The Ferry Building of San Francisco has an exciting set of enhancements planned for the next 2 years or so. Soon we’ll be able to enjoy a new and improved civic plaza on the waterfront, new restaurants with later hours, better outdoor lighting and heating solutions, canopy structures for indoor-outdoor seating, and repainting.
Renovations are scheduled to begin at the end of 2023 and will last for about 2 years. Throughout the construction phase, the Ferry Building Marketplace and Foodwise Farmers’ Market will continue operations. Read on for a preview of what’s to come!
The 50-year-old Ferry Plaza will get a well-deserved boost thanks to new repairs and resurfacing. We can expect new electrical systems, lighting, and outdoor seating in order to accommodate a variety of activations in the plaza. In order to improve connectivity and encourage use of ferry transit, we’ll also see a brand-new pedestrian walkway between the plaza to the Ferry Terminal.
In addition to the plaza, we’ll see new kitchen spaces and indoor seating to accommodate three new restaurants on the north side of the building. We’ll also see space open up for two new large waterfront restaurants, thanks to new operable window systems that extend the building’s rear façade to allow for more indoor/outdoor options. Despite these changes, the original and reproduction cast-iron columns will remain where they are.
The Ferry Building was constructed in 1898 and remains an essential icon of San Francisco. The historic landmark underwent a massive restoration and opened as we know it today in 2003, but these new restorations on the horizon will cement its ability to grow with the community’s needs in the future. Page & Turnbull, the original architect behind the 2003 restoration, will be involved with this newest restoration process to ensure preservation of the building’s historic features.
History of the Ferry Building
American architect A. Page Brown designed the Ferry Building in 1892, taking inspiration from the Giralda bell tower in Seville, Spain. Construction was completed on the edge of the Bay in 1898, and it served as the city’s portal for ferry fleets and trains. As many as 50,000 people commuted by ferry, making the building one of the world’s busiest transit terminals at the time. Thanks to its sturdy structure, the building survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes with minimal damage.
Upon construction of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, ferry transit became obsolete and much of the Ferry Building was converted to office spaces in the 1950s. It was also obscured by the massive elevated Embarcadero Freeway for 35 years, which came down after the 1989 earthquake.
After the intensive restoration of 2003, the Ferry Building now contains a world-class food marketplace promoting regional artisans and high-quality goods from Northern California. The ferry terminal continues to operate, connecting San Francisco to nearby Oakland, Alameda, Richmond, and more.