Developers buck regulatory headwinds on $1.2B plan to redevelop SF piers

Density measure, regulations could sink plan for 850 apartments, 376K sf of office space

San Francisco /
May.May 10, 2022 04:05 PM
Strada Investment Group co-founder Jesse Blout with Trammel Crow ceo Mike Lafitte and renderings of the redevelopment of piers 30-32, Lot 330, Embarcadero in San Francisco (Trammel Crow, StradaSF, Steelblue for Strada Investment Group)
Strada Investment Group co-founder Jesse Blout with Trammel Crow ceo Mike Lafitte and renderings of the redevelopment of piers 30-32, Lot 330, Embarcadero in San Francisco (Trammel Crow, StradaSF, Steelblue for Strada Investment Group)

Developers are updating a $1.2-billion plan to redevelop two aging piers and a parking lot on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, with the fate of the project hanging on pending decisions by regulators.

Locally based Strada Investment Group and Dallas-based Trammell Crow are revising their concepts for the sites in response to feedback on their plan for offices, housing and an outdoor swimming pool at Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The Port of San Francisco owns the South Beach sites and awarded development rights to the joint venture, which was selected during competitive bidding in 2020..

Two issues remain that could impact the project’s design and financing. The City Attorney’s office is looking at whether the developers qualify for a density bonus on port property And state regulators are weighing if office space is allowed on the piers.

The Strada-TCC joint venture has proposed turning 13 acres of vacant deck surface on the piers into 376,000 square feet of office and recreational space. The piers are near the Chase Center home court of Golden State Warriors, and currently used for parking

The joint venture also plans to build 850 residential units on Seawall Lot 330. The lot, across the Embarcadero from the piers, is home to a temporary Navigation Center for the homeless.

The density bonus — a state zoning law that allows certain developments to exceed local height and bulk limits in exchange for an increase in the percentage of affordable housing — is key to getting 850 units and 160 feet in height, 55 feet taller than allowed.

But that plan bumped up against Proposition B, a 2014 voter-approved ballot measure that requires voter approval for all large-scale projects on Port land seeking to exceed height limits. The Port and the developers now await a decision from City Attorney David Chiu on what can legally be built at the piers.

The developers have said that construction of both components — Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 — are required to finance the entire project. Strada-TCC has promised to invest $369 million into rebuilding the piers to restore the deep draft berth on the eastern edge for active maritime use.

In February 2021, the Strada-TCC joint venture was granted exclusive negotiating rights with the Port. The 4.5-year contract gave the team only four months to back out without penalty.

The State Lands Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission have questioned whether the proposed offices are consistent with requirements that waterfront properties benefit the public and encourage maritime use.

The office space is designed to fund sea level rise and seismic work at the piers, which would be demolished and rebuilt at about half of their current size. The developer’s revised concept will be presented to the Port Commission and made public sometime this summer.

[San Francisco Business Times] – Dana Bartholomew





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