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Sports-Related Development Transforming San Francisco's Waterfront South of Downtown

The Giants announced two massive development proposals in recent weeks, and the Warriors are opening a new arena to regular season games later this week.
October 22, 2019, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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San Francisco Giants
Oracle Park, as seen from the future Mission Rock development site.

The San Francisco Giants have big plans for a slice of land currently occupied by a parking lot, located near the Oracle Park, directly across McCovey Cove. Renderings released for the first time earlier this month revealed the scale of the ambition.

"The best word to describe the architectural thrust of the Giants’ huge Mission Rock waterfront project is — audacious," reports John King of the design proposals.

"The term runs counter to the approach of so many developers and architects who treat pieces of the city as product, little more. Instead, the team and its co-developer hired four adventurous firms that conceived a quartet of buildings ranging in size from eight to 23 stories that take their cues from local topography — complete with towers that would have eroded silhouettes and greenery spilling from crevice-like nooks."

King describes the development as a fresh start for one of the city's "new frontiers," enabled by voters in 2017.

"The Giants and co-developer Tishman Speyer intend to start work in January, clearing the northwest corner of the lot. They’ll then begin construction of two 23-story residential towers and a pair of shorter office buildings. The target date is 2023 to open the first phase, which will include a 5-acre waterfront park," explains King.

The five-acre waterfront park is also big news, and King wrote an article on the big reveal of those plans just a few weeks prior. According to King, the park will include 5-acre "tide pools open to waders and a bayside lawn capable of holding 5,000 people." The park is also expected to buffer the area from sea-level rise, after being raised five feet above the current height of the parking lot.

"Specific design details are still in flux, such as the variety of cypress that might dot the periphery of the lawn, and final sign-offs are needed from the port and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Still, the Giants want to start clearing the site in January," according to King in the earlier article.

But wait, there's more: just a half-mile to the south, a different professional sports team is making a splash as it opens a new basketball arena. The Golden State Warriors have relocated across the bay to San Francisco, opening the Chase Center later this week for regular season games. King also has also written a review of the new Chase Center.

"Instead of the powerfully compact Oakland arena that the team vacated this spring after five successive NBA finals, Chase Center shares 11 acres with two 14-story office towers, several smaller buildings and an array of public spaces," according to King.

"All this makes for an odd blend of sophistication and spectacle, open arms and economic divides — and an oddly fitting symbol of today’s San Francisco," writes King about the Warriors' new home.

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Published on Saturday, October 12, 2019 in San Francisco Chronicle
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