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Pier 29 retail proposal clears hurdle at City Hall

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A real estate developer wants to build retail space inside the vacant and unused Pier 29 but faces some local opposition. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Plans to open retail shops at Pier 29 moved forward Thursday despite the efforts of a local campaign against the so-called “mall on the waterfront.”

With a recommendation for approval from the Board of Supervisors Budget Committee, a coffee roaster, wine tasting and craft beer brewery are among the shops to likely open in the long-vacant building on the Embarcadero.

The decision is subject to final approval by the full board.

SEE RELATED: ‘No Mall on the Waterfront’ campaign takes on Pier 29 proposal

The supervisors amended the term sheet between Jamestown, LLC. and the Port of San Francisco to ensure that at least half of the goods sold at Pier 29 will be made in San Francisco, instead of one-third of the goods as initially proposed.

Remy Monteko, project manager with Jamestown, said at the hearing that the developer is on board with the changes.

“This is a minimum, not a cap,” Monteko said. “Our goal is really to have much much more… The idea is for the entire place to be San Francisco-made.”

The proposal has drawn scrutiny from long-time activists who have won land-use battles on the waterfront in the past. The contention is over whether opening shops at Pier 29 meets land-use requirements for the waterfront.

Jon Golinger is the head of the “No Mall on The Waterfront” campaign, an homage to the fight against big developments on the Embarcadero. Golinger claims the proposal does not pass muster with the Waterfront Land Use Plan of 1997, created through a ballot measure in 1990.

“It remains a broken promise to the voters,” Golinger said at Thursday’s hearing. “The plan requires recreation on the site.”

Golinger is concerned that the shops will begin at the front of the bulkhead building but extend to the back, canceling out any opportunity for the recreational use of the pier.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin also amended the proposal to clarify that the shops would be limited to the bulkhead building and any future uses would have to comply with future changes to the Waterfront Land Use Plan, which is undergoing a review.

“There is still the potential for that recreational facility in the rest of the Pier 29 shed or the rest of the piers,” Peskin said at the meeting.

Diane Oshima, planning director with the Port, also said the shops would be limited to the bulkhead building.

“This is not a high revenue use,” Oshima said at the hearing, noting that there is a proposed $5.8 million investment from Jamestown. “We went for the program and engagement with the local San Francisco manufacturing community.”

Jamestown would be eligible for nearly $1.2 million in rent credits under the 15-year lease.

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