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Hines, Boston Properties to Build West Coast's Tallest Tower

11/01/2012 | By Carisa Chappell

What would be the tallest building on the West Coast is under development in San Francisco through a joint venture between Boston Properties Inc. (NYSE: BXP) and privately held Hines.

As currently planned, the 61-story Transbay Tower would rise to 1,070 feet. The $190 million land acquisition for the site purchased from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, a collaboration of Bay Area government and transportation agencies, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013, with a groundbreaking on the project by summer. The companies announced on Oct. 23 that the Transbay Tower project had been approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission.

"It's going to provide some much needed office space. The demand is very strong right now," said Paul Paradis, senior managing director at Hines, in an interview with REIT.com. The Transbay Tower is expected to be completed in 2016 at the earliest.

One of the highlights of the development is that it will be built adjacent to the site of a new $4 billion transit-friendly project currently in the works to replace the former Transbay Terminal at First and Mission Streets. The Transbay Transit Center project is being billed as the "Grand Central Station of the West Coast," according to Paradis, who added that the center will also include an abundance of shops, restaurants and services. The new transit Center will feature a 5.4-acre rooftop park that will be directly connected to the new office building.

Tech Tenants

The Transbay Tower is being built with tenants with large space requirements in mind, according to Paradis. While the office tower should be especially appealing to technology companies, Paradis said he anticipates that tenants from a variety of industries will lease its space. Retail stores will occupy the ground level of the office tower.

"Features in this building will make it the best modern office experience. We will have 10- to 12-foot ceiling heights. The technology companies love the large volume spaces, because they make for a productive work environment," Paradis said.

The building will also feature a number of sustainability enhancements. In addition to having easy access to public transportation in a pedestrian-friendly environment, Paradis said "the sustainability impact of the building is enormous."

"We will have the best indoor air quality of any building in the market. We will use 100 percent outside air and have an excellent filtration system. Much less energy will be needed to cool the air," he said.

Mortimer Zuckerman, Boston Properties' chairman and CEO, said teaming up with Hines will help ensure the project is a success.

"The combination of our two organizations will provide superior management at all levels of this extraordinary project, which we are committed to make a landmark for generations to come," he said.