Transbay Parcel F Massing

F4 Transbay Partners, a joint venture between Hines, Urban Pacific Development and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs, has agreed to pay $160 million for Transbay Parcel F which is zoned for development up to 750-feet in height. But there’s a catch.

The sale is conditioned on F4 being granted exclusive negotiating rights to purchase the northern third of the City’s Temporary Transbay Terminal site, a Howard-fronting parcel known as Transbay Block 4 which is zoned for building up to 450-feet in height and will be available for development in 2018 following the opening of San Francisco’s new Transit Center.

Transbay Block 4

And the agreement, which could be challenged by other development teams interested in the Block 4 site, will need to be approved by both the City’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure Commission and Board of Supervisors, a Board which recently blocked the sale of another tower site for failing to secure an adequate price.

But if F4’s deal is approved, the sale, which includes an additional $15 million “assemblage bonus” payment to the City if F4 is able to secure the adjacent Temple parcel (540 Howard), which would be razed and rolled into the development as well, is expected to close “no later than the summer of 2016.” And as massed above, F4 envisions building a 750-foot tower with 200-300 hotel rooms, 200 residential units and 250,000-425,000-square-feet of office space on the greater Parcel F site.

The City’s attempted sale of Parcel F has failed twice before.

36 thoughts on “City’s $160M Deal to Sell 750-Foot Tower Site Contains a Catch”
  1. can someone with more knowledge than me explain – what’s the gameplan here? Are the developers protecting the view?

    1. Sounds more like leveraging their purchase into a better deal for another parcel. This is the third buyer, so clearly the market for Parcel F isn’t what the city thought it would be.

  2. Block 4 is not “folsom fronting.” It fronts on Howard. Block 2 fronts on Folsom, and Block 3 is in the middle of the two between Tehama and Clementina.

    [Editor’s Note: Speaking of catches…(and since updated above).]

  3. You mean, the City aka Board Of Supervisors flubbed again, thinking that it can demand whatever it wants from the developers and they will simply do as they ask? No way!!!!

  4. move from F4. Block 4 is one of the best parcels available (if not the best). 450ft really means 550ft+ because block 1 was zoned up. And as far as I know it’s has the potential to be the best building in all of SF. Downside is it won’t be done until after 2020.

    1. Hope that is not true. The up-zoning. Would that have to get BofS approval? If so I doubt it will happen with Peskin the driving force on the Board now and hopefully that means the Board will take a more moderate position on issues of height and density.

      1. Well, as far as I know block 1’s upzoning of 100ft (300ft -> 400ft) was approved by OCII and the planning commission. You can see in this article that the 300ft was crossed out and 400ft put in for block 1. I’m not 100% sure about BofS approval but the feeling I got was that would be approved as well. My understanding was that the BofS approval was more for the sale of the parcel but I’m not 100% sure.

        Correction to my earlier post, most likely the new building on block 4 would not be done until 2020 or later, but I suppose it’s possible if they really rush that it could be done sooner.

  5. What I understand is that they are interested in Block 4 to put in the BMRs there and keep Parcel F as Market rate.

    1. It makes sense to demand exclusive negotiating rights for a plot that will be used for mandatory BRM units. Better than paying a premium for property that is going to be written off.

  6. While I hope they end of purchasing F, I also hope they are not successful in purchasing the Temple site. I like fine grained development and a mixture street fronts over giant, monolithic developments spanning whole blocks.

    1. You think retaining a 2 story night club (or whatever) in this area is important? What a waste of land.

  7. The city threw in something else of value (exclusive negotiating rights) so they could still claim they got the $160 million. But no one will ever call them out on their dishonesty.

      1. “City” is a reasonable enough shorthand approximation for “The TJPA Board of Directors is comprised of representatives from the City and County of San Francisco and the State of California, including the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the Office of the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors; the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit); and the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board-Caltrain, composed of the City and County of San Francisco, the San Mateo County Transit District, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.”

        1. This body and its operation are clearly distinct from the City and County of San Francisco. The reason I’m being so insistent is because “city” is so often used as a pejorative here.

          1. Whether the culpable party is the city or the city-dominated TJPA, we’re still out the $37 million in fees to Goldman Sachs for the bridge loan.

          2. This reminds me of when people defended Superbowl City because it was being put on for the Superbowl Host Committee, not the NFL.

  8. Dollars to donuts we wind up with the most expensive bus station(*) in the country, with everything decent about it stripped out and we are left with a humorless concrete box because “that’s all we can afford”.

    (*) I am not counting my chickens that HSR ever winds up terminating at Transbay. At least not within the lifetimes of anyone alive today. And that includes babies.

    1. I agree.

      IMO if HSR ever gets completed it will be decades off and even if it does get built it will not, IMO, come up the Peninsula but up the East Bay from SJ to Oakland.

      The City not getting as much for parcel F as they wanted may in part t be due to the good possibility this will come on-line during the next recession.


  9. I’m concerned about the potential shadowing effect of the 165′ zoning of Block 2 upon what promises to be a fantastic park immediately to its north. Low-slung row housing would be much better at that location IMO

    1. Well I have very pale skin that burns easily. I say there should be more shade inducing towers near parks to protect me from the sun cancer causing beast it is. Of course I could take personal responsibility for myself but why do that in San Francisco?

  10. Low-slung row housing in one of the densest CBD’s in the country? Ridiculous – it’s not an existing park – rather a new one, and the 165′ height is low enough to provide plenty of sun for most of the year – especially since one open side of the park faces south west.

    1. There will be plenty of towers surrounding this CBD parcel including critically the 400′ Gang design to the immediate SE meaning there will already be significant impact throughout most mornings. Have you seen the renderings for this park’s design? It promises to be an absolute urban gem. It would nothing less than tragic for a building immediately to its south to cast it into gloom throughout the day. Though zoned for 165′, I believe the projected housing on that block is for much shorter townhomes.

          1. I’d say there are many tragedies in the world. A building casting a shadow on a park is more of a “zoning decision I personally don’t agree with” than “tragedy”

  11. Politics and hot-button issues come and go, but 750 ft towers will dominate the skyline for decades/centuries. I really hope they build something charismatic. This will be the 6th tallest building in SF.

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