Revitalizing the Waterfront
It’s interesting to note the disparity in the success of various waterfronts. You might think that, what with all the built-in interest that a waterfront provides, you couldn’t help but have a successful facility if you’re next to the water. Not true! There are a lot of waterfronts that are not great places to hang out. The great waterfronts didn’t happen by accident. They came about because people saw the potential and cared enough to make the investment in time, energy and capital to make them happen. Witness Jack London Square and San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Both tremendously vibrant waterfronts. But at one time neither of them was a place where you would linger. These places became great places through a lot of hard work.
Right now, the City of Redwood City is hoping that the Port of Redwood City experiences a similar renaissance, and they’re making the effort to see that it happens. And the private sector is getting behind the effort. This is that story.
Callander Associates was recently introduced to a tenant of the Port of Redwood City and asked to look at the opportunities for improving the waterfront. The site is directly adjacent to the waterfront and benefits from a fantastic view over Redwood Creek and Estuary to Bair Island. On clear days, the profile of Bay Area landmarks can be seen in the distance. The site is entirely within BCDC’s jurisdiction and as such, provides unimpeded public access. It’s a site with tremendous potential, but it’s underutilized. To a significant degree this is a function of its remoteness from downtown Redwood City. It serves primarily as an amenity to the offices located just beyond the shoreline band.
How do you overcome this sense of separation? Host a party and invite everyone to come! That’s what Redwood City does every year with an event called Portfest. Portfest is now in it’s 3rd year, and gaining traction. Great fun! Food, boat rides, crafts, music, all adding to the natural vibrancy of the setting.
We are fortunate to enjoy working on significant projects like this, where our efforts can make a big difference in the experience of locals and visitors alike. Our goal/challenge/objective: make this site the best host it can be for the annual Porfest, while revitalizing the space to nurture broader use by the community on a year round basis. In short, do our part to put the Port of Redwood City back on the map!
written by Mark Slichter, Principal