Pier 70, San Francisco

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Coordinates: 37°45′35.34″N 122°23′0.87″W / 37.7598167°N 122.3835750°W / 37.7598167; -122.3835750

Pier area c. 1918, looking south.

Pier 70 in San Francisco, California, is a historic pier in San Francisco's Potrero Point neighborhood, home to the Union Iron Works and later to Bethlehem Shipbuilding. It was one of the largest industrial sites in San Francisco during the two World Wars, and remains one of the best-preserved turn-of-the-century industrial sites west of the Mississippi.

Physical plant[edit]

The pier is 65 acres (0.26 km2) in size.[1]


The area around Pier 70 has been used for shipbuilding since the Gold Rush.[2] Since becoming home to the Union Iron Works in 1883, Pier 70 has been occupied by a variety of industrial concerns, including the Pacific Rolling Mills, Risdon Iron & Locomotive, Kneass Boat Works, Union Iron Works, Bethlehem Shipbuilding, and BAE Systems.[3]

After Bethlehem acquired Union Iron Works in 1905, the pier also housed Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's administrative offices in Building 101.[4]

Bethlehem Steel sold their holdings in the area to the Port of SF in 1980.[3]

Current state and development[edit]

USNS Mercy at the Pier 70 BAE dry dock in 2010.

Most of the pier's buildings have been unoccupied since the decline of shipbuilding in the area. However, some of the pier's historic buildings are currently occupied by BAE Systems Ship Repair and Sims Group, a metal operator.[5] Two dry docks, including the largest on the West Coast of the US, are operated by BAE, employing 200 people.[6]

The Port of San Francisco currently plans to redevelop the pier for mixed commercial and residential use in partnership with Orton Development, Inc. and Forest City Development. The redevelopment is expected to include roughly a thousand housing units and two million square feet of office space.[4][1] Plans include calls for a "Crane Cove Park" that will feature the historic cranes in the northern part of the pier complex.[7]

Notable ships built or drydocked at the pier[edit]

  • From 2001-2008, the pier housed the SS Oceanic (also known as the SS Independence), the last liner built in the United States to sail under the American flag.[8]
  • In 2012, the Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien was restored in the Pier 70 dry dock.[9]


  1. ^ a b Wildermuth, John (April 29, 2014). "Pier 70 project set for presentation". SFGate. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Ralph. "Pier 70: History". Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Pier 70 Subdistrict Fact Sheet". Port of San Francisco. Retrieved 2014-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b WATERFRONT / Developers face pier pressure / Pier 70 poses complex land-use problems, visions
  5. ^ SFGov: Port of San Francisco: Pier 70 Area
  6. ^ Byloos, Morgane (September 2012). "Pier 70 Set for Major Renovation". Potrero View. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Bevk, Alex (12 September 2013). "What's Up With the New Crane Cove Park in the Dogpatch?". Curbed. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Last U.S. ocean liner heads into the unknown
  9. ^ "SS Jeremiah O’Brien In Drydock". MojoSail. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 

External links[edit]