Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    October 19, 2012 11:00pm-11:30pm PDT

11:00 pm
place, this plan -- this project is completely consistent with that. it is meant to be the center piece and one of many towers that will be built in this area, but this tower in particular being adjacent to the transit terminal is meant to be the kind of center piece of that larger district. so, this is -- and i think it is important to understand that this has been in the works for six years and probably more. but that's when the planning process started robustly around the district to create a new heart for the downtown. and i should say to back up even before that, that in fact the creation of a new high density core around the transbay terminal was contemplated in the downtown plan that was adopted in 1985. so, in many ways what we're doing is fulfilling a recommendation of that plan that goes back nearly 30 years. i for one am proud to be sitting in this chair when this is happening. staff feels very positively about this project. i think it is a great honor to be here when this is happening. and to see the fruition of a larger planning process when
11:01 pm
this is moving forward. but i wanted to give that background so the people in the audience and the public listening understood this is the culmination of many years. >> thank you very much for that. public comment portion is closed. and opening it up to commissioners. commissioner sugaya. >> yeah, i only have one question. i'd like to take all these motions separately. >> okay. >> that's my comment. >> commissioner antonini. >> thank you. i have a few comments. first of all, i think this is a very elegant building and the other day i was running up mission street and wondering why i like 560 mission so much, which is commonly the tenant now is chase j.p. morgan. and it gives a kind of greenish, rich greenish hugh, but actually much of that hue takes its color from the super structure. and the glass itself may be clear, i'm not sure. and these other buildings have tried to find the right glass
11:02 pm
and they almost always have glass that is not nearly as elegant as that building which probably has clear glass. i'm not sure what's planned for the glass color, but in looking at the color of the metal work, i am led to believe that the glass will reflect what comes from the metal work in there and that might be the best solution of all. i don't know if mr. clark wanted to comment on that or not, but it's important part of the whole picture. >> we have the glass here. it's a version of the glass that you see on 560 mission, but glass technology has improved and changed tremendousfully that period of time since that building was built. it will be very, very lightly reflective, not silverery, lightly reflective, but also quite transparent. the glass is intended to reseed, frankly, so the white metal work is really what you see in the foreground. just as the green metal work at
11:03 pm
560 mission is what you see in the foreground. * recede. >> thank you very much, mr. clark. my pleasure. >> i appreciate having a chance to look at the glass and that is an important decision and will add to the elegance of the building. absolutely, thank you. >> thank you. i have a few other comments. in terms of the entire concept of the tower and the entire transbay development, we really had it right in san francisco in the 1920s, and then again in the late '60s and '70s and the '80s when this was the center of commercial development in the bay area and the western united states. and early on it was probably in the '20s because the largest base of population was here. it only made sense that the commercial center was also here. but in the '70s and '80s we made a conscious decision to centralize the business community in san francisco and spent billions of dollars on the bart system and other muni metro and others to be able to
11:04 pm
bring people into that core. it's one of the extraordinary cores in the united states, perhaps in the whole world, with the amount of square footage in a very limited space, one of the densest around, and it makes it very walkable for people to go from one place to another, to communicate and avail themselves of all the other things that are in the city. but just in terms of the business community, everyone is very close together on a very flat easily transportable surface. i don't know, there is some conjecture years ago about the height limits that were passed in the '80s and original limits on amount of commercial square footage whether or not that led to the advent of commercial business parks in the bay area. i think it was a combination of factors. that might have been part of it. it might have been the fact that the political climate may have changed some in san francisco at the same time. might have been the economy went south.
