8 Historic SF Piers Seeking Ideas for Makeovers

Developers and community organizers are being invited to pitch creative makeover ideas to the Port of San Francisco for eight piers on the city’s waterfront. The piers are known for their history in SF’s waterfront lore and shipping commerce.

Piers 19, 23, 29, 31, 26, 28, 38 and 40 are now just parking areas for cars or lie fallow and empty.

One promising note for the development is that the Port stated that ideas do not have be consistent with state public trust rules—thus, as the SF Chronicle reports, this makes the piers open to hotels, retail, housing or restaurants.

Ideas are starting to come in, but the projects are very challenging and expensive. “The up-front infrastructure costs are so expensive you need a long-term lease, or the numbers don’t work out,” David Polatnick, who was a real estate consultant for the Exploratorium on Pier 15, commented in an interview to the Chronicle. “These leaky sheds are romantic but very expensive to work on. You start with less than land. You have to work under water. You have to watch the tides. You have to use scuba divers to work under the piers.”