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tech12
Mar 16, 2009, 9:30 PM
Did anyone else notice in that video, that there is only one of the one rincon hill twin towers constructed. Did the shorter one get completely canceled? Did I miss something

As far as I know, it's just on hold, due to the tough economic times.

BTinSF
Mar 19, 2009, 4:25 AM
Contextual massing for TransBay block 8 (et. al.)--and it has the second ORH tower:

http://www.socketsite.com/Block%208%20Massing.jpg
Source: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2009/03/a_contextual_massing_for_transbay_block_8_and_its_poten.html#comments

Reminiscence
Mar 19, 2009, 5:41 AM
I'm glad to hear more about block 8, especially with the way things are going right now. However, I can't help but feeling somewhat disappointed at some of the heights depicted in that plan, as well as some of the density. It just leaves a lot to be desired. Good thing it's too soon to say for sure.

SFView
Mar 19, 2009, 6:34 AM
Contextual massing for TransBay block 8 (et. al.)--and it has the second ORH tower:

http://www.socketsite.com/Block%208%20Massing.jpg
Source: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2009/03/a_contextual_massing_for_transbay_block_8_and_its_poten.html#comments

The second ORH Tower does appear in several instances of the Steelblue videos. The most recent of three Steelblue videos was taken offline. Notice the tall building just west (to the left) of the 50 First Street site (the second tallest building after the Transbay Transit Tower, also the former Piano Towers site). There has been very little discussion about that site over the past few years, but it has been shown it to be an opportunity site in the past. It sits within the 800' zone in the 1000' Transbay Tower scheme.

From San Francisco Planning:
http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/HTS1000.jpg

peanut gallery
Mar 19, 2009, 6:14 PM
Contextual massing for TransBay block 8 (et. al.)--and it has the second ORH tower:

And the Californian, 45 Lansing, the other Fremont St buildings around the Californian, the two Howard St towers, the big Fremont St tower south of Millennium and every other building we've ever discussed.


Notice the tall building just west (to the left) of the 50 First Street site (the second tallest building after the Transbay Transit Tower, also the former Piano Towers site). There has been very little discussion about that site over the past few years, but it has been shown it to be an opportunity site in the past. It sits within the 800' zone in the 1000' Transbay Tower scheme.

This appears to break up the Piano site into two pieces: the tower you pointed out and the shorter bulkier one to the west. I think I also spy 350 and 535 Mission between the cracks in there.

SFView
Mar 20, 2009, 12:25 AM
...This appears to break up the Piano site into two pieces: the tower you pointed out and the shorter bulkier one to the west...

I believe that the Piano site is/was entirely east of Ecker Pl - that short alley perpendicular to Mission. You can see all the Piano towers bunch into the area bounded by Mission, Ecker Pl. and 1st Street in these models. Note that two 1200' Piano towers where shortened to match the height of two other 900' towers to help reduce distraction from SOM's Transbay competition submission:
http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/IMG_0049.jpg

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/IMG_0005.jpg

This early rendering shows a separate single 1000' tower for 50 first street, before Piano split the concept into 5 separate towers, and another 550' tower north of Ecker on Mission. The new Steelblue rendering shows single towers in about the same locations. I believe this rendering depict two separate development sites.
From San Francisco Planning:
http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/transbay-aerial1.jpg

My apologies to those who wish not to remember SOM's design loosing to Pelli's.

Reminiscence
Mar 20, 2009, 6:39 PM
Aww SFView, I had just now gotten over SOM's defeat ;)

Either way, the details on what's going on seem pretty scarce, and I haven't taken a look at the temporary terminal site in over two months. Regarding the Piano site, I'm still a little confused on whats going on there. Is this entire proposal dead or just in troubled waters?

peanut gallery
Mar 20, 2009, 10:47 PM
I see now. That bulkier tower replaces the Golden Gate University building. I had it in my head (despite what my eyes should have been telling me) that it was sitting on the part of the Piano site that is already cleared. That's one proposal in the massing guide I'm not familiar with.

Rem - IIRC, the Piano site is for sale and the bamboo shoots vision he had for it is pretty much dead. That's unfortunate, but I wouldn't really mind if someone just bought the vacant piece of land and built something modest. The existing buildings on that site don't bother me at all but the fenced off lot sure does.

Vaillant
Mar 20, 2009, 11:20 PM
Wow very nice project i have to go back to San Francisco very soon i miss it alot

viewguysf
Mar 21, 2009, 6:36 AM
Wow very nice project i have to go back to San Francisco very soon i miss it alto

Yes, most of us were thrilled with that project, but it was not selected from among the three surviving proposals and will not be built. It would have been stunningly beautiful!

Reminiscence
Mar 21, 2009, 6:38 AM
Rem - IIRC, the Piano site is for sale and the bamboo shoots vision he had for it is pretty much dead. That's unfortunate, but I wouldn't really mind if someone just bought the vacant piece of land and built something modest. The existing buildings on that site don't bother me at all but the fenced off lot sure does.