11:05 pm
but they were still building some commercial real estate in places where no one would expect them to be. in fact, i still don't understand why we have business parks in san ramon and some of the places in the south bay that don't really make any sense and aren't close to any public transportation or anything else and are totally auto dependent. so, this is a great idea to have regional growth particularly employment growth directed towards downtown san francisco in a sustainable transit oriented manner that makes sense environmentally. it makes sense for business and i think this is really a very good project. and also i think it is contrary to some comments. i think it is a very open environment. we saw the architectural plan and also the park plan that creates many acre of open space
11:06 pm
in an area that has the potential to be another -- embarcadaro center, probably something people may point to more when they talk about, you know, the situation in parts of new york where you have a cluster of like rockefeller center, for example, and you have a lot of open space that the public can enjoy in close proximity to business towers and to the center of the city. * acres. this is exactly where business would want to be. and if i were in the kind of business that needed a downtown office, this is certainly where i would want to have my business. >> commoditier. -- commissioner borden. >> project sponsor, do you have a pick two of the original design that won the competition? i thought it would be interesting if you had it. and if you could talk about what has changed not just the height -- we know the height changed, but what are kind of some of the more subtantive
11:07 pm
changes originally from what was contemplate and had what we're seeing today? we're digging for that photograph. i don't know that we have it with us. but not a lot has changed, to be honest with you. the tower is shorter. at the time of the competition, i'll be very honest with you. both we and heinz were guessing at what size the building should be. and at the time of the competition, you know, we were in a bit of a real estate boom. subsequent to that and subsequent to further refinements having to do with structure, cost, functionality, it was thought better to design a million 300,000 square foot building than a million 600,000 square foot building. that automatically reduced the height. i have to say, though, both heinz and the transit center, tjpa particularly maria [speaker not understood] caplan very strongly held us to our original promise at the
11:08 pm
competition, that it had to be a beautiful, elegant, and vertically proportioned building. an enormous amount of study was done. and if you held the 1200 foot tall building next to the 1070 foot tall building side by side, you'd see exactly what time talking about. the proportions, the tapering, the dimensions all support the original intention of the competition. but other than that, there has not been very much change. the color, the detailing of the exterior wall, the idea of passive solar shading, a very energy efficient building, a top that's lit hopefully by [speaker not understood], all of those promises are still there. >> great, thank you. maybe tjpa, can you talk a little about how this building kind of meets the the vision not only from the standpoint of the design competition, but also for the larger transit district center itself?
11:09 pm
[speaker not understood] from tjpa to speak to that. hi, good afternoon, commissioners. as kevin said, [speaker not understood] community outreach manager at the tjpa. the transit tower is a very fundamental part of the overall vision for the transit center, which is designed to be a national model for transit oriented development. so, the idea was to create this high density urban development where we're bringing together 11 different transit systems, 8 different bus systems from around the bay area, caltrain, eventually high-speed rail. but to have that transit connectivity in close proximity to jobs in particular that also housing, affordable housing, recreational, retail, parks, open space, in addition the transit tower plays a pretty fundamental role in our funding plan. we had land that was donated
11:10 pm
from the state to the project to rebuild the old transbay terminal and the new transit center. and a portion of that land is being sold to the project sponsor in order to build the tower. the revenues from that landfill are a very fundamental component of the funding from phase 1 of our project. the budget has two phases. the transit center and phase ii is the extension of cal thaictionv from fourth -- caltrain from fourth and king to the downtown. >> [speaker not understood]. >> those negotiations are still in process. >> this proceeding, i guess, will after -- if we approve the project, does that help -- i mean does it make it -- i mean, what does that -- >> the entitle ithvxes that you're considering today are essential for the land sale to move forward. * entitlements >> thank you. we've been talking about the transit district for quite sometime. the difficulty for any city when you're contemplating
11:11 pm
