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View Poll Results: Which transbay tower design scheme do you like best?
#1 Richard Rogers 39 7.89%
#2 Cesar Pelli 98 19.84%
#3 SOM 357 72.27%
Voters: 494. You may not vote on this poll

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  #2081  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2009, 6:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starsky View Post
It seems like San Fran would be a hard place to build any tall skyscraper. You have an army of green whackjobs, nimbys & hippies ready to raid the city council in a moments notice.
Clearly that message didn't get out to the skyline. First, this project is exempt from the vast majority of city planning code restriction - thanks JPTA. Second, the tower is crucial to fund the transit center and you know how the green whackjobs love transit. Third, the debate is about whether the final upzone will allow a 1000 or 1200 ft tower.

When is a more plausible question and barrier.
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  #2082  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2009, 2:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starsky View Post
It seems like San Fran would be a hard place to build any tall skyscraper. You have an army of green whackjobs, nimbys & hippies ready to raid the city council in a moments notice.
Well then explain why San Francisco has much taller buildings than Houston or Charlotte, Nashville or most other "conservative, non-hippie" cities.
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  #2083  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2009, 5:50 PM
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You may want to recheck tallest building heights in Houston and Charlotte. Nashville also has or had a potential supertall proposal, but like San Francisco the final outcome could change.
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  #2084  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 8:47 PM
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Speaking of changes, how about a possible year delay for hopefully something better?

From: http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev...PagePosition=1
Quote:
The Architect's Newspaper 07.15.2009
Transbay Gamble
SF redraws terminal plans in hopes of stimulus funds


Pelli Clarke Pelli's transit center scheme: Gone but not forgotten.
Courtesy Transbay Joint Powers Authority

Most cities wouldn’t delay a project likely to attract jobs and money to their area during a recession. Not so San Francisco.

The city voted earlier this month to postpone the Transbay Transit Terminal, a new high-speed train and bus station in SoMa, for more than a year in hopes of winning $400 million in federal stimulus money. Their confidence is so high that they threw out their old plans and are redrawing them in time to accept possible federal funds in October.


The proposed design for the Minna Street entrance.


The Proposed Grant Hall. given the project's redesign, it could look different come October.

COURTESY TPJA



“I’m a gambling man and I’m willing to roll the dice,” said Chris Daly, a city supervisor and a director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which oversees the station’s construction. By tweaking the plans, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli, the city could save $100 million in excavation costs if the center’s underground high-speed train station is added to the first phase of construction, which currently includes ground-floor stores, a bus terminal and a rooftop park. The old plan called for the train station to be built after the terminal opened, but officials say it would be easier to excavate and build the train station before the rest of the center is built. The change would mean a late 2015 opening, instead of 2014, as planned.

If San Francisco’s gamble doesn’t pay off, $15 million in design and engineering work would be wasted and the Transbay Terminal would open four months behind schedule without a train station. It’s an option that Transbay officials do not believe will happen given the terminal’s location and need. “We’re shovel ready and tailor-made for this federal money,” said Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, the authority’s executive director.

The debate over the train station’s changes has also played out against a tussle over its size. In March, engineers said the station wouldn’t be large enough to handle future traffic and would have to be rebuilt. The station’s current design includes three platforms and six tracks for Caltrain and high-speed rail. Some engineers have said it would need a minimum of eight tracks to handle future traffic, but the agency has decided to go ahead with the current design and use the Caltrain station for overflow.

Another stumbling point is the lack of rail lines. While Transbay is envisioned as a unified Caltrain and high-speed rail station, there are no tracks connecting it with the Caltrain station one mile away. The city has yet to nail down $2 billion from the federal government and other sources to make this connection.

The project carries a hefty price tag, with an estimated cost of $1.2 billion (or $1.6 billion if the train station becomes part of phase one). Although Transbay is funded by a potpourri of local, regional, state, and federal money, the city has been relying on the sale of 10 parcels in the surrounding area to help out.

The credit crunch, however, has ground the sale of the first site to a halt, and in mid-June, the city’s redevelopment agency nixed two offers as too low, deciding to put the sites on the market next year. Meanwhile, the state will send the federal government their stimulus application in July, and will wait anxiously for a verdict in the fall.

A version of this article appeared in AN 05_07.15.2009 CA.
Kristina Shevory

Last edited by SFView; Jul 18, 2009 at 9:01 PM.
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  #2085  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 8:55 PM
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The suggestion the Pelli design is history is misleading in the extreme. The only change is construction of the underground "train box" along with the above ground structure rather than in a second phase of construction. I don't know of any plans to make the above ground structure look or function any differently.