Ah, I think I remember reading something about that a while back, I wasn't sure it pertained to this particular proposal though. It's very unfortunate that this one had to go the way of the dodo. It may or may not have been a good thing that we never saw any official renderings. It's good because at least this way we don't know what we're missing (unlike SOM :(), but at the same time, it's sad to imagine what could have been.

viewguysf
Mar 21, 2009, 4:08 PM
Ah, I think I remember reading something about that a while back, I wasn't sure it pertained to this particular proposal though. It's very unfortunate that this one had to go the way of the dodo. It may or may not have been a good thing that we never saw any official renderings. It's good because at least this way we don't know what we're missing (unlike SOM :(), but at the same time, it's sad to imagine what could have been.

Hey Rem...so why do you keep it and other non-risers in your signature line? We have to let go of those that are dead and move on, even though it's very disappointing. Ultimately, I think it's better to be realistic about San Francisco and what the actual possibilities for growth, design and development are here (and everywhere in this economic environment).

ethereal_reality
Mar 21, 2009, 4:24 PM
I thought you San Franciscans might like to see this slide from 1969.

I don't know if the Transit Center area differs much from 1969 but I thought it was interesting never the less.


http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/5417/4ebay0320sfdowntown1969.jpg

viewguysf
Mar 21, 2009, 4:36 PM
I thought you San Franciscans might like to see this slide from 1969. I don't know if the Transit Center area differs much from 1969 but I thought it was interesting never the less. Is the double decked highway running along the top of the photograph the Embarcadero Freeway? Does any of that section exist any more?

WOW--way cool--thanks for sharing. It definitely brings back memories and there are many, many changes that have been made since then.

Yes, that was the Embarcadero Freeway as it looped around off the freeway from the Bay Bridge and then turned north to run along The Embarcadero. No, most fortunately, none of it remains today. It was often referred to as San Francisco's Berlin Wall. A few of the bus ramps into and out of the Transbay Terminal are still there, but that's been changing rapidly too. In place of the old Embarcadero Freeway exit, there's a new short one that was recently completed for Fremont Street. The western suspension span of the Bay Bridge and all of the remaining freeways on this side have now been either rebuilt or seismically retrofitted. It was a very long, complicated project that just ended this month.

peanut gallery
Mar 21, 2009, 6:34 PM
Thanks for finding and posting that. I love historical shots and that's a time period I don't see very often. Love it!

Like viewguy said, many changes around there, especially along the southern side of Market. A good chunk of what's visible in this shot along that side of Market has been replaced. It's also interesting to see the Shell Building and what's now the USBank building stand out so much. Both are now buried in a sea of other buildings. Really brings home how much was built in the 70's and 80's.

Reminiscence
Mar 21, 2009, 8:42 PM
Hey Rem...so why do you keep it and other non-risers in your signature line? We have to let go of those that are dead and move on, even though it's very disappointing. Ultimately, I think it's better to be realistic about San Francisco and what the actual possibilities for growth, design and development are here (and everywhere in this economic environment).
Oh, it's no hard feelings (although it's a shame). I've been saying for months now that I'm going to change it, but ultimately I don't. This I can't blame on anything else except pure laziness (which I'm not particularly proud of). Now that I'm on spring break though, I should get around that.

Reminiscence
Mar 21, 2009, 8:46 PM
That's an incredible picture. I usually like looking at historical photos myself, but pictures of San Francisco like this I especially like because they show me how the city looked like before I arrived in it. The Embarcadero hung on there for a couple of years after I was born, but I was way too young to remember how it looked like. Thanks for sharing it!

ethereal_reality
Mar 21, 2009, 10:44 PM
Glad you guys liked the photo.
Your messages are very much appreciated.

SFView
Mar 22, 2009, 7:25 AM
It's great to see San Francisco in 1969. That is a beautiful photograph of San Francisco in the midst of a dramatic change with the near completion of the then called Bank of America Building. How about what San Francisco may be like 50 years or so after that?

Until we get more updates from Steelblue, here are some screen grabs from the Transbay Transit Center video from http://vimeo.com/3021119. The second ORH tower appears, but 50 First St., the tower just west of it, and the Palace Hotel tower are not shown.

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/Steelblue1.jpg

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/Steelblue2.jpg

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/Steelblue3.jpg

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/Steelblue4.jpg

holeinground
Mar 30, 2009, 6:07 PM
The video CUCa mentioned is online again, http://www.vimeo.com/3589710, without the need for password.

SFView
Mar 30, 2009, 6:47 PM
Neorama/Steelblue needed to add a disclaimer to their videos, before continuing to it to be available to the public.

peanut gallery
Apr 2, 2009, 8:22 PM
Update on the temp terminal. Nothing thrilling; just slogging along:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3341/3407032333_208804fccf_b.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3611/3407840840_5825edc6ea_b.jpg

BTinSF
Apr 2, 2009, 8:52 PM
Update on the temp terminal. Nothing thrilling; just slogging along

At a time when there are predictions there will never be another SF residential highrise ( http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=4173818&postcount=2134 ), slogging along is good. But I am getting increasingly nervous that before too long we will get news that the tower portion of this project is on indefinite hold. I'm actually pretty surprised we haven't heard that yet.

SFView
Apr 3, 2009, 1:47 AM
There still needs to be enough funding raised to help build the terminal.

BTinSF
Apr 3, 2009, 2:59 AM
There still needs to be enough funding raised to help build the terminal.

