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Guest donaltopablo

51 story tower in SF a go

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Guest donaltopablo

Jack on track

Developer has plans to build 51 stories of housing on Transbay Terminal site

Sometime in November 2003, construction firm Webcor fenced off a parking lot next to the Transbay Terminal, pulled the parking curbs and installed "indicator piles" to determine the underlying soil's composition.

All were signs that a development was imminent. The question was: Which one?

Myers Development Corp. had made no secret of its plans to build a housing highrise at 80 Natoma St., while the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and Transbay Joint Powers Authority had earmarked the site for the western portion of the $2.7 billion Transbay Terminal project, a West Coast version of Grand Central Station.

Since the Transbay Terminal plan had yet to be approved, and Myers had moved forward with negotiations with parcel owner Prudential, the answer was soon clear. The impact is still unknown.

Myers Development has pushed ahead with the $188 million development, closing on the financing and acquiring the land from Prudential Real Estate Investors in late March. Also recently revealed: The "Hemisphere" will now be 51 stories, up from initial plans for 48, making it the tallest all-residential structure in California.

Meanwhile, the timeline for the Transbay Terminal plan, initially slated for final approval by the end of last year, is unknown and city officials aren't offering clues.

Since, outside the misty realms of theoretical physics, two objects can't occupy the same space at the same time, the options include moving the Transbay Terminal over one block -- exactly where it resided in earlier plans -- or seizing the property from Myers through eminent domain. Either would add substantial expense to the project -- and no shortage of political headaches.

"There are numerous plans that the city can pursue relative to the development of the Transbay Terminal," said Myers Development CEO Jack Myers in an earlier interview. "The fact remains that I have a single site that is entitled."

He adds that he is a staunch supporter of the redevelopment goals of the Transbay Terminal neighborhood, which designates several other sites for housing highrises, and believes the projects will be complementary in the end.

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Unfortunately, this project was halted by the Board of Supervisors because its foundation laid in the path of the proposed high-speed rail service from Los Angeles to San Francisco's new downtown train terminal.

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