By the way, I wasn't aware that the issue of the # of platforms had been resolved but I think the solution is a good one. I wasn't really a supporter of this whole project when it was first being discussed because I never thought having the station on Mission St. vs leaving it on King St. was worth all the money. The city is growing up around 4th & King and, in a sense, by the time HSR is a reality 4th and King will be seen as very much "downtown" (consider--when Grand Central was built, "downtown"--Wall St.--was a long way away too). So I thought, "Let the city come to CalTrain, rather than spending billions to move CalTrain". But we are where we are and having some trains terminate at 4th & King will be a good solution to space constraints, if any, at the new terminal (I remain a skeptic that that number of trains will ever be needed).
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  #2086  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
The suggestion the Pelli design is history is misleading in the extreme. The only change is construction of the underground "train box" along with the above ground structure rather than in a second phase of construction. I don't know of any plans to make the above ground structure look or function any differently.
Yeah, what's with all the FUD around the design? How does digging a bigger hole and building the trainbox have an effect on the design of the above ground structure? Seems like sloppy headline and caption writing. The article itself doesn't even mention design changes, just timeline and sequencing changes.
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  #2087  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 9:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SFView View Post
You may want to recheck tallest building heights in Houston and Charlotte. Nashville also has or had a potential supertall proposal, but like San Francisco the final outcome could change.
San Francisco definitely has more tall buildings than Charlotte and Nashville - a quick check of Emporis will confirm that observation, plus I was in both cities recently and can confirm that visually. Houston has many more tall building than SF. It also has very large downtown blocks and when viewed from different positions can create a jigsaw effect that masks the sheer number of tall buildings.

The developer of the Nashville "Signature" tower has thrown in the towel on his previous proposal and has reduce the tower height by about 250 ft. He is also seeking private financing for a mixed use tower, and who knows when the hotel/condo market will comeback to justify such a tower in Nashville.

The Transbay Tower is proposed as all-office, with a significant chunk of view space in the upper floors. Spaces with skyline, bay views still have very low vacancy rates in SF, despite the current spaces flooding the market. The public laws that constrain on our city's development (Prop M) will eventually create the market conditions for this tower to go up.
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  #2088  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
Yeah, what's with all the FUD around the design? How does digging a bigger hole and building the trainbox have an effect on the design of the above ground structure? Seems like sloppy headline and caption writing. The article itself doesn't even mention design changes, just timeline and sequencing changes.
There could be changes to the structural arrangement of the above ground elements depending on changes that occur below ground. Column lines could shift, for instance, especially if they later decide to add more trackways, or the trainbox requires some sort of different column spacing arrangement. For now, we should wait, before we do too much further guessing. Design changes are still in development.
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  #2089  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by coyotetrickster View Post
San Francisco definitely has more tall buildings than Charlotte and Nashville - a quick check of Emporis will confirm that observation, plus I was in both cities recently and can confirm that visually. Houston has many more tall building than SF. It also has very large downtown blocks and when viewed from different positions can create a jigsaw effect that masks the sheer number of tall buildings.

The developer of the Nashville "Signature" tower has thrown in the towel on his previous proposal and has reduce the tower height by about 250 ft. He is also seeking private financing for a mixed use tower, and who knows when the hotel/condo market will comeback to justify such a tower in Nashville.

The Transbay Tower is proposed as all-office, with a significant chunk of view space in the upper floors. Spaces with skyline, bay views still have very low vacancy rates in SF, despite the current spaces flooding the market. The public laws that constrain on our city's development (Prop M) will eventually create the market conditions for this tower to go up.
Thanks!
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  #2090  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2009, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by coyotetrickster View Post
The public laws that constrain on our city's development (Prop M) will eventually create the market conditions for this tower to go up.
Not without some guts on the part of the developer. Except possibly for a very brief period in the late 1990s, we haven't actually bumped up against the Prop. M limit since it was passed. Fortunately, Prop. M allows the unbuilt capacity to roll over from year to year so as the years go by without building anything, the limitation becomes less and less relevant. And with an office vacancy rate now exceeding 20%, it's hard to imagine we will actually need more space than Prop. M would allow, even in the next boom.

Hines or whoever ends up with the development rights (wouldn't surprise me at all if Hines were to put them on the market) will need the foresight to start building this building in anticipation of the next boom and to recognize that as the most desirable location in town, once it's built, it should have a leg up attracting tenants even if a substantial vacancy rate remains. But that's asking a lot of any developer.
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  #2091  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2009, 10:37 PM
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Friday, July 24, 2009
Hines, Sterling to surrender S.F. building
San Francisco Business Times

Hines and Sterling American Property will give 333 Bush St. back to lenders Brookfield Real Estate Finance and Munich Hypo Bank, according to a statement from Hines executives.

