SAN FRANCISCO-Construction has begun on the $1.6 billion firstphase of the new Transbay Transit Center and Park in the Downtown.The complex, designed by architect PelliClarke Pelli, will connect the city and the Bay Areavia 11 public transit systems, as well as serve at the first UShigh-speed rail station as part of the California High Speed Railline.

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

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A few firms have already made deals in anticipation of the newstation. For example, Los Angeles-based CIM Group, which acquiredthe 372,000-square-foot Charles Schwab & Co. headquartersbuilding here at 211 Main St. early this year, said the redevelopmentof the terminal is one of the projects that is raisingthe profile of the area.

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The new transit center, scheduled to open in 2017, willcentralize the region’s transportation network by accommodating anumber of transportation systems under one roof, including ACTransit, Caltrain, MUNI, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, Greyhound,BART, WestCAT and future California High-Speed Rail. The areasurrounding the transit center is slated to be redeveloped toinclude housing, retail and office space.

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The Transit Center architects' design is a glass-and-steelstructure that will serve 12 transit systems, including Caltrainand future California High Speed Rail. Designed to be the focalpoint of a new transit-oriented neighborhood, the transit centerwill be a destination for both transit users and the generalpublic. The second phase of the project, scheduled for completionlater this decade, will provide rail access to the new center viaan underground tunnel from the existing rail terminal at Fourth andKing streets.

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