growth and development in the future is where to put it and how a city grows. i think that we've seen both from whether it's technology booms or even just the revitalization of existing buildings in the south of market corridor, that this area has become quite a hub for business. not my office building that i work out of was -- opened in 1971 at market and fremont. it was one of the first of the big high-rises contemplated going into that zone. and i see, you know, we're right next to 50 fremont which is another large building which actually sales force is moving into, and a lot of companies are looking to have kind of these sort of building situations. and actually i'll use sales force as an interesting example because i was talking to an employee -- i'm not saying the employee can speak for the company as a whole, but the thing that among those employees they felt like mission bay was too far out, you know, that in some ways that they wanted to work in an
11:12 pm
office campus, that they would maybe work outside the city. that there's something lost when you're so far away from transit and so far away from being where the core of things are. i also remember that there was a study done a couple years ago and i can't remember who did that study, but they said that the determination for people taking transit isn't how long it takes them to get to the transit from their home, but how far the transit is from their job. so, once they get to the city or downtown, how long it takes them to get to their job will determine whether or not they will choose to drive. and i think in looking at those sort of things it makes a lot of sense that we're contemplating our development here near the transit -- with the transit center. there is a certain amount of density that's required for retail, for other sort of uses to be successful in a core. i think what is challenging with lots of new buildings built in areas, neighborhoods that aren't fully developed yet and the retail spaces suffer because there isn't a critical mass of people to keep and
11:13 pm
sustain those things from moving forward. so, i do recognize that in order to have a successful transit center district with all the piece, parts that are driving the revenue, a density is needed to happen in that space. whether or not -- i think everybody can agree or disagree about the project itself. i think it's kind of interesting because in looking back at history, people had a lot of very unflattering things and really were upset about the transamerica building in the downtown plan and all those things that happened were a lot to do with that and now it's actually one of our city's biggest icons and i think you couldn't have convinced anybody who was arguing about the transamerica building back in the day that that would ever be the case, but here we sit today knowing something quite different. so, you know, yes, sometimes you look at these shops and i don't like the way the tower looks particularly without the other towers there. it kind of sticks out. i think that we've approved the transit district plan that once it's filled out will really
11:14 pm
soften the way this building looks in its cingular motion. but i think we spend a lot of time talking about the integral nature of this building to the overall transit district and the transit center itself which is the center piece and the whole reason we're doing this project and that all the different other public benefits that flow with it, you know, i'm left with having [speaker not understood] with the fruition of the entire plan happening that we will feel differently about how this all comes together, differently than when we look at the pictures today and see this giant tower sticking out by itself. but i do believe when the skyline, the more elegant skyline, even with the other rincon towers are added, we will see this quite differently than we do today. >> thank you. we'll offer some comments. i think that this is going to be san francisco's great tower. there are many great towers around the world. san francisco is known as a
11:15 pm
city of innovation. i think this building will be innovative. its mechanical uses, exterior were pieces passed along up here. excuse me. i was a little bit disappointed, though, not about the design, but the observation deck was not included. and i know that had been discussed and the department -- the city was maybe pushing towards that. i just want to throw out a little bit of few facts that i was able to look up just for contemplation and that is the new world trade center in new york will bring in $100 million per year in revenue from observation deck sales. placed like the empire state building brings in 3.8 million visitors per year, sears tower 1.4 million visitors per year, the hancock objecttry in chicago 6 million per year. it's not about the dollars, it's the impact and coming from a tourism background, the experience that we can give
11:16 pm
visitors to san francisco and this will be, in my opinion, a very different perspective of san francisco in a spot and elevation literally that you wouldn't be able to get to without being in a helicopter or crane. and, so, i'd like to lean towards asking the project sponsor and the staff to continue working as this project moves forward to consider to really study an observation deck whether it's large or small. i totally understand the complications that it brings to the building adding another additional lobby for visitors versus office users, an additional elevator, expanding stairwells, i understand that problem that it creates. but i think it's potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity for san francisco to have a tower. we're probably not going to have many more of these if this may end up being the tallest building in san francisco and i think we should -- san francisco deserves to have a fair look at that opportunity for an observation deck. but i am supportive of the project overall.
