Having already secured the naming rights to the tallest tower in San Francisco, Salesforce is on the verge of securing the naming rights to the adjacent Transbay Transit Center, Grand Hall, rooftop park, playground and amphitheater.

While the 25-year, $110 million deal doesn’t exclude other companies from sponsoring events atop the future Salesforce Transit Center, the agreement does provide Salesforce the ongoing option to reserve the future Salesforce Park for its exclusive use during its annual Dreamforce convention.

The agreement also limits the operating hours of the rooftop park for public use, to no earlier than 6:00 am and no later than 8:00 pm from November through April, with the closing time extended to 9:00 pm from May through October.

The rooftop park hours will not apply to the rooftop Restaurant and Café, however, “or to events in the park” (see paragraph above). And the park hours could be modified with Salesforce’s consent.

If approved by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the naming rights agreement will take effect as of Thursday, July 13. And in addition to the 25-year term, the agreement includes an option for a 5-year extension as well.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Futurist

    I call it corporate blackmail. We give you money or else.

    • Posted by matteo

      This could be Mark Benioff’s Chris Christie moment. Close the park to the public so he can enjoy it all to himself.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Benioff hasn’t been elected to anything though. It’s not a scandal for him to get what the city agrees to. The scandal is with Ed Lee for agreeing to it.

        • Posted by Joe

          It is a terrible scandal to have a transit center whose upkeep is funded! We should let it rot like all of our other parks!

          • Posted by Adam

            Do the math- they get their own park for about 5 million a year for the next 25 years. Does that sound like enough to pay for all of the upkeep? It sounds like a ripoff to me. I bet the money is already spent.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Just because a giant company has money to throw around and be able to lease out a giant supertall tower in SF does not mean they should be allowed to slap their name on anything.

        Especially a THING that is for the PUBLIC.

        That’s what I mean.

        • Posted by Joe

          I don’t get the problem. The park was having funding challenges – the city does a terrible job maintaining its own parks. How many park gardeners do we have for the whole city?

          I’ll still enjoy the park despite it being funded by an evil corporation. Maybe it will actually be clean! We couldn’t have free municipal wifi years ago because it only came as a partnership with google.

          San Francisco never misses an opportunity to let perfection be the enemy of good.

    • Posted by more housing please

      Naming rights seem fine. But partly closing to the public? That’s a weird step for a public park.

      • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

        Parks are closed to the public all the time. Outside Lands is next month. Why don’t you try to go for a run or bike ride in GG Park that weekend and let us know how that goes. Most of our parks are available for rent by events that are closed to the public or at least ticketed.

        • Posted by more housing please

          Ticketed events feel ok, public has a chance to be a part of a cultural event. In this case, it’d be closed every night.

  2. Posted by Alai

    I hope they don’t have “Salesforce” on the destinations of buses and trains. That would be really irritating. Although I suspect they will. Maybe they can shorten it to S(ales)F(orce) Transit Center– SF Transit Center.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      I like your thinking on this issue!

    • Posted by Futurist

      Yes. Same feeling. Keep the corporate name off any public facilities.

    • Posted by Mark

      What trains? I think the naming rights will expire long before a single train rolls into the bus, I mean transit center.

  3. Posted by Mike

    I’m trying to understand what appears to be a lawn/park in the lower right of the photo. Isn’t that the corner of Howard and 2nd? I don’t remember any press about a park at that location, and there are buildings there now. What’s going on there (and how to prevent it from becoming a homeless encampment if it’s an accessible lawn?)

    [Editor’s Note: The Grand Plan For A San Francisco “Transit Center District” (as we first reported back in 2009).]

    • Posted by Notcom

      A popular question, it seems (one would have hoped we could have answered it within six years)

    • Posted by Adam

      In order to construct the Downtown Extension train tunnel, the plan right now involves demolishing that block and leaving it as open space.

