Inside the crumbling walls of a former shipyard machine shop at San Francisco’s Pier 70, construction crews are humming along, repainting the century-old red bricks that are losing their mortar by the minute.
Broken windows, with panes dating back to when the workshop was constructed in 1885, line the 62-foot-tall walls. Dirty skylights, partially covered by corrugated metal, will soon shine with daylight once again.
In less than two years, the room where iron workers once slapped together ships used by the U.S. military in the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II will brim with employees of yet-to-be-named companies and, for the first time, the public.
This is Building 113, the oldest of eight structures within the historic core of Pier 70 that comprises the most intact 19th century industrial complex west of the Mississippi River.
Orton Development, the team charged with restoring Pier 70’s historic core, envisions an atrium will cut through Building 113 and open up into the former machine shop courtyard that will be used for farmers markets, concerts and other public events.
The $80 million restoration of the 20th Street Historic Buildings began early last month, after the master lease for the property was signed between Orton and the Port of San Francisco, which oversees the land. Each of the eight buildings will take up to two years to rehabilitate, meaning the project is expected to be finished by late 2017.
“Our goal at the end of this project is for this piece of Pier 70 to feel like it’s always been part of the neighborhood,” James Madsen, Orton’s project manager for the Pier 70 site, said of the sleepy Dogpatch community that once served as a major industrial hub.
Read more: San Francisco Examiner Restoration ‘full steam ahead’ of Pier 70’s former shipyard