SLIDESHOW: Waterfront rehab planned for Pier 70 in Dogpatch neighborhood

The future of San Francisco’s dilapidated Pier 70 is coming into focus in advance of today’s Board of Supervisors committee vote on the financial terms of a planned $58.5 million rehab of historic buildings along the central, southern waterfront.

Under the deal, the Port of San Francisco would enter a 66-year lease with Orton Development to complete a $58.5 million rehabilitation of six office and industrial buildings on a 69-acre site in the Dogpatch neighborhood under what is known as the 20th Street Historic Building rehabilitation project.

These unoccupied buildings on the pier need “extensive rehabilitation” and comprise a total of 316,307 square feet, which would ultimately be filled with restaurant, office and light industrial uses, according to a report by Harvey Rose, the board’s budget analyst.  

The Port, which for years has suffered from neglect, is increasingly turning to private development partnerships to rehabilitate its properties. Pier 70 is one of those cases, as is the fast-moving plan to build an arena for the Warriors at Piers 30-32. A separate effort to develop those piers in a partnership with the America’s Cup regatta crumbled amid criticism of the financial details.

But the Pier 70 deal with Orton is sailing through the approval process with much fanfare from city officials.

“From the Warriors arena at Piers 30-32, to the Giants’ Mission Rock development just south of the ballpark, to Pier 70, we have an opportunity to transform this waterfront corridor into a vibrant neighborhood and regional destination while creating a center for manufacturing,” Mayor Ed Lee said last month in a statement. Lee said the Pier 70 plan balances “open space, maritime facilities, historic rehabilitation and new development sites.”

The project is one component of a larger vision for the area, which also includes a 25-acre development by Forest City Enterprises. The terms of that development are expected to undergo a city approval process early next year.

The Port would contribute $1.5 million to the project on top of Orton’s $46.4 million in equity and debt financing. Orton also hopes to obtain $10.5 million in federal historic preservation tax credits, assuming the Port is successful in registering the pier as a national historic site.

Rose’s report says Orton has yet to secure the financing for the development, but the company expects to do so once these financial terms are approved by the Board of Supervisors. It is projected the project would create 500 ongoing  jobs and generate approximately $919,000 in annual taxes for The City, including sales, property and parking.

Once Orton’s equity investment is repaid, or in the 21st year of the lease, whichever comes first, the Port would begin receiving rent from the tenants of the rehabbed buildings, beginning at $415,000 annually. The Port’s share of the rents increases to 50 percent after 27 years. Rose estimates that the Port would receive $15.7 million in total rent during the 66 years of the lease.

Today’s expected approval and subsequent approval by the full board next week would authorize The City to begin an environmental review of the project

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