The Navy will host an Open House at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard on Wednesday, February 8th
The sidewalk rising from behind The Storehouse located just inside the gates forces a decision. To the right is a climb into asphalt and cement where sections of the massive building project emerge in various stages of completion. To the left is public art and a football field-sized patch of green grass at the crest of the hill.
Either way you proceed, you can get to the visitors’ center, a pleasing Southern California-esque structure where salespeople await. Never far away is what may be the development’s major sales point, a grand view of a long-neglected swath of the SF Bay’s waterfront.
Text and images: Jeffrey Betcher
Innovative entrepreneurs in Bayview Hunters Point are balancing a timely entry into the Bayview Business Boom with the risk of investing too much too soon.
Neil Cayabyab, behind the counter at The Storehouse, points to the wall behind him. “It’s movable,” he says. “So when the Shipyard starts filling up and business increases, we can expand the space.”
The Storehouse is a gleaming little cafe “slash” corner store on Galvez Avenue at Hunters Point where a typical customer carries a hardhat and works at building a new town on the City’s industrial and maritime past. The business provides what sells now: coffee and tea, chips and snacks, sodas and juices from a bank of refrigeration units.
But for what seems like a flexible business plan come to life, that could change. Along with pushing out the walls, Neil tells me, the owner has a plan to do outdoor seating and landscaping as things pick up.
Outdoor seating is in the plan at Simply Delish Bistro, too. The Saiseubyat family has created a restaurant with a more homespun feel. Their menu features standard breakfast and lunch items alongside Asian dishes, all at very affordable prices.
The wall behind the counter doesn’t move, but it can be erased. It’s painted in chalkboard paint so the menu can be changed and customers can share thoughts with a piece of chalk.
Ploy Saiseubyat Fong says the place is really a family affair, and calls to her sister Pearl in the Kitchen to come out for a picture.
We’ve signed a lease for the space next door, and hope to keep this place going while we open a larger restaurant and create outdoor seating,” Ploy tells me.
She knows both the risks and her market. The Wing Stop restaurant that had occupied the space her family is taking over stayed in business a meager eight months. The senior housing above the business is occupied by fixed income folks without much disposable cash.
Ploy’s family moved from Los Angeles, and is now rooted in Bayview where family members have lived for years as renters and homeowners. Ploy’s husband is a fifth generation San Franciscan and a committed member of Bayview’s Redeemer Church faith community.
Ploy waves to a customer as he leaves. “Thanks, Phil!”
Like The Storehouse, Simply Delish is a restaurant that seems to straddle eras. Inside is what feels like a traditional Bayview family business where customers are known by name and the wafer-board walls are just fine for now. But the view through the large front windows is of light rail and other markers of opportunity for future-oriented enterprises willing to grow along with a rapidly changing neighborhood.
A workshop at the Southeast Community Facility this evening to help list and prioritize the technical assistance that community members need from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Updates about work at Yosemite Slough and Hunters Point Shipyard were kept brief to leave time for a process facilitated by a Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) representative.
TASC is “a third-party, non-advocacy, neutral technical analysis” designed to “help identify community concerns, review documents, present technical information, and provide other technical assistance.”
Emails and calls are invited:
Jackie Lane, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator 415.972.3236
Lily Lee, EPA Remedial Project Manager (for the Shipyard) 415.947.4187
Yvonne Fong, EPA Remedial Project Manager (for Yosemite Slough) 415.947.4117
More information is online:
As a part of its continuing efforts to reach out to the community, the Navy invites you to participate in one of the bus tours of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard on August 23rd.
The Navy will lead two guided tours of its cleanup efforts on the former Shipyard and answer questions related to those activities. Prior to boarding the bus, participants will meet inside HPNS Building 101 where the Navy will provide information about the cleanup and sites on the tour.
Last year’s shuttle tours of the Naval Shipyard at Hunters Point where so successful that the Navy is doing it again. Two tours on Saturday, June 28th will fill up fast. RSVP immediately!
See coverage of last year’s tour. Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is the town-sized swath of prime waterfront real estate located below Islais Creek … and within sight of India Basin, Heron’s Head Park, and Hunters Point Hill … in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. It was once the economic driver for the southeast part of the City. At its peak of activity, the Shipyard employed 30,000 people.
What should happen with Hunters Point Shipyard is hardly a new question. A KPIX archival video that aired June 4th … 41 years ago … shows policymakers, including then-Mayor Joseph Allioto, discussing the possibility of keeping the Shipyard open for ship building, ship repair and other industrial uses that would create jobs.
Another 1973 interview with Mayor Aliota again focused in on the Shipyard and jobs.
Also in 1973, then-Assemblyman John L. Burton talked about retaining jobs in the event of the Shipyard closing.
KPIX Eyewitness News report from September 20th 1973 in San Francisco featuring brief scenes from a press conference by Mayor Joseph Alioto who discusses negotiations over the possible sale of the Hunters Point naval shipyard. Also includes brief views of the shipyard.
This video appears courtesy of the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive which preserves over 4,000 hours of locally-produced news film, documentaries and other programs as part of the Leonard Library at San Francisco State University. The academic resource spans sixty years of social history and cultural revolution in the San Francisco Bay Area. See the entire Bayview Hunters Point Collection. For more information, contact Alex Cherian at 415.405.5565 or acherian [at] sfsu [dot] edu.