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View Poll Results: Which transbay tower design scheme do you like best?
#1 Richard Rogers 39 7.88%
#2 Cesar Pelli 98 19.80%
#3 SOM 358 72.32%
Voters: 495. You may not vote on this poll

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  #2181  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 7:10 PM
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The final terminal design will be presented today according to the Chronicle.

A couple of key points:
  • The budget is still $1.189 billion, but that now includes the park (which was supposed to be financed separately before).
  • They've reduced the number of skylights from 5 to 3. Doesn't say why, but still:
  • As for the tower: "Developer Hines continues to negotiate the fine points of the land sale agreement with the Transbay authority." This tells me the city hasn't yet received payment, which is a little troubling.
  • Also, until construction on the tower starts, that space will be "a plaza filled with a grid of potted trees."

A couple of new renderings:


The Chronicle calls the ghosted building to the right an alternate site, but it's a totally separate development opportunity that will be made available once the ramps to the terminal are shifted:




All the above sourced from SFGate.
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  #2182  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 8:34 PM
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Hard to tell from this article if Hines means with or without the crown but it seems that theyHines scratched the 1200 foot tower and are going with a more "modest" 1000 footer.

http://www.theregistrysf.com/RTRE_hines_transbay.html
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  #2183  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 10:20 PM
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^1200, 1000, either way, I'd be happy. But reading that article makes me really concerned that Hines may not pay the TJPA that money for a very long time (if ever) thus delaying construction of the new terminal for years. They have no motivation to sign off on the deal in a timely fashion unless faced with the threat of losing exclusive bargaining rights. And I don't think doing that will generate a better bid at this point. I was really hoping that was a done deal and Hines had already paid their fees.
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  #2184  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2010, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
^1200, 1000, either way, I'd be happy. But reading that article makes me really concerned that Hines may not pay the TJPA that money for a very long time (if ever) thus delaying construction of the new terminal for years. They have no motivation to sign off on the deal in a timely fashion unless faced with the threat of losing exclusive bargaining rights. And I don't think doing that will generate a better bid at this point. I was really hoping that was a done deal and Hines had already paid their fees.
I doubt they will sign anything until SF approves the zoning. I would bet $5 that zoning is 90% of the issue (once they sign Hines has no leverage left).

Zoning negotiations are probably the reason the tower changed from 1200 to 1000 as well.
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  #2185  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 1977 View Post
Hard to tell from this article if Hines means with or without the crown but it seems that theyHines scratched the 1200 foot tower and are going with a more "modest" 1000 footer.

http://www.theregistrysf.com/RTRE_hines_transbay.html
This was inevitable from the beginning and resulted not from Hines but from the city's studies of shadows. I'm fairly sure I recall the 1000' figure is occupied space with a substantial amount of mechanical and decorative "stuff" on top of that (including wind turbines in the original design). 1200' of occupied space would have shadowed Justin Herman Plaza and that wasn't going to happen.
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  #2186  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 12:22 AM
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From Wikipedia (to jog everyone's memory):

Quote:
On May 1, 2008, the city of San Francisco presented its Transbay zoning plan which includes seven towers exceeding the current 550 ft (168 m) height limit, with six towers ranging from 600 feet (183 m) to 800 ft (244 m) and the centerpiece 1,000 ft (305 m) Transbay Tower. Under the city plan, the height of the Renzo Piano towers would be reduced by one-third and the Transbay tower by one-sixth. 181 Fremont Street and Transbay Project II saw their heights cut to only 700 ft (213 m), while 350 Mission Street, currently at 550 ft (168 m), could rise as high as 700 feet (213 m). The plan also permits buildings to rise as high as 600 ft (183 m) on a block of land bounded by Main (northeast), Howard (southeast), and Beale Streets (southwest). One of the reasons for this reduction was that the Transbay Tower, at 1,200 ft (366 m), would cast a shadow over Justin Herman Plaza near the Embarcadero, a violation of a 1984 law that prohibits structures from casting shadows over plazas and parks. A 1,000 ft (305 m) Transbay Tower would not shadow over a significant portion of Justin Herman Plaza.[3]
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fra...ay_development

