How Salesforce Tower and the Transbay Transit Center Helped Spark a Debate About Where to Develop

Mark Shoemaker
Principal
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New Haven

Since 2007, a team of architects has led the design and construction of a new transit-based neighborhood in downtown San Francisco: Transbay. At the heart of the district is a multi-modal transit hub topped by a 2.2-hectare public park, the Salesforce Transit Center. Adjacent to this is the 121,000-square-meter Salesforce Tower, whose development was used to fund the transit center in a special public / private partnership.

The fast-growing Transbay district has become an example of how dense, downtown, transit-based development can improve upon suburban corporate campuses, many notable examples of which have been built recently in Silicon Valley. Salesforce Tower, which has been leased by the cloud computing giant Salesforce.com, is an example of the advantages of concentrating a company in a downtown mixed-use district with easy access to mass transit. The tower connects directly to the Transit Center and rooftop park, creating an urban campus for Salesforce.

In this presentation, Mark Shoemaker, Partner-In-Charge of the Transit Center and Tower designs, discussed these issues and more, including the impact of the tower on the skyline and how the initial design and scope of the project adjusted to address a very public, decade-long design and construction process.

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