11:17 pm
commissioner hillis. >> just a question on the open space and phasing. how does this work with terminal being built and this being built at different times and the open space, how do they connect in the interim periods? obviously not connect while one is under construction or one is contemplated to be under construction. paul parity, project sponsor. the timing is not yet determined. we still have to figure that out exactly. the mission square plaza that is a part of our open space cannot be completed until the garage underneath it is constructed. and, so, that plaza won't come until after the building is built and the garage is in place. if the project were to move forward at the fastest possible timing that we could imagine, all that would be done about
11:18 pm
simultaneously with the completion of the transit center. otherwise if it follows, we will -- we have an agreement to make the open space an acceptable way for people to get into the transit center in the meantime. >> the mission square open space, who manages that? heinz, we provide the tjt with the [speaker not understood] for passengers to walk over and get to the transit center. but heinz will be overseeing the open space. >> and the open space on the terminal will be tjpa operated [speaker not understood]? that's correct. >> commissioner antonini. >> i have a question, i guess, for mr. parity, or perhaps for mr. clark. it has to do with possible tenants not the actual names of tenants, but looking at the design, i'm led to believe and by the attention to elevators and the attention to stairways
11:19 pm
within the building, i would believe that you could entertain a variety of different tenants instead of having fewer larger tenants. is that true from what i see architecturally? yeah, that's completely true. we envision this project could accommodate just about any tenant in san francisco. so, you could start with the existing tenants around the city who are in -- currently in high-rises. we certainly think this building will be terrific for them. the floors are set up in a way that corridors will allow the spaces to be broken up into smaller spaces for smaller tenants. and also for the large tech tenant that are in the news so much recently, we think this building will be attractive for them also because of the generous heights within the floors and the really terrific working environment that will exist within the building. and, so, we think tenants like
11:20 pm
those will also be interested. so, it's a building for everybody. >> and as a follow-up along those same lines, a lot of these tech companies like heights, but they also like flexibility. so, they don't have to have their employees going a number of different floors. but looking at the fairly generous 27,000 square feet on the bottom, only tapers to 18,000, it would seem there may be ways to combine floors in such a way that a tenant could have possibly a larger, you know, space between two floors or three. it's a terrific size floor plate in that it can be stacked for large floor tenants as you're talking about now or broken up as i mentioned earlier for smaller tenants. and also all of the space within the floors is column free. so, these tech tenants that like to just have an open space environment and tables to work on such, they can set that up in this building. they also like to have a fairly dense population in the
11:21 pm
buildings and so we're taking that in consideration on our elevatoring and the bathroom fixture counts so that we can have those tech tenants be very happy in this building. >> well, thank you. that sounds like that's very forward looking and it's something that will appeal to different types of tenants depending on their needs, particularly what seems to be cutting edge. so, thank you very much for your comments. and i would also go along with president fong on the idea of some sort of public space somewhere in the upper floors, if not an observation deck, a restaurant, a lounge, something where people can go up there because the first thing when you visit a city you want to go to the tallest building or one of the tallest buildings to see the view. it's just human nature. people like that. and i think it's -- if it can work in and if there is a way that could be, without destroying the commercial character of the building, but
11:22 pm
making that a possibility, it certainly wouldn't have to be the entire 18,000 square feet of the top floor, but there might be a way to work something in there. >> commissioner sugaya. >> yes, i did see that letter from alisandro asking us to consider that, the observation deck. i was thinking there isn't an observation deck in any of the high-rises in san francisco, short of having to go to the top of the mark for a drink or something like that. the only one i can think of that's really public is in golden gate park in the museum. so, i think we're trying to urge you to at least take a look at that and consider it somewhat seriously at this point. transamerica -- i'm sorry, it sucked back then, it still does. it's a lousy piece of architecture and it's too bad that people think of it as an
11:23 pm
