Pier 70 in 7x7 Magazine

photo: Andrew Paynter Pier 70 Could Become SF's Next Artist Neighborhood

Once the birthplace of hulking World War II ships and endless miles of steel tubes used for BART infrastructure, modern-day Pier 70—with its ghostly tumbledown warehouses, buckling ship slips, and fields of wild fennel—is a forsaken landscape on the brink of a metamorphosis. Legislation to transform a 28-acre section of Pier 70 into a mixed-use waterfront for housing, artist studios, retail shops, and new parks is on the November ballot. If approved, the measure will increase the pier’s height limit from 40 feet to 90 feet, a tactic to preserve the tallest existing historic structure on-site, and to green-light an environmental review to satisfy California’s strict requirements. The blueprints for the new Pier 70 are impressively crowdsourced: The developer, Forest City Enterprises, has powwowed with more than 10,000 enthusiastic residents through on-site focus groups and such lively neighborhood events as open markets and movie nights. “This project is truly community driven,” says Alexa Arena, senior vice president at Forest City. “For the first time in a long time, a development project is actually noncontroversial.”

Suzy Barnard's Statement to the Port Commission

Here is the text of Suzy's statement to the San Francisco Port Commission at their May 28th meeting:

Good afternoon Commissioners. My name is Suzy Barnard, speaking on behalf of the Noonan Building Artists at Pier 70.

We would like to express thanks to Forest City and the Port for including us in the Term Sheet, which was submitted to the Port last week.  We raised our concerns at the Port Commission hearing on May 14th about not being included in Pier 70's redevelopment plans, and it was very gratifying to be heard. We very much look forward to working together, in an atmosphere of trust and good faith.

I have just a couple of brief points this afternoon to bring to your attention:

Firstly, since the wording on Forest City's Term Sheet regarding the Noonan Building Artists is brief and general, we wish to state clearly that affordable, comparable art studio space is required not only for all current existing tenants and sub-tenants, but also for the benefit of future artists, and request that a long-term commitment to affordable artists' workspace be made in order to perpetuate the long history of Pier 70 as one of San Francisco's few remaining vibrant creative centers.

Secondly, the Noonan Building Artists remain committed to pursuing the option of preserving the Noonan Building itself, as a special building of historic significance that holds a living, breathing and current community within it.

Thank you.

Report on the May 28th Port Commission Meeting

Last Tuesday the San Francisco Port Commission had another meeting at which the redevelopment of Pier 70, and the fate of the Noonan Building and it's community of artists, was discussed. Five representatives of the NBA were there, and Suzy Barnard, one of those in attendance, gave a short speech on our behalf. Here's a report from Noonan Building Artist Kim Austin on the meeting:

I think we all have to thank Suzy Barnard for speaking on our behalf yesterday at the Commissioners' meeting. She did a splendid job. She thanked the Commission for listening to our concerns, and thanked Forest City and the Port for including us in the term sheet.

It was a very cozy, lovey meeting. Lots of supporters for Forest City and the SF Port spoke this time. The presentation to the Commission was brief and to the point, and it included mention of the Noonan Building Artists on several accounts. We were heard at the last meeting and are now inserted into the text.

We have learned from these meetings about many dedicated people who have been working tirelessly on the pier 70 project for years. Several times it was called a labor of love. I really believe that we are part of that equation now, and that our years of keeping the Noonan Building alive is seen with equal respect. I believe that both the Port and FC see our importance and relevance in this project.

We are now in a perfect position to start a positive dialogue, and to begin shaping the future artistic core of Noonan Building history. We have tons of time. So we can be thoughtful and insightful. What do we want to pass on to the next generation of artists? What can we share with them from our decades of experience? What advise can we give to the Port and FC in taking our "seed" and encouraging it to grow?

Later this summer the Port and FC will schedule a meeting with us to go over the options that we will explore together over the next 10 or so years. We will keep you posted as to when that will happen. For now, FC will spend the next 3 years drafting their plan and getting approvals. Orton will work on the historic core buildings. Crane Cove Park will also evolve over the next few years. The Waterfront project with FC is scheduled to begin in 2016.

It was really great to attend yesterday's meeting with Suzy, Marti, Henry, and Susan Eslick, and to see Pamela at the moment of departure. Thanks everyone for caring about our special place, the Noonan Building.

NBA Reps Attend CWAG Meeting

On Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Marti McKee, Kim Austin, Connie Harris and Suzy Barnard attended the monthly CWAG meeting, which took place at the Port's offices at Pier 1. CWAG (Central Waterfront Advisory Group) consists of a committee of community advisors, and they've been paying close attention to all the Port's plans in our area for many years. They have a real understanding of the planning process and all the moving parts. The main topic on the agenda was to hear presentations from both the Port and Forest City developers on the Term Sheet.

Marti spoke, she gave a short summary of the statements made by Kim and Adele the night before at the Port Commission meeting, and Kim also gave an eloquent testimony expressing the passion we feel for the building and Pier 70.

We came away feeling encouraged, and like we'd been heard. CWAG expressed their awareness and support for our community, but strongly encouraged us to be involved in the process, and to show up to as many meetings as we can stand. They also said they felt confident that Forest City and the Port would do the right thing by us.

The Port stated that the demolition of the Noonan Building would not happen for another 10-15 years (!), and Jack Sylvan (Forest City) apologized to us for not including us sooner, and made clear overtures that he wants to reach out.

Here's a link to CWAG's agenda for this meeting.