The new old town
Dozens of San Francisco community and business leaders gathered deep in the Dogpatch Wednesday evening to learn about the new master plan behind Pier 70, a 28-acre mixed use waterfront development that could one day revitalize barren industrial lots into the city's next hipster-techie-creative-social-foodie-entrepreneurial hot spot.
The tour and presentation was led by Jack Sylvan and Alex Michel of Forest City Development California, which has exclusive development rights to the site. Forest City also masterminded the 5M Project development at the site of the old San Francisco Chronicle Building at Fifth & Mission. The 5M Project, of course, is home to the successful Hub incubator office space, SF Made local manufacturing shop, and on some days Off the Grid food trucks – all of which have sparked more new urbanist innovation and economic development in San Francisco, and none of which have anything to do with the Fortune 500.
Pier 70 is in its early master planning stages and could take 15 years to reach its full potential with 2.25 million square feet of office space; 8 acres of waterfront park space; over one quarter-million square feet of creative space focused on art, food, technology, local economies and social entrepreneurship; and 1,000 residential units, 20 percent of which would be set aside as "affordable." The plan is centered around restoring historic buildings further inland, a "creative core" leading out toward the waterfront park, and dense office space flanking the outside of the development like a hot dog bun.
High-density aspects of the plan – including two large office buildings – are necessary to make the less lucrative "creative core" financially viable, Michel said.
Community engagement has been a primary focus of Forest City in the early stages. That included inviting local artist and illustrator Wendy Macnaughton to tour the neighborhood to put together a graphic look at the area and its people.
Sylvan, a former economic development official with the City of San Francisco, said roughly $152 million is needed to deal with infrastructure on the site – seismic upgrades, for instance, as well as slipways that pose a nasty engineering challenge.