Pier 24 Photography is an asset to the Port and the community, and it is the hope of the Port Commission that we reach an agreement. (Courtesy photo)

Why the Port Commission took action against Pier 24 Photography

All port tenants, including other non-profits, are held to the same standard

Deciding to proceed with a 30-day notice for the Pilara Family Foundation (PFF) was a difficult decision for the Port Commission due to our long-standing relationship and the cultural value Pier 24 Photography brings to the Port. However, the Port of San Francisco must protect the interest of our beloved waterfront that is home to world class attractions and visited by more than 24 million people each year. We owe it to the public to be good stewards of our public lands and remain fiscally solvent.

This week, the Port and PFF re-engaged in discussions with a renewed sense of urgency to reach a compromise. Pier 24 is an asset to the Port and the community, and it is the hope of the Port Commission that we reach an agreement.

PFF’s lease expired in 2017, along with rent credits that were awarded for their improvements to Pier 24. When PFF entered the lease with the Port of San Francisco, Pier 24 had been vacant since the 1980s and needed substantial work. They made the agreed upon improvements while paying the adjusted rent according to the lease and rent credit schedule. However, at the end of the term the rent credits were exhausted and full rent payments were due. PFF created a fantastic space exhibiting world class photography that was not a part of the initial agreement but a welcome addition.

The Port of San Francisco recognizes the importance of nonprofits and their contributions to our community. We are proud to host a diverse group of nonprofits such as the Exploratorium, and the Embarcadero SAFE Navigation Center and national historic maritime treasures in the USS Pampanito and SS Jeremiah O’Brien. However, the Port of San Francisco has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain port property and lands and we must collect mutually agreed upon rent. All port tenants, including other non-profits, are held to the same standard and are expected to comply with negotiated lease requirements.

The Port depends on timely negotiated lease payments to maintain our maritime facilities, parks and open spaces, access to the Bay, as well as address seismic and sea level rise concerns. The public has consistently told us to provide a waterfront that is open and accessible to all; they understand that in order to do that we must be fiscally responsible, charge fair market rent and seek diverse users for our public lands.

One effect of the issuance of the termination notice is that it sparked renewed dialogue between the parties. With the above in mind, it is our hope to work with PFF to balance their desire to stay in the space with the duty of the Port Commission to manage all Port lands for the benefit of the public.

Kimberly Brandon is the president of the San Francisco Port Commission

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