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San Francisco Transbay development

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Title: San Francisco Transbay development  
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Subject: List of tallest buildings in San Francisco, Unused highway, Millbrae Intermodal Terminal, South of Market, San Francisco, Penrose tiling
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San Francisco Transbay development

Transbay Transit Center & Tower
The Transbay Transit Center & Salesforce Tower, the tallest of the towers in the development
General information
Status Under construction
Type Commercial offices
Location Mission Street
San Francisco, California
Opening 2017-19
Antenna spire 1,070 ft (326 m)
Roof 920 ft (280 m)[1]
Technical details
Floor count 61
Floor area 1,300,000 sq ft (120,000 m2)[2]
Design and construction
Architect Cesar Pelli [3]
Developer Boston Properties
Hines Interests Limited Partnership
Engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates

The San Francisco Transit Center District Plan is a massive redevelopment plan for the neighborhood surrounding the Transbay Transit Center site, South of Market near the Financial District in San Francisco.[8] The new Transbay Transit Center will replace the since-demolished San Francisco Transbay Terminal, and new skyscrapers, such as Salesforce Tower, will take advantage of the height increases allowed through the Transit Center District Plan. The sale of several land parcels formerly owned by the state and given to the managing Transbay Joint Powers Authority will help finance the construction of the Transbay Transit Center.[9]


The original Transbay Terminal opened in 1939 as the San Francisco terminus for the Key System and other commuter trains that travelled across the new San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge to the East Bay. Train service to San Francisco was discontinued in 1958 and the Transbay Terminal was reconfigured for buses. Transbay train service would resume in 1974 with the opening of BART and the Transbay Tube, but the BART tracks were routed under Market Street, bypassing the Transbay Terminal. By the end of the 20th century, the Transbay Terminal was underused and rundown, handling an average of about 20,000 commuters per day.[10]

In 1985, San Francisco adopted the Downtown Plan, which slowed development in the Financial District north of Market Street and directed it to the area South of Market around the Transbay Terminal.[11] In the early 1990s, the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, freeing up numerous city blocks for development south of the Transbay Terminal. In 1995, Caltrain agreed to study extending its commuter rail service from its Fourth and King terminus closer to the Financial District, including whether the obsolete Transbay Terminal should be removed, remodeled, or rebuilt.[12]

Ultimately, it was decided that the Transbay Terminal should be rebuilt, with the rail extension entering the Terminal under Second Street. To finance the projects and promote development in the area, the Transbay Redevelopment Plan was adopted by the City of San Francisco in June 2005. By raising a number of building height limits and selling former freeway parcels, the plan envisions the development of over 2,500 new homes, 3 million square feet of new office and commercial space, and 100,000 square feet of retail.[9]


Transbay Transit Center

Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli, the new Transbay Transit Center will replace the former Transbay Terminal at a cost of roughly USD$4.5 billion [13] and has been dubbed the "Grand Central Station of the West" by proponents.[14] The new center will eventually include an extension of Caltrain into the station from the current Caltrain Depot at 4th and King Streets in Mission Bay via tunnels which will also carry the Bay Area segment of the future California High-Speed Rail and terminate at the station.

A look at the Transbay Transit Center construction site.

The Transit Center will have five levels plus a 5.4-acre (2.2 ha) public rooftop park. The lowest level will house the train platforms, and the level above it will be called the "Lower Concourse". The next level will be the street entrance to the Transit Center. Above that will be the "Second Level", which will have administrative offices and potential retail shops. The last transit level will service local buses from San Francisco's Muni, the East Bay's AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit from Marin and SamTrans from San Mateo County. Also Greyhound and Amtrak will have berths on this deck.[15]

Salesforce Tower

The original proposal from Pelli Clark Pelli Architects.

Adjacent to the future Transbay Transit Center and at the center of the redevelopment effort is a signature skyscraper at First and Mission Streets. The proposal featured plans from several major architecture firms including Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Richard Rogers Partnership, and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. Eventually the plan from Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects was picked.[16] The original plans from Pelli Clark Pelli Architects called for a 1,200-foot (370 m) tower as the main tower and a massive three-block-long Transbay Center. However due to complaints about how the tower would cast a shadow over some of the city's parks, the height was dropped to 1,070 feet (330 m).[17][18]

Due to budget cuts, however, the designs to the large tower changed once again, and it ended with a slit at the top, and a changed terminal station design.[19] However some designs are being restored due to complaints about the design.[20] The tower and the new terminal is now under construction with groundbreaking on March 27, 2013.[21]

Increased height limits

With the adoption of the Transit Center District Plan in 2012, height limits were raised for several parcels in the vicinity of the Transit Center.[22] Among the parcels zoned for taller buildings are 50 First Street, 181 Fremont Street, 350 Mission Street, Golden Gate University's campus at 536 Mission Street, the proposed Palace Hotel Residential Tower, and the Salesforce Tower site.

