S.F. Transit center design named 

The new "Grand Central Station of the West" in downtown San Francisco will showcase a massive tower and 5.3-acre public park designed by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects and Hines, officials confirmed Thursday.

The design for the new Transbay Transit Center was approved unanimously by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority board of directors after emerging as the favored concept in an international competition that included a focus on uniting the regional transit services and developing a full-scale neighborhood around the site at First and Mission streets.

The development deal includes a 1,200-foot-tall office tower, a 5.3-acre public park and a $350 million contribution toward the overall budget of the transit center.

The center will unite regional bus lines, BART and a Caltrain extension from Fourth and King streets at the South of Market hub. Additionally, officials hope to bring a high-speed rail line to the center. The entire project is expected to cost about $3.4 billion.

Three teams vied for the project, but the design by Pelli Clark Pelli Architects, of New Haven, Conn., and Hines, with U.S. offices in Houston, achieved the level of transit efficiency officials sought, as well as filling the requirements for density, open space and aesthetics, officials said.

"I confess, I wouldhave been very disappointed had the project not taken shape as it did," Mayor Gavin Newsom said at a news conference held after the design firm was selected.

The authority suggested, however, that each design include a minimum of 3,400 new homes — 35 percent of which would be offered at below-market rate. The Pelli-Hines design has proposed the tower be used only for offices, and the design firm said Thursday that there has already been interest in more than half of the office units.

The authority will now begin negotiations with Pelli Clark Pelli Architects and Hines. The project is expected to be finished in 2014.

arocha@examiner.com

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