SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (
-   General Development (
-   -   SAN FRANCISCO | Salesforce Transit Center (

kenratboy Oct 23, 2006 2:15 AM

SFVIew - sorry, how tall are 'Millennium' and '555'?

SFView Oct 23, 2006 2:38 AM

555 Mission is 482' and Millennium or 301 Mission Street is 645'. If you don't already know, these buildings have their own dedicated threads in the "Highrises" section of this forum.

Reminiscence Oct 23, 2006 3:12 AM

Hmm, I seem to have missed it, but did they ever confirm that Renzo was the architect for one of the 850'+ towers?

AK47KC Oct 23, 2006 10:22 PM

I think a while ago I read in the paper that Renzo said he would design one of the 850' towers, but I don't remember what article.

kenratboy Oct 23, 2006 10:42 PM

Any chance it will be ABOVE 853'/260m (I am sure you know the signifigance of that number)?

AK47KC Oct 23, 2006 10:51 PM

I think that height figure of 850' (259 m) does not include mechanical floors, crowns, etc. so that the Renzo tower would probably break the Transamerica height barrier. You don't need to look far to see an example of this.

briankendall Oct 24, 2006 2:57 AM

I got the strong impression that the Renzo Piano tower was starting at 850' and I think somewhere here mentioned it could go up to 1050' earlier in this thread. It certainly looks to be above 1000' in the conceptual drawings J Church posted originally... and we have to remember the planning department is probably planning it to be taller than 850' but they don't want to freak people out so they just list the lowest height number.

northbay Oct 24, 2006 3:12 AM


Originally Posted by briankendall
...we have to remember the planning department is probably planning it to be taller than 850' but they don't want to freak people out so they just list the lowest height number.

yea, i def think this is true. weve got to remember were talking sf, king of nimbyism

kenratboy Oct 24, 2006 3:21 AM


Originally Posted by northbay420
yea, i def think this is true. weve got to remember were talking sf, king of nimbyism

But it looks like that is becoming less of an issue - at least an issue that is NOT blocking projects. Thank god, its about time.

Reminiscence Oct 24, 2006 5:24 AM

Like I said, I think people are just scared we'll end up with another wall like we have on Embarcadero. Once people see that it doesnt always have to be like that, then maybe they'll loosen up on the nimbyism and we'll have more towers like this and built more frequently. After all, this is just the beginning of the ripple effect to come.

SFView Oct 24, 2006 6:30 AM

When I did my height estimates above for the 3 tallest Transbay towers, there were a number of points I estimated or guessed that are possibly consistent with the planners, in addition to the data I collected from different sources:

· · Planners are releasing information in careful steps to test outside reaction. If little or no negative reaction is encountered, the planners move up to the next step until the best overall plan is achieved.
· · Graphics may show intentions more accurately than verbal descriptions.
· · A shift of emphasis in the SF skyline should be shifted to the area around Transbay by creating a new highest mound of towers at that location.
· · To achieve the shift, key buildings should be at least as tall as, or taller than current tallest building in SF - Transamerica at approximately 850’.
· · It would take at least 3 towers to effectively create a highrise mound that steps down to the surroundings.
· · Basic building heights are rounded to the nearest 50’.
· · Basic floor-to-floor heights are averaged to 12.5’.
· · Basic crown/mechanical heights are 10% of the basic building height rounded to the nearest 25’ added on top of the basic building height.
· · Number of floors are rounded to the nearest 10 (or 5) depending on the basic building height.
· · Basic height difference of towers above 850’ are probably greater than 150’.
· · Heights of tallest towers should be varied to create a more interesting stepped height effect. No two major towers should be nearly the same height.
· · The difference in height between the tallest and second tallest tower is greater than the height difference between the second and third.


