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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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  #381  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2007, 10:16 PM
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craeg craeg is offline
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Fine by me. I can recognize the difference between something I find personally desirable, and something desirable to the public in general. There are many many people in San Francisco who have purchased condos with no view - Realtors call it the "city lights" view.
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  #382  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 9:43 PM
nequidnimis nequidnimis is offline
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
^^^
I actually hate the Burton Building. Perhaps you know that I nominated it on the thread here as the ugliest building in SF. It's just an ugly building..
Where do we cast our vote? I use the Burton Building as a punching bag of convenience, since even here most don't like it, but it is just a high-rise in an architectural style that is dated. It is actually built with quality materials, attentively detailed, with a large south facing plaza (unlike the north facing BofA plaza), and its monumental proportions befit a public building. I just wish there was a good Calder on the plaza.

We'll see in four decades if the high-rises currently built withstand the test of time any better. I would like to nominate the SOMA Grand

Last edited by nequidnimis; Jun 9, 2007 at 11:33 PM.
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  #383  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
Nobody has a good explanation for why retail on Van Ness has been "iffy" as long as I've lived on Van Ness (26 years).

I actually hate the Burton Building. Perhaps you know that I nominated it on the thread here as the ugliest building in SF. It's just an ugly building. I'm not sure how I would feel if it were an attractively designed building. As for the Holiday Inn, I don't mind it and it does fit what I repeat is the Planning Dept. policy of putting the tallest buildings on the highest points of land. I've actually stayed on the top floor--heck of a view for a tourist.

There are ugly, inappropriate highrises. But that doesn't explain why people oppose them in downtown, such as Mission St., where they would be surrounded by other highrises. I'm not opposed to planning which is to say putting highrises where they are grouped and most appropriate based on use and infrastructure availability. But the sort of people who oppose them at the TransBay Terminal and on Rincon Hill just viscerally don't like tall buildings in San Francisco. The only reason I can think of is what someone (Fflint I think it was) called a desire to see SF as a Mediterranean village by the sea, not a world-class city.
I think that you are commingling two trains of thought here--many more people are complaining about One Rincon and skyscrapers on top of hills than what is built in the true downtown core. Skyscrapers fit very well into lower Mission Street and its environs. I am not one who has complained about One Rincon, but I see the point of people who do because the world class view of the Bay Bridge is marred from many angles. That obviously is not important to you, but understand that it is to many. A world class city has world class views--why do you and some others not seem to grasp that concept? As I've said before, you can see high rises all over the world. You can not see something like the Bay Bridge dramatically coming into a city like ours just anywhere. I always like to refer to it as the "front door" to the City.

Regarding that hideous monstrosity on Van Ness, the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, I'm appalled that you would even make such a statement. I lived here before it was there and it certainly does NOT fit the Planning Department's policy, which is why they modified the policy after that abomination was built. I just can't understand any true San Franciscan (no matter how long they have lived here) liking that building anymore than they would like to have a Wal Mart here.

You're also focusing on only one part of the Planning Department's policy--it's not limited to hilltop high rises only but also to development of the Transbay Terminal area in the flatlands as well as other high rises that are not on hills.
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  #384  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2007, 12:11 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
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Some news in today's Business Times "Structures" supplement (which they have not, so far, put online):

- Concerning the essential upzoning of the private parcels including the Piano tower at 1st & Mission: "The (Planning) department hopes to choose a consultant in July to study the private parcvels around the pterminal and the area around the CalTrain Station. A study is expected to take 6 months with a final environmental review anticipated in the spring of 2009 . . . . It's very important to the city . . . it's our chance to make sure downtown is anchored at this important transit hub."

- Concerning the TransBay Terminal itself: "The project is now expected to be built in two phases. The first includes the new terminal to integrate regional buses with BART and Muni, and the design of the CalTrain rail compenent of the terminal. That $983M project is fully funded, and work on a temporary terminal is expected to start in the summer of 2008 with contruction of the permanent terminal to start in 2009 and be completed in 2014. Phase 2, when funding becomes available (BT note--presumeably from sale of development rights for the tower in part), will extend CalTrain from 4th & King streets to the terminal, and will accomodate future high-speed intercity rail from Los Angeles. This phase is estimated to cost $2.38B, of which $521M is committed so far, and be completed by 2018.
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  #385  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2007, 6:24 AM
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A TJPA Offer You Really Can't Refuse

A bit of information I thought to be rather interesting:

From Socketsite.com:

[...] The Transbay Joint Powers Admin [TJPA] over that past few weeks has been sending out offer letters to purchase properties around the Transbay Terminal. The TJPA is moving forward with their acquisition plan for 20+ properties (maybe 33 if memory serves me correct) for their right of way needs. It's very hush hush as they do not want the "offers" to be made public - but "fair market" values are being tossed out there to the land owners. "Fair Market" - mind you the only people the land owners can sell to is the TJPA.

