In 2014, the City acquired the 900 Innes property, which is adjacent to the existing India Basin Shoreline Park and India Basin Shoreline Open Space. Together with India Basin Shoreline Park, the City plans to design and build a new, world-class 10-acre park that will provide local residents with direct access to parks, open space and new recreational opportunities.
Set on the India Basin shoreline, the 900 Innes site includes both land and submerged areas . Abutting two existing SFRPD–owned parks, India Basin Shoreline Park and India Basin Open Space, it is a former boat building and repair yard, and is now a postindustrial brownfield site in need of remediation.
900 Innes is a former maritime industrial site that contains the historic Shipwright’s Cottage and Scow Schooner Boatyard, Griffith Street and Hudson Street ROWs, and several underwater parcels. With a rich history of boat building and repair, the site was first organized to facilitate the transfer of boats into and out of the water by utilizing a sloped concrete, wooden, and steel marineway rails, many of which are still intact today. While the sites adjacent to 900 Innes have been filled in over time, a small length of the original shoreline of the Hunter’s Point peninsula still exists within the boatyard today. Several buildings, docks, and ruins remain on the site in various states of disrepair.
In the 1870s, India Basin saw both Chinese immigrants establish shrimping camps at India Basin and an influx of European immigrant shipwrights, who were drawn to the San Francisco Bay’s deep-water access and by the lack of competitors. 900 Innes, including the Shipwrights Cottage (a San Francisco City landmark) was originally a boat-building yard for the Scow Schooner, a flat-bottomed boat made specifically to navigate the Bay’s waters, which made it the primary mode of transporting goods. Jack London’s Snark as well as the Alma, a National Historic Landmark and the last of her kind, were built at 900 Innes.
By the 1930’s, new modes of transportation and the openings of the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge had a vast impact on the shipping trade in the Bay Area and in particular the scow shipping industry, and only one boatyard, the Anderson & Cristofani Boatyard at 900 Innes, still operated. Even so, Anderson & Cristofani continued their boat repair operations until the 1990’s.
Unfortunately, the industrial activities associated with 900 Innes’ notable history as a boat building and repair facility for over 120 years have left the property a brownfield which must be cleaned of hazardous substances and contaminants before it can be developed as a park.
India Basin Shoreline Park
The existing 5.6 acre India Basin Shoreline Park consists of upland and shoreline habitat, areas of tidal marsh, riprap, shrub and tree plantings, as well as turf areas. The park’s existing design encompasses rolling topography, winding pathways, and vehicular access. Current park amenities include a basketball court, picnic and barbecue areas, play areas, seating, art installations, and parking along the vehicular drive. There are no existing buildings, structures, or facilities at India Basin Shoreline Park.
Once a bustling harbor, India Basin included industry, open space, businesses and recreational facilities. Its extensive dry docks and shipyards buzzed with activity during the 1890s and boomed during the World Wars, when the basin was used as a marina. But by the early 1970s, boating and shipbuilding activity in the basin had declined dramatically.
In August 1999, Mayor Willie Brown named India Basin Shoreline Park a “Renaissance Park.” Supervised by the Trust for Public Land, Renaissance activities began with community outreach that focused on India Basin’s location along the Bay Trail, the creation of better access to the park and a survey of prospective improvements for when the park expands onto land already owned by SFRPD.
Park improvements began in September 2000, supported by $179,300 in funding from the Open Space Committee, the Community Development Building Grant and the San Francisco Conservation Corps, along with $378,000 from The Trust for Public Land. The Bay Trail through India Basin Shoreline Park was completed, green spaces were expanded, and grading, fencing, planting, benches and a playground and a basketball court were installed.
Fifteen years later, SFRPD and The Trust for Public Land will revisit India Basin Shoreline Park, beginning a community process to identify programmatic elements and improvements necessary to make the park more vibrant.