Hines has already cut what they will pay for the land and right to build from $350M to $235M--and that's all they are going to pay: http://www.commercialpropertynews.com/cpn/content_display/regions/west/san-francisco/e3i145a1d5cabedb4a1df5a3e0509c0549e . But they have the option of holding onto that land for as long as they want before they actually build as far as I know. And I am very nervous that their "partner" is MetLife Real Estate because the life insurers are in real trouble over their real estate investments because those investments are probably worth a lot less than the companies have been carrying them for on their books. Pouring money into a TransBay Tower would, for MetLife, be compounding their problem.

I believe "Phase 1" of the terminal itself (the above-ground portion and possibly the "train box") is fully or nearly fully funded and is probably receiving "stimulus" funds so it will probably go forward on schedule. "Phase 2" (the tunnel from 4th & King and the platforms etc for CalTrain and HSR) is NOT yet fully funded.

SFView
Apr 3, 2009, 4:56 AM
:previous: Thanks. Now I am getting nervous.

viewguysf
Apr 3, 2009, 5:57 AM
At a time when there are predictions there will never be another SF residential highrise ( http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=4173818&postcount=2134 ), slogging along is good. But I am getting increasingly nervous that before too long we will get news that the tower portion of this project is on indefinite hold. I'm actually pretty surprised we haven't heard that yet.

In addition to the bad residential construction forecast, there is absolutely no demand for office space and there's plenty of surplus space all over downtown. I think that it's all over for a long time to come.

BTinSF
Apr 3, 2009, 12:29 PM
In addition to the bad residential construction forecast, there is absolutely no demand for office space and there's plenty of surplus space all over downtown. I think that it's all over for a long time to come.

The vacancy rate is 19.8% as of today according to the SF Business Times: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/04/06/story9.html

BTinSF
Apr 3, 2009, 12:30 PM
Works for me:

Friday, April 3, 2009
S.F. has chance to finally build an arena
San Francisco Business Times - by Stanford M. Horn

I’m holding in my hand a very formidable San Francisco Redevelopment Agency brochure. It has many impressive renderings of what the agency points to as San Francisco’s most important upcoming structure: a spectacular 20,000-seat downtown sports-entertainment-cultural-event-convention arena designed by one of Japan’s most renowned architects.

It’s dated 1969.

Now, 40 years later — and 120 million patrons too late to have helped the city’s economy — the Redevelopment Agency has an opportunity to make good on its promise.

San Francisco is the only major American city without a modern arena. Thus, San Franciscans get no big rock concerts, no indoor sports, no tournaments, no dog shows, no circuses, no political conventions, no sports trials, no family spectacles, no Barbra Streisand, no Irish dancers, no ethnic festivals, no Harlem Globetrotters, etc. The agency’s 40-year goal of bringing more pedestrian life, economic activity, attractions and jobs downtown via an arena remains just that: a goal.

Now the agency has a chance to champion an arena — in conjunction with the new Transbay Terminal: specifically, on the square block — bounded by Howard, Folsom, Main and Beale streets — that will soon house the temporary bus plaza.

The most successful arenas, like Madison Square Garden, are part of rail station and subway complexes. Since most events are held in evenings or on weekends, they provide revenue to transit agencies when they’d be running sparsely occupied trains. Instead, the agency plans more housing and a small park there. What an unimaginative concept for that strategic site!

How much more fruitful for the city’s well-being would a striking arena be than a few hundred additional apartments in concrete block structures? The alternative might be an iconic distinctively-shaped arena of modest height letting in lots of sunshine and open air, a new San Francisco icon. The planned park would make a wonderful, highly used entrance to such an arena, especially if were just steps from the new train station.

Privately financed AT&T Park created an unprecedented economic stimulus for San Francisco. A privately-financed arena could be expected to provide an even greater economic stimulus. The idea has grown even better with age and its linkage to the west’s main transit complex.


Stanford M. Horn writes on transportation and development issues.
Source: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/04/06/editorial3.html

peanut gallery
Apr 4, 2009, 4:26 PM
Not me. I think this would be a waste of money. Arenas and stadia are regional resources. Every city in the region doesn't need one. We already have two modern arenas, both of which have excellent rail connectivity. HP Pavilion has a pretty full schedule (almost 200 dates a year, last I heard). Oracle Arena still has plenty of availability (about 100 dates a year). We don't need another one. Oracle is already underutilized. Throw another arena in the mix and it will be that much worse.

BTinSF
Apr 21, 2009, 8:57 PM
Temporary terminal construction webcam: http://temporaryterminal.org/webcam

BTinSF
Apr 21, 2009, 9:00 PM
Not me. I think this would be a waste of money. Arenas and stadia are regional resources. Every city in the region doesn't need one. We already have two modern arenas, both of which have excellent rail connectivity. HP Pavilion has a pretty full schedule (almost 200 dates a year, last I heard). Oracle Arena still has plenty of availability (about 100 dates a year). We don't need another one. Oracle is already underutilized. Throw another arena in the mix and it will be that much worse.

Well, don't worry--it ain't gonna happen. But I think as a performance space for major touring performers if for nothing else, DOWNTOWN SF needs an indoor arena-type space--at least as much as we needed a downtown ballpark (another "regional" resource but look how much better that is than what was).

