Transbay Transit Center Revised Design

The revised and refined plans and designs for San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center will officially be unveiled today. From John King at the Chronicle:

It’s a mark of today’s slow economy that the elaborate project remains on the budget set in 2007, when the Transbay authority held a competition to select a design team for the new terminal and a developer for the adjacent parcel at First and Mission streets, a site seen as the future home of San Francisco’s tallest building.

Not only that, the $1.189 billion budget now includes the rooftop park, which in 2007 was to be financed separately.

Transbay Center Revised Design

The final park design by PWP Landscape Architecture isn’t as elaborate as the original rooftop concept: The waterway along one edge is gone, as is a thin southern extension that would have covered the ramp that will be used by buses to and from the Bay Bridge.

But the park space remains expansive, 1,400 feet long and 170 feet wide. A grassy bowl at one end could seat 1,000 people. The design also includes a picnic meadow, a children’s park and a small cafe.

Demolition of the existing terminal is now slated for August or September with an opening of the new terminal by 2017.

The proposed Transbay Tower is the tallest building fully rendered above (and on the left).

Recent Articles

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by lol

    I hereby baptize this the E-cup Terminal.

  2. Posted by jlasf

    Is the funicular still there or has it been downgraded to a rope tow?

  3. Posted by Louis

    It seems that the 1000 foot office tower is fading out of the picture, a reflection of the unlikihood of its ever being economically feasible or built.
    Can we assume that the terminal and rail connection can now be financed without the $$$ the tower land sale was supposed to generate??

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    In light of lol’s quite funny baptismal name there’s an opportunity to alter the design of the transbay tower to be more complementary to this Jayne Mansfield of a terminal. Rounder and perhaps crowned with a dome ?

  5. Posted by Louis

    Or is it a new tranluscent architecture that will not cast shadows on union square ?

  6. Posted by tipster

    2017? Is Sparky building this by himself, on the weekends in his spare time?

  7. Posted by Gil

    The park can not be built, for it will be shadowed. Better cover it with tar and gravel.

  8. Posted by SocketSite

    It seems that the 1000 foot office tower is fading out of the picture, a reflection of the unlikihood of its ever being economically feasible or built.
    The translucent massing on the right in the rending above isn’t the Transbay Tower but rather another unrelated (to The Transbay Tower) potential building site. The Transbay Tower is fully rendered above about two-thirds of the way back on the left. We’ve expanded the image to make it a bit more clear.

  9. Posted by Gil

    This project is slowly unraveling as the scaled back plans above indicate.
    2017 opening – yeah right!

  10. Posted by mwsf

    The project seems to be progressing…Where is the proof that it is unraveling?

  11. Posted by oscar

    What do you guys think the affect of the new transbay terminal will be on property values in the south beach/mission bay area? What about the affect on property values if the high speed rail is ever built?

  12. Posted by noearch

    This is looking great and evolving nicely. That’s how design works: Conceptual to Schematics to Design Development to Construction Documents to Permitting and on to Construction.
    The trans bay tower is shown fully rendered, left side to the rear.. It will get built. Give the process time, all you negative thinkers.

  13. Posted by Zig

    “What about the affect on property values if the high speed rail is ever built?”
    One thing I believe is if HSR is ever built the improvements it will bring to local intercity rail will allow someone to travel from San Mateo to downtown SF in under 30 minutes.
    This service would be superior to BART. Lots of homes in San Mateo with decent sized lots for 500-600K
    I think it is positive for areas like San Mateo Village and the future Bay Meadows development as examples

  14. Posted by lol

    Another possible name: Transgender Terminal
    It has the E-cup plus the phallic towers. Something for everyone, SF style…

  15. Posted by djt

    Epic fail. No one is going to go five stories above the ground to go to a park. Pedestrian scale, this is most certainly not. Yet cities are designed for pedestrians.
    This is a monument to the architect. No one will go there after the initial opening excitement, gotta see it once, activity.

