Frederick comes through with the skinny on the potential development of AT&T’s parking lot A (as well as parcels to the north) and a meeting this afternoon concerning the future of San Francisco’s cruise ship terminal:

“[Yesterday], April 18, 2007, the Port of SF announced plans to consider development of Seawall Lot 337 (Parking Lot A, south of Pac Bell Park). The proposals included a mixture of Residential housing, office, hotel, recreation, parking and retail.

This same change in the zoning of “Seawall” parcels that the Port controls could affect the future use of Port parking lots north of Pac Bell Park, all the way to Pier 35. All of these parcels, if the legislation as proposed is approved in the State legislature, could include housing (market rate or other types of hosing). This would affect supply of hosing in the central and north waterfront for years to come.

Also, [today], April 19th the Port is considering improving Piers 35 and 27 to possibly replace Piers 30-32 as the future Primary Cruise Terminals for the City. The meeting is open to the public at Pier 1, 3 to 6 PM. The “Primary Pier” selection is scheduled for 5:30 to 5:45 PM.”

UPDATE: Frederick expands on why, “if you are a developer or interested in new housing near or next to the SF waterfront,” you should really consider attending “the upcoming Port meetings regarding the Seawall lot future uses.”
UPDATE (4/20): And Frederick keeps us all “plugged in” by reporting back on yesterday’s port meeting: “The net of that meeting was that the cost to develop two 1,000 ft long piers at Piers 30-32 was $150M, while two 1,000 ft long Piers at 27 would be $35M to $50M.”
Why You Should Care About All Those New Developments (Part I) [SocketSite]
Proposed SF Cruise Ship Terminal Sunk [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by SFhighrise

    So, they’re thinking of scratching the idea of building a cruise terminal on piers 30-32? Does anyone know? This makes it sound like they want to build condos and shops on this space instead? Will this be economically viable, given the huge expense of updating the decaying piers? If this can go through, I think it would be great, however, as these piers tend to be an eyesore on an otherwise, beautiful waterfront area.

  2. Posted by ottoman

    I heard Willie Brown owns Lot A (hmmm no wonder the ballpark was built there). I bet the above plan goes ahead.

  3. Posted by Jamie

    I’ve heard the Watermark building folks provided $9 million (as part of their agreement to build??) to help fund some work on Piers 30-32.
    A cruise ship terminal definitely needs to have some interesting stuff seeing as how cruise ships on come to San Francisco, what, 2-3 weeks during the year? Seems like it is very seasonal.

  4. Posted by Frederick

    CRUISE TERMINAL ADVISORY PANEL
    MEETING NOTICE AND AGENDA
    Thursday, April 19, 2007
    3 – 6 pm
    Port of San Francisco
    Pier 1, The Embarcadero
    Bayside Conference Rooms 1 & 2
    Frankie Lee, former Port Commissioner/SOHA Eng. (chair)
    Steve Falk, SF Chamber of Commerce (vice chair)
    William Adams, ILWU
    Joe D’Alessandro, SF Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Ellen Johnck, Bay Planning Coalition
    Redmond Kernan, RFK Associates
    Bruce Krumrine, Princess Cruises
    John Martin, SF Airport
    Stefano Pinna, Metro Cruise Services
    Ben Rosenfield, City Administrator’s Office
    Michael Sweet, Winston & Strawn
    1. Call to Order, Roll Call, Approval of Minutes, Frankie Lee, Chair (3:00 – 3; 15)
    2. Overview: Comparison of Potential Sites for a Primary Cruise Terminal at Piers 35, 30-32 & 27 (3:15 – 3:30) John Doll
    3. Maritime Issues in Determining Pier Suitability (3:30 – 3:45) Peter Dailey
    4. Cruise Terminal/Vehicular Circulation Plan Comparisons at Piers 35, 30-32 & 27 (3:45 – 4:15) Phil Crannell
    5. Substructure Cost Comparisons of Piers 35, 30-32 & 27 (4:15 – 4:45) Uday Prasad/Ed Byrne
    • Repairs/Seismic Retrofits
    • Code Compliance Issues
    6. Overview of Public Financing Options (4:45 – 5:15) Tina Olson/Bob Gamble
    7. Public Comment (5:15 – 5:30) Frankie Lee
    8. Primary Pier Selection: Action or Further Analysis (5:30 – 5:45) Frankie Lee
    9. Agenda Issues for Next Meeting, Frankie Lee (5:45 – 6:00)
    10. Potential Future Meeting Dates: Afternoons of May 10, June 21, July 11
    11. Adjournment (6:00)PM

