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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Transbay proposal includes possible tallest building on West Coast
San Francisco Business Times - 2:38 PM PDT Thursday
by Emily Fancher

San Francisco officials are proposing a 1,000-foot tower and two 800-foot towers in the area around the Transbay Terminal as part of a plan to redraw the city's skyline and raise additional funds to rebuild the terminal.

A revised vision for the area unveiled Thursday shows that officials envision the heart of downtown San Francisco shifting to the South of Market neighborhood over the coming decades -- with the new terminal, dubbed "the Grand Central Station of the West," at its center.

The reworked plan is part of a broader rethinking of the phasing and funding of the proposal to rebuild the aging bus terminal at First and Mission streets and to create a high-density neighborhood on the 40 acres surrounding it.

The plan to integrate regional buses, BART and Muni at a new facility that also extends Caltrain from Fourth and King streets has been dogged with controversy and infighting for years. But previously warring officials have spent the past few months trying to find consensus and a path forward to build what will be one of the most expensive -- and some argue most important -- transit projects in Bay Area history.

Building up

If built, the approximately 1,000-foot tower would be the tallest building in San Francisco and possibly one of the 10 tallest in the United States. It would likely include housing, offices and a hotel.

"We think that in this generation of next big buildings, the city can be enhanced in its image and its skyline," Planning Director Dean Macris told the Business Times.

Macris said these buildings would be architecturally distinguished and give San Francisco what it needs: an internationally recognized skyline. "Cities are identified by their skylines," he said.

If approved in concept, the 1,000-foot tower would be built by a design and development team that would also build the terminal next to it. That team would be chosen through a glitzy international competition next year.

One of the proposed 800-foot towers would be on a state-owned parcel at Howard Street between First and Second streets, and Macris said his office is proposing the second one would be on the northwest corner of First and Mission streets where a private developer is already planning a massive mixed-use project. Macris declined to name the developer.

Macris introduced the revised plan to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority board, the agency in charge of the $4 billion rebuild project, as well as to the Planning Commission at meetings on Thursday.

Several TJPA board members praised the revised plan and talked about a new spirit of collaboration that would help move the project to completion.

However, Supervisor Chris Daly, who sits on the TJPA board, lashed out against his longtime rival, Mayor Gavin Newsom. In a heated moment, Daly railed against the mayor, accusing his administration of delaying the Transbay project. Still, Daly said he has no problem with higher towers around the transit hub.



Looking very promising
 

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Oh Hey!
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Does SF have any plans for an observation tower? If not, it should.
 

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"Macris said these buildings would be architecturally distinguished and give San Francisco what it needs: an internationally recognized skyline. "Cities are identified by their skylines," he said."

Uh, I think this statement is NOT true. I'm happy that San Francisco may be building these new really tall towers and all, but, San Francisco's skyline is ALREADY internationally recognized. :yes: To me, it's perfect! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Superstar architect Renzo Piano has tentatively agreed to design an 850-foot tower at First and Mission streets, a significant coup for city planners as they build support for a denser, taller neighborhood around the Transbay Terminal.

The building would be constructed on a development site that has been quietly assembled by David Choo, the president of commercial mortgage lender California Mortgage and Realty. In the past three months, Choo's company has paid about $50 million for three buildings on the northwest corner of Mission and First streets.

Supervisor Chris Daly, whose district includes the site, raised the possibility of Piano's involvement at Transbay Joint Powers Authority meeting Friday morning. He later told the San Francisco Business Times that he had met Thursday with Choo and Planning Director Dean Macris to discuss the project. Other sources confirmed that Piano had agreed to design a building for the site, but that no contract had been signed. Daly said he does not have a problem with great height and density, but that negative impacts need to be offset. In Rincon Hill, Daly convinced developers to pay fees to support affordable housing and community groups.

"I'm interested in ensuring an open process and that the public has ample opportunity to participate," Daly said.

If Piano signs on, it could be the first glamorous project in what city officials hope will be a new era of architectural distinction. Several months ago, Planning Director Dean Macris and Mayor Gavin Newsom announced an initiative to encourage more modern, innovative, high-quality design in San Francisco. Macris said Piano and Choo are in conversation, and expressed his admiration for the architect.

"The idea that we would have an opportunity for one of the world's leading architects to do a building at this location is great," said Macris. "We're looking forward to that possibility."

A global heavyweight
Piano, who designed the rebuild of the California Academy of Sciences now under way in Golden Gate Park, is known as an international superstar. He's behind the expansion of both the Whitney in New York and the High Museum in Atlanta and has public and private projects around the world in Sydney, Tokyo and Paris, but recent American commissions have made him a familiar and golden name in the United States.

"He's certainly one of a very short list of preeminent architects in the world that have a significant body of work," said David Meckel, director research and planning and former dean of architecture at California College of the Arts. "He's done a lot of buildings, and almost every one of those buildings responds to place. No two look alike."

Meckel said Piano's work is rooted in the geography, climate and culture of a place.

"This is a very important project in heart of San Francisco that should be matched in importance with the talent chosen to design it," he added.

Plan approved
The news of Piano's interest in the First and Mission site comes as the Transbay Joint Powers Authority board Friday agreed to a plan to build a trio of soaring towers that would help fund a new Transbay Terminal as well as a funding and phasing plan for the transit hub. After 30 years of planning -- and political wrangling -- over rebuilding the worn-out bus terminal, the approval was a historic moment.

"We've taken a significant step forward," said Nathaniel Ford, chair of the TJPA. "I see this as one of the most important projects in the country."

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority's approval creates a two-step process to build a terminal that connects BART, Muni and regional bus services, as well as extend Caltrain from Fourth and King Streets, and could eventually bring in high-speed rail to Los Angeles.

The TJPA also endorsed increasing some building heights in the 40-acre redevelopment area, embracing a vision for a 1,000-foot tower next to the terminal and two 800-foot skyscrapers nearby, including the Piano tower. The new heights will also need environmental review and approval by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The zoning changes could bring as much as $250 million in new funding to the terminal project.

The approval also kicks off an international competition to choose an architect and development team to design the 1,000-foot tower and the terminal -- sure to attract high-caliber big-name architects on par with Piano. Construction on the terminal could begin as early as 2010 and wrap up in 2013, said Emilio Cruz, the program manager for the TJPA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
hate to perpetuate rumors but a member at ssp has some crazy info
Originally Posted by J Church
Man, stop the freaking presses. I just talked to a really, really good source I have at the city and he says of the three main Transbay towers that:

a) they're looking not to upzone those parcels, but to abolish height limits and FAR on them (bulk, setbacks etc. would still be regulated);

b) the sort of height they're looking at for the main tower is--wait for it--1,250 feet.
1250' for the main tower!!!!!! omg
 

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The massing of this project looks great and definitely adds a-whole-lot to the skyline. Would be a great project to see built.

p5
 

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^^it looks like my alma mater will be demolished? but this is a great development for SF :eek:kay:
 

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San Francisco already has a beautiful skyline.This will only enhance it.Now if they can do something about the roads and lack of signs telling one where they are!Try this in a Yukon.hahaha.
 
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