      I am currently in talks with the Transbay Authority to sponsor it for an embarrassingly-low one-time fee. I decree that it will be open from 12-1 every other Thursday, and I will reserve the right use it for private events that will leave it closed for weeks at a time. So no worries about the homelessness issue.

    • Posted by Dave

      The Grand Plan post mentions 6 sites zoned for more than 550 feet – in addition to the Salesforce building site. I can think of 5 – The Claw complex counts as 2 IIRC, Parcel F, and the building across from the TTC with a spire. Plus the lot at First and Mission which was built to 300 feet or so though zoned for 550 feet. What is the 6th site?

    • Posted by c_q

      the buildings (including now-shuttered adolph gasser) were always slated to be torn down when DTX was built as the curve of DTX would go fairly close under the surface there on it’s way to 2nd street, which is supposed to be built as cut-and-cover so the buildings would have to go. Supposedly they did not want to put buildings back on top due to weight issues, hence a ‘park’.

      I doubt it will wind up being just grass as rendered though.

      • Posted by Tim E

        I think the DTX would offer some interesting engineering challenges, but as you suggested it could make for an interesting structure when all said and done if DTX ever gets done.

        I have to believe Mayor Lee’s great transit failures will not be getting trains into the transit center. Unless I’m mistaken, Believe he is still behind the wishful thinking that some how he will demo raised section of I280, reroute Caltrains under a much longer and extremely expense tunnel while giving 4th street station away to developers Instead of pushing the original plan. A plan that would tie in well with the full speed ahead electrification of Caltrains.

    • Posted by Pierre smith

      This is a very stupid plan that – if it ever happens – won’t see light of day until the train is extended. The idea is to take down the buildings here for a second street access, and I guess it’ll make construction a lot easier, whether they go tbm or cut/cover.

  4. Posted by Adam

    Naming rights to the park and the transit terminal?? This isn’t a stadium, it’s a publicly funded transit facility and public open space. The fact that on top of everything this private company gets to control access is just crazy. It’s not a corporate campus!

    • Posted by Some Guy

      The ongoing blurring of “public” and “private,” in the service (of course) of increasing profits for the private sector at the expense of the public trust & civic values. There should be an amendment to the Constitution delineating separation of PROFIT and state. The state is supposed to exist to serve the citizens, not to turn a profit off their backs (any more than taxes already constructively do.) Unlikely to happen in the current or forseeable future political climate.

      • Posted by Dave

        Crony capitalism which “progressive” SF is adept at. Look at TI – that should have been kept as a public oriented place for all of the Bay Area and not turned into a mega-housing development for Lennar.

        • Posted by E. Gonsalves

          Treasure Island is a horrible place for residential development. That’s a 3rd tier location at best.

          • Posted by MB

            …along with anywhere else in SF in your humble opinion. Let me guess….1st tier is anywhere in Oakland? lol

    • Posted by Tia

      I read an article that made it sound like the Transit Terminal was not able to lease all the spaces in the space yet, which was going to help pay for the security so that it does not turn into a default homeless shelter. They offered the naming to Salesforce for the additional revenue. Unfortunately, I cannot find that article right now.

    • Posted by Sabbie

      Breaking: Ed Lee sells off naming rights to the entire city, Sales Forcecisco to be used on all official documents by end of fiscal year.

  5. Posted by anon2.5

    So this is no longer a public park?

  6. Posted by Dave

    So PO(S)POS – publically owned semi private open space?

    Salesforce not too long ago got the city to agree to turning what had been POPOS (privately owned public open space) for decades into totally private space for its employees.

  7. Posted by ananimal

    bait….aaand switch.

  8. Posted by archiwha?

    unbelievable and, frankly, embarrassing.

  9. Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

    We should set aside $500K of the proceeds to provide Salesforce-branded all-weather apparel for the homeless.

    If the company cares about our city, they should care about our people.

    • Posted by Elitist Pig

      That falls under a separate agreement to brand all of the homeless with Sales Force graphics. They will be much more palatable when hidden behind blue cloud signs, plus they will be herded into one of the vacant pier buildings during Dreamforce.

