While a massive commercial development transforms Oyster Point in South San Francisco, officials are working at the same time to improve access to the area through enhanced ferry service.
A committee comprised of officials from South San Francisco and the county Harbor District discussed the future of the waterfront development, surrounding marina and other amenities during a meeting Monday, Sept. 28.
The discussion arrived as Kilroy Realty constructs a massive business campus with almost 3 million square feet of planned office and biotech space spread across 10 buildings spanning 50 acres.
The first phase of development is underway on space intended to be headquarters for fintech titan Stripe and biotech Cytokinetics. With an expectation the buildings will be ready for occupancy early next year, another round of development is slated to begin on the next 900,000 square feet of the campus.
The coming round of construction is planned to be the most intensive, likely to include the core amenities which beyond workspace includes food and beverage facilities, public art, fitness centers, a sunken amphitheater and improvements to the Bay Trail, among other features.
Officials largely lauded the vision, especially for improvements to the Bay Trail which will enhance the experience for those who work at the site and other who visit for outdoor recreation.
The development east of Highway 101 abuts the Oyster Point Marina/Point, which is owned by South San Francisco but operated by the Harbor District under a joint powers agreement.
While the project reconfigures the Bayfront, city officials are planning ways to make it more accessible for the influx of workers and visitors to the commercial hub.
Mike Futrell, South San Francisco city manager, detailed an opportunity to ramp up ferry and water taxi service along the water by developing a new terminal at the spit adjacent to the marina.
He said officials will need to invest heavily in the area to protect it against the threat of sea level rise. With an expectation the infrastructure work could cost as much as $20 million, Futrell said officials see a chance to improve transportation services as well.
He said Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which oversees aquatic transportation and ferry service, favors the city’s vision. And he noted the developer of the Oyster Point project, as well as other major local businesses, are on board with the proposal as well.
Such support is essential, said Futrell, because contributions from partner agencies and corporate partners will be key in financing the sea level rise protections. He said about $5 million to $7 million in funding for the improvements has been potentially identified, but city officials must examine strategies for closing the large gap.
Not to get too ambitious in imagining the future of the site, Futrell said an immediate plan calls for spending about $750,000 to examine feasibility and then determine next steps.
Looking ahead, he presented a timeline which called for showing building concepts of the new ferry terminal by next summer.
The new facility and more frequent trips by ferries and taxies could yield hourly service connecting South San Francisco to Mission Bay and the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Futrell said additional trips to San Francisco are important, because such a significant portion of the Oyster Point workforce lives there.
The new terminal could be further accentuated by plans to build a new 350-room waterfront hotel as well, said Futrell, as officials imagine even more development along the Bayshore.
While officials were largely supportive of the comprehensive vision at Oyster Point, at least one resident was critical. Regarding plans to build the office campus, Roberta Prohaska questioned the need for intensive development in an area traditionally reserved for more passive uses.
“I don’t like to see these tall buildings going up,” she said.