$2.3 Billion “Grand Central Station of the West” Opens this Weekend

August 8, 2018

At 181 Fremont, there is a new reason to rejoice. After 17 years of planning and eight years of construction, San Francisco will finally celebrate the opening of the adjacent Salesforce Transit Center at Mission and First.

The impressive $2.3 billion transit hub will open this weekend with service beginning on Sunday, but not before neighbors are invited to the Grand Opening Neighborhood Block party with music, live performances, food trucks, kid’s activities and more. On Saturday, August 11 from noon to 4 p.m., guests are invited to explore the brand-new transit center, the much-anticipated rooftop park and the stunning public art installations.

Designed by Pelli Clarke Architects, the 14,000-foot-long center spans a total of one million square feet across four above-ground levels and two below.

Salesforce Park

The 5.4-acre rooftop public park crowns the center’s summit and is a green sanctuary filled with over 290 trees and plants, designed by Berkeley’s PWP Landscape Architecture. Elevated 70 feet from the street, the park’s “trees already have a forest-like feel, such as the grove of redwoods interspersed with cedars above Fremont Street,” according to San Francisco Chronicle urban design critic John King.

In addition to the .55-mile walking path, the park will play host to a variety of pop-up retail locations, a two-story restaurant and an open-air amphitheater that will offer exercise and entertainment classes. A children’s play area, a grassy picnic meadow and several colorful gardens round out the outdoor sanctuary’s offering.

While many buildings around the center will enjoy their proximity to Salesforce Park, only one residential building will have a private skybridge that leads directly to the park: 181 Fremont. Thanks to the skybridge, 181 Fremont residents will be only a few steps away from all that the park has to offer.

The public can take advantage of the park’s gondola lift service from Mission Street that is scheduled to open next month.

Commuting Made Easy

Dubbed the “Grand Central Station of the West”, the Salesforce Transit Center will feature bus bays for the regional transit agencies, 100,000 square feet of retail space and eventual connections to Caltrain and the proposed high-speed rail. Bus service will encompass AC Transit, Muni, Golden Gate Transit and Greyhound. Train service, including the California High-Speed Rail between San Francisco and Southern California, is planned for the second phase of the transit hub, which should unfold over the next decade. An estimated 100,000 commuters will pass through the center every day.

Retail & Restaurants

Close to 100,000 square feet of retail space is spread out over 34 storefronts within the Salesforce Transit Center. Five leases have been signed thus far and include Fitness SF, Philz Coffee and On-site Dental. More tenant announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

Public Art Installations

From an interactive fountain designed by environmental artist Ned Kahn to attention-grabbing floors and LED-light displays, there are four public artworks integrated into the transit center that are meant to inspire commuters and create a pleasant, experiential environment. In a recent story, Hyperallergic shares a first-hand look at the artwork.

“Parallel Light Fields”

Located on the ground floor, James Carpenter’s light sculpture lines a pedestrian passageway.

“The Secret Garden”

The hall’s terrazzo floor was designed by San Francisco-based artist Julie Chang and is a collection of California flora and fauna, including poppies and hummingbirds.

“White Light”

Within the Grand Hall sits Jenny Holzer’s installation of a 182-foot-long LED screen that wraps around a glass enclosure. The screen displays text from 42 writers, including Maya Angelou, Joan Didion, Machine Gun Kelly, among others.

“Bus Jet Fountain”

Designed by Ned Kahn, this 1,000-foot-long fountain located at the rooftop park is fed real-time information about bus movement from the below deck, replicating that movement with travelling jets of water. According to Hyperallergic, “There’s a direct connection to the artist’s long-held interest in visualizing natural flow patterns.”