  16. Posted by Mole Man

    The new park design is much more practical. The water feature and extension in the original design were always problematic and expensive potential maintenance and liability traps.

  17. Posted by BDB

    Park will be great! I always loved Post Office Square in Boston, this will be a much larger version close enough to financial district.
    I think it’ll be full of people at lunchtime.

  18. Posted by Upright Biker

    …I see the artist has envisioned that Muni will still be running old buses in old livery, which is likely accurate.

  19. Posted by lol

    djt,
    If you know the WF rooftop garden right next to The Crocker Galleria, its entrance is pretty hidden but the place is very much used on sunny days around lunchtime. Sometimes all benches are taken.

  20. Posted by jamie

    This project keeps looking better with each iteration (granted, sad to see some things scaled back, but it is what it is). I think good programming and wind shielding with shrubbery will help the park attract folks … if it is windy and nothing is programmed to attract folks to the 1,000 seat amphitheatre, it is difficult to envision much use of the outdoor space … though expanded kids play areas may be just the solution since there are so few in the area and there are a zillion day care centers in the office buildings nearby …

  21. Posted by John

    I hope anyone thinking of buying a condo facing west in the Millennium Tower understands the implications here – view COMPLETELY blocked all the way to the top of the tower! This has been the case all along, but this rendering really drives it home . . . ouch

  22. Posted by Louis

    ed – thank you for clarification.
    in any case i think the point is that (most of) the proposed very tall office towers are being shown in “ghost” form because of the 2 key issues they raise, but would prefer not to discuss right now
    (1) financial feasibility questions re the office towers
    (2) legal questions re new shadows the park shadow ban ordinance.

  23. Posted by anon

    The rooftop gardens around maritime plaza are one of my favorite places to have an al fresco lunch when I am at work. Once you get used to rooftop spaces, you wish every building has them.
    There’s really not much blocking the sun (which will be coming from the right (south) side of the rendering….and the street noises are much quieter five stories up.

  24. Posted by xenu

    @John- Millennium tower’s only unobstructed views will be south. If you recall, another tower is planned for the north facing side of Millennium, meaning it will be obstructed on 75% of its surface, except for a few of the highest floors.

  25. Posted by SFRE

    The park (soon to be homeless shelter) looks nice.
    As for the design, people will never fully agree. Thats why its nice to live someplace where there are a lot of different styles. And in this case the design isn’t necessarily offensive.
    On a separate note, with all the development in this part of town (AT&T park, Mission Bay, the South Beach/Rincon Hill location), I will say that the city center seems to be shifting to the east/southeast. I’m not saying that the center is in this location, but the shift seems to be happening.

  26. Posted by Rincon Hill Billy

    I’m a fan.
    You all should be ashamed at your hater-mentality. Come on..you live here!

  27. Posted by Gil

    (1) financial feasibility questions re the office towers
    (2) legal questions re new shadows the park shadow ban ordinance.
    Interesting point Louis.
    Once built this park will prevent hi-rise construction in the blocks to the south of it. That is assuming the shadow ordinance is obeyed and not ignored through Planning Commision “discretion” as has been happening.
    This is why there is a need for a shadow initiative which eliminstes the huge loophole in the current ordinance as well as expands the open spaces/parks covered by the ordinance.

  28. Posted by Snark17

    I love the new TGT– Transgender Terminal, thanks lol. Please build fast. Love it.

  29. Posted by Gilldo

    @Gil- you are wrong. The shadow initiative only applies to city owned and maintained parks- the transbay park will be privately run.
    Nice try though.

  30. Posted by Dan

    Gil/Louis: Posting exactly the same opinion under two names, then having your alts support each other’s opinions, doesn’t make your arguments any more persuasive. And it violates Socketsite’s explicit policy only forbidding just this practice.
    [Editor’s Note: Unless it’s a rather sophisticated ruse, as best we can tell Louis and Gil are indeed two different readers.]

