The Port is responsible for the leasing, management, and development of hundreds of facilities and spaces. These assets include a diverse portfolio of industrial, office, parking, retail, restaurants, museums, maritime, open land, and public open space uses. Port property includes piers, shed structures, seawall lots and public rights-of-ways. The Ferry Building is the dividing line between the northern and southern waterfront with even numbered piers south and odd numbered piers north. Seawall lots comprise a large portion of port property with several long-term ground leases to facilitate past, current, and future development. The Port waterfront property is leased to hundreds of local, regional, and national tenants. The Port encourages a diverse range of tenants in its real estate portfolios and is actively seeking nearly all business types with an emphasis on small local businesses who contribute towards the Port’s goal of achieving Port’s Racial Equity Plan regarding leasing.
Anyone interested in using Port streets and open spaces for public or private events, filming or street closures may visit Permit Services for additional information.
Key Leasing Information
As part of the Port’s approval process, all prospective tenants are required to complete a lease application.
Applications will be routed for review and approvals. When an application is approved, a Port Property Manager will draft and submit Basic Lease Information to the City Attorney’s Office for assignment and preparation of the lease.
Approval times can vary and the Port’s ability to execute the lease is subject to the required approvals. Processing time for the lease is based on a completed leasing application and submittal of financial information satisfactory to the Port. There are circumstances under which the Port may process the lease or are required to obtain Port Commission and/or Board of Supervisor approval. Any lease requiring Board of Supervisor approval will require Port Commission approval.
This table outlines the lease details that may require additional Port Commission and Board of Supervisors approvals.
The Port approves leases for:
- Office, industrial, or storage usages
- Rent is at or above parameter rates
- Total lease value over term is under $1 million
- Lease duration is 1-5 years
- General time frame for approvals is 90-120 days
Port Commission approval is required for:
- Retail and any uses that meets the criteria below
- Rent is below parameter rates or Fair Market Value
- Total lease value over term is under $1 million
- Lease duration is 6 or more years
- General time frame for approvals is 90-180 days
Board of Supervisors approval is required for:
- Any non-maritime use that meets the criteria below
- Rent to be determined by Fair Market Value
- Total lease value over term is over $1 million
- Lease duration is 10 or more years including option to renew
- General time frame for approvals is 90-180 additional days after Port Commission approval
The Port sets a parameter rental rate schedule for its properties based on a comprehensive market review to determine the minimum rent based on facility, use and location. The Port prefers lease terms between 3 to 5 years. Shorter terms are considered in special cases. Longer terms are considered if required to amortize substantial tenant improvements or Port infrastructure paid for by the tenant.
For proposed improvements that upgrade or extend the life of Port infrastructure and/or improve its facilities, the Port may offer limited rent abatement to assist offsetting the cost and/or early entry to the premises for the construction of tenant improvements prior to rent commencing subject to pre-approval and verification the improvement costs and schedule.
All retail and restaurant sites, entertainment venues, long-term event spaces and cultural institutions such as museums are considered “retail opportunities” and are generally required to be competitively bid, per the Port's Retail Leasing Policy and City policy.
For retail opportunities, the Port issues Request for Proposals (RFP) for multiple or selected retail sites that is circulated through community organizations, trade associations, and posted under Contract Opportunities. The RFP provides the minimum terms required and outline financial, experience and expertise standards. Respondents are required to submit forecasted financial projections, capital to be invested, proposed business terms that exceed the minimum and financial statements of the entities.
The Port encourages partnering and mentoring Local Business Enterprises and minority Business Enterprises. The RFP and respondent teams are reviewed and scored by an independent panel. The Port provides the results in a public staff report and presentation to the Port Commission. The Port Commission selects a finalist and directs the Port to prepare a lease for Commission and Board of Supervisors approval where required.
Maritime leases include uses for commercial fishing, fish processing, harbor services, bay excursions, cargo terminals, berthing and apron use. The Port sets a parameter rental rate schedule for maritime use based on a comprehensive market review to determine the minimum rent based on facility, use and location. Maritime rates are also set by Port Tariff.
All potential development sites are offered on a competitive bid process through a Request for Interest (RFI), Request for Qualifications (RFQ), or a Request for Proposal (RFP). Depending on the selection process, Development responses are scored by an independent scoring panel and advanced to the Port Commission with a recommendation to enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA). Available development opportunities are posted on Contracting Opportunities.
The Port and potential development partners are required to engage public stakeholders, community groups, and regulatory partners for input throughout any proposed development. The Port approval process is generally outlined in the RFP and will likely include, but not be limited to: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), US Army Corp of Engineers, Port Commission, and Board of Supervisors approvals.
Future development RFP’s will be listed on the Port and City’s website. In general, from time of Port Commission approval to entering an ENA to all project approvals, the typical time to lease signing ranges from two to seven years.
Standard Form and Other Approvals
The Port utilizes a standard lease form, requires compliance with all City ordinances and laws, compliance with Environmental laws, zoning, Port waterfront land use plan, and compliance with the Secretary of Interiors’ Standards for treatment of Historical Properties. Any changes to the form lease require the City Attorney’s input and approval. Please be advised other Non-Port approvals or permits may be required such as CEQA determinations, BCDC permits, building permits, ABC alcohol permits, and other SF City Agencies permits prior to or after the Port executes the lease. The Port routinely cooperates with outside agencies and in some cases will be a co-applicant with the tenant. Please note that obtaining all non-Port regulatory approvals will be the Tenant’s responsibility with the Port’s participation where applicable.
Please be advised the Port is unable to pay for or provide credits towards real estate brokerage commissions or advisory fees on transactions. In selected RFPs and subject to Port Commission approval, the Port may offer a fixed compensation to facilitate the process or for procurement of qualified tenants either as a fee or reimbursed through a credit to the tenant.