January 6, 2010
Transbay Transit Center Video: The Director’s Cut With Smooth Tunes
∙ Transbay Transit Center: Groundbreaking Video SocketSite "Premier" [SocketSite]
∙ Transbay Transit Center Animation [Vimeo]
First Published: January 6, 2010 11:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
The song that should be playing in the background is that Aretha Franklin tune with the lyrics "whose zooming whom".
Like does anyone really believe this 80 story centerpiece tower ever gets built?
There is more than enough (empty) office space in SF to last for 10 - 15 years.
This is a monument to government and developer greed/egos/ineptitude.
Oh, and we gotta get started by mid-year or something or we lose a federal grant. Yeah right, build an office tower that is not needed and will sit empty for years and years so we can get that federal handout.
Government ineptitude - local, state and federal- on display for all to see.
Posted by: Gil at January 6, 2010 11:29 AM
Geez, Gil, pessimistic much? I know the official San Francisco pasttime is to complain about how much San Francisco sucks/is incompetently run/is on the verge of the apocalypse, but count me in for some big civic thinking.
Posted by: anonyman at January 6, 2010 12:01 PM
Makes me want to cry
Posted by: Rincon Hill Billy at January 6, 2010 12:29 PM
The problem is that our city planners would prefer to hassle Ralph Lauren or Brooks Bros for wanting to move into small vacant Fillmore Street shops, saving the PacHts neighbors a trip downtown to buy things they want.
They are also interested in hassling regular folk who want to park their cars instead of planting bushes next to their garage entrances.
Instead they should spend their time focusing on an important project like this, and the complex aesthetic and financial questions it raises.
But this is San Francisco, where so-called "progressives" would prefer to micro-manage the lives of individual citizens, instead of facing formidable adversaries such as Academy of Art or national developers.
Successful defeat of mom-and-pop landlords and owners of family homes makes much better press than trying to negotiate with the big boys.
Posted by: Conifer at January 6, 2010 12:43 PM
"But this is San Francisco, where so-called "progressives" would prefer to micro-manage the lives of individual citizens, instead of facing formidable adversaries such as Academy of Art or national developers."
This Transbay plan is a legacy of the bubble years and the greed of government and developers alike.
The City saw green in all the exhorbitant fees it could charge developers and get away with.
The developers might gross at the fees but heck, money was cheap, the ride would never end and gullible renters/buyers would pay more and more for office space or housing.
The bubble did burst however and that ever-growing pool of readily available cash is no more. The Transbay plan depended on the ride never ending. It has. Its why this huge tower will not get built. No matter how many slick videos they put out.
Posted by: Gil at January 6, 2010 1:04 PM
Give me a break Gil - the only chance to top 1k feet EVER in SF - and its going to have trouble?
Some people just don't want anything to ever change.
Posted by: craeg at January 6, 2010 1:05 PM
For reals, people. Dubai of all places is able to put up a 2700+ ft monster, and we are having extreme difficulty putting up a mediocre 1000 footer, a height breached over 80 years ago. It makes one want to cry.
Posted by: SF on steroids at January 6, 2010 1:38 PM
"For reals, people. Dubai of all places is able to put up a 2700+ ft monster, and we are having extreme difficulty putting up a mediocre 1000 footer, a height breached over 80 years ago. It makes one want to cry."
You prove my point - this is all about ego.
Why exactly does SF need a 1000 ft. tower? Making it taller than the highest SF hill - Mt. Davidson. Helping to complete the obliteration of views of SF's hills from the east.
You'd think the city would focus on good schools, clean streets and getting good paying jobs to locate in SF rather than building a massive office tower at a time when there is absolutely no more need for office towers in SF.
Yup, it's all about ego - the fact that this would be a white elephant be damned.
Speaking of Dubai - their effort to turn themselves into a Disneyland of sorts with the tallest building and artificial islands in the shape of the world has come to naught. It's all a facade that has no substance as the world has learned in the past 6 weeks.
