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 were demolished and replaced with a new pedestrian surface composed of composite stone pavers, a steel arbor with climbing vines, trees and several rain gardens. The Plaza was consciously designed to accommodate a wide range of uses, including art exhibitions, 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.

The approximately $3.5M project was donated to the City of San Francisco by Martin Building Company, a local developer with over 25 years experience building in the City. Mint Plaza is maintained and managed at no cost to the public by Friends of Mint Plaza (FoMP), a California non-profit 501(c)(3) 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, enjoy lunch, or chat with friends.

It’s also uniquely urban: a plaza framed on three sides by historic architecture and lined with cafés and restaurants, providing a great opportunity for al fresco dining. The Plaza also features a daily gourmet food truck and flower cart.

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