Gordo
Apr 21, 2009, 10:10 PM
Well, don't worry--it ain't gonna happen. But I think as a performance space for major touring performers if for nothing else, DOWNTOWN SF needs an indoor arena-type space--at least as much as we needed a downtown ballpark (another "regional" resource but look how much better that is than what was).

The ballpark was privately financed and there was a known user for at least 90-100 days out of the year (81 games plus other Giants events - and hey, sometime they might reach the postseason). If we were talking about redeveloping the Oracle Arena site and bringing the Warriors here or something, it might be worth pursuing, but otherwise I also think it's a waste.

BTinSF
Apr 21, 2009, 11:34 PM
The ballpark was privately financed and there was a known user for at least 90-100 days out of the year (81 games plus other Giants events - and hey, sometime they might reach the postseason). If we were talking about redeveloping the Oracle Arena site and bringing the Warriors here or something, it might be worth pursuing, but otherwise I also think it's a waste.

I too would be against the city doing it--as I am against the city paying for any sort of new sports facility--but there have been private proposals for an arena. The Giants, as I recall, offered to build one as part of their proposal at the waterfront lot, across McCovey Cove from their ballpark, next to Mission Bay.

How would you feel if there were a private developer who wanted to build an arena on that lot and would do all the worrying for you about leasing it? I'm pretty sure the ballpark neighbors, who don't much care for the outdoor concerts at AT&T Park, would be for it.

Gordo
Apr 22, 2009, 12:44 AM
:previous: I'd be fine with that. In that scenario we're talking about private financing, as well as it being built on the fringe of an area. Arenas are terrible dead spots during times when not in use, so building one against the Bay or a hillside would be much better than building one downtown with current active uses on all sides, IMO. In addition, it would be right down the street from the Caltrain 4th & King station and other transit/large crowd infrastructure that exists for the ballpark.

BTinSF
Apr 29, 2009, 6:53 PM
New renderings of the TransBay Transit Center:

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3657/3485299632_6e2296910a_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3305/3484486101_72da0b2145_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3627/3484486249_51ba399cd4_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3568/3485299656_c5c3692cb4_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3639/3485299700_581f13bcee_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3409/3484486071_9735f059b2_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3601/3484486323_b3608d487e_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3352/3484486365_d4021c1af5_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3416/3484486273_d47ee6265c_o.jpg

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3603/3485299838_351b17092a_o.jpg

Q4x-B8vyu28

Source all: http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2009/04/29/rendering_revelation_transbay_transit_center_funicular_extravaganza.php

Busy Bee
Apr 29, 2009, 7:47 PM
Honestly it looks great, but as a non-San Franciscan who doesn't follow this very closely, all i can ever seem to think about when I look at these Pelli renderings is how awesome SOM's design is (and forever will be).

SFView
Apr 30, 2009, 4:33 PM
It looks like the design for the terminal is improving. I suspect there will also be improvements to the tower, but for now it seems most of the focus is on the terminal design.

That is the same nice animation from Steelblue.

I really like the leaning and horizontal round tube structural frames, but I wonder about the people who will need to work hard to keep them clean. Without maintenance, they could appear to collect dust and dirt over time, especially if they are white. I don't think they should change the design because of this though. The methods for cleaning may improve with technology over time as well.

Pizzuti
Apr 30, 2009, 5:04 PM
Wow, that's a pretty incredible project as it appears in that video animation.

I think the reason I was so interested in reading science fiction when I was a kid was that I wanted to live in a world where projects like that were possible!

SFView
Apr 30, 2009, 6:09 PM
Just a reminder...

You can also see this video and other related Steelblue videos in higher quality original HD here:
http://www.vimeo.com/videos/search:steelblue

peanut gallery
May 1, 2009, 4:13 AM
I'm getting pretty excited about the station. I like how much more open and light it will be on First and Fremont. It's so dark and dank under the current terminal.

nequidnimis
May 1, 2009, 2:52 PM
I am sure they'll clean the glass for the first 10 years the Transit Center is open.

sentinel
May 1, 2009, 5:13 PM
I have a little confession: my biggest architecture fantasy is to see this beautiful, massive Transbay terminal made even more grand and have it be one end of a trans-american high-speed rail line linking up to the another massive, gorgeous HSR terminal in Chicago - how amazing would that be?? Two of the greatest cities in the world with a direct, 2,700 mile high speed rail link that would then also act as main terminals for other rail lines to branch out of...one can only dream..sigh..;)

SFView
May 1, 2009, 6:22 PM
See "Prediction #5" from The Ladies Home Journal 1900 for year 2000:
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=168431

I seems people have be dreaming about this for many years. How about Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York all linked by HSR and ultra grand terminals?

nequidnimis
May 2, 2009, 10:59 PM
I have a little confession: my biggest architecture fantasy is to see this beautiful, massive Transbay terminal made even more grand and have it be one end of a trans-american high-speed rail line linking up to the another massive, gorgeous HSR terminal in Chicago - how amazing would that be?? Two of the greatest cities in the world with a direct, 2,700 mile high speed rail link that would then also act as main terminals for other rail lines to branch out of...one can only dream..sigh..;)

And how would the duration of the high speed rail trip from SF to Chicago compare to that of the plane trip?

BTinSF
May 3, 2009, 2:43 AM
And how would the duration of the high speed rail trip from SF to Chicago compare to that of the plane trip?

