San Francisco planners unveiled a rezoning proposal that would permit new skyscrapers around the new Transbay terminal, shifting downtown southward around a planned 1,000 foot tower -- which would be the tallest on the West Coast.
"A cluster of skyscrapers rivaling the Transamerica Pyramid would rise around the West Coast's tallest tower under an ambitious proposal that would shift the heart of San Francisco's downtown south of Market Street.
The city's zoning plan, unveiled Wednesday at a packed public meeting, would allow as many as seven new skyscrapers to surpass the current 550-foot height limits in an area surrounding the planned Transbay tower - a high-rise of roughly 1,000 feet adjacent to a new Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets.
The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission would have to approve the zoning proposal, which is likely to be revised in response to public comments. A thorough environmental report is also required.
But planners argue that the taller skyscrapers would create a more dynamic skyline and are needed to meet the city's projected demand for office space. A bonus, they say, is that tax revenue from the new buildings would help pay for part of the multibillion-dollar transit hub intended to serve bus passengers from around the Bay Area and rail commuters from the Peninsula and farther south.
"There is a renewed interest in heights given the constraints on the environment and a move toward transit-oriented development," said Dean Macris, a development adviser to Mayor Gavin Newsom and former city planning director who oversaw much of the proposed rezoning. "But these changes are fully justified even if there was no transit center, given the growth projections for San Francisco over the next 25 years." "