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SF’s Iconic Ferry Building is Getting a Big Makeover

The historic building will get a new civic plaza overlooking the bay plus two new waterfront restaurants & more outdoor seating
By - posted 1/23/2023 No Comment

The Ferry Building is planning a series of enhancements to benefit the public, protect its status as a historic landmark and support the Ferry Building Marketplace’s beloved local, farm-driven and ethnically diverse merchants by improving the infrastructure and visitor circulation they need to be successful.

The proposed enhancement plan will create a high-quality civic plaza overlooking San Francisco Bay that will feature expanded seating options and can accommodate more events and programming throughout the year. The plan is also to extend the hours during which visitors can dine in and around the Ferry Building, with additional restaurants and improved lighting and heating solutions.

Historic Preservation and Restoration

The enhancement project follows the restoration of the Ferry Building led by Architecture Resources Group (ARG) that began in 2019 to repair portions of the façade and repaint the exterior in its custom-blended “Ferry Building Gray,” which represents the varied warm gray tones of the building’s original Colusa sandstone. The final phase of that restoration project — painting the iconic clocktower — will be completed in 2023.

Page & Turnbull, the original historic architect on the Ferry Building’s major 2003 restoration, has been engaged as both architect and historic architect to ensure the landmark’s historic features are protected.

Design Plans

On the north side of the building facing the Embarcadero (the Arcade), updates include enclosed spaces to accommodate new kitchens and added indoor seating for up to three restaurants. Outside, along the Embarcadero, canopy structures employing new lighting and moveable overhead panels will provide shade, weather protection, heating and flexible seating for comfortable outdoor dining, year-round.

The proposed Bay Front Kitchens plan will extend the glassline of the building’s rear façade and feature operable window systems, allowing for an indoor-outdoor experience that will maximize fresh air, natural light and the unmatched bay views the Ferry Building is famous for. This design can accommodate two large-format waterfront restaurants with additional storefronts that will open up to the interior of the building along the central corridor. The reproduction and original cast-iron columns located at the east façade of the building will remain in place.

Along the Bayside exterior of the building, the enhancement project aims to increase public usage of Ferry Plaza by repairing and resurfacing the 50-year-old plaza and strengthening connectivity with the Ferry Terminal through a beautifully enhanced, pedestrian-friendly walkway — all of which will encourage and support the long-term growth in ferry service as a transit solution for the region. Modern infrastructure, such as new electrical systems, lighting, additional outdoor seating and a retail kiosk, will allow for flexible activation and programming on the Ferry Plaza seven days a week.

Community Engagement

Like with other projects among Port of San Francisco properties, the Port is an important partner. The Ferry Building has been consulting Port staff to ensure proposed plans align with the City’s broader goals for the waterfront and the Embarcadero and are historically appropriate. The Ferry Building will also work with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to ensure that the project creates greater opportunities for locals and visitors to connect with the Bay at the new civic plaza. The Ferry Building has been reaching out to additional key stakeholders to get input and will further engage the community as the proposed designs are refined through outreach and review processes.

Questions or comments can be emailed to enhancements@ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

Timing and Operational Impact

Construction is expected to begin in late 2023 and last approximately two years. The enhancement project will be delivered in phases to minimize disruption to tenants and visitors. The Ferry Building Marketplace will be open, and the Foodwise Farmers Market will continue operating throughout construction.

Read more at Ferry Building Marketplace