15 Years In The Making, New Rooftop Park To Debut In Chinatown

15 Years In The Making, New Rooftop Park To Debut In ChinatownCindy Wu, Aaron Peskin and Phil Ginsburg surveying the new park. | Photo: Connie Chan/SF Rec and Park
Nathan Falstreau
Published on September 18, 2017

Chinatown will see a new park in early October, San Francisco Recreation and Park announced today.

The 6,000-square-foot rooftop park—located on Quincy Street between California and Pine Streets—connects to St. Mary's Square through a walkway.

Image: SF Rec And Park

“Chinatown is a high-needs neighborhood with a scarcity of open space," said Allan Low, vice president of the SF Rec and Park Commission, in a statement. "The St. Mary’s Park Extension is a creative solution not just to create an extension but to expand a sense of place.”

The new park has taken nearly 15 years of planning to become a reality. It first began as a condition of approval from SF Planning for a development at 500 Pine St. and 350 Bush St., in the works since 2003. 

St. Mary's Square, Chinatown. | Photo: Adam S./Yelp

Originally, when developer Shorenstein Co. planned to build high-rise office space in the neighborhood, concerns arose over potential shadows cast on an already sun-deprived neighborhood and a lack of public space.

To gain approval from neighborhood advocates, community organizations and the planning department, the company agreed to build an extension to St. Mary's Square and the rooftop park.

In 2007, the parcels were sold to Lincoln Property Company and the firm inherited the park deal. 

Upon completion of the park, ownership transfers to Recreation and Park, while the owners of 500 Pine Street and 350 Bush Street will maintain the park and ensure public access. The space is accessible to the public through the square and contains planted areas, seating and an open plaza. 

Visitors will have a bird's eye view of FiDi . | Photo: SF Rec and Park

"This expansion is something I have been working on with the community since my first term in office," District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin said in a statement.

"Chinatown, the densest neighborhood in the city, has long fought for a modicum of open space and recreational programming as development continues to increase around it," he continued. "I'm delighted to see the community's victory manifested in this public park expansion for all to enjoy."