Posted by: Gil at January 6, 2010 1:47 PM
Gil's argument wasn't with the height of the building but rather the massive amount of unnecessary square footage.
what's with all the size queens on this site??
but i see the silver lining to Gil's argument and would like to see this built: cheaper commercial rents. thus making downtown SF more attractive to businesses. we need more employers clustered downtown. it's better for the city's tax coffers. and it's better for the environment.
although i do have gripes with the design: all that white tubing is god awful. the funiculars are a costly gimmick to install & maintain and should be replaced with escalators. and the video should feature more homeless and freaky nonhomeless people to more closely resemble SF's true population. i thought i was watching a video of some other city.
Posted by: mikey-von-trap at January 6, 2010 1:48 PM
The goal is to maximize the amount of money earned from each site to lower the costs of the transbay terminal. I am pretty sure that neither Mikey VT or Gil is able to look 25-50 years into the future to decide what SF's office needs will be. This is literally some of the LAST available land for large scale office development in SF and you can be sure the sites have been put out for development with that in mind.
Of course its easier to bitch and moan about change and developer greed, and ego, blah blah blah then think outside ones own little view bubble.
Thinking of the future in San Francisco involves thinking one or two days ahead!
Posted by: Joe at January 6, 2010 1:56 PM
San Francisco has nearly run out of land for office development - the north of Market Financial District is essentially complete. Whether or not you believe we will need more office space in the future depends on your view of the world and local economies. If you believe in the future of the U. S. (its up to you), we need to densify the few remaining sites in walking distance to the Financial District. Like this one. SF has been through many real estate busts, and hey folks, recessions do end. Building this project has nothing to do with "developer greed" and everything to do with providing places for good jobs and tax revenues for clean streets and good schools.
Posted by: Jim at January 6, 2010 2:16 PM
San Franciscans never look to the future Joe which is part of the reason our city looks like some crappy time capsule that froze in the 1970's. Time to move forward and progress with the rest of the planet. I really believe, in time, that this will be built.
Posted by: spitpalm at January 6, 2010 2:18 PM
The flow of people through this center will be phenomenal, and the tower really captures the spirit of the city with its subtly curved form.
This is a stretch, but what this grand plan seems to do is abandon the dream of Paris on the Pacific for the even more stylish vision of Milan on the Pacific. Bravo!
Posted by: Mole Man at January 6, 2010 2:20 PM
I think this video is the extended dance version of Zolofts current ad.
Posted by: dogboy at January 6, 2010 3:08 PM
Increasing daytime worker density at the confluence of mass transit is what works for New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, Zurich, Berlin, Boston, and a few other major cities. The pull has to be not only from SF but from much further away to keep business vital. More sq ft means lower prices, at least in the short-term - another pull into the core. Or does everyone with a decent paying job want a daily commute to Pleasanton, Mountain View, or Union City? SF doesn't work as a bedroom community.
Posted by: ellbee at January 6, 2010 3:13 PM
Unless The City wants to actually entice companies to set up shop in the city instead of tax them enough so they move to other bay area communities, this office space is going to be vacant.
As of now, SF has 2 forbes 100 companies. 20 years ago, it was many times that amount.
Posted by: anon at January 6, 2010 3:18 PM
Only in SF is a bus terminal so over-hyped.
Posted by: lolcat_94123 at January 6, 2010 3:40 PM
Where are the homeless and rift raft in the video? Like there is any doubt that they wont congregate there! Just like the greedy government - don't recognize the realize the reality of things.
Posted by: Ralph at January 6, 2010 4:24 PM
the tower isn't going to be built anytime soon as is not actually part of the Transit Center project. The plan for the further densification and building of the surrounding district is a 30 year plan. No one, including the boosters, officials, and planners involved, remotely are suggesting that there is any chance these buildings will get out of the ground in the next 3-5 years. So cool your jets people. The intention is that this take 25 years for this all to get built out, and if you think that there isn't going to be enough demand to absord a measly 6 million more square feet of office space in downtown San Francisco over the next three decades, then you should just put yourself out of you misery now. (SF has built and absorbed an average of an additional 900,000 sf of office space every year for the past 25 years+, including the multiple recessions included therein. Some of you simpletons see fully rendered development cityscapes and master development plans and say stupid stuff like, "there's no market for XX million square feet of development or XX thousand housing units right now, what are these idiots thinking?" It's called "long range" planning for a reason. Some people can't see past the immediate.
