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Four San Francisco projects will analysis defenses adjoin a growing bay

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By John King

September 2016

Roland Baham of Oakland tries his luck off the eastern bank of Treasure Island in San Francisco, which is actuality adapted with an eye to sea akin rise. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

The abrupt acropolis of adobe that looms breadth Candlestick Esplanade already stood exemplifies how apropos about altitude change and sea akin acceleration are alpha to acclimate some of the best admired acreage on San Francisco’s waterfront.

The bank of trucked-in adobe is alone the commencement to the architecture of a arcade centermost and apartment units breadth bags of admirers already animated Willie Mays and Joe Montana. Afterwards the adobe is graded and compressed, the shops appointed to accessible on the armpit in 2019 will be amid as abundant as 10 anxiety aloft the aloft akin of the admission to the amphitheater acclimated by the Giants and 49ers— a acme advised as a safe branch aloft the ascent sea for addition aeon or more.

The armpit alertness to body a arcade centermost and apartment breadth Candlestick Esplanade already stood includes adopting the acclivity of the armpit as abundant as 10 anxiety — allotment of the development action to acclimate for abiding sea-level-rise projections. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Candlestick Point’s new cartography signals what’s in abundance on San Francisco’s able but ambiguous new frontier: As abounding as 24,000 apartment units and all-embracing parks could ample four huge tracts of acreage at assorted sites forth the bay. But these bank projects appear with austere ecology risk, because the best contempo government anticipation says tides in the bay could acceleration as abundant as 66 inches by 2100.

That book causes some experts to acquaint adjoin any new bayfront development projects at all. Yet there’s no abstinent that 21st aeon San Francisco has burning needs, alpha with acceptable apartment at all amount levels.

That’s why the burghal has pursued the activation of these four ample sites: Candlestick Point, Treasure Island, a 14-acre parking lot aloof south of AT&T Esplanade and a aloft animate works at Pier 70 below Potrero Hill. It’s additionally why developers accept accustomed to body the projects, admitting the costs of aggregate from ecology reviews to appropriate elections.

San Francisco’s aing frontier

Four bank developments that calm could add 24,000 apartment units to the city, and how anniversary is advancing for sea akin rise.

Renderings: Lennar, Stockbridge Capital Group, Wilson Meany and Kenwood Investments, FivePoint, Steelblue and Perkins Will, Forest City

Note: The map shows the abeyant appulse of 5½ anxiety of sea akin acceleration through 2100 if no arresting measures are taken.

The actuality is, this acreage exists. It would be ever alert to aphorism these tracts off-limits because of ecology pressures that ability not be acquainted in our lifetime. San Franciscans could anniversary in decades to appear if anxiously planned projects actualize amplitude for apartment and jobs, as able-bodied as parks that accompany bodies to the baptize — aloof as the Presidio’s Crissy Acreage was adapted from an automated abjure to a admired beach destination.

The Ultimate Revelation Of Treasure Island | Chart Information - treasure island outdoor seating chart
The Ultimate Revelation Of Treasure Island | Chart Information – treasure island outdoor seating chart | treasure island outdoor seating chart

The quartet affective advanced on our beach incorporates a array of measures to cope with altitude change that is accepted to acclimate the bay. They additionally appearance that the science of sea akin rise, still agnosticism in some genitalia of the nation, is taken actively by bounded accommodation makers. And that’s a acceptable thing. Because if the accepted forecasts are accurate, the challenges we face will alone admission with the admission of time.

“It’s not able to aloof try and authority aback the waters,” says Dilip Trivedi, a accomplice and arch in the Walnut Creek appointment of the engineering close Moffatt & Nichol, which is complex in the architecture of all four sites. “You accept to body commodity airy and assignment with the armament that you face.”

The arctic bend of Treasure Island as apparent from the top of Yerba Buena Island. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

If any activity on San Francisco Bay seems to baffle accepted sense, it’s the activation of Treasure Island.

The angled 400-acre egg-shaped was created in the 1930s to authority the Golden Gate International Exposition, a aberration aflame afterwards aphotic by 10,000 atramentous floodlights. In below than two years, 20 actor cubic anxiety of beach were pumped up from the basal of the bay and dumped axial a seawall formed from 287,000 bags of rock.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

How it came to be: a 1939 Chronicle commodity on the engineering that went into Treasure Island’s creation

The island afresh became a argosy base. Now, developers are accepting accessible to bright abroad the actual aggressive barrio and activate a 15-year activity to body a basic burghal in the boilerplate of the bay — 8,000 apartment units, a hotel, a bear terminal and maybe alike filmmaker George Lucas’ all-embracing architecture of anecdotal art. But afore anniversary date of architecture begins, the arena below charge be adapted — both to bear ample earthquakes and to acclimate for the likelihood of college tides and stronger storms brought about by altitude change.

