Transbay Parcel F

The scheduled auction for Transbay Parcel F was abruptly cancelled and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority will now attempt to negotiate directly with the intended bidders to secure the “best price and most complementary land use” for the site.

As we first reported last month, the auction for the parcel which is zoned for the development of a 750-foot tower had only attracted five potential pre-qualified bidders. And in meeting with the five teams, “it became clear that the interested parties desired entitlement assurances before submitting binding offers,” according to the TJPA which couldn’t provide said assurances despite setting a minimum bid of $160 million for the site.

Binding sealed bids from the five teams were supposed to be due on August 26, the highest of which was to be revealed tomorrow morning, September 2, and at which point the real bidding was envisioned to begin. The September 10 deadline for securing the TJPA Board’s approval of the sale has been scrapped as well.

At least two-thirds of any building on the 29,000-square-foot Parcel F site, which has the potential to support up to 750,000 square feet of development and will connect to the 5.4 acre rooftop park atop San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center by way of a pedestrian bridge over Natoma, is designated for commercial use per the City’s approved Transbay District Plan.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Orland

    Not surprising given that the sale date had been moved up to take advantage of the (then) overheated market. The recent financial turmoil could not have come at a more disadvantageous time.

  2. Posted by Joel

    “Entitlement assurances” = move to the front of the Prop M queue?

    Bidders will pay millions more for the opportunity to pay the city millions sooner… only in SF.

  3. Posted by la

    Would a 750′ tower even pencil out since the lot is so small and awkward? 350 Mission is zoned for 700′ but was only built to 400′ because of similar issues, there was no space for elevators at additional height.

    • Posted by c_q

      181 fremont is going to be 800′ tall on a measly 15,000 sqft lot.

      [Editor’s Note: The Parcel F site measures 29,000 square feet of developable area (as since added above).]

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      The perspective of the image above is misleading – it makes Parcel F look the same size as just a couple of the old brick buildings in the foreground – that’s not the case.

  4. Posted by guyfox

    It’s absolutely not a site size issue. Look at the pencil towers going up in NYC. They could have engineered a beautiful thin tower here.

    • Posted by Anton

      There was an article explaining that it’s much more difficult to do pencil towers in SF due to the earthquake-resistance requirements.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        Even so, hard to believe that it would require truncating a tower at 400′ versus 750′, for that lot size. Plenty of buildings at that lot size in S.F. are taller than 400′.

    • Posted by JL

      All those pencil-thin towers are residential towers. Small floor plates work for residential, but not so well for office space.

  5. Posted by John

    This will give Mercy Housing a better chance to build the world’s tallest luxury tower for formerly homeless felons.

  6. Posted by Bay Guy

    Ah-ha! It appears that no one [thus far] seems totally surprised!

  7. Posted by Louis

    Move up prop m queue? Will be tied up in litigation forever. Good luck with assurances. Maybe this sale fizzles and some healthy amt of air gets out of the commercial office bubble.

    • Posted by Chris

      Louis, I do not think you understand that there are various areas in the city that ALREADY have a preference for Prop M allocations. There is nothing to litigate, the city can allocate the Prop M allotment in whatever reasonable manner it chooses

  8. Posted by Dave

    For whatever reason developers did not jump on board with proposals.

    The economy, the uncertainty – this could be challenged by initiative over several issues and it takes relatively few signatures to get an initiative on the ballot.

    The cycle seems to have peaked and many of the recent proposals for hi-rise condos and office buildings will possibly never come to fruition. Or, if the do, it will be years off before they are built.

  9. Posted by EBGuy

    You can’t make this stuff up. From SFGate:

    The agency’s decision to hold a live auction was likely motivated by a desire to jump on a land rush, largely fueled by Chinese money in recent months, that resulted in a $297 million sale of a 1.17-acre development site at nearby 50 First St. The buyer in that case was Tohigh Property Investment, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese group Oceanwide.

    And yes, I looked it up on recorders website as well. The name is legit.

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