to be major tenant of future Transbay Tower

A group of politicians and business folk filled the 25th floor of’s downtown San Francisco headquarters Friday to announce that half of the Transbay Tower — which will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi River when completed — will be filled by the cloud computing company when the tower opens in 2017.

Overlooking the pit that will be the Transbay Transit Center and the site of the future tower, the event was all smiles and congratulations.

Despite the revelry, the tower project was anything but inevitable, according to some local political leaders.

Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the district where the future structure will stand, said the project has been seen by many as a risk from the beginning.

“It’s huge to get an actual tenant for a building this size,” she said.

Many in the development community steered clear of the project for that reason, she added.

Planning Commission President Cindy Wu said the announcement of Salesforce being a major tenant is “a real sign of confidence” on what had been an at times controversial development.

Even Mayor Ed Lee admitted as much in his speech at the news conference before he praised the deal.

But Bob Pester of Boston Properties, one of the building’s developers, said the Salesforce office leasing deal makes no difference when it comes to constructing the building.

“Nothing has changed at all,” he said.

The cloud computing company also announced that it expects to hire up to 1,000 new employees in San Francisco in the next year.

Salesforce — whose CEO, Marc Benioff, and his wife, Lynne, recently announced a $100 million donation to UC San Francisco children’s hospitals in The City and Oakland — currently employs about 4,000 people in San Francisco, according to the company.

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, joined Lee and others at Friday’s announcement.

She said Salesforce’s deal shows that the new Transbay Transit Center, where the building will be located, “will be a dynamic force in the community.”

Salesforce is expected to take over 714,000 square feet in the tower. The 1,070-foot-tall building will be renamed Salesforce Tower.

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