In 2007, the Port of San Francisco issued a request for proposals for the development of Seawall Lot 337 and Pier 48 in Mission Bay, which currently serve as a surface parking lot. The site is just south of AT&T Park, the South Beach home of the San Francisco Giants. The baseball team immediately responded with a bid to develop the 28-acre property, now called “Mission Rock.”
“Ever since the building of the ballpark at the waterfront, we’ve been deeply rooted in the community and have been committed to working with the neighborhood,” said Fran Weld, vice president of strategy and development, San Francisco Giants. “We want to make sure that the site functions logically and is part of the greater vision for Mission Bay.”
In 2013, the Port entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Seawall Lott 337 Associates, LLC, a Giants affiliate. Project specifics are still being defined. Current plans call for 1,500 apartment units, 1.3 million square feet of office space spread across five buildings, 250,000 square feet of ground floor retail in several buildings, and eight acres of publicly accessible open space. Forty percent of the units will be designated affordable for low- and middle-income residents. The rental housing will range from studios to three bedrooms, the latter to help address a dearth of family-oriented homes in Mission Bay.
Much of the retail services will involve businesses that cater to those who live and/or work nearby. Space will be set aside for community-based organizations and production facilities, such as artists’ and makers’ studios. Some housing will be dedicated to youth transitioning out of the foster care system because they’ve reached the age of 18. The developer is working with the John Burton Foundation, a San Francisco-based group that focuses on foster care issues, to implement this element.
“It’s a busy time for the project,” said Phil Williamson, senior project manager, Port of San Francisco. “The project is in the entitlement phase, which may be wrapped up this year. The planning has been going on for 12 years. It’s been a long evolution.”
The environmental review process is underway, with a draft EIR to be released this month. The project requires approval by the Planning and Port commissions and the Board of Supervisors. If approved, a four-phase buildout would commence next year and could continue until 2025.
The project cleared a hurdle in the November 2015 election, when Proposition D passed with 74 percent in favor, allowing for building height limits on the property to be increased to 240 feet, while mandating the provision of open space, affordable housing, and Pier 48 historic preservation. Anchor Brewing will operate a satellite facility there. The development will make the waterfront site more resilient to sea level rise by adding salt tolerant plants on the shoreline and increasing the grade of the slope inland from the water’s edge.
“Sea level rise is something we’ve addressed on a fundamental level in the design and engineering of the project,” explained Weld. “The buildings will be able to accommodate up to 66 inches of sea level rise, which is the highest projection right now by the IPCC.”
Mission Rock is slated to be part of the City’s burgeoning Eco-District program, which encourages development projects to exceed City sustainability requirements. As part of the program, Mission Rock buildings will have zero water waste and 100 percent renewable energy.
The project may create more than 10,000 construction and 11,000 permanent jobs. The developer is working with the Port and City to hire san Francisco-based businesses for at least 20 percent of labor contracts. Development fees are expected to generate more than $100 million, with another $25 million collected in yearly taxes. The estimated cost to develop Mission Rock is $1.8 billion. Once completed it’s expected to generate significant revenue while increasing land values.
“I believe that Mission Rock, along with Forest City’s Pier 70, will be the model for future development in the City because of the commitment to community benefits that include affordability, open space and environmental improvements,” said Art Agnos, former Mayor and Connecticut Street resident. “Mission Rock will be the gold standard for developments to come throughout the City by setting a precedent for higher expectations when projects go to the Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors. It’ll be the gold standard for future sustainability and affordability.”