The San Francisco Giants will convert a portion of their parking lot across the Lefty O’Doul Bridge from ATT Park into a year-round pop-up venue with an Anchor Steam beer garden, coffee shop, retail stores and a waterfront deck.
Dubbed the Yard, the 18,000-square-foot project is being pitched as a way to activate a portion of the property while the team works on winning approvals for its much bigger Mission Rock project — a proposed mixed-use development that will include an 8-acre park, more than 650 housing units and 1.7 million square feet of commercial space.
Activating unused land
The Yard is the latest in a series of pop-up venues that developers are creating as a way to activate land that may be several years away from permanent development. Other San Francisco examples include Hayes Valley’s Proxy and Mid-Market’s the Hall. Both have used food, drinks and culture to generate a buzz developers hope will eventually help sell condos or attract commercial tenants.
The Giants’ project will be presented Tuesday to the San Francisco Port Commission.
The China Basin Ballpark Co., the team’s real estate arm, plans to open the Yard in March. That will be in plenty of time for the Giants preseason games against the Oakland A’s and well ahead of the team’s April 13 home opener against the Colorado Rockies, said Fran Weld, the Giants’ director of real estate.
With more than 1,500 new housing units coming online in Mission Bay and the new UCSF Medical Center about to open, the Yard will serve a south-of-Mission Creek neighborhood that has a dearth of eating and drinking spots, Weld said.
“We started working on this when we realized that the Mission Bay neighborhood was really growing faster than any of us had expected,” she said. “It’s a year-round project, so the community can come here whether or not it’s baseball season and whether or not the team is in town.”
The Yard will use 15 shipping containers salvaged from the Port of Oakland. In some cases, the containers will be stacked on top of each other. One will sit at the top of a grand staircase that will provide seating for community events ranging from concerts to movies.
The containers are currently in Vallejo, where workers are strengthening them and cutting windows and doors. “Our containers are just a couple of weeks away from being finished,” Weld said.
Weld said local retailers have committed to the space, but details are still being worked out. For Anchor Steam, the pop-up beer garden is a chance to establish a foothold in a neighborhood that will eventually become home. The brewer plans to move its headquarters to Pier 48, which is part of the broader Mission Rock redevelopment.
“It’s a lovely opportunity for us to showcase our beer down on the waterfront, which is going to be our new home,” said John Dannerbeck, senior vice president of Anchor Brewing Co.
Anchor Steam is collaborating with Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, which operates a butcher shop in the Mission District and a restaurant on Divisadero Street. “They are a great local growing San Francisco brand, and who doesn’t like beer, burgers and barbecue all together?” Weld said.
The Giants will spend $2.5 million on the project and pay $77,000 in annual rent. The port will get 25 percent of the Yard’s revenue, but not until the team has recouped the $2.5 million it will invest on construction.
The Yard, designed by Blaine Merker of Gehl Studio, is part of a national trend where developers create temporary uses while waiting for planning approvals or for the market to bounce back.
At 1019 Market St., Tidewater Capital opened the Hall, a collection of food and drink vendors that occupy a space that will eventually be knocked down to make way for a housing complex. In Hayes Valley, a parcel that is scheduled for housing was turned into Proxy, which includes a beer garden, ice cream shop and some retail.
During the recession, “so many projects were stalled, people started to say ‘Hey, let’s see how we can create community benefits and community assets even if it’s not the endgame,” Weld said. “I think San Francisco is leading the way in this.”
Seeking hot dog stand
The lease for the property extends through March 31, 2017, although the Yard could end up staying longer than that, depending on the approvals for Mission Rock. Or it could be a “traveling pop-up that moves around the site and creates prototyping opportunities for the development,” Weld said.
Corinne Woods, who lives on a houseboat in Mission Creek, said: “I think it will activate the space and get people used to the idea that there is more there than a parking lot.”
“I want a hot dog stand,” she added. “Do you know we don’t have a hot dog stand outside of ATT Park? You have to go inside of the ballpark in order to get a hot dog.”
J.K. Dineen is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @sfjkdineen