New Homes in San Francisco – Residential (Approved) – 12/16
Transbay 6 & 7
The San Francisco Transit Center District Plan is a massive redevelopment plan for the neighborhood surrounding the Transbay Transit Center site, South of Market near the Financial District in San Francisco. The new Transbay Transit Center will replace the since-demolished San Francisco Transbay Terminal, and new skyscrapers, such as the Transbay Tower, will take advantage of the height increases allowed through the Transit Center District Plan. The sale of several land parcels formerly owned by the state and given to the managing Transbay Joint Powers Authority will help finance the construction of the Transbay Transit Center.
BAR’s design concept for a mixed-use development at Transbay Blocks 6 & 7 is influenced by a philosophy that what goes on the outside of the building footprint is just as important as what is within the building footprint. Block 6 includes both affordable and market-rate housing with a shared open space that connects to both Folsom and Clementina. The lobby for the affordable residential building is at the corner, directly across from the Block 7 lobby. The tall first floor contains the lobby, commons room, retail and several residential units, with five residential floors above. A contemporary treatment in brick at the corner of Folsom and Beale relates to the historic fabric of the neighborhood. Numerous terraces help to activate the neighborhood and provide eyes on the street. The ground floor of the 30-story market-rate tower along Folsom and Fremont is activated with restaurant and retail spaces that step with the natural grade to enhance accessibility. A gateway from Folsom into a semi-public garden leads to the tower lobby and mid-block court. The ninth floor tower step-back provides space for amenities like a club room, home theater and gym that open onto a roof terrace with a lap pool, BBQ and outdoor fireplace. The 29th floor step back allows for generous private terraces for the penthouse level. The scale of the tower is divided into several elements to address the different solar orientations and to emphasize a slender, vertical proportion. The northeast façade is glass and spandrel panel to take advantage of the views. In contrast, the southwest and southeast corners have a staggered pattern of south-facing terraces that extend the living spaces to the outdoors and serve as sun shades. The southwest and northwest façades feature large, punched openings that give the building residential scale and minimize westerly sun exposure.
The winning proposal to develop Transbay Block 6/7, from Folsom Street to Clementina Alley and Fremont to Beale, includes a 300-foot tower on the corner of Folsom and Fremont, 40-foot townhomes along Clementina, and three 50 to 85-foot mid-rise buildings on Fremont, Beal, and Folsom.
In total, 545 residential units (a mix of market-rate and subsidized), 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail and 136 undergrounding parking spaces will be built on the site with multiple green roof gardens and decks above, parks and a mid-block paseo below.
Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, the tower will leverage prevailing winds to naturally ventilate and cool the tower without air conditioning.
In total, 545 residential units will rise on the site: 348 market-rate units, 61 below market rate, and 136 subsidized affordable units which will be developed by Mercy Housing California. The average unit size will be 715 square feet. And in terms of parking, 136 spaces in total, a ratio of .25 spaces per unit, less than half the ratio of any other proposal.
The original Transbay Terminal opened in 1939 as the San Francisco terminus for the Key System commuter trains that travelled across the new San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge to the East Bay. Train service to San Francisco was discontinued in 1958 and the Transbay Terminal was reconfigured for buses. Transbay train service would resume in 1974 with the opening of BART and the Transbay Tube, but the BART tracks were routed under Market Street, bypassing the Transbay Terminal. By the end of the 20th century, the Transbay Terminal was underused and rundown, handling an average of about 20,000 commuters per day.
In 1985, San Francisco adopted the Downtown Plan, which slowed development in the Financial District north of Market Street and directed it to the area South of Market around the Transbay Terminal. In the early 1990s, the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, freeing up numerous city blocks for development south of the Transbay Terminal. In 1995, Caltrain agreed to study extending its commuter rail service from its Fourth and King terminus closer to the Financial District, including whether the obsolete Transbay Terminal should be removed, remodeled, or rebuilt.
Ultimately, it was decided that the Transbay Terminal should be rebuilt, with the rail extension entering the Terminal under Second Street. To finance the projects and promote development in the area, the Transbay Redevelopment Plan was adopted by the City of San Francisco in June 2005. By raising a number of building height limits and selling former freeway parcels, the plan envisions the development of over 2,500 new homes, 3 million square feet of new office and commercial space, and 100,000 square feet of retail.