San Francisco Transbay development
|Transbay Transit Center & Tower|
The Transbay Transit Center & Salesforce Tower, the tallest of the towers in the development
San Francisco, California
|Antenna spire||1,070 ft (326 m)|
|Roof||920 ft (280 m)|
|Floor area||1,300,000 sq ft (120,000 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Cesar Pelli |
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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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  and has been dubbed the "Grand Central Station of the West" by proponents. 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.
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.
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. 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 considerations about how the tower would cast a shadow over some of the city's parks, the height was eventually reduced to 1,070 feet (330 m).
The designs to the supertall tower changed during its planning phase, its final design eventually incorporates slits at each side of its angular top along with an altered terminal station design. However some of the original design cues were later restored and reincorporated due to complaints about the design modifications. The tower and the new terminal is now under construction with groundbreaking on March 27, 2013.
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. 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. In 2007, the state of California officially agreed to transfer the state-owned parcels to the City and County of San Francisco.
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. Other lots, called Parcel F, Parcel M, and Parcel T, have been zoned for office buildings. 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. The first parcel developed was Block 11, also known as the Rene Cazenave Apartments, an affordable housing project located at 25 Essex Street.
|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||2015||$172.5M||Although zoned for residential, will become Park Tower at Transbay office building||250 Howard Street|||
|Block 6||Residential||2013||$30M||300-foot tower with 409 market-rate units and 70 affordable units||299 Fremont Street|||
|Block 7||Residential||2013||—||77 units to be built by Mercy Housing|
|Block 8||Residential||2014||$72M||550-foot, 740-unit residential tower|||
|Block 9||Residential||2013||$43.32M||Proposed 400-foot, 563-unit residential tower||500 Folsom Street|||
|Block 11||Residential||2011||—||120-unit Rene Cazenave Apartments||25 Essex Street|||
|Parcel F||Commercial Office|
|Parcel M||Commercial Office|
|Parcel T||Commercial Office||2013||$191.8M||Salesforce Tower||415 Mission Street|||
Downtown San Francisco, showing Millennium Tower (301 Mission St) center, behind it left the Salesforce Tower (under construction), far left top the 181 Fremont Street Tower (under construction), and foreground the cranes for the Park Tower (under construction) in front of the bare structure of the Transbay Terminal (under construction). From the parking lot of the Providian Financial Building / 201 Mission St, on Howard between Beale and Main.
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