The San Francisco Transit Center District Plan (“TCDP”) was an ambitious redevelopment plan that was adopted by the City of San Francisco in 2005. The hope was to invigorate the improvement of the South of Market area in downtown San Francisco by providing financing and development incentives such as height limit and building area density increases to exceptional projects. As a testament to this effort, the area’s most prominent development is currently the Salesforce Transit Tower, a 1,070-ft tall office skyscraper, the tallest building in San Francisco.
David purchased the first of seven parcels at 62 1st St. in San Francisco in 2003. This was done in part to help better position his mortgage lending business in the San Francisco market, but was also done in anticipation of the TCDP plan that would eventually be adopted. The site was not large but was located right in the heart of the downtown financial district of San Francisco. This site was one of the most promising sites available in the downtown San Francisco area and remains so to this day.
David proposed a 915-ft tall office building and 610-ft hotel & residential building for a total of 2.4 Million square feet of building area on these seven parcels. The allowed FAR (Floor Area Ratio) was 18:1, which would allow for approximately 925,000 SF of building area to be built. Despite the proposal requesting both significant height limit and nearly triple the allowed building area, the proposal was approved, and David was permitted to move forward with development plans.
Like many others, David was heavily impacted by the 2008 Financial Crisis and was ultimately forced to sell the project site to Northwood Investors and TMG Partners for $122 Million. 17 months later, the group sold the site to Oceanwide Holdings for $296 Million without having built anything or furthered the development plans. Oceanwide was the 5th largest developer in China and has since pushed plans to develop the site into Oceanwide Center, which will include the 169-room Waldorf Astoria San Francisco Hotel and approximately 150 residential units.
Even though David was unable to see the project through to completion, the subsequent sale to Oceanwide clearly demonstrates that the project site was a valuable one and that David’s intuition and judgment were spot-on regarding the opportunity.