I feel fairly sure the issue with Hines is money, pure and simple. There is simply no market for a new 1000' spec office building in San Francisco right now, so nobody is going to build the thing for at least several years--especially not Hines (I continue to think there's a good chance they will ultimately sell their development rights). And no developer in their right mind will pay for development rights further in advance of construction than they have to. I hope that while San Francisco may not yet have a final contract with Hines, they have some sort of binding agreement since everyone has been assuming for some time that the money for development rights to the tower was "in the bag". Of course, many developers wouldn't think twice about breaking such an agreement if doing so seemed financially advantageous.
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  #2187  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 12:38 AM
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People, the tower is 1000', the crown is 200', the total will be 1200' from floor to top of the crown. This is defined in the TJPA plans (1000' tower and 200' translucent crown). If I hear this discussed one more time I'm going to go bananas
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  #2188  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 1:23 AM
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Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
The final terminal design will be presented today according to the Chronicle.
The principle news I got from that article is that they ARE going to build the "train box" in the first phase--which certainly makes sense (but didn't guarantee it would happen in SF):

Quote:
Officials say the first stage of construction - demolition of the existing terminal at First and Mission streets - should begin in August or September.

Under this scenario, the $1.189 billion terminal would open for bus service by 2017. An additional $400 million will be spent to build a shell beneath ground that will eventually house a train platform and concourse.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...#ixzz0lskkmfcD
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  #2189  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 3:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
This was inevitable from the beginning and resulted not from Hines but from the city's studies of shadows. I'm fairly sure I recall the 1000' figure is occupied space with a substantial amount of mechanical and decorative "stuff" on top of that (including wind turbines in the original design). 1200' of occupied space would have shadowed Justin Herman Plaza and that wasn't going to happen.
I really don't understand SF politics (perhaps they are an enigma not meant to be understood)...
Don't Embarcadero Towers shade Justin Herman Plaza already, since they are, you know, 5 feet away from it.
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  #2190  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 6:01 PM
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I really don't understand SF politics (perhaps they are an enigma not meant to be understood)...
Don't Embarcadero Towers shade Justin Herman Plaza already, since they are, you know, 5 feet away from it.
They were built before the law passed in 1984. Also, they are angled a bit so they shade it less than you might think and the Transbay at 1200' of occupied space would have shaded additional parts of it. But mostly it's because they were already there when the law passed.

I'm not sure if you live in SF (and just don't understand the politics) or live elsewhere, but in case it's the latter I'll add that this isn't as crazy as it sounds. SF tends to be cold, windy and often foggy in the summer months--temps are usually in the 60s with a cold wind blowing off the water (where the ocean temp hangs in the 50s). People crave a place to sit in the sun where they can do things like read or eat lunch, especially downtown. It makes sense to try to preserve the places for that that exist.
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  #2191  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2010, 6:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
They were built before the law passed in 1984. Also, they are angled a bit so they shade it less than you might think and the Transbay at 1200' of occupied space would have shaded additional parts of it. But mostly it's because they were already there when the law passed.

I'm not sure if you live in SF (and just don't understand the politics) or live elsewhere, but in case it's the latter I'll add that this isn't as crazy as it sounds. SF tends to be cold, windy and often foggy in the summer months--temps are usually in the 60s with a cold wind blowing off the water (where the ocean temp hangs in the 50s). People crave a place to sit in the sun where they can do things like read or eat lunch, especially downtown. It makes sense to try to preserve the places for that that exist.
I understand shadows (every park has shadwos created by trees, and shadows move throughout the day) and I do live here, year round, but my point was that the park is already shaded by Embarcadero and surrounding towers so why is there a problem (rhetorical, I know)?
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  #2192  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 3:23 AM
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From: http://sfist.com/2009/11/20/this_cou..._in_a_coup.php
Quote:
The Planning Department just released their 25-year plan for the Transbay Terminal-adjacent "Transit Center District." Above is a rendering of what the San Francisco skyline might look like, 20 or 25 years hence, if six new proposed skyscrapers actually get approved and built, including the central 950-foot Transbay Tower, which would be 100 feet taller than the TransAmerica Pyramid. This is just a plan of course, not a design, and the image above is meant only to illustrate relative heights. But wouldn't that be pretty? The view from Dolores Park? (Cue the anti-shadow, anti-tall-stuff whiners.)

In addition, the plan covers a 145-acre district bounded by Steuart and New Montgomery Streets, between Market and Folsom, giving landmarks status to four buildings including the Palace Hotel.