icon of san francisco. maybe this will replace it, who knows. i'm pretty much for the project. i'm asking for separate votes because i can't support one of the motions, but otherwise i'm fine. >> commissioner moore. >> there used to be a [speaker not understood] room on the top floor of the bank of america which used to be the equivalent of the observation deck, but that doesn't exist any more. >> go ahead. get on the list. >> 9/11 you could go to the top of the transamerica building, but now you can't. it's all secure unfortunate. avoid that. >> we don't have a motion at the moment. >> i was thinking of making one. >> commissioner antonini. >> well, i'm going to make separate motions in fairness to commissioner sugaya. so, the first motion would be to adopt findings under
11:24 pm
california environmental quality act. >> second. >> commissioners, the motion on the floor is to approve adoption of the c-e-q-a findings. on that motion, commissioner antonini? >> aye. >> commissioner borden? >> aye. >> commissioner moore? >> no. >> commissioner sugaya? >> aye. >> commissioner wu? >> aye. >> commissioner fong? >> aye. >> thank you, commissioners, the motion passed 6 to 1 with commissioner moore voting against. >> second, adopt findings that new shadows and the project, that the project would cast on eight open spaces would not be adverse to those spaces, allocate the absolute cumulative shadow limits to the project. >> second. >> six open spaces. >> commissioner moore? >> i think it might be appropriate for me to repeat my objections to the specific aspect of the project based on how i voted last week. and for those people who were
11:25 pm
not here last week the planning commission and park and rec together considered shadows cast by this project, however simultaneously we considered shadows cast by 11 other potential building which will not come based on their own merit in front of this commission and can reach a cumulative approval motion for 12 buildings casting shadows on 7 of 9 -- san francisco park which are protected under prop k. i voted against this because i believed that the magnitude of change of cumulative shadow -- of the shadow effect of 12 buildings is significant and consequential and is indeed against the very intent of prop k. as for that very reason and not for the merits of this project
11:26 pm
that subsequent motions which deal with this tower which is now packaged together with this past week's approval, i cannot vote for any of the aspects because i voted the way i did last week. >> commissioners, the motion on the floor is to adopt findings that the shadow is not adverse for any of the mentioned parks. on that motion, commissioner antonini? >> aye. >> commissioner borden? >> aye. >> commissioner hillis? >> aye. >> commissioner moore? >> no. >> commissioner sugaya? >> no. >> commissioner wu? >> aye. >> commissioner fong? >> aye. >> that motion passed 5 to 2 with commissioners moore and sugaya voting against. >> and move to allocate 1,375,0 77 annual space [speaker not understood]. >> second. >> commissioner moore.
11:27 pm
>> this project before us today would be looked at its own merit. this is a terrific project and part of a terrific plan. i find its architectural solutions, i find its response to the urban context by itself and in the context of the plan strong and convincing. however, for the other reasons that i stated during the previous motion that i will not be able to support this in any future aspect of the project. >> commissioners, the motion on the floor is to approve the allocation of the annual office development limitation program. on that motion, commissioner antonini? >> aye. >> commissioner borden? >> aye. >> commissioner hillis? >> aye. >> commissioner moore? >> no. >> commissioner sugaya? >> aye. >> commissioner wu? >> aye. >> commissioner fong? >> aye. >> thank you, commissioners, that motion passed 6 to 1 with commissioner moore voting against. >> finally, determine the
11:28 pm
project complies with planning code section 309 with exceptions in regards to separation of tower street wall base, reduction of ground floor level wind currents and c3 districts, general standards of off-street parking and loading section and finally unoccupied building height. >> second. >> staff? >> pardon. if i may ask the commission, there is a lot of discussion on the item regarding observation deck recommendation to continue working on that. the formal language you would wish to have is a motion or is that informal direction you'd like to give to staff? >> i'd like to make that formal language that they continue -- >> that's good with me. i'd like to see that as part of the motion if staff works on that particular aspect. >> second to support that. >> commissioners, the motion on the floor is to -- >> i'm sorry.
11:29 pm
commissioner moore. >> in terms of the compliance, i would look at this project just on its own today and saying the project is skillfully maneuvers but our very difficult decision to decide on the modifications which were made of the project during the time we last saw it. do indeed speak to many of the things which were in question. if it would be under different circumstance, but not today. >> commissioners, the motion on the floor is for approval of with conditions and the added condition today is that staff continue to work with the project sponsor on putting an observation deck in the project. on that motion, commissioner antonini? >> aye. >> commissioner borden? >> aye. >> commissioner hillis? >> aye. >> commissioner moore? >> no. >> commissioner sugaya? >> i did have my -- that's okay. just a quick comment. this motions