Transbay Project Promises Upgrades for San Francisco

It’s been a long time coming, but San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal is set to break ground this year. Ultimately, the plans to redevelop a blighted and underutilized transit terminal and dilapidated area promise to bring extended rail access, jobs, housing and other real estate uses to the city, according to Transbay Joint Powers Authority executive director Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, who presented the keynote address at CPN’s San Francisco Property Opportunities conference yesterday. The authority signed architect Cesar Pelli to design the transit center in mid-May. The multi-phase project got its beginnings in 1999, when the approval of Proposition H made it a law to “extend (commuter service) Caltrain to a new or rebuilt regional transit station on the site of the Transbay Terminal and to pursue other improvement,” according to Ayerdi-Kaplan’s presentation. The onetime rail hub serving 26 million passengers annually at its peak, which was at that point 60 years old, was blighted and outdated, and had been in use only as a bus depot since 1958. It currently serves just about seven million people, but plans are expected to increase that to more than 45 million. The authority plans to break ground on a temporary station in November and the new transit center in 2010; phase one has an expected completion date of 2014 and phase two, 2018. Ultimately, the 40-acre redevelopment area will include 3,400 new homes, 35 percent of them affordable housing; 1.2 million square feet of office, hotel and commercial space; 60,000 square feet of retail; along with public open space. Plans for the transit center include connections between eight transit providers, among them buses, the BART subway system and an extension of Caltrain; a terminal intended for California High Speed Rail, which would connect the city to Southern California; and accommodations for a possible future Caltrain extension to the East Bay area. In keeping with the city and state’s focus on sustainable design, intentions are to achieve a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the transit center and LEED Gold for the office tower, according to Ayerdi-Kaplan. But she vowed to try to exceed that. Thus far, the transit center site has been fully entitled and approved, although the office tower still needs to go through planning review, she said. The authority has raised half of the $4 billion anticipated to complete both phases of the project. Following the keynote, panel discussions included a conversation between office tenants and landlords; an evaluation of the condominium and rental apartment markets; an assessment of current and future efforts and requirements for green buildings; and an update and forecast on the capital markets.To Blog and Comment Click Here