  5. Posted by Frederick

    Presently, the State of California Lands Use Rules do not allow private residential housing on property that is owned by the State of other local governments (Port of San Francisco), that is located over water owned or controlled by said entity.
    The BCDC also has rules regarding “Public Trust” properties, which preclude private residential use.
    These rules extend to the “Seawall Lots”, under control of the Port of San Francisco, that includes Seawall Lot 337 (Parking lot A that the Giants use), the parking lots that surround The Watermark condominiums, the parking lot across the street from Pier 1 (next to the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club), the parking lot at The Embarcadero and Broadway (presently zoned for a 4 story hotel), the parking lot north of KGO television (formally the original Farmers Market, before it re-located to the Ferry Building) and the parking lot at The Embarcadero at Bay (across the street from Pier 35 (present cruise ship terminal).
    The Port has been working with the State legislature to change the BCDC rules that do not allow residential housing on these “Seawall Lots” to allow various types of residential housing.
    If approved the proposed housing would have 66 year ground leases. This type of land ownership/use is not common in San Francisco, but there are several condominium projects on leased land. This land use is more common in Hawaii and generally has not affected the use or resale of residential housing built on those properties.
    So, if you are a developer or interested in new housing near or next to the SF waterfront, attend the up coming Port meetings regarding the Seawall lot future uses.
    Frederick

  6. Posted by Anonymous

    You’re right – a lot of (if not all) port properties require a land lease. Land leases are super tricky as they can have a negligible impact on value, or can make a project go completely upside down. It really depends on the rate and terms in the land lease. Specifically, a lot of times land lease properties get developed at the peak of market cycles and get locked into a land lease amount based on peak market pricing – then when the market dips these projects are with fixed land rent based on better market conditions. More recent land leases are being written to reset to market more frequently, but that also means you’re land rent can go up if the market conditions improve. Another thing to look at is what happens when the lease runs out – you want to have several option periods or the improvements will revert to the land owner – that’s right, at the end of 66 years the port will own your condo if there is no option. And while 66 years seems like a long time, you actually run in to trouble when a land lease term is less than the loan term (30 years typically) as lenders are not going to amortize a loan for longer than the land lease unless there is a bullet proof option renewal process. Yes Hawaii has many land leased properties, but a property where you have fee simple title will always sell more than a leased land property due to the increased risk and the annual cost of paying rent on land you do not own.

  7. Posted by Alex, sfnewsletter

    Grade A++ to Frederick, both for research and presentation. Phenomenal! Thanks.

  8. Posted by tipster

    Frederick,
    I’m your biggest fan, but this statement is a great example why people should do their own research and never, ever trust a single word that comes out of a realtor’s mouth, even one as experienced as Frederick:
    Frederick says, about leaseholds, “This land use is more common in Hawaii and generally has not affected the use or resale of residential housing built on those properties.”
    A simple google search on “fee simple leased hawaii” brings up plenty of hits, including this one:
    “if you do a search for condos in Diamond Head with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 2250 square feet, a leasehold property of this nature may cost about 20-40 percent less than a fee simple one.”
    http://www.valeriesorensen.com/leasehold_vs_feesimple.html
    This is from a Hawaii realtor who is pushing leasehold properties, so if anything, it would be slanted in their favor.
    To imply that the value of ownership is nearly the same as a 66 (not even 99) year lease is simply absurd. I appreciate the rest of the post, and your other posts, but to do a very thorough job, but then sweep a major issue like this under the carpet is one of the big problems a lot of us have with Realtors.
    I’m sorry to harp on this point and don’t mean to beat up on realtors or Frederick as much as I wish those of you who try to pull stunts like this understood the real detriment you do to your profession, each and every time you do it.

