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Pier 29 shops get green light at Board of Supervisors

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A plan to open shops at Pier 29 was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The plan also allows for recreational use. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Plans to open shops at Pier 29 got a thumbs up Tuesday from the Board of Supervisors after Supervisor Aaron Peskin addressed concerns that the proposal skirts a two-decade-old plan to use the site for recreation.

The supervisors gave the Port of San Francisco the go-ahead to craft a lease with the developer, Jamestown, LLC, to open shops at the vacant pier, while also urging the Port to require that 50 percent of the goods sold are manufactured in The City.

The supervisors also limited the upcoming development — slated to include a craft beer brewery, coffee roastery and wine bar — to the front of the bulkhead building at Pier 29. That means there is potential for the Port to use the back portion of the pier for recreation.

“Pier 29 has long been part of a yet-to-be-delivered promise of active recreation on the northeast waterfront,” Peskin said, referring to the Waterfront Land Use Plan of 1997. “There has been concern expressed that this lease for 15 years might foreclose on that promise.”

Peskin supported the plans only after urging the Port to limit the space Jamestown can use as well as seek out proposals for recreation on the site.

But for Jon Golinger, a political organizer who is running the “No Mall on the Waterfront” campaign against the proposal, those terms are not enough.

“They helped, but the fight goes on,” Golinger said.

Golinger said the upcoming 15-year lease is too long and questioned the likeliness that another company would be interested in renting the rear portion of the pier for recreation.

Golinger, who is part of a committee updating the waterfront plan, claims the Port is “tossing out most of the plan and keeping the portion they like,” since he interprets the plan as calling for both retail and recreation on the site.

Port officials said the process continues to update the Waterfront Land Use Plan to ensure the plan is “ready to respond to new challenges” like sea level rise and seismic risk.

“The Port is pleased with the affirmative term sheet endorsement by the Board of Supervisors for the Pier 29 Bulkhead project,” Port Director Elaine Forbes said in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner. “This small project will provide a needed retail opportunity for San Francisco’s makers, a preservation investment into the bulkhead building and a public amenity for a currently shuttered historic pier.”

The unopposed decision at the Board of Supervisors is just one step toward a revitalized waterfront underway. There are also plans in the works to open a family-friendly restaurant at Pier 33 and upgrade the Alcatraz Island ferry embarkation site between Piers 31 and 33.

“We’re looking forward to working with The City to activate this stretch of the northern waterfront,” Jamestown Vice President Remy Monteko said in an email through a spokesperson.

The Port still has to negotiate a lease with Jamestown, which will have to head back to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

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