Negotiations will go on for the next few months, but if no final "fair" price is agreed to, then the TJPA will go the [Board of Supervisors] and play the eminent domain card.

And the question: “If these land owners could sell their properties to the big time developers they could be making an additional 25% on these "fair market" values. So the question is - what is truly fair market?”
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  #386  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2007, 11:06 PM
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^^^I must say I don't understand what this means. They already own all the land they need for the terminal itself and the signature tower and there's never been any suggestion the project required public ownership of the lots immediately around it--such as those where the Piano project is planned, 301 Mission and Foundry Square. If what is involved here are properties under which the CalTrain tunnel would have to go, this is, again, the first I've heard of any need for public ownership of lots between 4th & Townsend and the terminal property on Mission. It might be necessary to restrict some such lots from redevelopment involving new piles or deep foundations and, I suppose, it's possible a few existing buildings could go deep enough to cause a problem in one way or another, but 33? With no hint of this in public discussion of the project before now? So what, on earth, are they talking about?
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  #387  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 3:36 AM
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^ the construction of the CalTrain tunnel will require the eminent domain (and demolition) of several properties along 2nd street. i didn't know it was 33 properties, but the number makes sense. the TJPA needs to acquire properties under the intersections of 2nd St. and Townsend and 2nd St. and Howard, locations where the tunnel will make the sharp turns.
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  #388  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 5:43 AM
mthd mthd is offline
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
.... With no hint of this in public discussion of the project before now? So what, on earth, are they talking about?
eh? there has been plenty of public discussion.

the required demolition is described clearly in the EIR, which was made publicly available several years ago, open to public comment, discussed at numerous public planning commission hearings, and finally certified in public.

the exact number will depend on how much cut and cover they do and how much boring they do. in addition to the parcels along second street there are parcels and buildings required for the temporary terminal, bus staging, etc.

from the EIR :

Quote:
Two alignment alternatives are considered for the Caltrain Downtown Extension: the Second-to-
Main Alternative and the Second-to-Mission Alternative. Both a cut-and-cover and tunneling
option have been defined for each Caltrain Extension Alternative. The alternatives and options
present distinct engineering opportunities and constraints. The cut-and-cover construction
method for either alternative would involve the acquisition and demolition of up to 23 existing
buildings. Land use impacts associated with the loss of these buildings are described in this
section, while more detail regarding the parcels and buildings that would be acquired is provided
in Section 5.2. Interim disruptions to land uses that remain in the project area could be
anticipated for either alternative, as described in Section 5.21.
The affected properties for both Caltrain Alternatives are located in the vicinity of Second and
Howard Streets, with additional properties on Mission Street affected under the Second-to-
Mission Street Alternative. Eleven additional parcels with 10 building in the Second and
Townsend Streets area would be acquired and demolished under the Cut-and-Cover Option but
would remain under the Tunneling Option. See also Figure 4.1-1, in Chapter 4, which shows the
land use context for these affected properties.
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  #389  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 5:52 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
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^^^Sounds to me like the project could devestate that area which was finally beginning to recover from the dot-com collapse and stabilize.

Frankly, I've never really been convinced this project was worth the money and trouble with 4th & Townsend rapidly becoming part of "downtown" (and now connected to the center of "downtown" by 2 LRV lines).
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  #390  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 6:37 AM
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^ but if youre gonna spend hella money on the transbay terminal, then SOMETHING has to go there (other then buses, cmon, who cares about a BUS STATION)?
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  #391  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 4:35 PM
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^^^My point was if if were up to me, I wouldn't spend the money there. I'd upzone that area and let private developers build the highrises and I'd build a nicer train station at 4th & Townsend (with the crosstown subway making it even easier to get there from Market St.) And you're right--a much smaller building, maybe on the ground floor of a highrise with a larger footprint, would suffice at 1st & Mission for a bus terminal.

