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TheOldMan May 27, 2006 8:57 PM

i would also like to see it happen. i agree that the TransAmerica Pyramid is too short. goddamn NIMBYs reduced its original height because they felt it would block their views of the Bay Bridge-what assholes. I am all for this proposal.

MrMetropolitan May 27, 2006 9:14 PM

More housing for people is more important than people's veiws being blocked. It is very selfish of people to only care about their precious views. If it's good for the city as a whole, that's the most important thing.

tech12 May 27, 2006 11:28 PM

^^Word...people need to grow up. (no pun intended:frog: )

Looking at some people's reactions in the chronicle really pissed me off today. One guy claimed they would block views (poor you) and cause traffic (It's a TRANSIT terminal...and in any case, it's far away, in downtown), and that lots of skyscrapers was the reason he moved away from New York (well shit, maybe he should've relocated to a small town instead of another large CITY).

Then some lady stated matter of factly that the towers WOULD, in fact, fall down in an earthquake...

People are stupid. But hopefully the city has too much going for it to let this project pass.

TheOldMan May 27, 2006 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tech12
Then some lady stated matter of factly that the towers WOULD, in fact, fall down in an earthquake...

People are stupid. But hopefully the city has too much going for it to let this project pass.


This Lady, for living in San Fran, obviously doesnt know shit about earthquakes and building in seismicly active areas. For instance, Taipei 101 is built in an area which is capable of much more powerful earthquakes than anything the San Andreas fault is capable of producing, yet it has been built to withstand a 9.5 magnitude earthquake. large skyscrapers are actually more stable than midrise and low rise buildings in an earthquake (assuming their builders and design engineers know what they are doing). Stupid lady. she needs move out of the city if earthquakes are her concern.

KevinFromTexas May 27, 2006 11:59 PM

Something taller than the pyramid? It better be good...

Wheelingman04 May 28, 2006 12:17 AM

This is just what San Francisco needs to do to put its skyline to another level.

WonderlandPark May 28, 2006 12:21 AM

OldMan has it right, midrises in the Warner Center suffered the most damage in the Northridge quake but the tallest of the Warner Center towers were o.k. and accounting for distance, taller buildings fared better in Glendale and Burbank than the 10-20 story ones. 10-20 stories has somthing to do with the shaking and wave periods that makes them more vulnerable.

And Taipei 101 is built to extreme standards, I thought it was 8.5 but maybe it is 9.5. But a 9.5 is seriously extreme and rare. Shaking for 10 minutes (Sumatra was magnitude 9.15 and had 9 minutes of shaking). I would be suprised if anything can be designed to 9.5 standards. I think Tokyo scrapers are designed to an 8.5 standard (like L.A. and S.F.)

plinko May 28, 2006 4:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J Church
^ There's a map in the original post, Plinko.

Amazingly observant aren't I??? :koko:

Are there any existing buildings in SF with a tuned mass damper? These may be the first?

sf_eddo May 31, 2006 7:36 AM

Thougt I'd throw in some visuals:

Below is a google maps visual of the planned Transbay Redevelopment Area.

The Transbay Center (1000+ ft) is the big grey box in the middle with the bus lines running to and from it. First and Mission (850+ ft) has a marker on it, and I believe the Howard & 1st parcel is the parking lot above the word 'Tehama' near First. (FYI - 301 Mission (Millennium) is at the corner of Fremont and Mission, right where the 't' in "50 Fremont Center" is, 300 Spear (Infinity) is at Spear/Folsom/Main, One Rincon Hill is at at the bottom of the picture at 1st & Harrison)

http://static.flickr.com/67/153272725_572ecc3fae_o.jpg

We've seen the Transbay Terminal before, so it wasn't really exciting to capture the parcel, but here are what I believe are the two 850+ ft. towers that are being discussed.

The first one is at the Northwest corner of 1st and Mission, and its footprint will extend to the parking lot. This is the view from Local Live looking East, I believe. The white lowrise building is the one being talked about, and the adjacent abandoned parking lot above it (which by the way smells offensively like human feces everytime the sun comes out).

http://static.flickr.com/37/157038613_2d791dfe8d_o.jpg

The Howard/1st parcel, I think is this one. I cannot see where else they would be able to easily build, unless they are tearing down the building. My opinion is, if the parking lot goes, I'm for it, whatever it is! This is the view from Local Live looking south. From memory, I believe the building in the lower right corner is part of the Foundry Square complex, and is also the corporate headquarters of Gymboree.

http://static.flickr.com/69/157038612_eeac4de9d6_o.jpg

Hope this sheds light for those who had difficulty imagining the actual sites on the city grid.