(Old news we may have missed) Regarding the competition:


The two-stage competition will be launched in the fall of 2006 and is expected to take approximately 36 weeks for completion.
"Fall" could mean anytime before December 21, 2006. We could have preliminary designs submitted by contestants by August or September of 2007, depending on when the competition commences. A final design that could end up being very different from the original will be developed and refined by the winning design team until final documents completed and approved. This could be as late as 2010 depending if there are other unkown factors that could shorten or lengthen the time. Note that final heights can also change until approvals and permits are granted. Normally, this could be about 3 months before construction begins, but for these projects I am not certain. I imagine the design for the temporary terminal might be a separate contract, and the designer may be sought for more directly by the city or TJPA.

Of all the uncertainties, one thing is clear: we still have a very long way to go before anyone knows what the final result will be. Just think of One Rincon Hill. By the way, remember this? Is wasn't all that long ago...

SFView Oct 24, 2006 6:32 AM

Thin towers widely spaced are not a wall.

Reminiscence Oct 24, 2006 4:07 PM

I think the agenda for the meeting this friday comes out either today or tommorow, usually 72 hours before the meeting itself.

AK47KC Oct 24, 2006 5:32 PM

Let's just hope what happened at One Rincon Hill happens with the Transbay Towers as well.

Reminiscence Oct 24, 2006 7:39 PM

If thats the case, then we wont know until the towers are almost under construction. But even so, yes, I still hope that the same thing happens, only that it happpens 3 times as big.

Reminiscence Oct 25, 2006 2:16 AM

Well, they've posted the agenda, and its as follows:



1. Call to Order

2. Roll Call

3. Communications

4. Board of Director’s New and Old Business

5. Executive Director’s Report

* Funding Update
* Caltrain Downtown Extension Value Management Update
* First Quarter Investment Report

6. Public Comment

Members of the public may address the Authority on matters that are within the Authority's
jurisdiction and are not on today's calendar.



7. All matters listed hereunder constitute a Consent Calendar, are considered to be routine by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, and will be acted upon by a single vote. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a member of the Board or the public so requests, in which event the matter shall be removed from the Consent Calendar and considered as a separate item.

(7.1) Approving the Minutes of the August 31, 2006 meeting.

(7.2) Approving a Memorandum of Understanding between the TJPA and the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority to provide updated ridership studies of the transbay corridor for $60,000.

(7.3) Approving the agreement between Transbay Joint Powers Authority and the Municipal Transportation Agency for services to perform contract compliance and oversight in the amount of $64,800.

(7.4) Approving a contract with David Tattersall & Company in the amount of $50,000 to provide real estate review appraiser services for a term not to exceed three years with an option to extend two years.


8. Appointing the Design and Development Competition Jury.

9. Presentation on the Design and Development Competition Request for Qualifications.

10. Presentation by Cambridge Systematics on Transbay Ridership Study.

11. Adopting the City and County of San Francisco CityBuild Program.

12. Approving the TJPA Citizen’s Advisory Committee Structure and Bylaws.

13. Approving a contract with Nancy Whelan Consulting in the amount of $1,800,000 to provide financial grant management for a term not to exceed three years with an option to extend two years.

14. Adopting the Reserve Policy identified as Board Policy No. 012, Category: Financial Matters.

Theres a lot of stuff in there thats difficult to understand, but I guess the part that calls the most attention to me is the funding update. There is a chance that they'll call for an increase in heights if the have to, which is what I think most people want to hear anyways. They also mention the Caltrain extension, and I guess they will run on that for a bit. Hopefully this meeting ends with great news.

kenratboy Oct 25, 2006 3:01 AM

Put me down for 'Friends of the Caltrain extension' - best of all, I don't pay CA taxes, so ha!

Reminiscence Oct 25, 2006 3:09 AM

Great, bigger share of the taxes for me :rolleyes:

Reno isn't part of California ... not yet. :haha: :haha:

kenratboy Oct 25, 2006 3:14 AM

Thats why we keep lots of guns and ammo on the ready :p

The biggest public works project in the state right now is ~$280 million and will be very beneficial to people and the economy.

Reminiscence Oct 25, 2006 4:04 AM

I dont think people understood why I mentioned the Sears Tower to begin with. I was thinking about it and assuming the current height is set to 1350' then it wouldnt be out of the question to increase that a bit to like 1500'. The second tower would be more or less 1350' and the third could be around 1150'. If they really wanted to use Chicago or even the John Hancock Center as a model for this endeavor, then it would make sense. The second heights that I put were for the event that they would have antenas or spires on top, which I would like, seeming that not too many building have them in SF.

