While massive commercial development is transforming Oyster Point in southern San Francisco, officials are also working to improve access to the area through improved ferry service.
A committee of officials from South San Francisco and the County Harbor District discussed the future of developments on the waterfront, the surrounding marina and other facilities during a meeting on Monday, September 28.
The discussion hit when Kilroy Realty is building a huge business campus with planned office and biotech space of nearly 3 million square feet on 10 buildings spanning 50 acres.
The first phase of development is in space, which will serve as the headquarters for Fintech Titan Stripe and Biotech Cytokinetics. With the expectation that the buildings will be ready for occupancy at the beginning of next year, another round of development is to begin on the next 900,000 square meters of the campus.
The upcoming phase of construction is expected to be the most intense and likely to include the main equipment, which in addition to the work area will include food and beverage facilities, public art, fitness center, a sunken amphitheater and improvements to the Bay Trail.
Officials largely praised the vision, particularly for improvements to the Bay Trail that are enhancing the experience for those who work on site and others who come for outdoor recreation.
The development east of Highway 101 is adjacent to Oyster Point Marina / Point, which is owned by South San Francisco but operated by the Harbor District under a joint property agreement.
As the project reconfigures the bayfront, city officials are planning ways to make it more accessible to the influx of workers and visitors to the commercial hub.
Mike Futrell, City Manager for South San Francisco, explained the possibility of improving ferry and water taxi service along the water by developing a new terminal on the spit next to the marina.
He said officials would need to invest heavily in the area to protect it from the threat of sea level rise. With the expectation that the infrastructure work could cost up to 20 million US dollars, the officials see an opportunity, according to Futrell, to improve the transport services as well.
He said the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which oversees water transportation and ferry service, endorses the city’s vision. And he noted that the developer of the Oyster Point project, as well as other large local companies, are also involved in the proposal.
Such support is essential, Futrell said, as input from partner agencies and corporate partners will be critical to funding protection from sea level rise. He said approximately $ 5 to 7 million has been identified to fund the improvements, but city officials need to consider strategies to fill the huge gap.
In order not to overly ambitiously envision the future of the site, an immediate plan includes spending approximately $ 750,000 to test the feasibility and then determine the next steps, according to Futrell.
With a view to the future, he presented a schedule in which the construction concepts for the new ferry terminal should be presented by next summer.
The new facility and more frequent ferries and taxis could result in an hourly service connecting South San Francisco to Mission Bay and the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Additional trips to San Francisco are important, according to Futrell, because that’s where such a large portion of Oyster Point’s workforce resides.
The new terminal could be further accentuated by plans to build a new 350-room waterfront hotel, Futrell said, as officials envision even stronger development along the Bayshore.
While officials broadly supported Oyster Point’s broad vision, at least one resident was critical. Regarding the plans to build the office campus, Roberta Prohaska questioned the need for intensive development in an area that has traditionally been reserved for more passive uses.
“I don’t like it when these tall buildings go up,” she said.