Improvements are Coming to Gene Friend Way

By Robert Hood on May 27, 2021


When Ali Keshavarz opened Peasant Pies at Gene Friend Way Plaza on UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus in 2008, he always envisioned the large, sunny, area outside his restaurant as the perfect place for a European-style dining area. His vision will soon become reality.

UCSF Facilities Services will install cabanas, large umbrellas and new tables along the plaza. The cabanas and umbrellas will be anchored into Gene Friend Way to protect diners from both the sun and the wind.

“We’re developing an outdoor break space for our employees and visitors,” said Cindy Yoxsimer, executive director of Business and Technology Solutions at Campus Life Services. “Gene Friend Way will be updated to include two covered trellises, an umbrella grove, bistro tables, chairs and beautiful plants.”

Yoxsimer said the improvements will increase the useability and comfort on Gene Friend Way Plaza while also providing much needed protection from the sun and wind. “Our tenants have always wanted to provide shade for our community,” she said. “Installing anchors for the cabanas and umbrellas is necessary, given the nature of the wind-whipped plaza. This will help create a more usable and comfortable environment.”

Keshavarz said customers will often purchase a cup of coffee or a pie from his restaurant but will take it back to the office rather than sit in the plaza. He said the plaza’s retailers are willing to help the university create an inviting outdoor environment by providing great food and beverage. “The investment to provide shade for visitors to the plaza needed planning and cooperation from UCSF. I appreciate that the university is helping make this happen.”

Josh Winzeler, infrastructure programs manager at UCSF Facilities Services, is managing the project. “We’ve had a few product manufacturing delays but I’m pushing to get this project completed as soon as possible. We are looking forward to creating a welcoming outdoor break space for our UCSF community.”