Posted by: inthknow at January 6, 2010 4:26 PM
"The pull has to be not only from SF but from much further away to keep business vital. More sq ft means lower prices, at least in the short-term - another pull into the core"
Problem with that theory is that it is not playing out. Office rents have fallen sharply in SF but net new absorption is nil. Companies aren't flocking to get deals in SF on the cheap.
Bank of The West did a major consolidation of their Bay Area administrative offices last year. Despite all that cheap SF space (what it's like more than 12 million sq ft of empty office space in the city) the bank moved everything to San Ramon. One of the biggest Bay Area office deals last year. San Ramon alone could come close to the same net absortion of office space in 2009 as SF. Sobering stuff that too many simply are ignoring.
Posted by: Gil at January 6, 2010 5:15 PM
Bank of the West is actually headquartered in Paris now (BNPP). Wells Fargo is vastly larger and headquartered in SF. In fact, banks based in San Francisco control a larger share of the national banking market now than ever before, because Wells is so much larger now than before.
Posted by: Dan at January 6, 2010 8:36 PM
Rather than further rebut Gil's contention that cattle grazing and tumbleweeds are the future of SF's downtown, here's the link to the recent discussion of the topic:
Posted by: Dan at January 6, 2010 8:43 PM
LOL Gil. Here's a link to the 1989 Fortune 100. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500_archive/full/1989/ SF has exactly ONE company in it -- Chevron, which moved a whopping 1100 employees from SF to San Ramon from 1999-2001, but which has (and has always had) the majority of its employees at the Richmond refinery site.
If I look at the current Fortune 100, there are two companies on it that are currently HQ'd here, and two that used to be. Wells and McKesson are the two now here. Wells only even joined the F100 in 1999, after it was acquired by Norwest. McKesson first got there in 1995.
The other one that has left is, obviously, Bank of America. BofA was bought by Nations Bank in 1998 and moved to Charlotte, and was only an F100 company for three years on its own.
So, where's the big drama about SF losing all its nationally important world HQs? It never had them. It's not a metric that matters.
Posted by: Scooter at January 6, 2010 10:02 PM
Detroit had 3 of the largest 7 companies on the 1989 Fortune 500 list. Turned out not to be a good predictor of future real estate prices.
Posted by: Dan at January 6, 2010 10:14 PM
And if you look at the top 10 of the 2009 Fortune 500, only the two headquartered in the Bay Area (Chevron and HP) and one in Connecticut (GE) are located in places where real estate is expensive.
Seven of the ten largest corporations in the US are headquartered in Texas, Michigan, or Arkansas-- three of the states with the lowest real estate prices in the country.
Posted by: Dan at January 6, 2010 10:25 PM
"The sky is falling (hic)!!!"
Posted by: nnona at January 7, 2010 8:25 AM
The official San Francisco complaint guide:
Step 1: Complain about how expensive it is to live in San Francisco, how it's no longer good for artists/families/hippies and how much better it used to be in the '70s.
Step 2: When tall building is proposed: complain about unsightliness of architecture/sightlines/shadows and how much better it used to be in the '70s.
Step 3: When it is pointed out that Step 2 might help resolve Step 1, complain about folly of local government/ineptitude of planners/high taxes/greed of developers and how much better it used to be in the '70s.
Step 4: When it is pointed out that the complainant is more than welcome to move to a region with smaller buildings/better sightlines/greater affordability, complain about how real estate prices would drop if all the idiot homeowners/greedy developers/incompetent government weren't ruining it for the upstanding complainants who remember how much better things used to bed in the '70s.
When all else fails: complain about the homeless.
Posted by: anonyman at January 7, 2010 12:19 PM
"You prove my point - this is all about ego."
BRAVO Gil! This is what is so insane about Transbay discussions. Everyone wants bright shiny terminals with a huge tower ("Look Dubai, we can build tall too!") when this is the LAST thing we really need right now. I would rather see the money spent on additional subway, MUNI and BART lines and develope a world class transit network instead of a world class bus terminal.
The other thing that might shock some that are posting here is that outside of childless couples and single professionals, many people have no desire to commute or live in San Francisco. Although I think the city is fantastic, many times I hear people in the East Bay, Marin and San Mateo express that they only try to visit the city when they "have to". Not everyone wishes to live or work in San Francisco which is why we are a multi-hub urban region instead of more like Chicago or Paris.
Posted by: whatever at January 7, 2010 3:06 PM