It could provide extraordinary scenery and relaxing comfort for however long it lasts, which you can't say for any plane trip these days.

It's 1857 miles so, if the train could average 200 MPH it would take a bit over 9 hours. If it was slower, you can do the math. But getting there as fast as possible is not the #1 priority for everybody. Certainly not for me.

ethereal_reality
May 3, 2009, 12:31 PM
I agree. I love sentinel's dream.

kpexpress
May 10, 2009, 7:43 AM
It could provide extraordinary scenery and relaxing comfort for however long it lasts, which you can't say for any plane trip these days.

It's 1857 miles so, if the train could average 200 MPH it would take a bit over 9 hours. If it was slower, you can do the math. But getting there as fast as possible is not the #1 priority for everybody. Certainly not for me.

Speed has always driven modern architecture, and now, more than ever, people want to get somewhere fast. It's hard enough to get away from the daily grind just to drive up the coast. I feel what you're saying and agree, but I think that "people" in general are idiots and just want their shit fast, cheap, and efficient.

BTinSF
May 10, 2009, 7:50 AM
Speed has always driven modern architecture, and now, more than ever, people want to get somewhere fast. It's hard enough to get away from the daily grind just to drive up the coast. I feel what you're saying and agree, but I think that "people" in general are idiots and just want their shit fast, cheap, and efficient.

As someone who takes AMTRAK a lot, I can tell you there are enough people who aren't like that to fill up the existing trains. And I can't doubt if those trains could just stick to their snail-like schedules, there'd be a lot more. the chief complaint I hear from fellow passengers isn't how long the schedule says the train is supposed to take but that it takes even longer--many hours longer sometimes. People would flock to any train on a dedicated right of way so it could run on time IMHO--but especially a high speed one.

By the way, since when is flying today "cheap and efficient" (or even all that fast city center to city center)?

pizzaguy
May 10, 2009, 11:42 AM
By the way, since when is flying today "cheap and efficient" (or even all that fast city center to city center)?

I hate people like you.

YOU'RE FUCKING FLYING THOUSANDS OF FEET IN THE AIR!

You shouldn't ever complain about human flight. Ever. It's a miracle that we got the fuck up there in the first place. Don't take it for granted.

202_Cyclist
May 10, 2009, 2:38 PM
^Pizzaguy: aviation is amazing but when delays cost airlines (http://www.airlines.org/economics/cost+of+delays/ ) an estimated $10B in FY08, excluding the value of passenger time, it is reasonable to ask if the aviation system is being used efficiently. Approximately 30% of arrivals in the New York area airports (Newark, LaGuardia, JFK) were delayed last year. At crowded airports such as Newark, O'Hare, and SFO, high speed rail provides a very good alternative to short-haul flights. This is especially true in congested regions where expansion of capacity-constrained airports is not possible.

viewguysf
May 10, 2009, 7:06 PM
As someone who takes AMTRAK a lot, I can tell you there are enough people who aren't like that to fill up the existing trains. And I can't doubt if those trains could just stick to their snail-like schedules, there'd be a lot more. the chief complaint I hear from fellow passengers isn't how long the schedule says the train is supposed to take but that it takes even longer--many hours longer sometimes. People would flock to any train on a dedicated right of way so it could run on time IMHO--but especially a high speed one.

By the way, since when is flying today "cheap and efficient" (or even all that fast city center to city center)?

There is an ever growing number of people who totally agree with BT's reasoning. To me, being against developing a new form of efficient transportation in favor of sticking with the predominant modes of the times (air and car) defies logic, progressive policies and potentially intelligent solutions to the problems of our times. It also displays an appalling lack of knowledge of both historical and progressive perspectives. This has nothing to do with denying the wonders of flight--I love it and it still amazes me that we can get such big planes into the sky in the first place, even though I understand how it is done.

nequidnimis
May 11, 2009, 7:48 AM
It could provide extraordinary scenery and relaxing comfort for however long it lasts, which you can't say for any plane trip these days.

It's 1857 miles so, if the train could average 200 MPH it would take a bit over 9 hours. If it was slower, you can do the math. But getting there as fast as possible is not the #1 priority for everybody. Certainly not for me.

Wouldn't do for those like me who barely get ten days vacation a year.

sammyg
May 12, 2009, 5:35 PM
I hate people like you.

YOU'RE FUCKING FLYING THOUSANDS OF FEET IN THE AIR!

You shouldn't ever complain about human flight. Ever. It's a miracle that we got the fuck up there in the first place. Don't take it for granted.

The point isn't that flying is a technological marvel, because cars and trains are as well. The point is that your "miracle" is neither CHEAP nor EFFICIENT in terms of transporting people from place to place.

At speeds of 225 mph, a ~ 9 hr trip compares pretty well to a SF-Chicago flight (half an hour to 45 minutes to get to SFO, showing up at least an hour early for security and check-in, 5 hours in the air, 45 minutes to an hour to get to the Loop). Based on European trains, it would cost about 2/3 as much, and would be more comfortable with more space, a dedicated dining car, etc.

This is of course assuming that Amtrak provides the same level of service as the European rail networks.