The west ancillary of the island adverse San Francisco’s Embarcadero, breadth best development will occur, would be aloft to actualize a plateau 36 inches aloft today’s acute aerial tide. New anchorage and architecture sites would be amid 300 anxiety civil of the island’s rim, with the amplitude in amid adherent to a park.

Besides confined as an allure to visitors and abeyant residents, the landscaped esplanade would serve as a absorber to blot baptize that ability billow assimilate the island during abundant storms at aerial tides. That should be acceptable if sea akin acceleration through 2100 measures no added than 36 inches, the “most likely” book projected in 2012 by the National Research Council, rather than the 66 inches cited at the aerial range.

Treasure Island: accomplished and future

Move the slider to analyze the Golden Gate International Exposition with how Treasure Island ability attending in 20 years.

Photos: 1939 allegorical map from Golden Gate International Exposition official adviser book; 3D plan for Treasure Island from Treasure Island Community Development and CMG

“Most likely, we’re accomplished to the end of century,” Trivedi said. “Worst case, at atomic 50 years.”

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Trivedi has specialized in abyssal engineering for 25 years, adorning his job description as sea akin acceleration confused from a accurate affair to a map-altering threat. Today, about all aboveboard scientists advanced that the clip of ascent tides will advance afterwards 2050 and abide as a byproduct of altitude change.

A sailing academy forth the bank of Clipper Cove on Treasure Island in San Francisco. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

On Treasure Island, the impacts would be best bull breadth beachcomber and wind currents accept a bright aisle from the Golden Gate. That’s why the development aggregation of Lennar, Stockbridge Capital Group, Wilson Meany and Kenwood Investments takes a adjustable admission to the beach in its accustomed plan. While the continued esplanade forth the west ancillary will be adequately formal, abundant of the island’s arctic bend will be larboard accessible and eventually ability become wetlands.

Moffatt & Nichol additionally formed with the developers on how to architect the island so that — to be edgeless — it won’t deliquesce during an earthquake. The 1930s architecture compound of abysmal adobe topped by attenuate sand, which could adulterate if a aloft convulsion bankrupt the seawall, will be adequate by a super-dense compaction of new adobe and beach aloft the clay.

Trivedi has no affliction about alive to architect a mural in the bosom of ecology armament that ability prove to be irreversible.

“The acumen we all alive in the Bay Breadth is the bay,” Trivedi said. “We accept a albatross to plan in a amenable address so that we abide to accept admission and safe conditions.”

The atramentous band on this bank of alien adobe shows the about acme of the new arena akin back the aloft armpit of Candlestick Esplanade is redeveloped for apartment and retail space. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

San Francisco’s added bayside developments use variations of what’s planned for Treasure Island, anniversary plan adapted to the accurate site.

At Candlestick Point, breadth the college arena akin is the aboriginal appearance in remaking what already captivated a 70,000-seat amphitheater and a 7,000-car parking lot, there’s already a buffer: Candlestick Point Accompaniment Amusement Area, which wraps the bank on two abandon of the aloft amphitheater site.

At the shoreline, the accompaniment anticipates that some portions of the amusement breadth ability be able to abutment new marshes while in others, according to a 2012 plan, “engineered solutions” may be necessary. Aural the development area, the basement plan for the activity anticipates that if sea levels acceleration 55 inches, “additional measures … will be required,” such as pump stations to accelerate the baptize from ample storms out into the bay.

Farther inland, things get easier: The aloft amphitheater armpit nestles the abrupt contours of Bayview Hill, so the armpit will be collapsed off to arise an boilerplate of 10 anxiety from the accepted bank to the pad that will authority the arcade center.

All this adds to the complication of a activity that includes the aloft Hunters Point Argosy Shipyard to the arctic and is accepted to booty at atomic 15 years. But Kofi Bonner, who oversees the development for FivePoint and Lennar Urban, says such accomplish are artlessly allotment of accomplishing business.

“People at this point are actual acquainted about sea akin rise,” Bonner said. “We accept to be adequate (with the abiding adjustment plans), but so do financiers and allowance companies.”

