An enormous, floating pool in San Francisco Bay? A developer wants to place it here. Here’s what you need to know!

Have you ever wished or thought you could swim on the bay without actually dipping yourself in the frosty, gloomy water? Do you wonder how would it go? How cold the water is? 

      A historic pier on the San Francisco waterfront is being proposed to be transformed and altered into the first public floating pool in the Bay Area, where visitors might swim laps, play water polo, or just simply unwind in a hot tub while admiring the marvelous Bay Bridge. Offices, stores, and apartments are also part of the design, along with a sheltered cove for open water swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding for those who do enjoy cold salt water!

      Also, in a city that is surrounded by water on three sides but has limited access to pools, supporters claim the initiative might give inhabitants much-needed opportunities and chances to improve their swimming abilities. However, several nearby residents have already voiced concerns about the project’s planned residential buildings and questioned the necessity of a pool. And before they can even start construction, developers must overcome years’ worth of obstacles.

      Piers 30-32, which are currently used as parking and are two connected, deteriorating piers that cover into the harbor off The Embarcadero halfway between the Ferry Building and Oracle Park, would be substituted by the development. 375,000 square feet of office space and 45,000 square feet of retail space would be built on one pier. Across the street, a residential apartment complex with more than 700 units would be built. The other pier would be transformed into an Olympic-sized heated pool that would float on a barge.

      But first of all, the project’s location on a bay and the piers’ ownership by the state present a gantlet of approvals that the developers must navigate. They aim and intend to present a measure to lawmakers next year that would let them to move through with their plans to construct offices there, which is not permitted without special parliamentary approval. In addition to the city’s approval, they also require it from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the California State Lands Commission, and the Port of San Francisco. The pool and surrounding development could open as early as 2027 if everything goes as planned.

      However, some swimmers firmly believe that the Bay’s first floating pool might cause quite a stir. The builders assert that they will collaborate with organizations and schools that can use the pool to instruct swimmers.

      According to Steve Lacy, president of the San Francisco Aquatics Foundation, there is a critical need for it. “San Francisco is surrounded by water and there is a huge population especially of minorities and in socio-economically depressed communities that don’t know how to swim” he added.

      In addition to pool space, the facility might offer a simple entry point into open water swimming, another Bay Area pastime that is rapidly expanding.

      Swimmers started diving into the bay left and right when pools closed due to the pandemic. Many of them fell in love with the cold water and continued doing so even after the pools reopened. Nevertheless, swimming in the bay’s murky, salty water can be unsettling to those who have never done it.

      The new project would provide a sheltered cove, comparable to San Francisco’s neighboring Aquatic Park, with buoys delineating an open water swimming area of approximately 1,000 feet, where beginners may become accustomed to the bay before warming up with a hot shower. We are all in for a treat!

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