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City, developer break ground on major Pier 70 redevelopment

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Decade-long project will include over 2,000 new homes

Courtesy Forest City

On Thursday, the city of San Francisco and developer Forest City broke ground on the massive, long-planned redevelopment of Pier 70, which will bring thousands of new homes to the city’s east side over the course of its decade-plus schedule.

Mayor Mark Farrell called the 35-acre project “the revival of our southern waterfront” and dubbed the hitherto mostly underutilized pier locale “an inspiring location.”

Supervisor Malia Cohen praised the development for opening up a portion of the waterfront that “quite frankly has never been accessible,” She also promised that District 10 residents will be the first in line for affordable housing on the site.

When Pier 70 received final approval from City Hall in November, the plan was to break ground in February, but delays put the big day off. At the time, developers promised “up to 3,025” home at the Pier 70 site, but the actual number remained in flux.

Now the projections include reported figures as high as 2,100 and as low as 1,100. Part of the ambiguity lies in the fact that Pier 70 will happen in three phases that will take between 15 and 20 years to complete per the developer’s current timeline, with the first phase wrapping up by 2022.

Altogether the entire thing is budgeted at $2 billion, and the project’s roots stretch back over a decade to a Port plan from 2007. Via press release, developer Forest City notes that “Pier 70’s 28-Acre Site is a public-private partnership project between the Port of San Francisco and Forest City, and one of several sub-divisions the Port is managing or is developing at Pier 70.”

In 2017, Planning Department staff characterized Pier 70 as mostly dilapidated, although the area does include some historically protected buildings that will have to be protected during construction:

The project site currently contains 351,800 square feet of buildings and facilities, most of which are deteriorating. Current uses of the site, all of which are temporary, include special event venues, artist studios, self-storage, warehouses, automobile storage lots, a parking lot, a soil recycling yard, and office spaces. [...] The project includes rehabilitation [...] of approximately 227,800 square feet in buildings two, 12, and 21.