Hines Proposes $235M for Transbay Tower Parcel in San Francisco

Real estate firm Hines and equity partner MetLife Real Estate Investments have settled on terms with the Transbay Joint Powers Authority for an Exclusive Negotiations Agreement for Transbay Tower, a 1.6 million-square-foot office high-rise Hines plans to develop in San Francisco. The deal, the specific terms of which will be heard in public at a TJPA board meeting on Sept. 29, involves a price formula that calls for Hines to shell out $235 million for the 49,000-square-foot parcel of land that will become home to the Transbay Tower (pictured). Negotiations of the terms of the agreement come one year after Hines emerged victorious from a competition to develop the site with a proposal that included a $350 million price tag for the land. While the new agreement entails a significant reduction in the land cost, if all goes as planned, Hines will still be paying a whopping $4,900 per square foot for the property, marking the highest-priced land sale in San Francisco’s history. Not only will Hines’ purchase price set a record, the soaring height of Transbay Tower will be one for the history books, too. The skyscraper will hover approximately 1,000 feet above Mission St. and First St. in the city’s Financial District, making it the tallest building on the West Coast. In addition to the premier office space, the structure will feature about 50,000 square feet of ground-level retail offerings. Architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli is behind the design of the skyscraper, which will be developed to achieve LEED Gold certification. If all goes as planned, TJPA will invest funds from the land sale in the development of the San Francisco’s new multi-modal Transbay Transit Center, which will be physically linked to the Transbay Tower by a promenade and various walkways. Construction of the Transit Center is part of a city program that encompasses the replacement of the existing Transbay Terminal, as well as the development of a rail tunnel and 3,500 residential units; 35 percent of the residences will be reserved as affordable housing. TJPA expects to kick off construction of the Transit Center in 2010. If the agreement between TJPA and Hines is solidified, an environmental review will then be undertaken, paving the way for an estimated groundbreaking on the Transbay Tower as soon as 2010. Houston-based Hines is a privately owned real estate concern that develops, manages and invests in properties around the globe. Established a half-century ago, Hines has controlled assets valued at $22.9 billion, and a portfolio of developed, acquired, managed and in-progress properties encompassing approximately 435 million square feet Headquartered in Morristown, N.J., MetLife Real Estate is a commercial mortgage lender with an annual transaction volume ranging between $8 billion and $10 billion, and an existing portfolio valued at $35 billion. The company focuses its investment activities on premier office, multi-family, retail, industrial and hotel properties.