After 20 years of effort, the five-member San Francisco Port Commission recently voted unanimously to construct the Pier 27 James R. Herman International Cruise Terminal and Northeast Wharf Plaza.

Image courtesy of the Port of San Francisco
A rendering of the new cruise terminal and plaza

Construction on the $52-million project could begin as early as March, according to Renée Dunn Martin, spokeswoman for the Port of San Francisco, who said the specific start date is dependent on various final regulatory approvals (e.g., a major development permit issued by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission).

Last June, the Port Commission awarded the construction manager/general contractor contract to Turner Construction Co. Design efforts have been going on for more than two years; the design contract is a joint venture lead by Kaplan McLaughlin & Diaz Architecture and Pfau Long Architects in association with cruise terminal design consultant, Bermello Ajamil & Partners.

Dunn Martin said that Turner is in the process of bidding out a variety of subcontractor trade packages.

The port estimates that the cruise industry last year generated nearly $40 million in economic benefits to the region. The average economic contribution per home-ported vessel call was close to $1.2 million and the average impact of an in-transit call was $800,000.

The new James R. Herman International Cruise Terminal will be named in honor of the late James R. Herman, former port commissioner and president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

The project consists of a new 88,000-sq-ft cruise terminal and 2.5-acre public park, the Northeast Wharf Plaza, at Piers 27-29, a 14.8-acre site located on The Embarcadero at Bay Street.

The new terminal on Pier 27 will serve as the primary cruise ship terminal, while the cruise terminal on Pier 35 will be used as a secondary terminal in the event that two cruise ships require berthing on the same date. The terminal will be appointed with modern passenger amenities, be able to handle the largest classes of cruise ships and will reduce vessel emissions at the port by providing shorepower.

The port also conceded that the project will fit in with the operation of the upcoming 34th America’s Cup, which the city is hosting beginning in 2013.