The new Transbay Terminal site is currently a quarter mile trench of bustling activity located just south of San Francisco’s downtown and financial district. After 3 1/2 years of demolition and excavation, a large quarter mile trench currently occupies the site of the former Transbay Terminal. Within the hole’s depths and between the cross steel bracing tubes, the new terminal has started to rise. A recent area walk-through showed newly formed reinforced concrete vertical columns standing on the foundation floor slab and concrete walls rising around the perimeter sides. On the west end, additional progress has been made on falsework to support the lowest level’s ceiling. Judging by current progress, the new superstructure should breach street level sometime before summer’s end.
Based on renderings by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the new terminal is endowed with a modern and engaging architectural philosophy while inheriting none of its predecessor’s archaic design elements. The structure will be topped with a 5.4 acre park and its sides will be draped with white perforated aluminum panels arranged in a wavy bulbous pattern. There will be 5 floors with each floor serving the following function:
- Rooftop City Park: Rooftop park, gardens, amphitheater.
- Bus Deck: Bus stations and passenger loading.
- Ground Floor: Grand hall, ticketing, retail.
- First Below Ground Floor: Connection with train station platform, ticketing and retail.
- Deepest Floor: California High Speed Rail and Caltrain boarding platforms.
The new terminal is at the heart of the Transit Center District Plan. Adopted in 2012, the plan intends to reinvigorate and reimagine the Transbay Terminal and surrounding area by rebuilding the terminal and encouraging local building development. This area, known as the Transbay District, is poised to become the new city center with the new terminal representing the heart of the neighborhood. Under the plan, the terminal has been re-purposed with the following objectives:
- Revitalize the area surrounding the Transbay Terminal.
- Increase transit accessibility and connectivity.
- House a Caltrain connection via the new Caltrain Extension.
- Supply passage for the California High Speed Rail (via the Caltrain Extension rail lines)
- Support a future connection with Bart.
- Bus stops for AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, and SF Muni.
It is unclear how a recent Superior Court ruling to halt construction of the California High Speed Rail affects both the High Speed Rail and Caltrain Extension’s project timelines, however, the $4.5 billion new terminal is fully funded and expected to be completed by late summer 2017.