    • Posted by ijustworkhere

      I do not recognize the world that you live in. Salesforce is by far the largest tech employer in the city, and the second largest non-government employer in the city (behind Wells Fargo). Between the payroll and the conferences, the corporate sponsorships, the charitable donations, paid time off for volunteering and the matching grants, there is no way a chunk your income doesn’t come either directly from Salesforce, from the taxes paid by Salesforce, or from the spending of Salesforce employees. That is how a company “cares about our people”. By hiring our people and spending money here.

      You wanna see a company that doesn’t care? It’s the one that shuts down offices, doesn’t sponsor events in the local community and moves overseas/out of town. Yet you are complaining about additional investments and sponsorships in San Francisco as evidence that they don’t care about the people. Then, you are asking a private company to solve the homelessness problem and blaming them for stepping in to fill yet another financial screw up by the city in exchange for marketing.

      • Posted by MDG399

        you sound like a cheer leader for SFDC – ewww (worked there – icky)

        • Posted by Adam

          The general tone of these comments – which I have contributed to – is more of a disgust directed at our public officials for being willing to semi-privatize a public asset that WE paid for. I agree, Salesforce is under no obligations to do anything beyond paying taxes. Neither companies nor individuals are to be applauded for paying taxes, which is something they are obligated to do. But this is a case where I feel Salesforce have taken advantage of their clout to diminish the quality of a public resource- so I will dish out all of the disapprobation I feel they have earned.

      • Posted by Stop Driving

        We should just bow down to our corporate masters. How dare we not thank them for the crumbs they have spilled on us.

  10. Posted by intheknow

    this is a disgrace.

  11. Posted by Maya

    So crass.

  12. Posted by 101

    I am completely fine with this. The 1.9 Billion dollar Terminal is $300 million over budget. They had to scrap upwards of $53 million in “cosmetic” upgrades to the Terminal. At least Salesforce will make sure homeless do not set up camps and trash cans are emptied in a timely manner. Can you imagine the dysfunctional City taking care of the Terminal. It would be trashed in weeks of opening.

    • Posted by Futurist

      You don’t know that. Salesforce can easily get lazy on upkeep. Who’s to monitor them?

      • Posted by donjuan

        Salesforce does not own the park. There’s a full time management company and it will still be operated by the city. All this does is give Salesforce naming rights and exclusive access during dreamforce. Holy hyperbole.

      • Posted by 101

        I am sure Salesforce or any Company does not want their name associated with a homeless Park or graffiti filled trash hole. I am sure they will pick up the phone to the Mayor’s Office fast enough.

        • Posted by Adam

          Cool, so we are still on the hook to pay for maintenance?

        • Posted by Futurist

          You sure about that? or just hopeful?

  13. Posted by Notcom

    I’m less on the moral outrage bandwagon and more in the “what are they thinking?” camp: the whole point of naming rights is that it’s free publicity…every time the facility is mentioned – whether it’s locally, regionally or (particularly) nationally – your name gets mentioned too; that’s ~80 times/year for baseball, 40 for basketball, etc. Even an airport might make some sense; but how often is a bus terminal going to get mentioned? And if it is it’s not likely to be something positive (‘we have a 40’ delay getting into the Salesforce Terminal”)

    Now if everyone thinking this is just a front to gain preferential access to the park for events, then it seems awfully pricey: $4+M/yr for a few events in a less-than-ideal setting.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      The mention might come in the form of “salesforce” becoming part of the official name of the destination and therefore being on the destination banner on buses throughout the city. See Alai’s comment above.

      It is a bad idea to have sponsor names appear as destinations. Destination names should be clear, stable, and understandable. You don’t want to rename destinations every time a new sponsor is signed. It was confusing to see the signs for “Monster Park” appear on 101. That was short lived and did not help fans find the stadium any better than the good old Candlestick Park signs did.

      I cringe every time I hear the main San Jose train station referred to as “Diridon”. That’s not even a corporate sponsor but why not just call it what it is? Downtown San Jose. Or just leave it as “San Jose” as it had been for over a century.