  31. Posted by Gil

    @Gil- you are wrong. The shadow initiative only applies to city owned and maintained parks- the transbay park will be privately run.
    Gildo – that’s a loophole in the present ordinance. Hopefully, when the shadow initiative is written, it will include public accesss privately owned parks.

  32. Posted by D

    I hope no one kicks one of those stilts and knocks over that giant aquarium.

  33. Posted by Dan

    A new shadow ordinance would only go on the ballot if the Supervisors put it there– and they are not going to put anything on the ballot to kill the city’s ability to fund the Transbay Terminal. Extending the shadow ordinance to ban the shading of private property would be pretty extreme, even for no-growth supervisors. It is unlikely that any new shadow ordinance will make it on the ballot– the issue was raised mainly to kill 555 Washington, which is dead already.

  34. Posted by CameronRex

    Lets assume this initiative Gil so strongly supports passes. The incentive for private developers, who want to build towers near the new terminal, to fund/maintain this park will be…..?
    I think many currently public plazas next to and in front of high rises might suddenly become non-public. Of course the mentality that property owners should privately maintain public space which in turn is used to deny future development rights….very SF thinking. Same logic as rent control.

  35. Posted by anon

    Gildo – that’s a loophole in the present ordinance. Hopefully, when the shadow initiative is written, it will include public accesss privately owned parks.
    So, why in the world would any developer ever build publicly accessible privately owned parks from the moment that passes? All of a sudden, all areas like that now would have fences thrown up around them so that they no longer fit the definition.

  36. Posted by noearch

    Thanks SFRE, once again, for your wonderful insight into the future…and your ever positive outlook on growth and change in SF.. I wish I had your talent.
    As for the design being not “necessarily offensive”..again, thank you for that deeply intellectual commentary.
    You really should stick to real estate and not architectural commentary, which you know nothing about.
    This is a great project for The City…a great new transit center, an awesome, grand public park, new commercial ventures. All good projects for San Francisco’s bright future.

  37. Posted by lol

    The center is definitely moving south. One issue though: Some sections of Mission Street around the FiDi are a bit dead and unattractive. Until this is resolved, the center will always revolve around Market.

  38. Posted by SFRE

    @noearch: You are correct, I am not trained in architecture (like the 99.9% of the population), I’m just a guy who lives in the city.
    I think the design is fine, and I like the fact that they are building it, my point was that you will have some who will hate it and some who will love it. Think of 855 Folsom (the YB lofts), it won awards, but many (including myself), think it looks bad. Perhaps if we were all as enlightened as you, we would think differently.
    I’m also sorry your highness for not knowing that we needed specialized degrees/training on the topics we are allowed to discuss. What a tool…

  39. Posted by noearch

    @SFRE:..well, ok..you seem a bit sensitive..Don’t get me wrong, although I think you have.
    I really enjoy lots of diverse opinions here. But saying the “design is fine”..or saying YBL “..looks bad…”..just doesn’t really say anything. You have an opinion, why not articulate it some more?
    I’m not looking for deeply academic or philosophical comments here, such as what John King, the arch critic writes. At least he delves into the essence of a project, and can be very negative or very positive at times.
    Also, in all fairness, you did say that the park would “soon become a homeless shelter.” That seems unfair, not even seeing the completion of it. I know you are not a big fan of social services or new housing for the disadvantaged, but each time we tackle that problem (not always successfully), we create a better city for everyone to live in.
    Give this project some time to get built, and evolve and grow. I think it’s going to add a huge value to the city.

  40. Posted by anon

    In terms of the new park becoming a homeless hangout, that certainly doesn’t have to be the case.
    Just take a look at Mission Bay, along the creek. That place is patrolled like a mofo and somehow ‘undesirable’ types are kept away. That park, the one by the metreon and the Levi’s plaza park are three of the nicest urban parks in the city, probably because they are not run by the SF city government.