Sears Tower (1451' / 1730') =========> Transbay Tower I (1500' / 1750')
Aon Center (1136') ================> Transbay Tower II (1350' / 1550')
John Hancock Center (1127' / 1500') ===> Transbay Tower III (1150' / 1400')

The difference between the first and second tower is still 150' and by the current plan for the tallest, we're not that far away from 1500' anyways, might as well go for it. What a statement we could make by having the potential tallest tower in the US, out of nowhere too. :ack: :psycho:

SFView Oct 25, 2006 4:12 AM

Special Calendar items #8 and #9 may be of some interest, as these items will be important components to the competition announcement. These components should emphasize the high level of quality and importance of what could well be a world recognized project. The inclusion of these items also better supports the notion that the competition announcement is soon approaching release.

The architecture and engineering of the Transbay Terminal and Tower Project is scheduled to be completed in 2009 according to TJPA.

SFView Oct 25, 2006 5:18 AM

This isn't Dubai.

northbay Oct 25, 2006 10:31 AM

^ while i agree more height is neccessary, theres more to a good building than how tall it is. and for that matter, more to a city than skyscrapers. i just hope (renzo piano i think is good) that the buildings are well-thought out and stylish.

Reminiscence Oct 25, 2006 1:25 PM

Yes, I am aware that SF inst Dubai, far from it. What I mentioned was more or less an legit idea, mind you. Something to say, it would be intresting if they did that. Honestly, in the end, I think the current plan is what they will go with. But until they specify a height, I guess its possible to speculate what is going to happen.

AK47KC Oct 25, 2006 6:24 PM

If the towers are too tall, they will look alienated from the rest of the skyline level which is around 500' (152m) to 600' (183m) at the Transbay Terminal. The Planning Commission probably won't like three towers sticking way up from the skyline because from afar. That's why there are two other towers to gradually smooth out the otherwise precipitous drop from over 1000' (305m) to the skyline level; around a 400' (122m) drop. If all the towers are over 1100' (351m), then there will be a large drop of 500' (152m) to the skyline level around the Transbay Terminal. It will take more towers to smooth out the drop and the Planning Commission doesn't want the Transbay area to be completely crowded with towers.

Reminiscence Oct 25, 2006 7:52 PM

True true, but who's to say that something even bigger wont come after Transbay itself. I'm preety sure its only a matter of time before someone proposes something like what I said anyways, I guess I was just jumping ahead.

BTinSF Oct 26, 2006 4:46 PM

I don't like the "an" even taller tower here, but later he says three. competition begins tomorrow:


Transbay authority to entertain design ideas for new transit tower
- John King, Chronicle Urban Design Writer
Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thirty-five years after the Transamerica Pyramid seemed to top off San Francisco's skyline once and for all, a new international competition could lead to construction of an even-taller tower near Market Street.

The competition would be managed by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, a government body working to build a transit hub near First and Mission streets to serve buses and commuter trains. It would seek a development team to build the new center -- and also an adjacent tower that "is expected to be an iconic presence that will redefine the city's skyline" and help pay for the transit project.

On Friday, the Transbay board is expected to vote to proceed with the competition.

"A lot of the comments we've heard from the public is that they want a world-class station and a world-class transit tower," said Maria Ayerdi, executive director of the authority. "Design quality is paramount."

The idea to push beyond the once-controversial Transamerica Pyramid and its 853-foot peak gained momentum in May, when city planning officials suggested zoning changes to allow three skyscrapers in the Transbay area that would generate revenue for the project.

Any changes require extensive environmental studies; however, the Transbay authority can move forward on its own site and leave the tower details for later.

In the first round, where teams present their qualifications, the track record of each developer counts for less than the impression made by each team's architect, who must show a "flexible and imaginative attitude" as well as commit to "personal involvement throughout the life of the project."

