A Look at the Giants’ Mission Rock Proposal

The South Beach Rincon Mission Bay Neighborhood Association held their Monthly Meeting last night featuring representatives from the San Francisco Giants and the new Mission Rock project, which will transform the area around parking lot A and Pier 48 into a Mixed Use Neighborhood hot spot. Even Larry Baer, COO of the Giants, was on hand for the discussion.

In this spirit we have chosen to refer to Seawall Lot 337 and Pier 48 by a single name, Mission Rock, honoring the rock outcropping now buried beneath the foundations of Pier 50. The Mission Rock district is strategically positioned between two powerful economic engines, the ballpark to the north and Mission Bay to the south and west. This strategic central location gives it the potential to be a distinct and diverse destination neighborhood within the Mission Bay area and the city as a whole. Mission Rock’s street grid fabric, flexible blocks and program development, and range of heights and building styles will all contribute to its unique character as the link between existing and emerging San Francisco.

I was unable to attend last night’s meeting, so I sent one of our newest contributors, Natalie, to get the low down.

As you probably already know, Mission Bay is one of the last frontiers of undeveloped San Francisco. There are huge plans for the neighborhood, which currently resembles a giant (no pun intended) construction yard full of cranes and heavy machinery.

Well back in April, the San Francisco Giants made a splash in the local media when they announced their City-backed plans to develop Mission Rock into what could be described as the “final link between Mission Bay and the northern waterfront.”

Mission Rock Aerial View

The aerial rendering above doesn’t really show you much beyond the scale of the project, and the fact that there will be a number of outdoor public spaces. But according to Natalie, the plan also includes smaller, pedestrian friendly streetscapes for “neighborhood creation”, a parking garage and a new retail corridor (naturally). In addition, Pier 48-which is possibly most famous for hosting the annual Oktoberfest weekend- will also feature retail space as well as some event/tradeshow-friendly space.

According to the most recent Mission Rock proposal, the project hopes to create:

• Connection to the waterfront

• Links to surrounding neighborhood

• Internal street grid to favor pedestrians, transit and bicycles

• Feasible development parcel sizes for variety of uses

• Program flexibility overall and by site

• Creation of a strong neighborhood identity

• Creation of significant public open space areas

• Addressing ballpark needs and synergies

• Vehicle management to serve both neighborhood and ballpark needs

• Sustainability leadership

Mission Rock will create a place unlike any other in San Francisco. The stage is set for a bold urban design strategy that will spotlight McCovey Cove as a great open “public room,” framed by the iconic, landmark features of the ballpark, Lefty O’Doul Bridge, and Pier 48. The linking of the bridge and Pier 48 across a great new public park enhances the public character and memorable quality of this urban waterfront destination.

The Central Square, appropriately called Mission Rock Square above, could easily be compared to Washington Square Park or Bryant Park in New York City (only 9 times smaller). It would serve as a central gathering spot that is surrounded by 6 wind-blocking buildings, making it one of the warmest, sunniest locations in the City. Add a cafe to the mix, and the fact that it could easily fit 1,000 people, and the square could quickly become our neighborhood’s go-to setting for outdoor film screenings and small concerts.

On game days, what is now Parking Lot A would become a pedestrian plaza full of vibrancy and a “festival type atmosphere” which bridges the ball park with the 2,700 spot off street parking garage.

So when they say “Mixed Use”, what exactly do they mean?

There will apparently be between 650 and 1000 residential units (which are said to be apartment rentals, though I’ll believe it when I see it). There will be between 1.3 – 1.7 million square feet of office space, approximately 125,000 square feet of retail (with a focus on “local and regional” businesses), up to 180,000 square feet of exhibit/event space (Pier 48), and about 7 acres of public open space (between Mission Rock Park, Mission Rock Square and Channel Plaza).

At this point, it’s tough to say what will happen and when with regards to this project, but it’s nice to think that that area could potentially develop into a public open space with vibrant business and restaurants.

And that’s without even factoring in the Golden State Warriors and their current (but apparently not set in stone) proposal to move to the other side of AT&T Park at Piers 30/32.

Take a good, long look at our waterfront, folks. Something tells me that its days are numbered.

For MUCH more information about the Mission Rock Project, you should read the most recent proposal in PDF form right here.


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