  9. Posted by Michael

    “people should do their own research and never, ever trust a single word that comes out of a realtor’s mouth”
    Talk about not only a sweeping generalization but a faulty analysis on tipster’s part.
    I must have missed the part where Frederick writes that the value of leasehold and fee simple properties are the same. Perhaps that’s because he didn’t. He simply wrote that a leasehold “generally has not affected the use or resale of residential housing built on those properties.” In other words, unlike timeshares there’s actually a resale market for them. Zero mention, or implication, that values are the same.
    In my book it’s tipster who just lost a lot of credibility while Frederick’s stock just rose along with Anon 2:13′s who actually added value and insight to the discussion.

  10. Posted by tipster

    Ha ha! Nice try!
    According to that logic, nothing affects the resale of any property. Are they putting in an airport next door? No problem. It won’t affect the resale because all those houses in Culver City next to the LAX airport resell just fine — at 40% off the price.
    Will it affect the resale of my house if I push one of the bedrooms over? Not at all! Homes with 2 bedrooms are sold all the time, just at a much lower price than my 3 bedroom.
    To state that something that knocks up to 40% off the price doesn’t affect the resale is ludicrous. “Oh, other than the 40% off part, it doesn’t affect the resale” isn’t going to save it.
    And how’s that resale market in year 65? What about year 55? And don’t you think the guy who buys it in year 45 is going to think about that guy who will buy it from him in year 55 when the guy makes his offer in year 45?
    Good grief, merely providing leased parking in SF “affects the resale” of a property. To assert that the resale is unaffected when the entire property is leased is preposterous.
    Nice attempt at a save, though. I think highly of Frederick, too, but that statement was just too much.
    In all fairness, I do know a lot of honest realtors, and just because someone says something that is, at best, highly misleading, does not make that person dishonest. But I have run into a lot of dishonest ones as well, and I stick by my point: do your own research.

  11. Posted by Frederick

    Michael,
    You are right, I was not attempting to suggest that a fee simple title was not worth more than a property with a land lease. It’s that, the value or cost of a land lease as a component of the value of a property is usually appraised by the Buyer and lenders, when the property is traded and the overall value is adjusted at that time.
    The value/cost of the lease changes over time, (increases less than a fee simple property). As to the value at the end of the lease, most states support the use as residential and allow the owner to trade with the assumption that the lease will be extended after it expires. It’s not like a commercial lease in which the tenant loses his tenant improvements.
    Each of these events is individual, but the lease of residential real estate in Hawaii has not caused buyers to buy or seller’s not to enjoy capital gain when they sell.
    My intention was not to sweep it under the rug, but to note that the overall gain is more due to other economic conditions in each market than to fee simple or lease.
    Also, today, at the San Francisco Port Commission meeting on the future of the Cruise Ship terminal location in San Francisco, there were at least three owners from the Watermark that came and asked questions as to the Ports plans for the future of Piers 30 & 32 (across the street from the Watermark).
    The net of that meeting was that the cost to develope two 1,000 ft long piers at Piers 30-32 was $150M, while two 1,000 ft long Piers at 27 would be $35M to $50M.
    No final decision was made, but the Advisory Committee seemed to add and subtract and that Pier 27 may be the choice for the future of a Cruise Ship terminal in SF.
    The meeting was continued to allow the Port staff to consider several new laws that may provide Federal funding for maintenance of all the SF piers substructure and come to the rescue of the under capitalized Port.
    On May 2nd, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association is hosting, along with the Port staff, a public information meeting regarding the Ports plans to have 11 of their Seawall lots be re-zoned to allow various additional uses, besides those allowed by the State Lands Trust doctrine.
    The parking lot adjacent to the Watermark is one of those parcels, as well as parking lot A, next to AT&T Park. If the State changes the use, there may be additional housing (market rate, senior, below market or other uses that have not been defined.
    If you are interested and/or want to influence the Port as to the future use of these Seawall lots, come to the BCNA meeting, 6:00 PM on May 2 at Pier 1 – the Port’s meeting room.
    Frederick

