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A Slender Tower Rises in the Heart of San Francisco

By Ivan Velinov
Epoch Times San Francisco Staff
Sep 27, 2007

This sleek modern design for a 1200-foot tower by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects and Hines was chosen to be a part of the new San Francisco Transit Center. (Courtesy of Pelli Clark Pelli Architects and Hines)
This sleek modern design for a 1200-foot tower by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects and Hines was chosen to be a part of the new San Francisco Transit Center. (Courtesy of Pelli Clark Pelli Architects and Hines)

One massive, glittering tower will rise adjacent to a modern transportation hub, topped by an elevated public park the size of five football fields. The new Transportation Transit Center will be erected in downtown San Francisco by 2014, replacing the outdated current Transbay Terminal, officials confirmed last week.

The eight-month-long international design competition selected Pelli Clark Pelli Architects and Hines to build the new "Grand Central Station of the West," or what officials said will become the new San Francisco downtown landmark featuring an obelisk-like tower.

The design of the new center was approved unanimously by the nine members of the Transbay Authority board of directors saying that each of the three participating teams of architects were exceptional. However, they say the Pelli-Hines design "is superior to the other two."

According to the jury of experts, "The Pelli-Hines design for the Transit Center and Tower best met the operational, functional, and aesthetic requirements."

Pelli-Hines also offered $350 million for the right to build what will be the tallest building (at 1,200 ft) in San Francisco alongside the new Transit Center at First and Mission Streets.

"The amount ($350 million) is significantly higher than the offers by the other teams," authorities said in a statement. "The exceptional financial offer…will increase the funds available to the Transbay Transit Center Program to $1.85 billion," said Maria Ayerdi, Executive Director of the Transbay Authority.

The entire project will cost $3.4 billion.

The transit center is projected to unite the region's nine transportation systems under one roof. Bus lines will connect with San Francisco subway train systems and Caltrain, each converging at the new location topped by an elevated 5.4 acre public park.

The park is expected to attract the public with its green spaces for outdoor activities and will help to sustain the environment around the Transit Center. According to the plan, the park will absorb pollution from bus exhaust, treat and recycle water used by the terminal and tower, and will provide beautiful views of the Bay.

In addition, officials are hoping to bring to the center a future high-speed rail line which will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego, facilitating comfortable and convenient travel at 220 miles per hour, similarly to high speed trains in Europe and Japan.

The Transbay Authority will now enter into a negotiation process with Pelli-Hines architects. Construction of the new landmark Transit Center and complementary Transit Tower is scheduled to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2014.


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