J Church Jun 5, 2006 4:55 PM

Famed architect in line to design new S.F. tower
San Francisco Business Times - June 2, 2006
by J.K. Dineen and Emily Fancher

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

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

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

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

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

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

A global heavyweight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new player

In assembling the four parcels, the relatively low-profile California Mortgage and Realty becomes a central player in the long Transbay Terminal debate, one that is sure to heat up in the coming months.

In the last three months, the company has bought 76-80 First St., and 88 First St., and 50 First St., an acquisition that closed in late May for $26 million. In 2004, Choo bought 62 First St. for $10 million and moved his company headquarters there from Oakland.

In an interview on Tuesday, company CEO James Gala said that real estate investment was an "adjunct" part of the company's core business of arranging short-term commercial real estate loans funded by the lending capital of the company and its private investment clients.

Gala declined to elaborate on plans for the parcels.

"We're good investors, it is a stretch to refer to us as developers," Gala said. "We have real estate investment activities."

Gala said the decision to buy the properties was driven by "location, opportunity, and timing" and that the firm has developed a sharp eye for value through its lending practice. With office rents rising and approximately 3 million square feet of commercial space being converted into residential condos, he said the company was bullish on office development.

"There is no plan, there are many ideas being presented," he said. "The discourse has begun and it's very, very early in the process."

Gala said the Macris' vision of a neighborhood anchored by slender skyscraper, similar to the Rincon Hill plan, is "one of several ideas that have been discussed." He declined to say whether CMR have been involved in the new Transbay planning process, but said, "because of his stature, we listen intently when Dean speaks."

bayrider Jun 5, 2006 6:02 PM

Renzo Piano?? Wow!! SF is on the verge of having a classic. I can't wait to see the design.

Fabb Jun 5, 2006 9:09 PM

Quote:

The TJPA also endorsed increasing some building heights in the 40-acre redevelopment area, embracing a vision for a 1,000-foot tower next to the terminal and two 800-foot skyscrapers nearby, including the Piano tower.
So, Piano's tower is one of the lower buildings. He's good enough to be in charge of the tall one too.

CGII Jun 5, 2006 10:57 PM

I'm afraid of being called a nimby, especially in a city that isn't mine, but these buildings better be flawlessly executed. Anything taller than the pyramid with that doesn't have a top notch design will probably look ridiculous on the SF skyline. This is a fantastic project for the city and it has the potential to be one of, if not the, greatest architectural triumph in the city. Piano was a great choice.

TheOldMan Jun 5, 2006 11:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas
Something taller than the pyramid? It better be good...

Yeah, i second (or third if you will ^^^) that. like the Chrysler building is to the Empire State Building. I am definatly all for it assuming it is very well done. with Piano in the mix,however, the outlook is good.

WonderlandPark Jun 6, 2006 1:52 AM

Foster for the 1000 footer would be nice :)

J Church Jun 6, 2006 3:15 AM

Oh, I think we're all hoping they don't blow this opportunity by offering up anything less than stellar. It's not so much the architects I'm worried about however as the citizenry of San Francisco, who are notorious for their conservative taste in architecture.

BTW, there's a design competition for both the terminal and the 1,000' tower, which will be attached to it. It's just getting underway. Don't know yet if Piano (or anyone, for that matter) will be part of it. But large train station + largest tower in a fairly large city, it doesn't get a whole lot more high-profile, so we're hoping to attract a few famous names.

Chase Unperson Jun 6, 2006 4:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J Church

BTW, there's a design competition for both the terminal and the 1,000' tower, which will be attached to it. It's just getting underway. Don't know yet if Piano (or anyone, for that matter) will be part of it. But large train station + largest tower in a fairly large city, it doesn't get a whole lot more high-profile, so we're hoping to attract a few famous names.


Wouldn't it also be even more cool to get a local SF architect to propose a groundbreaking never before conceptualized building rather than another starchitect?

J Church Jun 6, 2006 4:45 AM

I don't care where they come from as long as we get a looker of a tower. Any outsider will have to partner with locals anyway.

BANKofMANHATTAN Jun 6, 2006 3:49 PM

That's great for SF!

I'd like to see one of them w/ a spire - not just a pole, mind you - moreso a tapering top deal like 2 Prudential or The Battlehouse Tower in AL.

It would be a nice contrast to all the boxesque towers. :)

rgolch Jun 6, 2006 6:28 PM

That's awesome for SF! They will have to be stunning to be deserving of SF.

Sorry, I didn't read all the posts. Are these towers residential, or office?


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