  12. Posted by Can't think of cool name

    Frederick, there is obviously a massive difference to develop pier 30-32 versus 27, based on your most recent posting. I’m curious as to why there is such a difference. Did the meeting get into any details as to why it is so much more expensive to develop 30-32?
    Also, I’ve been told that representatves of the cruise line industry aren’t that excited about the plan anyway, since there is not much for the pasengers to do once they get off the ship at 30-32 (or in this case, 27) versus where they dock now – in the vacinity of Fisherman’s wharf…

  13. Posted by Frederick

    Hi Can’t think of cool name at April 19, 2007 9:55 PM,
    The main cost difference according to the Port staff was the cost of the Substructure (remove and replace the existing piers and seismic upgrades necessary are estimated to be $101M at Pier 30-32, and to be $27M at Pier 27. Pier 27 does not have to be entirely replaced to accomodate the newer 8,000 passenger cruise ships the Port is planning to accomodate in their new Cruise Ship terminals.
    Pier 27 is the Ports Cruise Ship terminal now, the Queen Mary2 docked there last month. The Port mainly uses Pier 35 which is 1/2 block away and has been the main Cruise Ship terminal for the Port since WWII. It is at the beginning of the Fishermans Wharf area, next to Pier 39 and the rest of the tourist part of the SF Port.
    What’s most interesting about the Port’s presentation this afternoon is that the Port adopted their land use plan in 1997, that calls for Piers 27 to 31 to be recreational (as the major component) with possible Cruise Ship use.
    The Shorestein Company has been negotiating with the Port for over 9 months (after taking over from the Mills Corp) as to building over 400,000 sq ft of office space on Piers 27 to 31 as the “economic engine” that would allow Shorenstein to spend $150M to rebuild the Piers and to add 200,000 sq ft of recreational space (for the public)to the overall plan for Piers 27-31.
    The plans presented today by the Ports staff called for two 1,000 ft long piers at Pier 27, which would dramatically change the plans that the Shorestein Company has been proposing which included hockey fields, swimming pools, rock climbing and many other interesting recreational facilities. The Shorenstein proposal called for over $450M of development costs including the office and recreational components.
    The Ports proposal today was a total budget of $50M for the development of two 1,000 ft piers and support facilities to accomodate two large cruise ships at one time. They estimated that the port did not make a profit from the cruise ship business, but that the City & State may collect up to $3M annually in incresed sales taxes from the passengers that shop during their visits to SF.
    The annual debt service to build/repair 2 cruise terminals at Pier 27 was estimated to be $2.3m annually, so the net income to the City’s general fund from the cruise ship business (sales taxes) may not be a positive for the City.
    More to come, as the Port attempts to re-vitalize itself and repair their failing piers.
    Frederick

  14. Posted by Michael

    Frederick – Great reporting.
    tipster – No disrespect, but nice try yourself. As Anonymous pointed out there are major considerations with regard to timing and options to renew for leasehold properties, but the flaw in your logic is that you’re assuming that you purchase a leasehold property for the same price as a fee simple today and then somehow end up selling it for 40% less in the future. If a leasehold property is in fact worth 40% less than a fee simple then you’re going to pay 40% less for that property today as well.

  15. Posted by tipster

    There was no flaw in my logic. What everyone is now saying is, “Yes, of course the leasehold affects the resale.” That was my point. Which I supported with independent evidence to counter a statement that was nonsensical.
    And clearly if a bunch of realtors could convince people that the leasehold didn’t affect the resale, they could get a higher price from the initial suckers, who would then lose it later, so there is no flaw there. The same way that a bunch of people lost money by adopting the belief that “profits don’t matter in the new economy”, until profits did matter, and the people who initially bought the line that “the lack of profits wouldn’t affect the resale of the shares of stock” lost their shirts.
    Glad we all can agree: the lease would very much affect the resale and all sales.
    And forgive me for believing that the owner of the land would have no real incentive to renew the lease at levels below what the entire improved property would lease for, so you’ll forgive my lack of blind faith on that issue as well.