Surefiresacto
May 12, 2009, 7:50 PM
At speeds of 225 mph, a ~ 9 hr trip compares pretty well to a SF-Chicago flight (half an hour to 45 minutes to get to SFO, showing up at least an hour early for security and check-in, 5 hours in the air, 45 minutes to an hour to get to the Loop). Based on European trains, it would cost about 2/3 as much, and would be more comfortable with more space, a dedicated dining car, etc.

I am not against high speed rail, but it seems like you are assuming that there will be no commute to the station and no waiting prior to boarding.

Pizzuti
May 13, 2009, 7:27 PM
I hate people like you.

YOU'RE FUCKING FLYING THOUSANDS OF FEET IN THE AIR!

You shouldn't ever complain about human flight. Ever. It's a miracle that we got the fuck up there in the first place. Don't take it for granted.

Uh, I hope you're just trying to be cute. Just because something is miraculous doesn't mean it doesn't have some costly effects and it doesn't mean there isn't something better out there.

Chemotherapy is a miracle but it still makes you feel like crap and puke and waste away, and if you can avoid it by surgically removing the whole tumor, any doctor will tell you to avoid it.

Nuclear energy is a miracle but that doesn't mean people are going to be stoked to live nextdoor to a nuclear power plant or a missile silo. Ask the (former) residents of Pripayat how they feel about it.

Antibiotics are a miracle but they still give you diarrhea and stop working if you use them too much, and help create antibiotic-resistant superbugs when too many antibiotics get out into the environment. And they don't work on all pathogens.

Genetic engineering is a miracle but there is still risk in building superplants that they could outcompete native species and disrupt ecosystems.

Same for flight; it's a miracle, but sending millions of passengers thousands of feet in the air each year to take routine trips releases tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It takes a LOT of energy to lift a 100-ton aircraft 25,000 feet into the sky and keep it there for several hours. And airports are rarely close to downtown.

BTinSF
May 13, 2009, 8:20 PM
You shouldn't ever complain about human flight.

I'll stop complaining about commercial flight when somebody figures out a viable business model for it. I have repeatedly read that the total profit of all airlines over the period since the first began flying is less than zero--a loss. That means that either airlines have to cut corners severely or the prices eventually have to go up. We need alternatives, not just for people like me who prefer some other way to get from point a to point b but also for those who like to fly, because the present system is a failure. It's even possible that flying for the masses simply cannot be done at a price point the masses are willing or able to pay.

peanut gallery
May 15, 2009, 11:48 PM
Here's a look ahead to next steps on the temporary terminal. This just landed in my inbox:

We have recently completed pouring the foundations for the two buildings on the site. You will begin to see more activity on the site as we move forward with the pouring of the new curb and gutter along Folsom and Main streets and along the east half of the sidewalk on Howard Street. Upon completion, the existing pedestrian detour will be moved and the current MUNI stop will be re-established near the corner of Howard and Main streets.

This week, the modular structures of the AC Transit and Security buildings began to arrive and they will be set up next week. The Greyhound modules are scheduled to arrive early next week.

BTinSF
May 22, 2009, 6:18 PM
City to SoMa Developers: Help Us Pay for Transbay Center

http://sf.curbed.com/uploads/2009_05_transitdistrict.jpg
[Blue marks the Transit Center]

The multibillion-dollar Transbay Transit Center needs money to get built, and to help rake in that money, the city's proposing up to $850 million in extra development fees for building in SoMa's Transit Center District. Under the plan (fees would be spread out over a period of 20 years), there would be a $35 per square foot surcharge, plus other miscellaneous fees for transit, affordable housing, what have you. The city's aiming to steer the next wave (fingers crossed!) of development toward office, rather than condo, development to accommodate job-growth projections. But the fees would affect everyone in the district, which is bounded by Market, Steuart, Folsom, and Hawthorne (and where Hawthorne would be if it continued all the way to Market). Might the plan strangle new development in this economic climate? One developer says, "This (transit district) plan was not ill-conceived, but right now it can't be done." Aww, that's just loser talk.

Source: http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2009/05/22/city_to_soma_developers_help_us_pay_for_transbay_center.php#reader_comments

peanut gallery
Jun 2, 2009, 6:05 PM
Looks like they're using pre-fab for the temporary terminal structures:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3385/3589803802_22744cb56f_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2457/3589804348_055be32a0b_b.jpg

peanut gallery
Jun 9, 2009, 3:58 AM
Meanwhile, over at the permanent terminal site, they've been digging under what will be the western end of the new terminal:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3585/3609910334_b740e16d57_b.jpg

Perhaps they are getting some utilities work out of the way before this becomes a construction site? The signs say they'll be working here a month. BTW, that's One Hawthorne under construction in the background.

AndrewK
Jun 9, 2009, 5:59 AM
word on eater last week was that john colins is moving because of transbay-related construction. anyone know if that building (and presumably the anchor & hope building too) is coming down?

peanut gallery
Jun 9, 2009, 5:09 PM
In the case of Anchor & Hope it would be surprising given that it's maybe a year old. If that building was coming down they would have known about it before opening, and I don't think they would have gone to the expense.

