San Francisco’s Blossoming “Transbay Neighborhood” Will Transform Downtown

San Francisco’s Blossoming “Transbay Neighborhood” Will Transform Downtown

The sparkling Transbay Transit Terminal, which has been dubbed the “Grand Central Station of the West,” is transforming a huge area in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood. Just south of Mission Street, between Second and Beale streets, the Terminal will be a state-of-the-art facility, and around the transit complex construction is booming.

In fact, there’s intense interest in all the new real estate here. Recently, inked a blockbuster lease agreement for the Transbay Tower. It was city’s largest lease agreement ever and will include naming rights. And the residential buildings sprouting around the terminal are already courting interested buyers.

But with so many different buildings popping up, each led by different developers and designed by a stable of all-star architects, it’s impossible to keep all the details straight. Of the 12 parcels, or blocks, that have been zoned residential, four are under construction and one is already online, and plans are already in moving forward for a handful of high-rise office buildings, as well. Here’s what’s in store:

Transbay Commercial Buildings

With increased height limits, the Transbay development will attract quite a few businesses. An additional 3 million square feet of office and commercial space are planned, as well as more than 100,000 square feet of retail.

  1. Transbay Terminal: Set to be completed in 2017, the terminal will be the regional hub for 11 different transportation agencies. The five-story terminal will connect light-rail, busses and high-speed rail to the city and rest of the Bay Area, including an underground connection with the CalTrain station. Included in the plans are a 5.4-acre park similar to Manhattan’s Highline Park, an amphitheater, and 100,000 square feet of retail space.
  1. Salesforce Tower: Located directly adjacent to the Terminal, the Salesforce Tower is zoned for commercial use. In total, the building will include 1.4 million square feet of office space, of which Salesforce has already committed to 700,000+ square feet. At 1,070 feet, the tower will be the tallest west of Chicago, and displace the TransAmerica building as the tallest in the city. Plans for the other original commercial plot, Parcel F, have not yet been announced.
  1. Block 5: Originally zoned residential, Block 5 will now be the future home of an office high-rise. The city has made a request for proposals for the parcel, asking developers for plans for a 500+ foot tower with 700,000+ square feet of commercial space and 10,000 feet of ground-floor retail. The building will be adjacent to residentially-zoned Blocks 2-4, which will house a temporary transit center until the Terminal opens in 2017.

Transbay Residential Towers

The Transbay project is one of the most important for San Francisco’s already strapped housing stock. With plans for more than 2,500 new homes, the development is really all about created an entirely new downtown neighborhood.

  1. 299 Fremont (Block 6 & 7): Construction crews broke ground at 299 Fremont in late 2013. And as early as December 2015, homeowners will be moving into residences at the 32-story high-rise and adjoining 8-story mid-rise.  Architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz designed the tower, which will include 409 units, plus 70 affordable units in the 8-story building. Adjacent Block 7 will add another 77 affordable units.
  1. Block 8: Recently acquired by developer Related California, plans are in place to build a 550-foot residential tower on the site. Related California has tapped architect Rem Koolhaas to design the tower, which will have an estimated 740 units including condos and rentals. Twenty-six percent will be affordable.
  1. 500 Folsom: Block 9, at 500 Folsom, will be the future home of a 400-foot residential high-rise. Developer SOM has taken the lead, and early plans include 563 units with ground-floor retail. The building will be located next to a planned park at Block 10.
  1. Rene Cazenave Apartments: The first parcel developed in the Transbay neighborhood was Block 11. The site is home to the 125-unit Rene Cazenave affordable apartment complex, which opened in 2013. Adjacent Block 12 has been zoned residential, but plans for the plot have not yet been announced.