August 23, 2013
Transbay Tower Watch: Approved But Not (Yet) Permitted
While Hines and Boston Properties ceremonially broke ground for the 1,070-foot tall Transbay Tower to rise at the corner of First and Mission five months ago, nothing seems to have happened on the 101 First Street site since. And for good reason.
While approved for development, the permit to construct the 61-story tower which was applied for in March has yet to be issued. But with the fire department having signed-off on the plans this week, it shouldn't be too much longer before the construction crew can start setting up camp and moving the dirt with more than gold shovels.
And no, they're still not planning to pay for
their the park.
∙ Transbay Tower Site Transferred And Ceremonially Breaks Ground [SocketSite]
∙ Proposed 1,070-Foot Transbay Tower Approved To Rise [SocketSite]
∙ Hines And Boston Balk At Having To Pay For Transbay Park Upkeep [SocketSite]
First Published: August 23, 2013 2:00 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
"But with the fire department having signed-off on the plans this week, it shouldn't be too much longer before the construction crew can start setting up camp and digging up the dirt."
Wahoo! Let's hope by EOQ3
Posted by: OMN at August 23, 2013 2:35 PM
Walked by there yesterday. It was depressingly vacant and inert, but this news brightens the outlook. 535 Mission, though, is going up so damn fast. I am sure the TBT won't exhibit that speed, but it will be great to see a structure of that size rising on the spot.
Posted by: OP at August 23, 2013 3:48 PM
At least this building has some distinction. In the last 50 years, only 2 buildings have been built downtown with any distinction. The Pyramid and the Millennium Tower. 3 in 60 years is too few. This image from your site says it all. http://tinyurl.com/mjj7a8j.
Posted by: Jane Antonacci at August 23, 2013 5:56 PM
I forgot to mention the Infinity Towers, they are distinctive and nicely done. Can't we demand a bit more from our developers?
Posted by: Jane Antonacci at August 23, 2013 6:00 PM
Any more you "forgot"?
So just 3 in 60 years, huh? wow. As an architect enjoying MANY of the new, interesting, distinctive buildings over the years, I guess I have not been very attentive.
Posted by: Futurist at August 23, 2013 6:14 PM
Totally agree with Jane, Futurist. Other than Pelli's other tower in SF, and SOM's building on 2nd and Mission, I can't think of anything worth mentioning on the skyline. SF has some extremely bland architecture.
Posted by: Mattia at August 23, 2013 6:28 PM
Geez Louise, not every building worth being in an exclusive architecture category has to be a darn highrise. Anyway, it's all subjective.
Posted by: Mark at August 23, 2013 8:16 PM
Such as this 'beautifully done' piece of modern architecture?
Posted by: Invented at August 23, 2013 9:16 PM
There are a number of high rises that are quite exquisite. Transamerica, 555 Cal, Pelli's Mission street tower, Millennium, Shaklee Terraces, 101 Cal, Infinity, 555 Mission.
Posted by: sf at August 23, 2013 10:30 PM
While I do agree that SF could use more distinctive buildings, I feel people always assume the grass is always greener...for every Bank of China tower and Woolworth Building, there are a dozen crappy, boring, nondescript highrises in Hong Kong and New York too. Obviously those skylines are infinitely bigger than ours, but there is tons of 60s-90s era terrible architecture to go around.
Posted by: JWS at August 24, 2013 10:11 AM
I agree with JWS. A lot of the Manhattan waterfront has been scarred with jagged brutal concrete eyesores. And look at Stuyvessant Town. The NY skyline is very painful to look at in a lot of areas.
Posted by: sf at August 24, 2013 11:44 AM
Does anyone know why it sometimes takes months (years?) to get a construction permit issued even after developers already spent years getting a project approved?
Posted by: JL at August 24, 2013 12:30 PM
1. Just because Boston Properties will receive their construction permits shortly doesn't necessarily mean that construction will begin right away. Look at other office and residential projects over the past 10 years who were approved and received permits and did not begin construction. It concerns me that Boston Properties has not landed an anchor tenant yet for this project and 535 Mission. Tishman Properties is also in the same boat with Foundry Square III and 222 Second.
2. Shouldn't Boston Properties request to add an addition 30+ feet to the height of the project to tie (or exceed) the Wilshire Grand project in LA as the tallest west of the Mississippi? Hell, add an observation deck/floor and restaurant to make the project pencil out.
Posted by: alt2109 at August 25, 2013 8:03 PM
Planning approvals dont require nearly the amount of technical information that building permits do, and it is entirely possible for an approved scheme to have flaws that would make permits very difficult.... w/o a lot of rework.
a developer would have to be a dope to get in that spot, but it happens. in a good case however, it would take 9-18 months to get from planning comm ok to building permit, for someone who was skilled and pushing hard.
on the other question, all approvales come with an expiration, by either SF statute or policy, usually 2 years. it can usually get extended unless there is an office allocation beauty contest or some other political pressure.
and on the other question, it is very unlikely that a large tower would get financed and started without a lead tenant, and its really unliekly that the net dot com tenant llike groupon, square, twitter etc would be considered bankable credit. so i think its a very big wait and see. it tishman speyer has not preleased foundry square or 222 second street, its doesnt bode especially well for the guys behind them w bigger buildings, lesser locations, or less leasing horsepower.
Posted by: Louis at August 25, 2013 11:09 PM
"Shouldn't Boston Properties request to add an addition 30+ feet to the height of the project to tie (or exceed) the Wilshire Grand project in LA as the tallest west of the Mississippi? "
What? I thought Transbay Tower was to be the tallest building in the West? And it turns out the Wilshire Grand is already under construction with anchor tenants and funded! Someone should tell The Chronicle.
Posted by: anonconfused at August 26, 2013 10:21 AM
I'm surprised that there has never been any public outcry about the observation deck idea being dropped. I think San Francisco deserves that and should have demanded it.
Posted by: ilivehere at August 26, 2013 12:26 PM
Agreed @ilivehere. I went online and looked at the "Wilshire Grand" and the rooftop garden/deck will have an outdoor cafe, restaurant, bar, observation walk, etc. This type of rooftop use would have been popular with San Francisco tourists I would imagine?
Posted by: anonconfused at August 26, 2013 1:20 PM
^Sure, it would be popular. Doubtful to bring in as much dough as top office floors would though.
Posted by: anon at August 26, 2013 1:28 PM