In April 2007 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Mayor approved legislation to transform a 290’-long portion of Jessie Street stretching between Fifth and Mint Streets into San Francisco ’s newest public open space, aptly named Mint Plaza. The entire process, from concept, to financing to implementation, took just under two years to complete—quite an accomplishment for San Francisco.

Existing streets and sidewalks have been demolished and replaced with a new pedestrian surface composed of composite stone pavers, a steel arbor with climbing vines, trees and several rain gardens (view before and after images). The Plaza was consciously designed to accommodate a wide range of uses, including art exhibitions, theatre, live music, cafés, and small festivals, while also providing a quiet, green and clean refuge for neighboring residents, downtown employees and visitors from everywhere to pause, and relax (view the design in greater detail).

The approximately $3.5M project was donated to the City of San Francisco by Martin Building Company, a local developer with over 14 years experience building in the City. Mint Plaza is maintained and managed at no cost to the public by Friends of Mint Plaza (FMP), a California non-profit organization.

Mint Plaza is a special kind of public open space, designed to serve a variety of users. First and foremost, it’s a community gathering spot–a green space to take a break, sit outdoors, bring lunch, read a book or chat with a friend.

It's also uniquely urban: a plaza framed on three sides by historic architecture and lined with cafés and restaurants, providing a wonderful opportunity for al fresco dining. Friends of Mint Plaza (FoMP) is also pursuing a small number of push cart vendors promoting locally and sustainably produced food and other items to further enhance the Plaza's offerings.

Mint Plaza is also an exciting cultural venue: a place to experience a diversity of art and music, free to the public. FoMP already sponsors a variety of small, live-music events and festivals, and hopes to expand its programming to include theater, film, dance, and visual art in the upcoming year.