The seven-member jury includes Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Robert Campbell of the Boston Globe, as well as three other architects and experts in transportation, engineering and real estate financing.

During the final round, when competitors submit their proposed projects, economics are more important: The rules say the main focus of judging will be "the overall financial feasibility" of the competing proposals.

Ayerdi said other factors will be evaluated beside finances and architectural flash.

"This has to be a world-class facility for the city and Bay Area to be proud of. And we don't mean how it looks, but how it operates," Ayerdi said. "The public has to feel welcome."

In other words, the terminal must be easy to use.

If the authority board approves the program on Friday, the competition would begin next week, with finalists selected in February and a decision on the development team coming in August.

The estimated cost for the overall project, which includes a below-ground rail extension from the Caltrain station on Fourth Street, is $3.4 billion. The target date to begin construction is 2010.

First and Mission isn't the only location in San Francisco where a new competition could change the look of a neighborhood.

A smaller competition began last week at Octavia Boulevard, where four sites along the distinctive thoroughfare that opened last year are being offered to teams that can deliver "excellence and innovation in urban infill and architectural design."

The five-block stretch from Market Street north to Hayes Street was covered for decades by two levels of ramps connecting Interstate 80 to the western side of San Francisco. After the system was damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, freeway opponents campaigned successfully to replace the ramps with a surface boulevard that separates local traffic from commuter lanes.

Of 12 parcels along the boulevard left empty when the freeway came down, four are now for sale. They include two 18-foot-wide slivers along Octavia between Fell and Oak streets, a block where ramps once touched ground, and a long site at the corner of Market and Octavia.

Those sites also were the subject of a 2005 competition held by the private San Francisco Prize. That contest attracted 167 entries and favored contemporary designs with an emphasis on environmentally friendly features. At the time, though, the land was not available for sale.

"The reason for doing this is to follow through on the design competition," said Rich Hillis of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. "We're putting our money where our mouth is."

The city's target is to select developers for the four sites by the end of January.

E-mail John King at

Page B - 1

kenratboy Oct 26, 2006 5:23 PM

Cool article - it looks like their concern matches mine: if you will build something this tall - it better be world class, it better be perfect.

AK47KC Oct 26, 2006 6:52 PM

Glad to see the unsightly parking lots disappear.

Reminiscence Oct 26, 2006 6:54 PM

Well, they got the right idea. Obviously building someting of this magnitude must be done by the best. I'd love to see a building that tall, but I dont want to be starring at a concrete block either. They have to build something that makes citizens and tourists say ... "whoa". Only then, will the public accept supertall stuctures and perhaps even welcome them as freely as say Chicago or New York. This is good news, I cant wait until Friday's decision. :)

AK47KC Oct 27, 2006 6:04 PM

Here it goes today! :)

Reminiscence Oct 27, 2006 9:41 PM

Yesss, too bad I couldnt go today, I wanted to say a few words. Anywho, cant wait to find out the news!

SFView Oct 28, 2006 4:07 AM

The competition begins Wednesday, November 1, 2006!

From this page, go to "Project Overview\Design Competion\Announcement of upcoming release of Design and Development Competition RFQ"

Also from this page you may also see a Community Meeting Presentation from October 11, 2006. Go to "Documents\Other Documents\October 2006 Transit Program Community Presentation"

Of particular interest may be the schedule:

kenratboy Oct 28, 2006 4:15 AM


From 'Lord of the Rings':

"The board is set... the pieces are moving"

(Followed by a really good home theater test scene).

Reminiscence Oct 28, 2006 4:24 AM

So, I guess by this we still have more or less another 2 years before the design of the Transbay Tower itself. Hopefully they'll grow more along the way. As for the design, I want to see what people have come up with :)

kenratboy Oct 28, 2006 4:40 AM

2 years is nothing - just the simple fact the ball is rolling is shocking. No mass protects in the streets, money seems to work out. As long as it happens, that will be cool.

