The Transbay District is one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the city. Lured by the development of the new Transbay Transit Center and the opportunity to build soaring new skyscrapers, developers have flocked to the district with plans for towers to be built by Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, and Jeanne Gang. Now, plans for the Transit Center could be in jeopardy with the breakdown of a tax deal between the city and the developers behind the towers. When city officials agreed to raise height limits for the neighborhood, they also planned to set in place a special tax district that would help pay for the Transbay Transit Center and the extension of Caltrain from its current Fourth and King station to the Transbay. The district was set in place in 2012, but the rise in property values since then has meant a significant bump in taxes that developers say isn't part of the deal originally struck.
Developers were threatening to sue over the agreement until a new deal was struck two weeks ago that would have kept the new tax levels in place but given developers more time to pay. However, as the details of the deal became clearer, the developers backed out and the truce fell apart. The two sides are at a stalemate, and the next step is likely to bring in lots and lots of lawyers. The Transbay Joint Powers Authority needs the funds from the tax district to finish up the Transit Center and begin the Caltrain extension.
It's not clear who would prevail in court, but no matter which side ultimately wins, a suit would take years to play out. The city wouldn't be able to issue the bonds needed for the Transbay Transit Center until litigation is completed, and developers could be stuck with lots of big shiny buildings without the proximity to transit that is key to attracting tenants.
· Transbay Transit Center's Future in Doubt After Deal Falls Apart [SFGate]
· Previous Coverage of the Transbay Transit Center [Curbed SF]
· Norman Foster Vies for Second Tallest With Sparkly SoMa Tower [Curbed SF]
· Starchitect Jeanne Gang Drafts Twisty Tower for South Bay [Curbed SF]
· Rem Koolhaas Will Design 550-Foot Tower at Transbay Block 8 [Curbed SF]
· Let's Make a Deal [Curbed SF]