      • Posted by Notcom

        Yes, and note the end of “Alai”s comment – “they can shorten it to S(ales)F(orce) Transit Center– SF Transit Center”- as well as your own regarding “Monster Park” …which is to say if that’s the idea, it’s a risky one.

        A more plausible argument could be made that having name rights on the rail-station is of value, but if so – and a BIG “if” for the many of us who doubt such will ever materialize – it seems about a decade early.

        ‘spose it’s not a lot for marketing to them, though maybe it should be: SF is quite a bit smaller than I’d realized (or maybe less yuge is a better word for them.)

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          We don’t know whether the language of the agreement allows abbreviation to “SF”. Would be a convenient coincidence if abbreviation is allowed though.

          If I were king, naming rights would have the following limitations:
          + does not become part of any destination name appearing on bus/trains, timetables, electronic status signs, etc.
          + if named after a person, only done posthumously
          + naming rights always expire but are eligible for renegotiation and renewal
          + if a publicly funded site is named after a private entity, said private entity should pay in the form of a barge loaded with $100 bills

  14. Posted by Frisco

    I thought Muni passed a policy that stations have to be named for their location?

    • Posted by c_q

      sure, it’s named for being right next to salesforce tower, i guess…

  15. Posted by c_q

    I wonder how the other direct-park-access-buildings (181 fremont and whatever is built on ‘parcel F’) will feel having paid for direct park access now being limited from them out from under their feet (note that salesforce tower had already direct park access).

    I am OK with limiting overnight hours given that it would likely be much better than fostering a likely homeless encampment.

    • Posted by Adam

      So you’re ok with a public park right above the city’s main transit hub closing at 9:00 pm on a Saturday in July?

      • Posted by c_q

        definitely, though a bit later than 9pm would be nice. Access is primarily through the terminal itself you have to secure that also (and run the escalators, elevators, etc). Considering that there are no trains anytime soon, and even most of the transbay bus lines all stop by 8pm, there just aren’t going to be too many people in that building at that hour. (MUNI will have a ground-level facility that does not require interior building access).

        This is not really that much different than the High Line in NYC which also shuts down at night because it is too difficult to secure and police at night.

        • Posted by gorkem

          I am sure if people really want 10pm instead of 9pm and they have good reasons Salesforce would be flexible.

  16. Posted by John

    So, this civic structure will have a corporate name, plus, we cede control over its operation to that corporation as well, selecting the hours the park can be open, taking it over for their little conventions?

  17. Posted by Will

    I am alright with the name being changed to Salesforce Transit Center. However what disturbs me is the fact that funding for some of the project came out of taxpayer dollars. If we funded the project we should have control of what the operating hours are and what happens with the park. However considering that San Francisco Parks in general have an issue with homeless residents sleeping sometimes, I don’t see that the closure at night is really flawed. I just rather have the name be changed and not the idea that Salesforce can restrict access to the public for a project that was approved by the people of San Francisco and funded by the people. Well, that’s just my two cents.

  18. Posted by E. Gonsalves

    The rooftop hours seemed to be designed with the homeless population in mind. This is about keeping the unwanted masses out of sight in SF.

    • Posted by Futurist

      When you see what many of the homeless have done to public sidewalks and the bike pathway at Cesar Chavez with their bike chop shops and physical structures, then you can see why many of us feel they are unwanted.

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      Keeping the homeless out of sight in SF is easily worth $110M. Unfortunately our city is spending $300M+ per year to keep them in plain sight and in the environment that feeds their addictions.

      • Posted by Tank_Hill

        Completely agree

        • Posted by Will

          Unfortunately you are right about our city spend 300 million+ to keep them in plain sight. I don’t see that changing anytime too sadly. It’s hard enough walking through the city and seeing syringes and smelling human waste. Especially in a 1st tier city.

