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SF Giants get Port approval to begin Mission Rock construction

A rendering of what the San Franciso Giants' planned mixed-use development, Mission Rock, will look like from the seats at Oracle Park. (San Francisco Giants)

The Port of San Francisco has given Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants the green light to break ground on the first phase of their $2.5bn (€2.3bn) Mission Rock project across the McCovey Cove from Oracle Park in the Mission Bay area of the city, marking a critical milestone in the long-developing effort.

Though the Giants don’t have a set date yet – they’re projecting the first turn of the shovel sometime in mid-January – the head of the project told SportBusiness after the Giants closed their season on September 29 with a 9-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was Bruce Bochy’s last game after 13 years as Giants manager, where he won 1,052 regular-season games and three World Series titles.

“We’re finalizing the design of the buildings,” said Jack Bair, executive vice-president and general counsel for the Giants and the president of Giants Development Corp., the club’s real estate arm. “We’ll probably have that released within a month. We’ve had all of the designs conceptualized before, but now we’ll actually have the formal designs.”

The Giants have been working on this mixed-use development project with the City of San Francisco and the Port since 2005, only five years after the ballpark itself opened, wading through a byzantine maze of public referendums, approval processes, and financing models.

On 27-acre Lot A, which is currently home to 2,000 parking spots, will develop 10 buildings, a parking garage and a five-acre park over the next seven to eight years. The Giants are partnering with New York-based international development firm Tishman Speyer. The two entities are 50-50 partners on the project.

Phase one should take about two-and-a-half years to complete, Bair said.

The first phase includes four individually designed buildings by different architects on the northwest corner of the lot closest to the ballpark. Plus, five acres of green space nestled next to the Cove as it twists toward the San Francisco Bay.

The Port unanimously approved the budget for phase one of the project last week, Bair said.

“It includes $145m to be spent on infrastructure,” he said. “That approval was a very key milestone for us in the process.”

The project is about a mile north of a new $1.4bn arena, the Chase Center, home to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, which moved across the bay from Oracle Arena in Oakland, effective for the current season. The arena is on the water side where 16th Street crosses Third Street. The Chase Center opened earlier this month.

The parking lot right now is the only open land left in San Francisco between the ballpark and the arena.

“In the first phase we’re building about 38 per cent of the project,” Bair said. “It’s by far the largest phase. We’re constructing two residential buildings, two office buildings, about 70,000 square feet of retail, and the five-acre park.

“So the first phase is major, and it’s all designed to fit together as a unit, so that each phase we build will feel in itself as if the project is complete,” he said.