The five member San Francisco Port Commission made history today by voting unanimously to construct the Pier 27 James R. Herman International Cruise Terminal and Northeast Wharf Plaza.

“For more than two decades, we have been trying to find the mechanism and the money to construct a new cruise terminal that is befitting of the City’s prominence as a world class destination,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.  “Now that the Port Commission has adopted the Project and the San Francisco Planning Department’s certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report, work can truly begin – work whose construction and completion will bring what we need most: jobs, jobs, jobs.”

It is estimated 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.  

Not only does the cruise industry benefit San Francisco’s leading industry, tourism, it also directly benefits San Francisco’s other maritime industries such as tug and tow operators, Bar Pilots, ship suppliers and longshore workers.

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.

Dean Brown, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services for Princess Cruises stated:  “As a longtime partner with the Port of San Francisco, Princess Cruises looks forward to calling at a new cruise terminal at Pier 27.  The new terminal will provide our guests with a more efficient and comfortable experience befitting a City like San Francisco.”

As a result of the Port Commission’s landmark approval, in the first quarter of 2012, ground breaking will commence on construction of a new 88,000 square foot cruise terminal and 2½ 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 cruise 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.

“This is a great day in the history of the Port of San Francisco,” said Port Commission President Kimberly Brandon.  “Construction of the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 will allow San Francisco to finally showcase a world class, state-of-the-art cruise terminal that we can all be proud of. On behalf of the Port Commission, I would like to thank the numerous people involved for their hard work, perseverance and bringing us to this point.”

The Port’s goal to develop a new cruise terminal has a long history, which has been refined and improved in collaboration with the City and the community, particularly with the inclusion of the Northeast Wharf Plaza. The opportunity to integrate the cruise terminal with the 34th America’s Cup adds to the creation of another unique destination along San Francisco’s waterfront.

In concert with the cruise terminal facility, the Port plans to construct the Northeast Wharf Plaza, an approximately 2½ acre public open space to be located along the west end of Pier 27, along the Embarcadero Promenade.

“This new terminal will be designed to meet modern ship and operational requirements of the cruise industry and provide an appropriate, welcoming gateway to one of the world’s most beautiful cruise ship ports,” said Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel.  “This is a long awaited addition which reconfirms San Francisco as a global tourist destination. The 34th America’s Cup will be an unparalleled opportunity to broadcast that status and this exciting sport to a world-wide audience.”

While the cruise terminal will be a permanent facility, there are times throughout the year when cruise ships do not call at Pier 27. During these times, the design for the cruise terminal provides for approximately 60,000 square feet of space for shared uses to generate revenues when cruise ships are not berthed, such as special events, conferences and other public or private gatherings.

Highlights of the cruise terminal project include:

·        Conversion of Pier 27 into a year-round cruise terminal and community asset.

·        Evolved security and passenger handling systems designed to meet the demands of the cruise industry while also being reconfigured to allow for use when it is not occupied for cruise purposes.

·        Provide user-friendly facilities and services to all potential users, including cruise passengers, waterfront tourists and the general public.

·        Construction of a major 2½ acre open space, known as the Northeast Wharf Plaza, so that City residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the presence of cruise ships, maritime activity and views of the Bay and Treasure Island.

·        A built-in flexibility in the cruise terminal to allow berthing of different types and sizes of cruise ships and meet the needs of different operational modes.

·        Offer cruise passengers a positive experience (i.e., making passengers feel welcome through efficient baggage handling, security screening, check-in embarkation and disembarkation procedures);

·        Allow for varied multi-purpose use of the cruise terminal during non-cruise days for public and/or private programming;

·        Develop uses that activate the Northeast Wharf Plaza so that it can be used year-round.

·        Develop flexibility into the design to meet future needs of the Project.

·        Build and manage the cruise terminal to the highest feasible environmental design standards.

·        Create a cruise terminal which will provide an on-going stimulus to the San Francisco economy by attracting visitors and contributing tax revenues to the City’s General Fund.