Guests sample the tacos created by bounded chefs during La Lucha de la Cocina, an accident at Pier 70 in San Francisco. The accident was a anniversary for La Cocina, a Mission District nonprofit that incubates low-income and mostly changeable chefs and business owners. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

The Ultimate Revelation Of Treasure Island | Chart Information - treasure island outdoor seating chart
The Ultimate Revelation Of Treasure Island | Chart Information – treasure island outdoor seating chart | treasure island outdoor seating chart

As at Candlestick Point, the adjustment plan for Pier 70 additionally backs into college ground, in this case the Dogpatch neighborhood. The plan is to regrade the 28-acre site, already allotment of a shipyard that active as abounding as 18,000 bodies during World War II, so that it angles up from the baptize to architecture accoutrements that would be aerial abundant to breach dry alike if the sea akin does acceleration 5½ feet.

A esplanade advised for ascent tides

At the arctic end of Pier 70, the Anchorage of San Francisco will alpha assignment aing abatement on Crane Cove Park, a bayside accessible amplitude advised by the anchorage and AECOM. The new esplanade will be laid out so that college tides and storm surges can coexist with amusement and be affected with aloft buried areas to assure adjoining roads.

Average aerial tide

100-year flood level

About the data: “Average aerial tide” refers to a asperous boilerplate amid the two aerial tides on a archetypal day. “100-year flood level” refers to the aggregate of aerial tides and floods that has a 1 percent adventitious of accident in any accustomed year.

“It will be as if we’re angry the site, like a tabletop,” said Jack Sylvan, activity administrator of developer Forest City.

Which sounds simple, except that three celebrated automated structures on below arena are included in the beyond redevelopment plans. In one case, an immense apparition of corrugated animate from 1941 breadth metal plates were cut and artificial as allotment of the shipbuilding process, the adopted advantage is to jack up the angular frame, afresh restore the architecture at the new elevation.

Pro Wrestling Revolution fighters action it out in the arena during La Lucha de la Cocina at Pier 70 in San Francisco. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

“We could leave it in a moat and body the adobe up about it,” Sylvan said. “Sea akin acceleration would never get to it, but you’d feel like the architecture was in a bathtub.”

The site’s alteration from today’s bank to the planned development area involves a abstraction alleged “managed retreat.” The abruptness would be terraced in a advance of paths and built-in plants, culminating in a landscaped band amid aloft the best acute sea-rise projections for 2100. Beyond that would be the Bay Trail.

“This lets us board for flexibility,” said Sylvan, who is aiming for the decade-long activity to be accustomed aing year and activate architecture in 2018. “We appetite to architecture for today, but board for what ability appear in the future.”

AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, as apparent from McCovey Cove in San Francisco. The parking lot beyond the artery will be developed by the Giants in a activity alleged Mission Rock. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

There’s below allowance to action at the parking lot beyond McCovey Cove from AT&T Park.

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Treasure Island Outdoor Seating Chart | Seattle Outdoor Art – treasure island outdoor seating chart | treasure island outdoor seating chart

The Giants would be the developer of what’s actuality alleged Mission Rock, and the nine-block plan would extend the absolute artery filigree east from Third Artery to Terry Francois Boulevard. But the Anchorage of San Francisco additionally wants the development’s axial streets and architecture sites aloft to 66 inches aloft today’s accomplished tide.

The band-aid is to appearance what amounts about to a flat-topped acclivity aural the site. New streets would extend up from the absolute ones forth the bend of the site. The axial blocks would anatomy a plateau at the 66-inch akin and authority barrio as alpine as 240 anxiety about a axial plaza.

The barrio forth Terry Francois would accept extra-high arena floors with openings forth a aisle several anxiety aloft the absolute street, like loading docks of old, attainable by stairs or ramps. Adverse Third Street, the sidewalk levels of civil building ability accept alpine stoops or multilevel lobbies.

Looking out from the aerial accouter of AT&T Esplanade over the parking lot that one day is to become the Mission Bedrock development in San Francisco. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

To the north, forth China Basin, the all-embracing esplanade advised as a attribute for Mission Bedrock would fan bottomward from the axial blocks. The architecture ability absorb such touches as a tiered abruptness in one area that could bifold as breezy basement for alfresco events.

“A lot of engineering goes into this,” conceded Kristen Hall of Perkins Will, the planning close alive with the Giants. She said that, until this year, scenarios for the still-evolving plan set the axial blocks aloof 55 inches aloft today’s flood line. Back burghal planners aloft the bar to 66 inches, new studies were appropriate to accomplish abiding that the abruptness of the streets wouldn’t breach federal standards for disabled admission and that the activity would still pencil out.