  19. Posted by Anon123

    For 110 million a pop, I think that AMTRAK has a lot of stations with naming rights for sale, and it will make the trip more interesting when you have to get off at the Walmart Superstop intead of the Emeryville station…

    • Posted by David S

      This reminds me of David Foster Wallace’s ‘slightly’ dystopian vision of the future, in the vein of “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.” It’s scarier and more realistic than many other prophecies.

      Late Capitalism at its finest.

  20. Posted by Peter

    I don’t love this news, but it’s not exactly unprecedented. America’s busiest train station (Penn Station in NYC) is named after a defunct corporation. And if the naming revenue is going to pay to keep the place clean and secure, then great.

    Too bad there’s no accountability for the TJPA idiots who indefinitely postponed the project’s real attraction—the underground train terminal—but didn’t bother to update the retail forecasts for their “value engineered” billion dollar bus terminal.

    • Posted by Adam

      The difference being that the Pennsylvania Railroad built Penn station and the tunnels under the Hudson and East River that connect to it.

  21. Posted by Jay78

    Gross. I was hoping they’d call it Grand Central (blank) Station or something iconic, not a station named after a corporates business. If there’s one thing Ed Lee is really good at, it’s selling the city to the highest bidder.

  22. Posted by Hara

    Not good, that’s all. Shame

  23. Posted by Can't Think of Cool Name

    I’m seeing a lot of comments about “if we funded it, we should have some amount of control over it” (whatever “it” is). I get it, but really, if you take a step back and look at what you “fund” do you really believe you have any level of control over what you’re funding?

    Its a park. And somebody is ponying up dollars to cover certain amount of costs in return for something. And that something in the bigger scheme of things isn’t that big of a deal.

    Move on. And enjoy the park. I will.

  24. Posted by MB

    I don’t care what they call it as long as it is a perpetually clean and safe downtown oasis. This is going to be spectacular.

  25. Posted by Pablito

    What next? The Donald Grump Fisherman’s Wharf? Our region is run by crooks. If the SF Bay bridge wasn’t $6 billion over budget then all if these transportation programs could have been paid for in cash. Zero accountability in the MTC/ BATA / Caltrans world.

  26. Posted by esseffguy

    Ready for the Salesforce hot dog and hamburger? Or the Salesforce kale salad? How about re-branding San Francisco into Salesforcisco. Or Oracleland for Oakland? I don’t know of any major transportation hub or public park in the U.S. that is “branded” to that extent: Union Station in Denver? No. Union Station in New York? No. Grand Central Station in New York? No. Union Station in L.A.? No. I rest my case.

    • Posted by MB

      Deal dude. I’d actually have no problem with “Salesforce Downtown Extension” if they would pony up the moola for Phase 2.

      • Posted by Mark

        Exactly, except it should have been Phase 1.

    • Posted by Mark

      Lighten the heck up. You should be more concerned that you were duped into getting an overpriced BUS station instead of a multi-modal transit center.

    • Posted by ijustworkhere

      You are comparing a *huge* office building with bus terminal underneath it and a tiny little concrete square with a sad funicular going up 2 stories to Grand Central Station? Seriously? This has never been and will never be a transit center. It’s an office development with a bus depot underneath it. One that will probably get very few patrons.

      Now that I think about it, perhaps the naming rights are bursting all the transit and “green” pretensions which is why people are so mad at this.

  27. Posted by esseffguy

    Oops. Meant Penn Station in New York.

  28. Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

    They are basically paying to not be looking down at a homeless encampment from their new office building. Without substantive private-sector interests, any public property in SF is automatically dedicated to our $300M/year homeless enablement program.

    • Posted by Haighter

      Spot on. Salesforce knows the park and bus station will become a urine-soaked pit of human filth if left to the city to maintain. With the corporate name on it, Salesforce will definitely keep the place up and make sure no vagrants set up camp. I count that as a win for San Francisco.

  29. Posted by Futurist

    The SFMTA director Ed Reiskin slammed the naming, calling it distasteful.

    Completely agree with him. It’s just crude.

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