But I realize nobody agrees with me--here or at City Hall. I was just saying I hadn't realized they were going to have to demolish a substantial number of existing buildings. I thought they were going to do the tunnel as a bore that would leave most of what would be above undisturbed. But if they do cut & cover, I guess there's going to be a lot more property to redevelop South of Market. I'm pretty glad I don't live around there and I feel sorry for the people who do.
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  #392  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 8:24 PM
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Well the shopping district and Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and all those other places are located at a much better distance to the current transbay terminal. This is the perfect spot because it is central to everything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
^^^My point was if if were up to me, I wouldn't spend the money there. I'd upzone that area and let private developers build the highrises and I'd build a nicer train station at 4th & Townsend (with the crosstown subway making it even easier to get there from Market St.) And you're right--a much smaller building, maybe on the ground floor of a highrise with a larger footprint, would suffice at 1st & Mission for a bus terminal.

But I realize nobody agrees with me--here or at City Hall. I was just saying I hadn't realized they were going to have to demolish a substantial number of existing buildings. I thought they were going to do the tunnel as a bore that would leave most of what would be above undisturbed. But if they do cut & cover, I guess there's going to be a lot more property to redevelop South of Market. I'm pretty glad I don't live around there and I feel sorry for the people who do.
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  #393  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 9:12 PM
mthd mthd is offline
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
^^^My point was if if were up to me, I wouldn't spend the money there. I'd upzone that area and let private developers build the highrises...
without the terminal and possibility of the dtx extension, there is no upzoning. the upzoning was borne out of the hope of generating incremental revenue to fund improvements in the area, namely the new terminal.

we might want them to do it anyway, but politically i cannot imagine it.

annoying sf politics aside, i couldn't disagree more with the notion that the extension isn't worth building. it may be the only really $$ transit project in the bay area that IS worth building. tall buildings and high density are impossible without good transit, and transferring to the n-judah or t-third at 4th & townsend is ridiculously slow. downtown needs regional rail connections and caltrain is it as far as parts south are concerned.

the development in progress around 4th & townsend is a tiny little drop in the bucket compared to the current volume of use around the terminal, not to mention the enormous future growth imagined.
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  #394  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 9:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mthd View Post
without the terminal and possibility of the dtx extension, there is no upzoning. the upzoning was borne out of the hope of generating incremental revenue to fund improvements in the area, namely the new terminal.

we might want them to do it anyway, but politically i cannot imagine it.

annoying sf politics aside, i couldn't disagree more with the notion that the extension isn't worth building. it may be the only really $$ transit project in the bay area that IS worth building. tall buildings and high density are impossible without good transit, and transferring to the n-judah or t-third at 4th & townsend is ridiculously slow. downtown needs regional rail connections and caltrain is it as far as parts south are concerned.

the development in progress around 4th & townsend is a tiny little drop in the bucket compared to the current volume of use around the terminal, not to mention the enormous future growth imagined.
I completely agree. That's the whole point of constructing the transbay terminal, to eliminate the number of connections required. As the eastern part of the city continues to mushroom in population and more jobs are located downtown, the current infrastructure will be insufficient. Add to this all of the commuters from the South Bay on Caltrain, and eventually from SoCal on the high speed rail and you'll need a better transit hub.

In addition, I think that an urban centerpiece is not only forward thinking, but it will be the catalyst to further accelerate development of the area. I see how Yerba Buena Gardens has created a dynamic new area of the city and I'm sure we'll see a similar thing here, only on a grander scale.

Sure, it will be a hassle to construct things underground and to inconvenience residents, but isn't that exactly what happened back in the 60s, when they were constructing BART under Market Street? Can you imagine SF today without BART running right through downtown?
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  #395  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 10:08 PM
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without the terminal and possibility of the dtx extension, there is no upzoning.
I said "If I were running things" and if I were running things there would be.
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  #396  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 10:10 PM
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I said "If I were running things" and if I were running things there would be.
BT, you should run against Daly in the next election (or with some wishful thinking, a recall election). We could use some development proponent with real, tangible goals here in District 6.
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  #397  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Neighborhood planned around transit hub in S.F.

Jul 13, 2007 3:26 AM (11 hrs ago)
by Bonnie Eslinger, The Examiner


If The City’s vision for a new Transbay Terminal goes through, it could drastically change the skyline.