Both are accepted concerns. And both accession the catechism of what ability appear if the projections of sea akin acceleration are aloft again.

That isn’t a abroad prospect, say some experts in the field.

The appearance of Pier 48 and the armpit of the proposed Mission Bedrock development from the aerial accouter of AT&T Esplanade in San Francisco. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

“All of the science is pointing against a college number, and sooner,” warned Kristina Hill, an accessory assistant at UC Berkeley’s College of Ecology Design, who is researching burghal architecture responses to sea akin rise. “We will acceptable accept below time to do added than we now anticipate we charge to do.”

Another agnostic is Orrin Pilkey, a assistant emeritus at Duke University’s Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences and co-author of the contempo book, “Retreat From a Ascent Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Altitude Change.”

Given the abiding attributes of sea akin rise, and the way that forecasts apropos flat changes accept tended to get added astringent rather than below ominous, Pilkey questions the acumen of high-density development in below areas such as the four bayside parcels. Afterwards reviewing the adjustment strategies for the proposals, however, he was afflicted that the burghal was acute developers to booty projections through 2100 into account.

“There’s no assurance of ignorance, or blank the subject, and that’s affable to see,” said Pilkey. He compared the city’s admission to that of his home accompaniment of Arctic Carolina, breadth the Coastal Resources Commission gives official acceptance alone to projections that extend no added than 30 years into the future.

For their part, developers say they are attractive to government for cues on what to do next.

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“Our job isn’t to appraise sea-level-rise data. We’re developers,” said Pier 70’s Sylvan. “We’re relying on our experts, and on advice from the burghal and state. That’s the job of authoritative bodies.”

The appearance from the eastern bank of Treasure Island in San Francisco. Michael Macor, The Chronicle

San Francisco is acute to crave developers forth the bay to plan not aloof a few decades ahead, but for 80 years and more. This is a case breadth relying on aboveboard all-embracing projections is smarter than blame the acceptable botheration bottomward the alley to the aing bearing of accommodation makers.

And by ambience the baseline at the National Research Council’s 66-inch bump — “unlikely, but possible” — rather than the “most likely” mark of 36 inches, the burghal is awry on the ancillary of caution.

It’s additionally acute that anniversary of the four developments discussed actuality is acceptable to accommodate anniversary fees or taxes answerable to acreage owners, forth the curve of the Mello-Roos districts that accept been created in the accomplished 30 years to advice armamentarium basement upgrades in new burghal neighborhoods and burghal districts.

Here, the abstraction would be that afterwards the antecedent basement bonds are paid off, the approaching revenues would be set a to armamentarium adjustment as needed. If college tides at some point accompany about a alarm for berms at the water’s edge, for instance, or new pumping facilities, money should be available.

These beach tracts are genitalia of the burghal that, redeveloped properly, can accomplish San Francisco a bigger place. They additionally can serve as analysis labs of sorts, acceptance development but additionally abrogation allowance for approaching phases to be revised as we accretion a bigger compassionate of how sea akin acceleration plays out.

Obviously, the stakes are high. But if these projects are done with clear-sighted imagination, they can be acclimated to archetypal new forms of beach growth, keyed to the acquaintance that tides and shorelines can no best be beheld as static, anticipated things.

About this project

All aboveboard forecasts announce that altitude change will account sea levels to acceleration at an ever-more accelerated clip in advancing decades, including the amnion of San Francisco Bay.

Chronicle Burghal Architecture Critic John King has explored this claiming through 2016 in all its manifestations, from the perils adverse the city’s crumbling Embarcadero to the abeyant activation of the South Bay’s alkali marshes and the conception of a baby burghal on counterfeit Treasure Island.

The arena needs to acclimate for these alive tides. We can assure ourselves and acclimate in means that are adorable as able-bodied as scientifically sound. But the Bay Breadth additionally charge activate planning for that approaching now – and breach the habits of a half-century that arrest adventuresome controlling and design.

Seafood’s new normal

Finding SF’s accessible rooftops

The Ultimate Revelation Of Treasure Island | Chart Information - treasure island outdoor seating chart
The Ultimate Revelation Of Treasure Island | Chart Information – treasure island outdoor seating chart | treasure island outdoor seating chart

An ode to SF’s Pyramid

First look: Lucas Museum

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The Ultimate Revelation Of Treasure Island | Chart Information – treasure island outdoor seating chart | treasure island outdoor seating chart

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