Wrecking_ball.jpgSan Francisco supervisors today approved the seizure by eminent domain of several properties in the South of Market District to make way for the construction of the new $4 billion Transbay Transit Center.

The seizures, which were requested by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority after its offers to the property owners were rejected, were approved unanimously this afternoon by the board–over the objections of the owners.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority said it needed the properties at 60 Tehama St., 564 and 568 Howard St., and condominiums at 85 Natoma St. in order “to proceed with construction of the Transbay Program in a timely manner.”

Supervisor Chris Daly, in whose district the construction is taking place, said today that the properties were “in the critical path” of “one of the most significant public works projects in the region.”

Daly added that the seizures were necessary in order to “not get behind schedule, and have escalation of construction costs.”

The authority has already acquired 13 properties for the project through voluntary sales in the past five years. Another property at 80 Natoma St. was acquired after an eminent domain action.

The transit center will replace the city’s aging bus terminal, which opened in 1939, with a modern transit hub connecting 11 transportation systems, including bus, train and other public transit.

It is expected to also serve as the terminus of the future high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles. About 2,600 new homes are also planned in the area of the complex.

The center is expected to open in 2017.

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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