Mission Bay is an ongoing development of residential and business properties in the southeast quadrant of downtown San Francisco; better known to some as south of South of Market. Upon completion, the Mission Bay Park System will encompass approximately 43 acres of open space and recreational facilities for use by the general public. Small "pocket parks", shoreline walkways, bicycle paths, children's play areas, sports courts and soccer fields are all part of the master plan for this area. The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and Mission Bay Development Group (formerly ProLogis) continue to work together to ensure that this new neighborhood will allow residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from carefully planned public spaces. MJM Management Group has been contracted to manage the parks and assist the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency during their planning processes.
Mission Bay was once a saltwater marsh and lagoon that was a natural habitat for a bird population that included ducks, geese, herons, egrets, osprey and gulls. Native Americans resided in the area for over 5,000 years. Unfortunately, by the early 19th century, immigrants to the area exposed the Native American population to previously unknown diseases that reduced their population to nearly zero.
Long before the 1906 quake and clearly afterwards, the Mission Bay site was used as a convenient place to deposit soil and refuse from building projects throughout the growing city. Much of the Mission Bay area is comprised of landfill from these projects. Shipping commerce and the introduction of the railroad were both important components of the transition of Mission Bay into an industrial district. The area was home to shipyards, canneries, a sugar refinery and warehouses from the mid 19th century well into the 20th century.
Changes in the economy in the late 20th century were reflected in the Mission Bay area by the loss of its cornerstone industries, mainly shipbuilding and repair facilities. A large portion of the area became dormant and appeared run down due to lack of use. A master plan to revive the area and convert over 300 acres into a planned community was produced in the late 1990s. Known as the Mission Bay Project, it is the largest urban development initiated by San Francisco since the construction of Golden Gate Park. The project is being overseen by the property owner Mission Bay Development Group in conjunction with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and San Francisco Planning Department. Upon completion, Mission Bay will become home to a mixture of residential and commercial properties. Apartments, condominiums, retail stores, restaurants, corporate and science businesses will all be anchored by the already completed AT&T Ballpark and a new research campus for UCSF. Within these developments will be 49 acres of open space for parks and recreational facilities. Mission Creek Park is first of many parks planned for Mission Bay.