SAN FRANCISCO (Map, News) - The City’s vision for a newly rebuilt Transbay Transit Terminal is not just for a public transportation hub — it’s a plan for a whole new neighborhood.

The Transbay project is expected to bring together regional bus lines and a Caltrain connection within a new transit center at First and Mission streets. Transit advocates also hope to eventually bring the state’s first high-speed rail line to the modernized public transportation hub.

On July 25, the Planning Department will hold its first public workshop to introduce a planning effort for the Transit Center District — which, at this preliminary stage, has boundaries of Market, Main, Tehama and New Montgomery streets.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority provided the Planning Department with approximately $240,000 to develop a comprehensive plan for the Transit Center District, including investigating possible changes to permitted building heights and density rules for the area around the current Transbay Terminal, Planning Department project manager Joshua Switzky said.

The area around the Transbay Terminal is zoned for up to 550 feet on the blocks immediately around the station. The rebuilt Transit Center project itself has been proposed to include an 800- to 1,000-foot high-rise that would include a hotel, as well as residential and commercial units. The development project is expected to generate revenue to help fund the rebuilding of the Transbay Terminal.

On Tuesday, bids from three design and architectural teams were submitted to the Planning Department for the Transit Terminal project, which, in its first phase, is estimated to cost $1 billion in already secured local, state and federal funding. A public presentation of those designs will be made on Aug. 6, project spokesman Adam Alberti said.

Prior to that, the July 25 public meeting will be used, in part, to discuss raising the height limits in the area, Planning Director Dean Macris said.

“We’ll need to do that to enable the terminal project to move forward,” Macris said.

Tom Radulovich, executive director of Livable City, a nonprofit that focuses on city planning policies, said that any discussions about new high-rises should also focus on building width and the amount of distance between buildings.

“Let some light into the area,” Radulovich said.

The second phase of the project, slated to begin in 2012, would create an underground extension that would bring the Caltrain line from its station at Fourth and King streets to the Transbay Terminal. The total cost for both projects is estimated at $3.4 billion.

beslinger@examiner.com
Source: http://www.examiner.com/a-826636~Nei...b_in_S_F_.html

To reemphasize--Note the dates of the public workshop and of unveiling of the 3 design proposals.

I'll also note that if 2nd St is to be laid waste as discussed above, it will first have to sit in limbo and deterioriate for 4 years (who, after all, is going to put any money, even for maintenance, in an area that's about to suffer what this one is). The graffiti "artists" and homeless squatters should love that but not so much those who own condos in the area.

Last edited by BTinSF; Jul 13, 2007 at 10:23 PM.
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  #398  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
BT, you should run against Daly in the next election (or with some wishful thinking, a recall election). We could use some development proponent with real, tangible goals here in District 6.
I am not only not a politician (as I thought I proved almost daily here), but Daly can't run again, thank your higher power. He's termed out and will probably seek a higher income as a homeless whore (Oops, I mean advocate)--that is, running a nonprofit in that area of interest, not actually being homeless. My understanding is his parents bought him a nice 3 bedroom condo in the Mission--the sort of which he regularly helps drive up the price.
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  #399  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2007, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthd View Post
tall buildings and high density are impossible without good transit, and transferring to the n-judah or t-third at 4th & townsend is ridiculously slow. downtown needs regional rail connections and caltrain is it as far as parts south are concerned.

the development in progress around 4th & townsend is a tiny little drop in the bucket compared to the current volume of use around the terminal, not to mention the enormous future growth imagined.
^ hmm, my thoughts exactly. caltrain users need to have easy connections to BART, muni....CONNECTIVITY is key
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  #400  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2007, 2:29 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
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^^^Please note: As the article I posted above, the first phase of the terminal, without CalTrain, is estimated to cost $1 billion. When the second phase, the CalTrain tunnel, is built, the total cost will be about $3.4 billion. For $2.4 billion, we could provide free taxi service to every passenger who alights from CalTrain at 4th & Townsend for a long time.

It's cost vs benefits, people. Built the Central Subway to provide a direct connection from 4th & Townsend to the Powell St. BART station. Build a nice train station (with maybe a highrise above it as SPUR suggests) at 4th & Townsend (think Grand Central, which, I remind you, is nowhere near the financial district in NYC). Free the developers to build as high as they want at 1st & Mission. Save $2.4 billion and coming blight on 2nd St.

But, hey, I'm not Mayor and don't want to be.
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