World-famous architect eyed for SoMa tower project

World-renowned architect Renzo Piano is the frontrunner to design one of the tallest skyscrapers in The City — an 850-foot tower in an area city planners have targeted for denser and taller development.

Piano, who designed the current rebuild of the San Francisco Academy of Sciences, has been in talks with David Choo, president of San Francisco-based California Mortgage and Realty, over designing an 850-foot building for the northwest corner of Mission and First streets — adjacent to the Transbay Terminal.

The company has been purchasing parcels in this area, with a most recent purchase of 51 First St. for $25 million.

Supervisor Chris Daly mentioned Piano’s interest in designing the tower during a Transbay Joint Powers Authority board meeting, when its five members supported moving forward with the $1 billion Transbay Terminal rebuild despite still needing $2 billion to bring high-speed rail to the terminal.

The approval paves the way for one of the largest public works projects in The City’s history, one which will revolutionize the face of transportation in the Bay Area by putting regional buses, Muni, BART and Caltrain under one roof.

Daly said the unanimous vote Friday morning put the $4 billion Transbay Terminal redevelopment project “back on track.” The board is optimistic that if it moves forward with the terminal the needed $2 billion will follow for high-speed rail.

The board’s vote also supported building a 1,000-foot tower near the transit terminal and kicked off an international competition to design both the terminal and the tower.

The high heights were recommended by The City’s Planning Department as a means to generate much-needed revenue for the project and to improve the 40-acre redevelopment area surrounding the Transbay Terminal.

In addition to the transit tower, the department also recommended a tower of at least 850 feet on the mortgage company’s site and another tower of similar height on a publicly-owned parcel at Howard Street between First and Second streets.

jsabatini@examiner.com

businessLocalScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Diners eat in a Shared Spaces structure outside Sotto Mare restaurant in North Beach. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read