SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --Driving into San Francisco these days, you can't help but notice the construction cranes dotting the skyline. Much of that work is part of an aggressive plan to redevelop a once derelict neighborhood south of market. What's rising in its place, are thousands of new homes, offices, and hotel rooms.
This is the San Francisco of the future. It's a view you'll only see on ABC 7 news thanks to graphic designers at Steelblue. Tall towers will rise where freeways once stood. Parking lots will become parks. The site of the old Transbay Terminal will become a transit hub for the entire bay area, on top, a three block long park.
But this San Francisco isn't just a dream it's now taking shape and it all centers around this site.
"All the bracing is in place, and we really hit a next milestone, of building the train box, which are the bottom two layers of the transit center," said Dennis Turchon, senior project manager of the one-point-$1.9-Billion new Transbay Terminal project.
Turchon gave us a closer look at the progress being made below ground. "Someday we'll have six trains running through here," he said, "Six tracks 4 for high speed rail, two for Caltrain."
Five-stories below the busy streets above, work is underway. "The transit center is the complete opposite of the old Transbay Terminal," said Turchon. "It's high ceilings, bright, skylights, lots of windows."
The centerpiece of the new transit center will be a huge glass column supported by massive pipes. Turchon showed us where they will connect.
"Behind me are the anchor bolts that will hold all those pipes together. - so we are a point now that we will never see again," he said.
This fall, the transit center will start to rise above ground when steel work begins. It is slated to open in 2017. Because funding for the high-speed rail and Caltrain extension still need to be secured, trains won't likely run for a couple more years.
But that isn't slowing work on another landmark next door.
"It will be the tallest building west of Chicago," said Michael Tymoff of Boston Properties.
The "Salesforce Tower" will be 1070 feet tall. Rising more than 200-feet higher than the city's tallest building, the Transamerica Pyramid.
"This is an unprecedented time in San Francisco's history, from the standpoint of development, both commercial and residential," said Tymoff,
The city's South of Market neighborhood is a maze of construction detours. Between the bay bridge and Market Street, more than two dozen projects are under construction or planned. These architectural renderings show what some of them will look like.
The owners of this empty lot at Mission and First streets have big plans for the corner.
Local developer TMG Properties wants to build two towers, including a 950 foot skyscraper.
"We went to three architects, all world renown, and asked them to give us their vision of what they saw on the site," said TMG's Michael Covarrubias.
Combined, the two buildings could provide two million square feet for offices, a hotel, and residences.
"It will be the second tallest," said Covarrubias, "and if we do it right, we're going to put the condominiums on the top of the tall tower - so they will be the tallest residential units on the west coast."
They hope to break ground by the end of next year. If built - it will be part of a dynamic new neighborhood taking shape.
"This going to become sort of a grown up San Francisco for the 21st Century," said Covarrubias.
Written and Produced by Ken Miguel