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What It Took To Make Salesforce Tower A Reality

After 12 years, Salesforce Tower officially opened Jan. 8, and the tower’s first tenants have started to move in. While the tower is San Francisco’s first supertall high-rise, reaching 1,070 feet, it also broke several other records, including the issuance of the city’s largest-ever permit.

Salesforce Tower in San Francisco

BuildZoom reviewed permit data to create a report on what it took to make this big idea into a reality. Over 130 permits were filed for the office tower, which cost about $446M ($330/SF) to build.

Check out what it took to build Salesforce Tower below:

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority held a competition in 2006 to select a team that would create the city’s first supertall tower to showcase the city’s redevelopment of Transbay Terminal. Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Hines won the bid in 2007, but the first permit was not issued until six years later, according to BuildZoom. 

Debates over the tower’s environmental impact, the shadows it would cast and other aspects of the project began in 2008. Dozens of planning applications were filed. The project had to overcome many hurdles since this was the first tower of its kind in San Francisco. The area needed to be rezoned since previous zoning only allowed for 500 to 600 feet, according to BuildZoom.

Boston Properties partnered with Hines in 2012 and took over as lead developer on the project in 2013. The developers bought the 50K SF parcel at 415 Mission from the TJPA for $192M ($4K/SF). They also began their partnership with Clark Construction and Hathaway Dinwiddie to serve as general contractors for the 60-story tower.

Following extensive studies about building an adequate foundation socketed into bedrock 250 feet underground, the developers applied for permits in 2013. Structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates settled on a foundation with 42 load-bearing elements, connected by a thick mat foundation, to create a seismically sound building.

The building’s first permit was issued for $336.2M, which was the largest permit issued at the time, according to BuildZoom. The permit’s impact fees totaled over $55M. Once construction began, Salesforce signed a lease for more than half of the space, becoming the tower's anchor and namesake tenant. 

The foundation of the renamed Salesforce Tower took until 2015 to complete and involved 1,300 trucks delivering 12,000 cubic yards of concrete. It took over 18 hours to form a 14-foot mat slab. Some of the load-bearing elements were installed 310 feet below the surface. Building the foundation took nearly as long as the core and shell construction, according to BuildZoom.  

At a rate of nearly two floors per week, the tower started to rise through San Francisco’s skyline, becoming the city’s tallest tower in 2016. Leasing also began in earnest with CBRE, WeWork and several law firms signing up for space in the city’s newest iconic tower. Salesforce also added 167K SF to its initial 714K lease for a total footprint of 881K SF in the tower. It topped out in April. 

The second half of 2017 marked the beginning of tenant build-outs. Salesforce will occupy floors three through 20, 39 to 44 and 60 and 61. About four dozen permits have been filed for tenant improvements worth about $43.5M for the Salesforce floors, which are being designed by Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects. Some of the permits involved taking out floor slabs to create interconnected stairs in various Salesforce levels, including the top two floors, which will be made available to the public.

Salesforce Tower officially opened its doors at 97% leased in early January. Tenants are expected to move in through Q3 2019.