Former freeway parcels and bus ramps

Following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the Embarcadero Freeway was torn down, opening up a number of blocks for development. Several other parcels, near Beale and Howard streets, were used for the East Loop Ramp of the Transbay Terminal and will not be needed for the new Transbay Transit Center.[23] In 2007, the state of California officially agreed to transfer the state-owned parcels to the City and County of San Francisco.[24]

The former freeway parcels are located mostly along the north side of Folsom Street between Essex and Spear and have been zoned for residential use.[25] Other lots, called Parcel F, Parcel M, and Parcel T, have been zoned for office buildings.[26] Parcel T is the site of Salesforce Tower. As of 2013, Transbay Joint Powers Authority has accepted proposals for Blocks 6/7 and Block 9.[27][28] The first parcel developed was Block 11, also known as the Rene Cazenave Apartments, an affordable housing project located at 25 Essex Street.[29]

Parcel[25] Zoning Sold Price Use Location Reference
Block 1 Residential
Block 2 Residential Temporary Transbay Terminal
Block 3 Park Temporary Transbay Terminal; Slated to become Transbay Park
Block 4 Residential Temporary Transbay Terminal
Block 5 Residential Although zoned for residential, will become a 550-foot office building [30]
Block 6 Residential 2013 $30M 300-foot tower with 409 market-rate units and 70 affordable units 299 Fremont Street [31][32][33][34]
Block 7 Residential 2013 77 units to be built by Mercy Housing
Block 8 Residential 2014 $72M 550-foot, 740-unit residential tower [35]
Block 9 Residential 2013 $43.32M Proposed 400-foot, 563-unit residential tower 500 Folsom Street [36]
Block 10 Park
Block 11 Residential 2011 120-unit Rene Cazenave Apartments 25 Essex Street [29]
Block 12 Residential
Parcel F Commercial Office
Parcel M Commercial Office
Parcel T Commercial Office 2013 $191.8M Salesforce Tower 415 Mission Street [37]

See also


  1. ^ "Yes, The Proposed Transbay Transit Tower Shrank A Hundred Feet". SocketSite. March 12, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ King, John (2007-08-12). "Plan B: Architects: Pelli Clarke Pelli". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  3. ^ King, John (2007-09-21). Aggressive schedule' for proposed Transbay transit center, tower (picture)"'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  4. ^ San Francisco Transbay development at Emporis
  5. ^ San Francisco Transbay development at SkyscraperPage
  6. ^ San Francisco Transbay development at Structurae
  7. ^ "Pelli Clarke Pelli Transbay Center & Tower Description". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  8. ^ "Transit Center District Plan". November 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Transbay Transit Center - Redevelopment Plan". Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ Epstein, Edward (February 16, 2001). "Ambitious Plan For Rebuilding S.F. Transit Hub / Ideas for new Transbay Terminal". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Transit Center District Plan – General Plan Amendments". May 24, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ Mitchell, Eve (August 4, 1995). "CalTrain moves a step closer to Financial District". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ "San Francisco's New Transbay Center: A Commitment to Sustainable Growth". Global Site Plans. October 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Transbay Transit Center - The Program". Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Transbay Transit Center - The Project: Transit Center". Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ "San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal Design Proposals: Highlights". SocketSite. August 7, 2007. 
  17. ^ Ferrato, Philip (March 14, 2012). "Transbay Terminal, Still Pretty, Still Tall, Just Shorter". CurbedSF. 
  18. ^ Hromack, Sarah (May 1, 2008). "Transbay Terminal Plan: New-and-Improved". CurbedSF. 
  19. ^ "Transbay Tower Tweaks, Cuts And Timing". SocketSite. September 24, 2012. 
  20. ^ King, John (March 15, 2013). "Transbay center design change proposed". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  21. ^ "Boston Properties and Hines Close on Record Land Sale for Transbay Transit Tower Parcel" (Press release). BusinessWire via MarketWatch. March 26, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Planning’s Towering Transit Center District Plan Decision: Approved". SocketSite. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  23. ^ "The Transbay Redevelopment". SocketSite. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  24. ^ "California Transportation Commission Approves Land Transfer to TJPA, City and County of San Francisco for Transbay Transit Center Project and Redevelopment". December 13, 2007. 
  25. ^ a b "TRANSBAY REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT AREA Attachment 1". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ "The Green Designs For Block 6: Folsom Street From Fremont To Beale". SocketSite. January 10, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  28. ^ "The Winning Design And Developer For Transbay Block 9". SocketSite. February 15, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b Dineen, J.K. (April 2, 2012). "Bridge, Community Housing break ground on Transbay affordable project". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  30. ^ "An Unexpected Transbay Twist And Block Redesign". SocketSite. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  31. ^ "$30 million deal will help bankroll San Francisco's Transbay Terminal". 
  32. ^ [2]
  33. ^ [3]
  34. ^ [4]
  35. ^ "Rem Koolhaas Design Selected For Folsom Street Tower". SocketSite. March 18, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Avant, Essex win Transbay Block 9 bid". 
  37. ^ "Hines, Boston Properties sling ceremonial dirt in Transbay ground-breaking". 

External links

  • Official website
  • Transbay Redevelopment Project Area - S.F. Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure
  • Transbay Transit Center proposal from Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
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