In a letter sent to commercial real estate brokers, Hines executives Norman Spencer, David Eaton, and Merredith Treaster said the decision to give the 542,000-square-foot San Francisco building back to the lenders on the property was driven by the failure last year of anchor law firm tenant Heller Ehrman. “We were as shocked as you were when Heller Ehrman, a 118-year-old law firm and the major tenant leasing 250,000 square feet defaulted on its lease and eventually entered into bankruptcy,” stated the Hines executives. “We diligently worked with the lender but were not able to come to a mutually satisfactory restructure of the existing debt.”

Hines and Sterling did not make a scheduled loan payment on June 9. The lenders are expected to initiate foreclosure proceedings.

The foreclosure comes at a time when downtown office values are in free fall. Sterling and Hines bought 333 Bush St. in 2007 for $281 million, about $520 a square foot. The last significant office building to sell in San Francisco, 250 Montgomery St., sold for $173 a square foot, 57 percent less than it traded for in 2006.

The building is the third Bay Area property Hines has defaulted on in the past two months. On June 5, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. foreclosed on Marin Commons, a 455,000-square-foot office complex in San Rafael. And on July 15, Hines and joint venture partner CalPERS defaulted on a $152 million mortgage secured by the 814,000-square-foot Watergate office complex in Emeryville
, according to a notice of default filed in Alameda County by Pacific National Bank.

Hines, the developer picked two years ago to build a Transbay Terminal and Tower at Mission and First streets, also owns interests in 560 Mission St., 101 Second St., 101 California St., and 100 Montgomery St., which recently underwent a $30 million renovation.

Hines and Sterling American Property “are financially sound and well positioned,” according to the letter.

“Despite the unexpected disposition of 333 Bush, Hines and Sterling are fortified by our overall success in San Francisco and look forward to identifying additional opportunities for future investment,” said the letter.

Sterling recently shut down its San Francisco office, laying off its Bay Area executive, David Ash. Ash was hired in October 2008 to handle the disposition and financing of office and multifamily properties in the western United States.

For Toronto-based Brookfield, the transaction represents a chance to own a significant downtown San Francisco office building. Brookfield owns 108 properties totaling 75 million square feet in the downtown cores of New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Houston, Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa. The company has unsuccessfully bid on a number of properties in San Francisco in the past. The company owns the World Financial Center in Manhattan, Brookfield Place in Toronto, and Bank of America Plaza in Los Angeles. Brookfield’s Bert Dezzutti will handle leasing on the property.
Source: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/.../daily100.html

333 Bush

Source: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2...oing_back.html

These defaults are essentially tactical moves and do not indicate, as the article says, that Hines is in trouble. But they do mean that the office market in San Francisco is not conducive to new development and certainly not by Hines. As I have now said several times, I would not even be surprised to see them try to sell their equity in the TransBay project.
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  #2092  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2009, 5:29 PM
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Large amounts of concrete have been installed for the temporary terminal:





Meanwhile, back at the ranch, exploratory excavation is happening all around the old terminal. We received a notice that they are verifying the location of utilities in preparation for demo.
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  #2093  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2009, 8:03 PM
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hey look theyve put up siding on that mechanical structure on the top of one hawthorne.
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  #2094  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2009, 11:12 PM
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Yep, and they've also added a smaller mechanical structure to the left of the main one, which you can also barely make out in that photo.
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  #2095  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2009, 12:22 AM
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Nice pictures p.g! It's been a while since I've checked up on here, I don't have much time to do so anymore. I'm glad this is finally progressing though
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  #2096  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2009, 5:11 PM
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Thanks, Rem. I noticed you haven't been around much. Thought maybe you were doing a little summer traveling. If so, I hope you're taking pictures!
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  #2097  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2009, 3:28 AM
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Yesterday, I went to see the Barcelona v Chivas soccer game at Candlestick (which was amazing), and even though there is a way to get there using public transportation, I thought about how much better coordinated all the systems would be upon the completion of the Transbay Center. Getting there by car, which I shall not do next time, was an utter nightmare of traffic.

I wouldn't say I've traveled much, certainly not around the world, or even outside of the state. I did recently drive all the way up the 1 though, and took some pictures along the way. They are on my Facebook page
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  #2098  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2009, 5:43 PM
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Has anyone seen this? The Transbay Temporary Terminal now has a construction camera. You can also see the time-lapse video.

Click here:
http://temporaryterminal.org/webcam

There's also a nice little fact sheet published August 2009 here:
http://temporaryterminal.org/sites/d.../factsheet.pdf
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  #2099  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2009, 7:16 PM
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I hadn't seen it, so thanks for pointing it out.
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  #2100  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2009, 11:51 PM
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Temporary terminal: getting some palm trees

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