  16. Posted by can't think of cool name

    Frederick – whoops…I forgot about the pier numbering scheme. My information on the lack of enthusiasm from the cruise line industry was focused on the Byrant Street Pier, which was (is) much farther away from Fisherman’s Wharf. Thanks for the clarification.

  17. Posted by Jamie

    Thank you Frederick! I doubt I would have known about the BCNA May 2nd meeting. Unfortunately, a work-related dinner will keep me from attending that meeting.
    One look at the Rincon Park Restaurants being built on what was once some rare park land in the Rincon Hill area makes me cringe at the thought of the Port folks wanting to develop any other land. Especially since I get the notion that there were supposedly a bunch of promises about some old pier near the end of Brannan Street being refreshed to something usable in “exchange” for allowing Watermark to be built – but this is just all casual words from someone on the Rincon Point South Beach CAC speaking during the March 2007 meeting about it. Quid pro quo were the words uttered.
    So… I have zero trust for the Port of San Francisco to make decisions that benefit the community. I hope Supervisor Chris Daly gets involved.

  18. Posted by SFhighrise

    Jamie,
    I tend to disagree with you on this one. As a fellow Rincon Hill resident, I too was once excited about the prospect of having this giant cruise terminal in our neighborhood. On the other hand, I think that any development for the time being will bode well for the rest of the piers. It will help to raise valuable funds to redevelop the remainder of the piers and while we may not see the cruise terminal on piers 30-32, we will likely see more shops, restaurants, parks, etc. This is what has recently been completed at Piers 1 1/2, 3 and 5. Now, I wish this process would go faster, but I don’t think that these piers will be parking lots forever, especially as our neigbhorhood develops a larger population base.

  19. Posted by Jamie

    I agree – let’s do something with the property besides using it for surface parking. However, giving the http://www.rinconneighbors.com/park.html web page a read, it sounds like the Port did its best to ignore public input on the Rincon Park Restaurants development. It is a matter of trust – I don’t trust the Port Authority at this point to do what’s in the best interest of the community. I’m advocating that as many folks as possible take advantage of these public meetings and be sure to provide input. Develop the land for better use, but the public had better get involved and manage the process as best we can from the outside – the Port folks are likely most concerned with coming up with short term cash inflows. They won’t wake up every morning to look out their windows and see the results.
    The Rincon Park Restaurant development has taken away a nice view from The Embarcadero. I don’t believe that helped the community – just the Port and one group of restaurant investors.
    Did everybody see in The Examiner that the City is tentatively going to hold the Halloween Party on Piers 30-32 this year in an attempt to have better control of the crowds compared to the Castro? Sounds like a good idea. Piers 30-32 are becoming party central. :)

  20. Posted by Jamie

    Oh … and I read up on the Watermark’s $9 million contribution. The funds are actually for demolishing the Brannan Street Wharf and building a 57,000 square foot park.
    Read more here: http://www.sfgov.org/site/port_page.asp?id=34924
    Projected completion of construction: 2007-2009 – so, what’s the hold up on this project? They have the $9 million in the bank from the Watermark 1/2 acre land deal. They need another $6 million … but couldn’t they at least demolish the existing Brannan Street Wharf eyesore now? Construction costs aren’t getting lower.

  21. Posted by SFhighrise

    I agree with you on the slowness of the city in terms of demolishing the Brannan Street wharf. Having a party there for the Kfog Kaboom, Halloween, and using it as a Christmas tree lot does not warrant it to be underutilized the other 330-340 days per year.
    However, I disagree about the restaurants. It has partially obstructed the view, but there are other nice view areas. These restaurants are signs that new businesses are coming to the immediate neighborhood and I would expect this to accelerate as the Folsom street corridor begins development (we should see something in the next year as the Infinity nears completion).

  22. Posted by can't think of cool name

    I wonder if the Watermark had any type of clause on the $9M, in that if the money sat inactive for a certain period of time, it would revert back to Watermark.
    Seems like a shame to have that money ready to go for demo/construction, and it still sits in a bank drawing interest. And of course, drawing interest for whom?
    I’m sure if Watermark had it back, they could probably find a way to spend it – maybe sponsor the Halloween party and Ka-Boom!

  23. Posted by Salarywoman

    The relative value of leasehold vs freehold ownership tends to vary with the circumstances. I doubt if leasehold is ever more valuable than freehold but sometimes it is equivalent. A good example of this is the housing on Stanford’s campus for faculty and selected staff. A huge chunk of this is single family homes on nice lots of various sizes. The lots are all leased from Stanford and the lease is only renewed if the lease holder continues to have a relationship with Stanford (though I think there may be some provision for widows and widowers, divorcees have to move out).
    Part of Stanford’s idea here was that this would keep the resale cost of the housing low and thus constitute a subsidy for faculty staff housing. Well, that hasn’t happened. Even though the houses are on leased land the difference between their cost and that of neighboring Palo Alto is negligible. This has been going on for some time and the houses appraise because the comps are there.

  24. Posted by Mike

    The Rincon Park Restaurant development has taken away a nice view from The Embarcadero. I don’t believe that helped the community – just the Port and one group of restaurant investors.
    Sorry, but this is just the kind of reflex NIMBYism that makes every development in SF such a battle. What’s wrong with a couple of restaurants? I think it’s great. Some cities (Vancouver, Hong Kong) have vibrant waterfronts with lots to do. Frankly, the stretch between the ferry building the ballpark is pretty underutilized, a few more things to do is much needed.

  25. Posted by tipster

    Re: Stanford, This has been going on for some time and the houses appraise because the comps are there.
    That is not a fair comparison. I’ve never seen one so I’m not certain, but it has been my understanding that the Stanford leases are automatically renewed for whomever buys there, as long as the buyer has a relationship with Stanford. Translation: it’s really an ownership of the land by the homeowner, with a restriction on the person they can sell to, enforceable via a lease revocation. Otherwise, the property isn’t going to get yanked 66 years later like this lease.
    So they are not the same at all. Of course, prices are a bit lower, but only due to the limited resale market, not due to the fact that in less than a generation, the lease is up and you lose everything.
    Nice try.
    But my original point remains. Why on earth would you even try to blow your credibility by making such a preposterous statement. You select something (the Stanford leases) that is a lease in name only, and does not have the effects of a true lease, and then try to use it to show something akin to “profits don’t matter in the new economy”. I think you are doing your profession a significant disservice every time you try to pull such a stunt.

  26. Posted by Delancey St Resident

    However, I disagree about the restaurants. It has partially obstructed the view but there are other nice view areas.
    So how does one walk up along embarcadero from south of the bay bridge and see these “other views”? I used to see all the way to the Ferry building and beyond, even from 500 feet south of the bridge. Now I see a two story restaurant plugging up the once-expansive view under the bay bridge.
    This fatuous argument is used incrementally to justify carving off each little slice of the waterfront. When you cut a view in half, well, there’s always a half left. Yay. As for those saying there’s nothing to “do” between the ferry building and the bay bridge, you can cross embarcadero and walk on the land side if you really need some commercial distraction from that dreadful stretch of open space.

  27. Posted by Jamie

    Open public debate is good, I believe.
    I wouldn’t consider my opinion of the Rincon Park Restaurants development an example of NIMBYism necessarily. Trust me – I want more convenience services in Rincon Hill that I consider reasonably priced as soon as possible. I’d like to stop going to the Mission, Castro, or South Beach to get a decent meal at a decent price on the weekends. I can’t afford most of the restaurants on Steuart, so they may as well not be there – and something tells me the same goes for the Rincon Park Restaurants.
    I hope to see a grocery store somewhere within Rincon Hill – a Trader Joe’s would be a dream come true.
    The thing about the Rincon Park Restaurant development is that the land was formerly park land – albeit part of a small park. Considering how little green area we have in Rincon Hill before that became a restaurant site, it was a big loss for the community. It is not as though we’re talking about acres and acres of waterfront property here. Just a little smidgen of grass to lie down on.
    There are plenty of potential property sites for restaurants owned by the ports. Please redevelop some of the other ugly old pier buildings to be similar to Ferry Plaza or Pier 1/1.5.
    I hope I clarified I’m not anti-business by any means. I just frown upon meetings in the middle of the day in the middle of the work week outside of the City and typical meeting place in order to shove through approvals for changing park land into private restaurants when there’s PLENTY of private land begging to be redeveloped within 2 blocks.

  28. Posted by Jamie

    Strike that last sentence.. i guess it is state land right now.
    Anyhoo… keep what’s good, redevelop what sucks. Simple enough?

  29. Posted by Frederick

    I believe the Rincon Park restaurants were included in the development of the GAP building at Folsom & The Embarcadero, when that project was approved.
    The improvements to include the park and the art work, plus the restaurants were an inducement to the developer of the GAP building. Check out the history.
    I don’t think the approval of the restaurants came after the approval of the building.
    I think the land where the restaurants are being built is under the control of the Port.
    Also, the scheduled meeting regarding the sea wall lots and the possible rezoning of those to allow various types of housing has been changed from May 2nd at Pier 1 to Monday May 7th.
    The meeting will be hosted by the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers and moderated by Supervisor Aaron Peskin. The exact location will be in a future post. Four of the sea wall lots, that may be changed from public parking to various other uses are in Mr. Peskins District.
    The sea wall lot next to the Watermark is also included in the proposed re-zoning by the Port.
    Frederick

  30. Posted by Can't think of cool name

    I’ll have to take the contrarian’s viewpoint on the restaurants. Beyond the Palomino restaurant and the Crunch Fitness, I don’t see how views are blocked by the new buildings other than the passing traffic (and that’s only for a few seconds). To read various postings both on this site and others, one would think that the buildings are ten times the size they actually are.
    A person can easily walk on either side of the construction to enjoy bay views, since the sidewalk is split and runs on both sides of the new restaurants. Also, I see several people every day (when it’s nice) enjoying Cupid’s Arrow by lounging on the grass below the artwork facing the bay.
    So, in my view, the debate seems to be not the loss of views, but the loss of the open space (and lets face it, in general, its not much) and the way the procedures to build the restaurants were carried out…
    And no, I don’t work for the Port of San Francisco, and I am not affiliated in any way with the restaurant’s owners or the construction firm or the sub contractors.

  31. Posted by curmudgeon

    Re: restaurants
    Frederick is right. The restaurants were always part of the plan. They were not built on “precious park land”, but were conceived to be part of the park from the beginning. The Gap financed development of the park as part of its headquarters development. When the park was developed, the site for the restaurants was left as an undeveloped gravel pad. The Port then sought a developer for the restaurants.
    I repeat: the Port never took away park land for restaurants. It was always part of the plan.
    Jamie, you may well disagree with the aesthetic effects of putting the restaurants there. (I haven’t walked by recently so I don’t have an opinion). Perhaps mistakes were made. But please don’t ascribe evil motives to the Port on this one. That’s not fair.
    The restaurant complex had broad public review, and the general thought was that it would help invigorate this slice of the waterfront (much as the cafe at Union Square helps add life to that previously troubled park.

  32. Posted by Jamie

    At the end of the day, it is what it is – done deal.
    I hope there is much more scrutiny of changing land use going forward and much less rubber stamping by CAC’s.

  33. Posted by Jamie

    I offer this link one more time…
    http://www.rinconneighbors.com/park.html It offers what appears to be a fairly detailed account of what transpired – but I admit this is my only reference and it may be completely wrong.
    Views are definitely diminshed for folks sitting on the MUNI metro stand for several minutes waiting for trains and for folks who spend most of their commuting time in the City on their legs.

  34. Posted by Frederick

    Jamie,
    Great info in the http://www.rinconneighbors.com/park.html
    Even more in the http://www.sfweekly.com/1997-05-28/news/falling-for-the-gap/
    This article was published on May 28, 1997 and is pretty powerful stuff.
    I invite all those interested in Rincon Hill, the Tranbay Terminal and the overall waterfront to have a read!!
    Who knows if half if either pieces are accurate, I would not be surprised, as that is how business is done throughout the world.
    What is Mr. Finnie writing about today?
    Frederick

  35. Posted by Jamie

    Classic – thanks for the info Frederick!

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