkways.

With all the new developments – University of California, San Francisco-Mission Bay, Golden State Warriors’ arena, San Francisco Giants’ Mission Rock – in the area, are there traffic issues to be addressed? Absolutely.  We must make all new projects better for our neighborhoods.

I don’t accept money from developers in San Francisco, because I don’t want my opinions on this or any other issue to be viewed as originating from big “consulting fees.”  I do this work because, as a Potrero Hill resident for 50 years who has raised a family here and is now enjoying a grandchild who lives next door, I want a neighborhood that’s family-friendly, with more affordable housing, new waterfront parks and open space, a diversity of jobs, and artists’ space. Pier 70 will contribute those essential elements.