Port Preservation & Design Policies

The Port’s Waterfront Land Use Plan and Design and Access Element established policies in 1997 to guide the Port in its repurposing of its maritime industrial facilities and to reconnect the city to its waterfront after the removal of the earthquake damaged Embarcadero Freeway in 1990 The Port’s Waterfront Land Use Plan and Design and Access Element contain preservation policies and design criteria that are intended to guide Port and tenant initiated projects to make them sensitive to historic resources and consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Secretary’s Standards) while supporting continued Port operations and the on-going integration of visual and public access along the waterfront.

The Port’s utilizes the Secretary’s Standards to review projects involving historic resources. Port projects are typically reviewed for consistency with 10 Rehabilitation Standards which can be viewed on the Port’s website:

The Port has integrated the Secretary’s Standards into its environmental review and project permitting processes. One of the ways that this has been accomplished is through the use of public/private partnerships that qualify for Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits and are certified by the National Park Service (NPS) as consistent with the Secretary’s Standards.

The Port has also adopted Sign Policies with provisions tailored to its historic pier facilities and that incorporate the Port’s best preservation practices as well as precedents set by NPS for rehabilitation projects approved within the Embarcadero Historic District. The Port Signage Policy can be viewed on the Port’s website

The Port also adopted two measures at the time of the designation of the Embarcadero Historic District that specifically address the Secretary’s Standards. These measures include the Port’s Historic Preservation Review Guidelines for Pier and Bulkhead Wharf Substructures that are based on the principles of the Secretary’s Standards. The Guidelines also specifically recognize the Port’s on-going routine maintenance and repair as consistent with the Secretary’s Standards. Likewise, Port Commission Resolution 04-89 adopted in 2006 requires all projects within the Embarcadero Historic District be consistent with the Secretary’s Standards. The Guidelines and Resolution 04-89 can be viewed on the Port’s website by CLICKING HERE (PDF).

The Port has also prepared a Pier 70 Preferred Master Plan for the entire 68 acre former shipyard property that comprises the Union Iron Works Historic District. The Plan contains a preservation strategy that calls for the rehabilitation of many of the district’s historic resources consistent with the Secretary’s Standards and includes – Infill Development Design Criteria that are intended to make new construction compatible with the district and consistent with the Secretary’s Standards.


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