Reminiscence Oct 28, 2006 4:46 AM

Yeah, according to the report, they seem to be doing a good job at allocating the funds. Of course, November 7 remains an important day, theres some measures that need to pass to keep the momentum going.

tech12 Oct 28, 2006 8:12 AM


Originally Posted by SFView
The competition begins Wednesday, November 1, 2006!

My birthday! Now there's a nice present;)

I can't wait to see some of the designs people come up with. Too bad it'll be quite a while..

Reminiscence Oct 28, 2006 8:59 PM


Originally Posted by tech12
My birthday! Now there's a nice present;)

I can't wait to see some of the designs people come up with. Too bad it'll be quite a while..

That is a nice gift, happy birthday :5:

Now, what a coincidence it would be if they choose the final design on November 1, 2008. :haha:

AK47KC Oct 29, 2006 2:05 AM

Haha, two years will go by in a flash, especially with other projects going on.

Reminiscence Oct 29, 2006 2:28 AM

Thats right, we have other projects to take out attention, for the mean time :)

Reminiscence Nov 1, 2006 12:53 AM


Search starts for team to design tower

John King

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

An ambitious international competition to find an architect and developer for what could be San Francisco's tallest building was launched yesterday by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

The authority's board, which consists primarily of local elected officials, voted unanimously to begin the competition as part of its effort to build a new transit center for buses and commuter trains near First and Mission streets. The competition seeks a designer for the transit center and the tower, as well as a developer to build the tower.

The schedule calls for interested teams to submit their qualifications in January. Finalists would submit detailed proposals and a design-development team would be selected in August. The authority hopes to begin construction in 2010.

Meanwhile, San Francisco's Planning Department will soon seek a consultant to study how to raise building-height limits around the terminal. Two skyscrapers in addition to the transit terminal tower could be allowed to exceed the 853-foot Transamerica Pyramid, now the city's tallest building. Money generated by land sales and new property taxes would help fund construction of the transit center.

Reminiscence Nov 1, 2006 12:57 AM

I wonder if the same designer who wins the transit center competition also wins the right to the tower?

Reminiscence Nov 1, 2006 1:00 AM


Only 'starchitects' need apply to do transit hub design

John King

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Bay Area could be "starchitect" central next year.

The reason? The quest for a new Transbay Terminal -- one of those ongoing San Francisco sagas that, wonder of wonders, is beginning to look as if it will happen. Wednesday the competition begins to select an architect to design a new transit hub at First and Mission streets, and a skyscraping tower to help pay for it. The competition also seeks a deep-pocket developer to build the tower.

And with a project of this scale and complexity, only heavyweights need apply.

One celebrity architect expected to surface is Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish master renowned for sculptural imagery; his major American project right now is a soaring train station being built at the World Trade Center site. Other rumored big names include England's Norman Foster (whose firm has two sleek academic buildings at Stanford University) and Cesar Pelli, whose 560 Mission St. is one of San Francisco's best office towers.

At this point, the only players we know for sure are the seven jury members approved Friday by the Transbay Joint Power Authority. The group includes local architect Alison Williams, real estate economist Jerry Keyser and UC Davis Professor Susan Handy, an expert on transportation and land use.

The jury's architects stress that what will unfold over the next 10 months isn't a beauty contest.

"I'm glad design is paramount, because the program is extremely complicated," says Williams, a principal in the San Francisco office of Perkins + Will. She refers to the technical demands of a terminal that folds in bus routes, commuter trains from San Mateo County and, possibly, high-speed rail -- as well as a smooth fit with a tower next door that could exceed 1,000 feet in height, on a narrow site crowded by other towers.

"This is so structurally driven, it's not strictly an architectural pursuit," Williams says. "The design has to be tethered to the other disciplines."

The same point is made by Hsin-Ming Fung, whose firm Hodgetts + Fung is one of Los Angeles' top design houses.

"The station is really an engineering feat," Fung says. "It's not just wrapping a skin around a project. It's about solving a problem and working with other concerns."

Competing teams must submit their qualifications on Jan. 11; the jury will then select finalists who will present design proposals and financial offers in July. The schedule calls for selection of a design and development team in mid-August.