SFView
Jun 12, 2009, 11:07 PM
See the May 26, 2009 Workshop presentation here:
http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/planning/City_Design_Group/TCDP_workshop4_May2609_presentation.pdf
(Also from: http://sfgov.org/site/frame.asp?u=http://www.transbaycenter.org)

Here is an update on the Urban Form proposal:
http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/May262009UrbanFormproposal.jpg

Here are two of the earlier schemes for comparison:
http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/HTS1000.jpg

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m96/mrayatsfo/HTS1200P.jpg

It is encouraging to see 600' considered for the Palace Hotel Tower, instead of being shortened to 300' from 725' tall.

For more information and news see here:
http://sfgov.org/site/frame.asp?u=http://www.transbaycenter.org

BTinSF
Jun 16, 2009, 5:27 AM
Transbay Terminal: Banking On Stimulus Funds And Opening In 2015

http://www.socketsite.com/Transbay%20Transit%20Center%20Design%20-%20Street%20Level.jpg

Banking on $400 million in federal stimulus funds to be announced by the Federal Railroad Administration in October, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority has modified construction plans for San Francisco's Transbay Transit Terminal.

With a first phase originally scheduled to open in 2014 (retail, bus, and park) and construction of its underground train station component (Caltrain and high-speed rail) to follow, the new plan calls for the pre-construction of an unfinished train station and a late 2015 opening for the above ground portions of the terminal.

If the stimulus funds are not made available, and no other funding can be identified, then up to $15 million worth of engineering and design efforts planned to take place between now and October will be wasted, and the project will open four months behind the original schedule without a train station, staff and consultants told directors.

"I’m a gambling man and I’m willing to roll the dice," Supervisor Chris Daly, a Transbay Joint Powers Authority director, said during the hearing. "High-speed rail is happening in California. It’s coming to downtown San Francisco. Everyone’s excited, but if [initial construction of the train station] doesn’t happen, we’re in the hole $15 million."

Pre-building the train station would save an estimated $100 million in construction costs. But no word on whether or not they're still proposing to pre-build said station the wrong (or right) way.


Source: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2009/06/transbay_terminal_banking_on_stimulus_funds_and_opening.html

I rarely agree with Daly but this time I do--it never made any sense to me to plan to dig an underground station below a functioning above-ground terminal.

pseudolus
Jun 16, 2009, 10:38 PM
The temporary terminal:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3313/3633234023_8dc87de8fa_b.jpg

BTinSF
Jun 16, 2009, 11:44 PM
^^^Looks more "temporary" than I expected.

BTinSF
Jun 16, 2009, 11:53 PM
TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2009
City halts bidding process on prime site

Here's more proof that construction cranes won't return to San Francisco's skyline anytime soon: the city's redevelopment agency has postponed plans to sell a prime downtown tower site.

The reason? The bids were so low that officials instead put the competition on hold.

What thickens the plot is that the land at First and Folsom streets is related to the Transbay Terminal project, which by 2015 is supposed to bring rail service from the south to First and Mission streets. This is the first of 10 nearby parcels slated to be sold to help fund the project.

When the Transbay site itself was up for grabs, developers bid more than expected. Two years later — offered a well-located site zoned for a 60-story residential tower — only three teams responded. Only two submitted detailed bids this month. Bureaucrats didn't like either one. "The purchase offers...are far below the potential value of the site in a healthier market," sighed a staff memo Tuesday from the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. So the agency will try again in 2010. None of which should delay the new terminal timeline, according to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

It doesn't affect us negatively right now," said Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, the executive director. "We're able to wait (in terms of land sales revenue) another year."
Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cityinsider/index?

pseudolus
Jun 17, 2009, 1:33 AM
^^^Looks more "temporary" than I expected.

It's an eleven-wide....

kenratboy
Jun 30, 2009, 4:40 AM
It's an eleven-wide....

:haha:

I cannot possibly emphasize how much I want to see this project succeed, and get at least one 1000' building out of this.

BTinSF
Jun 30, 2009, 6:06 AM
:haha:

I cannot possibly emphasize how much I want to see this project succeed, and get at least one 1000' building out of this.

You may have a long wait. It's becoming increasingly clear that San Francisco has a surfeit of office space already available and I doubt Hines will start building this building until it's absorbed. That could be 5 years or more. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked by the news they had sold the development rights (if there were any buyers).

Meanwhile, the public TJPA is putting up the terminal building (not the tower) and so far there's nothing to suggest that won't proceed on schedule. As a transit terminal, it doesn't depend on the office space market and it is eligible for a variety of federal and other funding.

So we could have a nice new terminal with an empty lot in front of it for a number of years.

viewguysf
Jun 30, 2009, 6:28 AM
You may have a long wait. It's becoming increasingly clear that San Francisco has a surfeit of office space already available and I doubt Hines will start building this building until it's absorbed. That could be 5 years or more. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked by the news they had sold the development rights (if there were any buyers).

Meanwhile, the public TJPA is putting up the terminal building (not the tower) and so far there's nothing to suggest that won't proceed on schedule. As a transit terminal, it doesn't depend on the office space market and it is eligible for a variety of federal and other funding.

So we could have a nice new terminal with an empty lot in front of it for a number of years.

