After years of construction and over a decade of planning, city bigwigs joined Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff this morning to cut the ribbon on Salesforce Tower and declare San Francisco’s tallest building officially open.
Construction is not yet technically complete on the 1,070-foot designer obelisk; most notably, the viewing deck on the uppermost 61st floor, which will one day be open to the public, is still in pieces.
But the ribbon cutting—set on a typically gray and blustery San Francisco May day that seemed karmically attuned to Salesforce’s cloud computing vibe—marks nominal completion of the billion-plus dollar enterprise, a little over a year since topping out.
It also marks the biggest milestone in the transformation of the Transbay area from a largely overlooked remainder into a hub that’s unrecognizable from just a few years ago.
Former Mayor Willie Brown, serving as master of ceremonies, referred to previous incarnations of the space as “a piece of land that no longer, after the second World War, had anything to do with what the city was all about” and praised the new tower for metamorphosing the block.
Brown also boasted that latterday San Francisco columnist Herb Caen “would absolutely love” the completed Salesforce Tower, in contrast to his hallowed antagonism toward the Transamerica Pyramid. No comment.
But the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon was on hand to serenade the completed structure, complete with hats in its likeness, so at least one long-running SF institution has given its nod of approval.
Benioff, perhaps sensitive about the scale of his ultra-wealthy company’s profile in the city (the tower sits right across the street from Salesforce East and Salesforce West, making the entire block a virtual monopoly for Benioff and crew), spent much of his speech talking about SF’s homelessness problem.
“We have an obligation to make this city as beautiful as it can be,” Benioff said before handling the gilded sheers for the ribbon cutting. “This is a solvable problem, we know how to do it; it’s gonna take a lot of money and time and focus. It’s up to us if we’re going to return it to its true glory.”
He even called for an end to all homelessness citywide and pledged millions more in charitable giving to relief programs.
Supervisor Jane Kim, in whose district the building sits, echoed Benioff’s calls for reform, while architect Clark Pelli played it down the middle and praised the building itself, calling it “one seamless connection [...] from bedrock to the beautiful iconic fogs.”
Salesforce spokesperson Jenna Kreitman says some 800 company employees already work in the building, which Salesforce’s lease covers more than 60 percent of.
Like its neighbors—and indeed, like all Salesforce buildings around the world, according to company reps—the interiors are designed with a relaxed vibe that emphasizes lounge areas and living-room like spaces, as well as Zen-heavy meditation areas.
Always eager to employ its green credentials, the company even says Salesforce Tower’s interior carpet are upcycled from recovered nylon fishing nets brought back from the waters of the Philippines. Of course.
As previously announced, the towering LED art by SF-based artist Jim Campell will have its first real night of action tonight. Word is the best views are from the Marina, Treasure Island, and the Oakland waterfront.