Excavation Work Underway for Replacement Building
By Jacob Bourne, Contributing Writer and Photographer
BCCI Builders broke ground in April on a modern artists replacement building on the corner of Horne Ave. and Robinson St. in the Hunters Point Shipyard. Developed by FivePoint and designed by architecture firm IBI Group, the $60 million project will supply 89,000 square feet of space for occupancy by artists at the end of 2019, helping to continue the decades long tradition of a thriving artists community at the Shipyard. The artists to be housed at the new building are currently in aging structures slated for later demolition to make way for other Hunter’s Point Shipyard Phase II development plans. The project is subject to a Project Labor Agreement requiring all union labor and prevailing wage provisions.
The artists building is part of the Shipyard’s envisioned Urban Innovation District that will accommodate artists, makers, educators, entrepreneurs and creative businesses. The new structure will be L-shaped, housing workspaces for 130 artists and feature a 1,600-foot gallery, 400 square foot balcony, plaza and outdoor art environment that will create an arts campus along with neighboring Building 101, which currently provides space for 150 artists.
Cost for new artists buildings at Hunters Point
Square footage of space
Number of workspaces
Average size of units, in square feet
“The SF Shipyard’s Innovation District will create a space and platform where people can come together to create and exchange ideas in exciting ways that support a thriving economy. Educational institutions, artist lofts, maker space, commercial usages and retail are all essential to attracting residents and retaining Bayview residents, which will bring the energy and diversity needed to empower this district,” said Kofi Bonner, co-chief operating officer, FivePoint.
Artists played an integral part in the planning process. With assistance from nonprofit organization STAR (Shipyard Trust for the Arts), local artists submitted input on design elements, amenities, spacing requirements and affordability. According to STAR executive director Marti McKee, FivePoint representatives met with the artists and accommodated many of their requests such as incorporating high ceilings in workspaces. An affordability study was also done that impacted the studio design, resulting in a mix of studio sizes. With rental rates at about $1.11 per square foot, smaller spaces could provide opportunities for upcoming or struggling artists. FivePoint literature cites the market rate for similar spaces at $3.50 per square foot.
“Some artists wanted less space for a more stable future,” McKee explained. “We advocated for them and FivePoint pretty quickly agreed to work with us. I was pleased that they were willing to work with the architect around the studio design. Some will still have a hard time with the rents, but it will help mitigate the impact. For artists in San Francisco, it’s a problem to support themselves. It’s a precarious path. The rental rate is extremely significant for them. Historically the Shipyard studios were low rent.
“We’ve been around for 25 years helping artists at Hunters Point. We still work to make sure that studio space is affordable for the arts and education work. We hope to be around for the long run in building 101.”
The units average 440 square feet compared to 350 square feet for the existing studios in buildings to be demolished, and are equipped with convenient restrooms, hand-wash stations and lighting controls. Other special elements include an oversized elevator, entryway and soundproofed spaces for musicians. Energy-efficient features such as LED lighting and solar panels further lower costs.