I too would be very surprised to see any major highrise or skyscraper built for a very long time. We couldn't even get some of the short office developments constructed even though there are a least four beautiful projects in the pipeline at various stages. Don't look for tall condo towers anytime soon either. kenratboy, I identify with your feelings though, especially when it comes to the second ORH tower. At this point, we'll be fortunate to see any of these projects survive this long drought.

peanut gallery
Jun 30, 2009, 4:08 PM
Don't look for tall condo towers anytime soon either. kenratboy, I identify with your feelings though, especially when it comes to the second ORH tower. At this point, we'll be fortunate to see any of these projects survive this long drought.

It might seem strange, but I'm more disappointed in the situation on Rincon Hill than I am about the dim prospects of the Transbay tower getting built anytime soon. ORH desperately needs company and I think that would do much more for the overall look of the skyline than the 1000' tower.

Same goes for the terminal. I'm much more concerned about that getting built than the tower.

kenratboy
Jul 2, 2009, 9:51 PM
Thankfully, with the political situation surrounding this project, and hopefully some government money being put on the table, I feel a bit better about this project than many other, even if we have to wait for it.

I would consider it a victory if the project was still on the table when the economy recovers - many projects will not even make it that far.

peanut gallery
Jul 8, 2009, 4:49 PM
Got this in my inbox yesterday afternoon. I plan to go. Anyone else?

Community Meeting
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
12:15 - 1:15
TJPA Meeting Room
201 Mission St., Suite 2100

Bring your lunch and join us Wednesday, July 15, 2009 for a special community update on the Transbay Transit Center Project, which will replace the current bus terminal at First and Mission streets in downtown San Francisco with a new multi-modal Transit Center.

Members of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) Project Team will discuss the plans underway to build the new Transit Center and the upcoming schedule for demolition and construction.

The meeting will take place at the TJPA Meeting Room at 201 Mission St., Suite 2100 (on the 21st floor). The TJPA offices are accessible via public transit by the 1, 7, 9, 14, 14L, 14X, 20, 30X and 41 MUNI bus lines, the J, K, L, M, N and T MUNI Metro Lines and the Embarcadero BART Station.

We look forward to your participation and input during this exciting process.

For more information about the project, please visit: www.TransbayCenter.org.

Gordo
Jul 8, 2009, 4:55 PM
Got this in my inbox yesterday afternoon. I plan to go. Anyone else?

I got the email too - I'm going to try to make it, but I've got a pretty busy morning that day that I'm afraid will spillover :(

peanut gallery
Jul 8, 2009, 5:14 PM
My fear too. Plus I'm out the week of the 20th, but I think I can swing it. PM me that morning if it looks like you'll make it. It would be great to say hi in person.

Gordo
Jul 8, 2009, 5:19 PM
^Sure thing. Should be an interesting meeting.

Starsky
Jul 14, 2009, 9:22 AM
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.

viewguysf
Jul 16, 2009, 6:12 AM
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.

You just have to get to know us! How else do you think we became one of the greatest cities on the planet, beloved by most people who come here to visit or live? :cool:

coyotetrickster
Jul 16, 2009, 6:30 AM
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.

sammyg
Jul 16, 2009, 2:14 PM
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.

SFView
Jul 16, 2009, 5:50 PM
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.

SFView
Jul 18, 2009, 8:47 PM
Speaking of changes, how about a possible year delay for hopefully something better?

From: http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=3656&PagePosition=1
The Architect's Newspaper 07.15.2009
Transbay Gamble
SF redraws terminal plans in hopes of stimulus funds

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/image/Transbay-Transit-Center---City-Park2.jpg
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.

http://archpaper.com/uploads/Minna-Street-Looking-East.jpg
The proposed design for the Minna Street entrance.

http://archpaper.com/uploads/Grand-Hall.jpg
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

BTinSF
Jul 18, 2009, 8:55 PM
:previous: 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).

peanut gallery
Jul 18, 2009, 9:08 PM
:previous: 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.

coyotetrickster
Jul 18, 2009, 9:42 PM
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.

SFView
Jul 18, 2009, 10:00 PM
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.

SFView
Jul 18, 2009, 10:09 PM
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!

BTinSF
Jul 18, 2009, 10:19 PM
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.

BTinSF
Jul 27, 2009, 10:37 PM
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/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/07/20/daily100.html

333 Bush
http://www.socketsite.com/333%20Bush%20Street.jpg
Source: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2009/07/333_bush_bought_for_281_million_in_2007_now_going_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.

peanut gallery
Aug 5, 2009, 5:29 PM
Large amounts of concrete have been installed for the temporary terminal:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2425/3792780020_10015bb6a1_b.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2575/3791967531_6a11e08111_b.jpg

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.

AndrewK
Aug 5, 2009, 8:03 PM
hey look theyve put up siding on that mechanical structure on the top of one hawthorne.

peanut gallery
Aug 5, 2009, 11:12 PM
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.

Reminiscence
Aug 8, 2009, 12:22 AM
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 :)

peanut gallery
Aug 8, 2009, 5:11 PM
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!

Reminiscence
Aug 10, 2009, 3:28 AM
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 :)

SFView
Aug 20, 2009, 5:43 PM
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/default/files/pdfs/factsheet.pdf

peanut gallery
Aug 20, 2009, 7:16 PM
I hadn't seen it, so thanks for pointing it out.

pseudolus
Aug 20, 2009, 11:51 PM
Temporary terminal: getting some palm trees

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2465/3840587609_e66f5c60fd_b.jpg