And The Nominees Are: Your Transbay Terminal Designs We don't know what the hell happened to the proposed 1,200 foot phallus with preliminary design by Cesar Pelli, which was chosen by the jury in the 2007 competition for a new Transbay Tower, or the other imaginary complex of 900-foot-plus towers by Renzo Piano. Well, we do know -- lots of people complained so city planners are trying to compromise at 950 feet now for the tallest tower. What's another 250 feet? (As you can tell, we like tall things). The surrounding, shorter towers will all have height caps of 800 feet, all well above the existing cap of 550 feet, voted in under the "sunlight protection initiative" of 1984. The revised height limit will have to be approved through a public process in order for the plan to move forward.

The first public meetings about the plan are set to happen soon (dates are unclear), but the draft Environmental Impact Report won't be released until mid-2010, and plan adoption won't be underway until late next year.
No public meetings are announced yet, but for those who wish to help counter the complaints against new buildings being to tall, check here for upcoming meetings if and when they occur:
http://sfgov.org/site/frame.asp?u=ht...sbaycenter.org
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  #2193  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 7:18 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
They were built before the law passed in 1984. Also, they are angled a bit so they shade it less than you might think and the Transbay at 1200' of occupied space would have shaded additional parts of it. But mostly it's because they were already there when the law passed.

I'm not sure if you live in SF (and just don't understand the politics) or live elsewhere, but in case it's the latter I'll add that this isn't as crazy as it sounds. SF tends to be cold, windy and often foggy in the summer months--temps are usually in the 60s with a cold wind blowing off the water (where the ocean temp hangs in the 50s). People crave a place to sit in the sun where they can do things like read or eat lunch, especially downtown. It makes sense to try to preserve the places for that that exist.
Well stated!
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  #2194  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 5:30 PM
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I hope to God all of this stuff gets built.
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  #2195  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 6:27 PM
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I hope to God all of this stuff gets built.
Keep hoping, because that's all we have for most of it now.
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  #2196  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 6:42 PM
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The condo market in the city seems to be improving enough that we could see a new residential building or 2 get moving--most likely the "Infinity sibling" on Folsom or possibly ORH tower 2. Considering it takes 2-3 years before such a project is ready for sales, developers have to think that far ahead and if they do they may conclude in that time frame the market will be ready for a large new building.

Office, though, is a disaster area and I don't see a market for anything the size of the Transbay Tower for a long time (if ever). The largest buildings in SF up to now have been signature projects by large companies (BofA, TransAmerica)--not spec buildings. Embarcadero Center was spec, I think, but it's always had rental issues. And if Hines or whoever is looking for an anchor tenant big enough to matter in a supertall, who would it be? I can't imagine.
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  #2197  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2010, 12:13 AM
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Come on guys! Let's get them built! YEAH!
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  #2198  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2010, 9:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
The condo market in the city seems to be improving enough that we could see a new residential building or 2 get moving--most likely the "Infinity sibling" on Folsom or possibly ORH tower 2. Considering it takes 2-3 years before such a project is ready for sales, developers have to think that far ahead and if they do they may conclude in that time frame the market will be ready for a large new building.

Office, though, is a disaster area and I don't see a market for anything the size of the Transbay Tower for a long time (if ever). The largest buildings in SF up to now have been signature projects by large companies (BofA, TransAmerica)--not spec buildings. Embarcadero Center was spec, I think, but it's always had rental issues. And if Hines or whoever is looking for an anchor tenant big enough to matter in a supertall, who would it be? I can't imagine.
People make babies. In 15- 20 years when the terminal opens, I'm sure there will be more than enough demand for additional 1.5 mil sq. ft. of offices.
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  #2199  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2010, 6:35 AM
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^The current schedule has the Transbay Terminal opening in 2017 according to this:

http://transbaycenter.org/project/project-timeline
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  #2200  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2010, 3:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dr_strangelove View Post
People make babies. In 15- 20 years when the terminal opens, I'm sure there will be more than enough demand for additional 1.5 mil sq. ft. of offices.
The tower getting built has very little to do with the terminal. The terminal is being built, starting this year and, yes, it's supposed to be in operation in 2017. That is a project being built by a semi-autonomous government agency (the TJPA) which created the tower idea mostly as a source of funding (as a reminder, it's getting something like $300 million for the land and rights regardless of when the tower is built).

But the tower will be built when the private developer--Hines unless they sell the land and rights--thinks there's a market, and nobody knows when that might be.

Also, this tower is not the only office project in SF. Let us not forget that the foundation of 535 Mission is dug and there are other office projects with which the tower must ultimately compete. Regardless of babies, I wonder if there will ever be a tight enough office market in SF to entice construction of this tower unless every baby born in the city for a decade becomes a lawyer (it's law offices that fill a lot of SF office space).
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