What San Francisco looks like from city's tallest building, Salesforce Tower

April 7, 2017 • Posted in: Market News

After years of hype, Salesforce Tower, poised to be the tallest building in San Francisco and arguably the West Coast, is coming to fruition with construction crews putting a roof on the 61-story high rise.

Boston Properties and Hines, the developers behind tower, marked the construction milestone, known as a topping off, on Thursday morning.

“I don’t know if anybody but architects get emotional about a topping-off ceremony,” said Fred Clarke, senior principal at Pelli Clarke Pelli, the firm that designed Salesforce Tower.

The event was studded with real estate elites, public officials and local dignitaries along with staff from companies that have worked on the building including contractors Clark Construction and Hathaway Dinwiddie.

Pelli Clarke Pelli has worked on the tower for about 15 years. Developing such a large building — a whopping 1.4 million square feet— and taller than anything ever built in San Francisco is like raising a family, Clarke said.

“You don’t do things like this if you are not optimistic about the future. You want to mark your mark place in the world and reach for the heavens,” he said. “This tower is making an extraordinary contribution to an extraordinary place.”

The use of superlatives didn’t stop there.

“You can see the tower from anywhere in the Bay Area,” said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), who likened the tower’s future landmark status to that of the Transamerica Pyramid.

San Francisco County Supervisor Jane Kim recalled that while the city officials were in the process of selecting a developer for the site, she was often told that the concept was too tall and too big and would never lease up.

“Six years ago, committing to this development was a major risk,” Kim said.

Now, the wager seems to be paying off. By this time next year, employees working from the top floors of Salesforce Tower will enjoy some of the most stunning views of San Francisco on a daily basis.

The building, originally dubbed the Transbay Tower, became Salesforce Tower after the enterprise software company signed on for 714,000 square feet, about half of the building, in 2014. Salesforce plans to dedicate the 61st floor of the building as an open space for Salesforce and community meetings.

Between Salesforce Tower and nearby offices at 50 Fremont Street and 350 Mission Street as well as Rincon Center and One Market, Salesforce will have about 10,000 employees working in downtown San Francisco.

Salesforce Tower is already 68 percent leased up with other tenants such as Bain & Co., CBRE and Accenture inking deals totaling 245,000 square feet.

Touring activity has gone up now that the building is close to wrapping up construction later this year, said Rod Diehl, who handles leasing for Boston Properties.

“The building’s been real to the real estate community for a longtime, now it’s real to the rest of the community,” he said. The building has 18 full floors and some partial floors available for lease starting on the 35th floor.

From the 53rd floor and above, the building will offer the highest office space available in San Francisco. Asking rates are on the higher end of the market, Diehl said, but declined to give specifics. Some real estate sources have told the Business Times said space ranges close to $80 to $100 per square foot.

Spectacular views are a major selling point. The building was designed with the elevators in the center so that tenants could see outside from anywhere on the floor.

Bob Pester emphasized that the building’s support goes down to bedrock, something the developers of the nearby Millennium Tower, which is sinking and tilting, did not do.

“Anytime you build a building on top of bay mud, you anchor into bedrock,” Pester told the Business Times.

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