Transbay Transit Center

SAN FRANCISCO-Construction has begun on the $1.6 billion first phase of the new Transbay Transit Center and Park in the Downtown. The complex, designed by architect Pelli Clarke Pelli, will connect the city and the Bay Area via 11 public transit systems, as well as serve at the first US high-speed rail station as part of the California High Speed Rail line.

Fred Clarke, senior principal at the firm, said the project will also spur development in the blocks surrounding the site at First and Mission streets. “We want this to be a great transit center, one by which the city is perceived, but it must also be a great neighbor,” he said in a statement.

A few firms have already made deals in anticipation of the new station. For example, Los Angeles-based CIM Group, which acquired the 372,000-square-foot Charles Schwab & Co. headquarters building here at 211 Main St. early this year, said the redevelopment of the terminal is one of the projects that is raising the profile of the area.

The new transit center, scheduled to open in 2017, will centralize the region’s transportation network by accommodating a number of transportation systems under one roof, including AC Transit, Caltrain, MUNI, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, Greyhound, BART, WestCAT and future California High-Speed Rail. The area surrounding the transit center is slated to be redeveloped to include housing, retail and office space.

The Transit Center architects’ design is a glass-and-steel structure that will serve 12 transit systems, including Caltrain and future California High Speed Rail. Designed to be the focal point of a new transit-oriented neighborhood, the transit center will be a destination for both transit users and the general public. The second phase of the project, scheduled for completion later this decade, will provide rail access to the new center via an underground tunnel from the existing rail terminal at Fourth and King streets.