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Challenges and Opportunities

Pier 70 is rich with history and full of tremendous promise, but beset by many challenges. This is a critical time in its history, with both exciting opportunities and daunting obstacles.

Great opportunities:

Imagine the historical buildings on the site rehabilitated and used for a well-chosen set of recreational, educational, and commercial purposes.

Imagine people discovering a beautiful historic district, right next to a working shipyard.

Imagine new open space, with beautiful views of the bay, serving nearby residents and workers, as well as visitors from farther away.

Imagine resources on the site that commemorate and educate about the complex and fascinating labor and industrial history of San Francisco.

Some of the challenges:

Dilapidation of historic structures - Most of the valuable historic structures in the Pier 70 area are in serious need of maintenance to stop their deterioration and save them until viable development plans are in place.

Restrictions on development - Most of the land under Pier 70 is subject to California public trust law that sets strict, but not always clear restrictions on what can be developed there.

Preservation decisions - All of the structures on the site have historical significance, but not all can find new uses. What do you do with a rusting, 500 foot long warehouse with incredible views? How do we make these decisions?

Seismic issues - Several major structures are unreinforced masonry, and seismic safety concerns have forced them to be closed and mothballed.

Contaminants - Over a hundred years of shipbuilding and heavy industry have left a chemical heritage that has not yet even been completely assessed, let alone addressed.

Ongoing maritime needs - Maritime industry is important to preserve, but messy - how can it coexist with non-industrial development?

Interim uses - The Port of San Francisco must find ways to generate income by offering temporary leases for port property. Sometimes these uses have negative effects. What should be encouraged?

Vandalism, dumping - Troubled and homeless people make their camps in the largely unpatrolled areas of Pier 70. Theft, dumping, and vandalism are big problems.

Nearby development - Mission Bay, the biggest development in S.F. history, is happening within a few hundred yards of Pier 70. Third Street is on the verge of major development. How will all this impact Pier 70?

Economics of preservation - The cost of rehabilitating the major buildings on the site is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and going up. In an uncertain economy, how can this money be found? The Port of San Francisco is required to pay its own way - where can the money be found to maintain protect the historic buildings until viable development plans are involved?

Get Involved (at least a little bit):

Now's the time to share and develop our ideas for Pier 70 into plans that can take it to it into the future. Read this page about current planning initiatives.