Ferry Building

San Francisco, CA

Wind your way through the Ferry Building’s lunchtime crowds, and you’d have no idea that this nationally celebrated jewel was once an unused relic chocked off from the rest of San Francisco by a now-demolished double-decker freeway. Dubbed a generation earlier as “a famous city’s most famous landmark” by a columnist trying to rekindle enthusiasm for the 1898 beacon at the foot of Market Street, it had fallen into a state of disrepair until Wilson Meany was selected to rehabilitate it 1998.

People want to participate in authentic things. We know we’ve got it right when people tell us, ‘This isn’t a mall.

Developed pursuant to a 66-year ground lease, the Ferry Building represents an outstanding example of urban redevelopment through public/private partnership. The renovation included revitalization of the historic west façade, 245-foot clock tower and 660-foot Grand Nave; construction of a new east façade; and innovative Class A office space on the second and third floors. The creation of an artisan public market on the ground floor launched a renaissance of the San Francisco waterfront, making the Ferry Building one of the city’s premier destinations, attracting over one million visitors annually. Among its many honors, the Ferry Building was awarded the 2003 National Preservation Award by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the San Francisco Business Times 2002 Real Estate Deal of the Year.

Project News

  • Crafting Authenticity for Retail Destinations

    Urban Land Institute

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  • Jay Turnbull’s Equilibrium

    The Registry

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  • Ferry Looking Better Than Ever

    San Francisco Chronicle

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Project Videos

Local History

A welcome mat,
San Francisco-style.

Throughout the early part of the 20th century, the Beaux Arts Ferry Building was the second most active transit terminal in the world, welcoming more than 50,000 travelers daily from Marin County and the East Bay. Its heyday ended abruptly in the late 1930s with the arrival of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge. Almost immediately, cars ruled, ferryboats floundered and the once-beloved Ferry Building fell into disrepair. In 1955, the building’s interior was partially demolished to create office space. Adding to the insult, a double-decker freeway was constructed across its face two years later, visually severing it from the rest of the city. Three decades later came the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which damaged the freeway significantly enough for it to be torn down in 1991. Without the eyesore blocking the view, the City began to see the potential of the Embarcadero and, in particular, the Ferry Building in all of its neglected glory.