China’s Vantone Holdings Co. is in talks to transform a pier in San Francisco’s tourist district into space for Chinese companies seeking to do business in the U.S., said four people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Talks between Vantone and San Francisco to develop Pier 19 are preliminary, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. Pier 19, a 206,000-square-foot (19,100 square meters) warehouse near Fisherman’s Wharf and Coit Tower, could be used for offices, meeting rooms, galleries or a hospitality center for Chinese business people after renovations, one of the people said.
San Francisco’s discussions with the Beijing-based developer follow private American investments in old piers and warehouses along the city’s seven-mile waterfront. A $300 million renovation of Piers 15-17, next to the possible Vantone site, is under way for the Exploratorium Science Museum. The National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors in May proposed a $500 million arena at Piers 30-32.
Shares of the Chinese developer’s listed unit, Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co., rose 1.2 percent in Shanghai trading to 3.47 yuan, the highest close in three weeks. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent.
The Port of San Francisco, the city agency that oversees development and leasing of waterfront properties, estimates the piers and warehouses need a total of $2 billion in seismic and structural repairs.
Last week, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said China Development Bank Corp. is close to providing a $1.7 billion loan for the Hunters Point and Treasure Island development sites controlled by Miami-based Lennar Corp.
Renee Dunn, spokeswoman for the Port of San Francisco, declined to comment on any plans for Pier 19. Shirley Xie, a public relations official at Vantone, said she had not heard about such discussions. Pier 19 is currently empty.
Vantone in 2009 signed the lease for a “China Center” at New York’s One World Trade Center that will have 200,000 square feet of space to host events, conferences and virtual offices when completed, according to its website.
— With assistance by Steven Yang, and Dan Levy