While we’ve been gushing over the wonderful new Waterfront Park, another major redevelopment is set to partially open this week along the bay. After over two years of construction between Navy Pier and B Street Pier, the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan will finally welcome its first guests by Friday.
The initial phase of the project includes the first section of a new linear esplanade that will eventually span 1.2 miles along the North Embarcadero. Much of the 100-foot-wide public park was made possible by reconfiguring Harbor Drive. Within the park, expect jacaranda groves and seating areas, along with two main pavilions featuring a cafe and information center.
California native Pae White is the artist behind the unique structures meant to serve as “working sculptures” in the park. Seen here, even the restroom is a work of art. She considered how guests might view the buildings now and in the future—whether from the ground, a nearby high-rise, or even Google Earth.
The result is a thought-provoking design that incorporates key words into the roofs of the pavilions. The words, which are actually excerpts from the 1970 Richard Bach novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, will cast interesting shadows on the grounds and walls of the pavilions during the day. At night, they’ll be illuminated.
These pavilions will be almost completely transparent, made with orange- and yellow-tinted glass designed to imitate the colors of dawn and dusk. They hope to open the pavilions by fall.
The old Bay Cafe building, located behind the north pavilion seen here, is scheduled for demolition later this year. This new pavilion will house a cafe, for which the the Port expects to select an operator next month. We’re hoping that a local business wins the opportunity—something like the upcoming Panama 66 in Balboa Park.
A separate surface enhancement project is in the works on Broadway Pier. Moveable furniture, shade structures, and decorative pieces will be added, in an effort to make the area more inviting for pedestrians. Look closely and you can see a historical timeline of the Port along the walkway, made with engraved brass plates. We also noticed markings every several feet to indicate where flagpoles will be added.
On days when there are no cruise ships docked, visitors will be able to enjoy the views from a new seating area at the end of the pier. Between views of the bay, our growing skyline, and the spectacular Midway Museum, this could be one of the best places to catch a break on the new waterfront.
This is a no-lean zone.
Closer to the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan area, this section of Broadway Pier will feature more moveable benches and planters for all to enjoy. The more public space, the better.
It’s worth mentioning that construction broke ground in May on the Lane Field North Hotel & Park Project. That’s the space directly across the street from the new esplanade, to the immediate southwest of The Grande twin towers. That project, with details best saved for another post, will include a dual-branded hotel and 1.6-acre park. It’s hard to believe, but our little waterfront is growing up.
So, when you head down to the waterfront for the Big Bay Boom this Friday, be sure to check out the newest public space introduced by the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan. These are exciting times along the bay.