Giants prepare to open The Yard near AT&T Park

The newest attraction to the Giants' offerings on game day will not even be on the field or inside AT&T Park. It's in a pile of old shipping containers in the parking lot across China Basin.

This is The Yard, a popup village made from reclaimed steel boxes that will provide food, drink and shopping options throughout the baseball season and beyond in what is still a desolate and underutilized stretch of The City.

As Mission Bay's transformation from a ghost town of warehouses and empty lots continues, the Giants are trying to be the main landlord for a massive mixed-use development at Mission Rock, just across the Lefty O'Doul Bridge from the ballpark.

A satellite brewery for Anchor Brewing, housing, retail and an expanded China Basin Park are envisioned in what is currently the team's main game-day parking lot.

However, it will be at least two years before the Giants' Mission Rock rebuild breaks ground.

In the meantime, people will be able to soak in sunshine from perches at a beer garden run by Anchor Brewing, nosh on offerings from Off the Grid food trucks, and peruse offerings from SFMade and North Face at The Yard.

“Mission Bay is growing so rapidly, but there's so many people moving in here who say, 'We don't have anything to do, we have nowhere to go,'” said Fran Weld, the Giants' director of real estate.

That will change come Friday when The Yard opens to the public three weeks before the Giants' home opener April 13. The Yard will stay open after the final out of the season until at least 2017.

The Giants first approached the Port of San Francisco, which owns the land, with the idea of a temporary retail and concession space during the team's World Series run last year. Though the Giants decided to hold off until now, The Yard still came together in lightning speed by San Francisco standards.

The Port approved the project in January. Work began in February and is expected to wrap up in about a month, said architect Mark Hogan, principal of OpenScope Studio and who designed the space.

The bulk of the work seemed completed on a sunny Thursday last week. Though parkletlike seating had yet to be set up, the shipping containers had been connected to power and utilities.

Hours of operation have yet to be determined, but in addition to game days, The Yard will be open during the offseason and when the Giants are out of town.

About 70 parking spaces were sacrificed for the project.

“This is a public gathering space,” the Giants' Weld said. “We're saying, 'Come take a picnic here, come and hang out here.'”

There may be nothing like it in Major League Baseball — there's an outdoor beer garden at the Washington Nationals' new ballpark, Weld said, but nothing this extensive.

The Giants' lease with the Port for The Yard runs through the end of March 2017.

By then, ground may have broken on the Giants' massive Mission Rock development project, which currently has “no timeline” for when construction might start, Weld said.

So if Mission Rock construction has not begun, The Yard could be a fixture through the end of star pitcher Madison Bumgarner's current contract in 2017.

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