  41. Posted by SFRE

    @noearch: Your points are valid. More descriptive comments would be better, so that is a fair criticism.
    And you are also correct, I was probably a little unfair with park comments. I just know the cities disappointing track record for these things, and I wish they weren’t so bad at solving those problems. As an example, I was walking through South Park the other night after dinner, and there was 2 guys sleeping in the park at around 10pm. So when I see a project this size, I assume it will be a magnate.
    And I am a big fan of the project, I wish it could be built sooner! 9 times of out of 10, I will support anything that adds open space and parks. I think it will definitely be a great asset for the city.

  42. Posted by noearch

    @SFRE:..very cool. thanks for your response..
    I agree completely about the homeless problem in our city. It’s a tough one to solve. It takes money, commitment and tenacity. I, for one, support the new sit/lie law…It does seem fair. When I go out to dinner in the Castro, for example, I get tired of seeing the young, drugged out punks in front of Walgreens, begging for money, sometimes harassing people. There has to be a way to help them, but they need to help themselves too.
    Yea, this Transbay project is pretty exciting. Can’t wait for it to be built.
    Peace.

  43. Posted by BobN

    I always assumed the “enclosed” glass space was actually ENCLOSED. Finding out that the panels are six inches apart is depressing. It’s going to be a cold place with dirty windows. sigh

  44. Posted by Gildo

    @Gil
    Yerba Buena Gardens is a privately operated park, as such does not fall under shadow ordinance laws. Towers can be built to their heart’s desires around Yerba Buena and the entire thing can be cast under 100% shade 100% of the day 100% of the year, and there’s nothing you can do ’bout tit.

  45. Posted by noearch

    See, the thing about shadows..people..
    is this:
    They always keep moving. Shadow one minute, sun the next. Funny thing about that sun.

  46. Posted by Dan

    The SFMoMA museum addition will cast little or no new shadows on Yerba Buena Gardens, at least the part that is park. Mostly, the new addition will cast a shadow on the W Hotel and on the existing museum.
    The Mexican Museum tower may cast some shadows on Yerba Buena Gardens, but the proposed building is north of the park, which reduces the potential shadows cast.

  47. Posted by corntrollio

    Still don’t understand why we’re building the world’s most expensive bus station with a high speed rail station in the basement as an afterthought. It should be the other way around.

  48. Posted by joh

    I just know the cities disappointing track record for these things, and I wish they weren’t so bad at solving those problems. As an example, I was walking through South Park the other night after dinner, and there was 2 guys sleeping in the park at around 10pm. So when I see a project this size, I assume it will be a magnate.
    I think they will keep the homelessness issue in check here. I can’t think of any new-ish park in SF that has a homelessness problem. Just look to Yerba Buena and Union Square (since the renovation) as examples.
    It’s the older parks that seem to have the most issues with homelessness. At least it seems that way to me.

  49. Posted by jwb

    anon: the reason people build privately-owned public spaces is because the city forces them to do it. All these places need zoning and planning variances, and they have to pony up the public space to get some concessions from the city. There’s no danger whatsoever that these public spaces will be closed, or that people will stop building them.

  50. Posted by tem

    This design looks so uninspired and dated already. Wake up, San Francisco! Look at all the exciting things happening around the world. This doesn’t come close…

  51. Posted by jzdt

    This design looks so uninspired and dated already. Wake up, San Francisco! Look at all the exciting things happening around the world. This doesn’t come close…

  52. Posted by CameronRex

    jwb – developers build privately-owned public spaces in exchange for other development rights such as larger floor plates or the ability to build higher. This is what the developer of 555 Washington was trying to do. If those benefits are diluted then absolutely its possible the number of these spaces will decline. Large spaces will not be closed, ie YBL – just not possible…but lots of smaller plazas around buildings can be made very user unfriendly if a developer wants to prove a point.
    A certain faction of SF residents likes to believe it holds all the cards and can force every property owner in the city to do what they want. Don’t for a moment think there is no possible downside to continually beating property owners over the head with initiatives and laws that restrict their use/development rights and expect them to take it forever. At some point the return doesn’t justify the costs. For example, look at all the nasty, run-down rental stock in SF. That is the direct result of rent control.
    Its simple economics.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *