With the addition of an ultra-hip restaurant and renewed attention to their sensational bayside views, Piers 1 ½, 3 and 5 have become a success story for the Port of San Francisco, and have emerged as one of the city’s newest hot spots.
From the outdoor patio area at La Mar Cebichería Peruana there are stunning views of the Bay, Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands, and the Bay Bridge. Photo by Tim Griffith.
Published: April, 2009
With the addition of an ultra-hip restaurant and renewed attention to their sensational bayside views, Piers 1 ½, 3 and 5 have become a success story for the Port of San Francisco, and have emerged as one of the city’s newest hot spots. The site includes a public promenade, public docks, water taxi landings and office and restaurant space for high-end tenants.
Having fallen into extreme disrepair—condemned in 2000 and facing the threat of demolition—the Piers were redeveloped by San Francisco Waterfront Partners (SFWP) in the early 2000s and re-opened in 2006, after navigating over twenty different agency approvals.
Recognizing the historic value and economic potential of the exquisitely positioned old wharves, SFWP painstaking restored the piers, creating more than 60,000 square feet of Class A waterfront-view office space; 17,000 square-feet of restaurant, café and retail space; and more than 40,000 square-feet of public access area, including a Bayside History Walk, a public promenade, a water taxi landing and a marina.
Last year, SFWP brought in an internationally renowned chef and restaurant from South America, Gaston Acurio’s La Mar Cebichería Peruana, which opened an 11,000 square-foot premier waterfront restaurant at Pier 1 ½ . The place has been pretty much booked solid since its opening, according to regional food magazine 7x7, and has drawn raves from Gourmet and the New York Times.
With the Piers, San Francisco Waterfront Partners demonstrated that you can do smart development on the waterfront, serving both the public interest and sound economics, said San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Director Jim Chappell. This is a gorgeous addition to the Ferry Building area.
Inside and outside of the Piers, there are stunning views of the Bay, Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands, and the Bay Bridge. Pleasure boats are already able to pull up to Pier 1 ½, just in front of La Mar, along with a soon-to-be-established water taxi service. The Port Walk, which extends north around the bayside of the Ferry Building, continues around the perimeter of Piers 1 ½, 3 and 5.
The Embarcadero Freeway once hid these piers and their stunning views of the Bay. When the freeway was removed in the wake of the Loma Prieta earthquake, it led to an incredible renaissance on the waterfront, with a renovated Ferry Building and attractive new shops and restaurants, and the popular outdoor Farmer’s Market on Ferry Plaza.
La Mar will soon be joined by a few more tasty tenants—starting with The Plant Café Organic, an organic café that already has an immensely popular stronghold in the Marina District. The Plant is expected to open its doors at Pier 3 this summer. Office tenants of the Piers include Bloomberg L.P., the Aperture Group, Renaissance Technologies and SFWP itself.
SFWP shows that if you do it right, you can succeed on the waterfront, Chappell added. My expectation is that they will continue to bring life and economic vitality to the neighborhood.
SFWP is currently working on a nearby mixed-use project, called 8 Washington, that will bring new parks, public open space, public parking for the Ferry Building, restaurants and Leed-certified housing to the Embarcadero.
Piers 1½, 3 and 5 have become a success story for the Port of San Francisco. Photo by Tim Griffith.