So if you see a dapper archi-type standing around First and Mission, elegant sketchbook in hand, you'll know why.

In an age where "edgy" and "ironic" are all the rage, a word like "beautiful" might seem quaint. But when the group San Francisco Beautiful handed out its annual awards this month, we were reminded that beauty can be civil and creative as well.

Friedel Klussmann, immortalized in countless Herb Caen columns as the woman who saved San Francisco's cable car system from extinction after World War II, founded the group in 1947. This year's awards focused on open space -- and the ingenuous passion of the city's residents.

The top award went to Octavia Boulevard, where a freeway was replaced last year by a landscaped thoroughfare after years of neighborhood activism. That change is still in progress -- lots alongside it will be filled by housing, for instance -- but it's already ignited the revival of Hayes Valley.

On a much smaller sale, the Robert C. Friese Award for Neighborhood Conservation went to the Quesada Gardens Initiative: one block of the crime-plagued Bayview neighborhood where residents turned a dumping ground for debris into a riot of flowers and vegetables and trees.

Other beautification awards went to Yerba Buena Gardens, the tile steps on 16th Avenue in Golden Gate Heights, the restoration of Mission Creek, the Newsom administration's street-greening initiatives and recent landscaping improvements at Candlestick Point. All are deserved.

Finally, a pre-election plug for a worthy cause: the proposed quarter-cent sales tax in Marin and Sonoma to turn long-empty train routes into a 70-mile commuter rail system between Larkspur and Cloverdale.

Yes, it would cost nearly $500 million to launch the line, its 14 stations and a parallel pedestrian-bike trail. No, highway congestion won't magically dissolve. But Measure R absolutely deserves support because it will help preserve the North Bay's cultural heritage.

What exists along the Highway 101 corridor today isn't the sort of undifferentiated sprawl that smears the South Bay. Rather, a string of unique communities have preserved their roots despite the pressure of growth. And a new thread of passenger rail would strengthen the fabric that still exists -- by underlying the importance of town centers, of low-key urbanity, of cities that grow in instead of out (development sites are adjacent to several potential stations, the perfect spot for new housing).

As for the sniping of opponents that the projected ridership of 5,300 passengers a day isn't worth the cost, consider this. When a light-rail service opened in the southwest Denver region in 2000, first-year ridership topped projections by 70 percent.

If you build it, they will ride.

Measure R translates to a transportation alternative and an investment in local communities. Not bad for a quarter-cent.

kenratboy Nov 1, 2006 2:03 AM

Awesome articles - thanks!

Looks like things are rolling (no pun intended).

Glad to see that this buildings won't be an ego-boosting temple to some lame ass architect - this needs to be a very functional and practical building before it does anything else.

SFView Nov 2, 2006 5:09 AM

Design & Development Competition

November 1, 2006
RFQ for Transbay Transit Center & Tower Design & Development Competition Released

rajaxsonbayboi Nov 17, 2006 3:01 AM

i really hope that this idea comes possible. i think this city needs a new iconic structure. i mean SF is really late in the game. look at Dubai, its skline is doubling in size practically every month. with new towers it will make SF look like a place of business. and then we dont have to depend on tourism. i hope the city dosent turn to touristy look what happened to venice.

Reminiscence Nov 17, 2006 7:18 AM

I havent heard any news from the meetings yet, have there been any advances made since the last meeting?

Sigh, I wish I could enter the competition. I even made some building designs myself and I'm no architect, but I think they look good, hehe. :ack: :ack:

Alliance Nov 17, 2006 7:22 AM


Originally Posted by rajaxsonbayboi
i really hope that this idea comes possible. i think this city needs a new iconic structure. i mean SF is really late in the game. look at Dubai, its skline is doubling in size practically every month. with new towers it will make SF look like a place of business. and then we dont have to depend on tourism. i hope the city dosent turn to touristy look what happened to venice.

Don't forget, Dubai has uber-rich princes financing its development. The US doesn't have that.

RandySavage Nov 17, 2006 10:37 PM

^ not to mention extremely cheap labor from south asia.

All times are GMT. The time now is 7:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.