Demolition of old Transbay terminal complete

September 7, 2011 6:28:21 PM PDT
A milestone was celebrated in San Francisco Wednesday; the city has taken another step forward in becoming the Grand Central Station of the West.

It's the end of the demolition of the old Transbay terminal, which once was a Bay Area transportation hub. Wednesday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed an I-beam to symbolize the beginning of the new terminal going up in the South of Market neighborhood.

"So this is more than just a beautiful project, it's job producing, it is the most important thing that we're doing while we look at and kind of shake our heads as to why other cities can't be doing this," Lee said.

"It brings us to a level with New York; having a huge transit system where everything comes together," San Francisco Planning Commissioner Mike Antonini said.

The billion dollar terminal project is just one piece of the transit plan. A new neighborhood is envisioned with more than 4,000 units of new housing, 11 acres of parks, more than 6 million square feet of office space and a new skyline with buildings tall enough to rival the Transamerica pyramid.

Some critics call the planned transformation the "Manhattanization of San Francisco," but the head of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association is enthusiastic.

"We're going to make the tallest building in our city be our transit center," Gabriel Metcalfe said. "In medieval Europe it was the spire of a church, but today for San Francisco we're going to celebrate public transit."

The city is also celebrating the completion of the environmental review of the massive project the crucial first step which will allow the public to weigh in.

"I expect some criticism, although this has been in the works for a long time and there has been strong acceptance of the fact that this is the place in the city where density should happen," San Francisco Planning Department spokesperson John Rahaim said.

The environmental review should be released by the end of the month.


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