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Norman Foster Vies for Second Tallest with Sparkly SoMa Tower

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San Francisco's skyline in the fast-rising Transbay District could undergo even more dramatic changes as plans move forward for a pair of starchitect-designed towers at First and Mission streets. The famed Foster + Partners, fronted by Apple donut auteur Norman Foster, serves as lead architect on the mixed-use residential, hotel, and office project, with help from local firm Heller Manus. (Foster + Partners is also behind the new Union Square Apple Store.) The design submitted this week in an application for environmental review would stack up to be the second-tallest building in the city. At 910 feet, the high-rise, which faces First Street, would be dwarfed only by the 1,070-foot hulk of Cesar Pelli's Salesforce Tower, currently under way. Foster's design comes with a little sibling, too—a 605-footer fronting Mission Street.

The main building, which will contain office space, a hotel, and residential units, has grown 60 feet since it was first announced in March, and the entire project clocks in at 2 million square feet of new space. The tower's daring design includes a half-acre of public space that sits right beneath the building. Diagonal columns at the base of the structure rise to 70 feet in the air, where the lowest floors of the tower will actually begin. The ground-floor space would be both open air and open to the public. Developer TMG Partners hopes to have their plans approved by next summer, with construction beginning in 2016.

· A gasp-inducing plan for the skyline, from the ground up [SF Gate]
· Starchitect Norman Foster's Massive Transbay Project [Curbed SF]
· Tweaked Union Square Apple Store Up for Approvals [Curbed SF]